an encounter with photographers

I've come down to Victor Harbor after a three week absence, which  included a small  trip to Melbourne.  There has been a lot of rain on the Fleurieu Peninsula recently, and it was difficult to access Kings Head this afternoon  due to  the landslides along  the Heysen Trail. It was very muddy.

On the way Ari and I met a couple of photographers walking the Heysen Trail on their  way to Kings Beach. They werre  taking lots of photographs.   One  photographer had   a big, fancy  Nikon DSLR with a zoom lens--he also had two standard poodles which I'd  previously seen --- whilst  the other had a Mamyia DM22 medium format camera , which he had bought second hand  from a guy in Japan for around $3000.   It was cheap because it had a 3 year  old 16 megapixel digital back.

These kind of cameras are  not readily  available in Adelaide second hand.

As  we walked along the trail towards  Kings Beach I mentioned the medium format guy that I once started out with an old  Mamiya RB67, but that I found it heavy and had swiched to Rolleiflexes.   He added that he also  had a Mamiya RZ33 in his studio but  that it was too heavy to take into the field. 

When I remarked about the cheapness of the digital back  he said  that it wasn't  necessary to go beyond a 33 megapixel digital back,  unless you were doing billboard posters. That was useful information for me.

What I gleaned from the brief encounter was that a  new digital medium format camera is now under $15,000,  and  it can be acquired for around $10,000 new. Suddenly a digital medium format camera  becomes feasible.

Ari and I  pushed on to our favourite  location at the foot of the Newland Cliffs to check out the tide and  the wind conditions for an early morning shoot. The two guys weren't interested in coming down to the rocky outcrop--it was in deep  shadow and the rocks  were very wet and slippery.

black and white

I've slowly returned to working in black and white and, in doing so, moving away from rock abstractions  to the scrub.  

It is easy to do when I'm using the  Rolleiflex SL66.  I can shoot in colour the scene in then switch to black and white  by  just changing the film back. It's slow black and white film--Ilford   PanF Plus 50 ---- that I use, as this camera is always used on a tripod.

The exposures are around generally 1-5 seconds as I take pictures in the early morning or just before  dusk  in the summer months. I was lucky this day as it stayed overcast for a couple of hours. So I raced back to the studio  and returned with the 8x10 Cambo monorail.  

I've always struggled with taking pictures of the Australian woodland, scrub or the bush. It is so messy and chaotic.  Then I saw Lee Friedlander's  pictures  of trees   from his flowers and trees series and saw how it could be done.

Here is an early attempt done just before  Xmas when I was down at Victor Harbor with Lariane  Foneseca,   a friend of Suzanne's who is a wonderful photographer. The melaleucas were on Rosetta Head, or The Bluff as the locals call it.

I   exposed a couple of  8x10 picture of these trees but I've yet to send the negatives to Blanco Negro  in Sydney to be processed. I'm inclined to return and do some pictures that are  closer up. 

roadside vegetation

I've started reading Jane Hylton's The Painted Coast: Views of the Fleurieu Peninsula in order to gain a sense of the visual history of this part of South Australia from the 1840s to the present.  The original native vegetation, which can be seen in the early water colours of G.F. Angas and H.P. Gill,  has long gone.

The region is now mostly farmland. The remnants  of the  native vegetation outside of the conservation parks can be found along the road side. This is now pretty thin.

I find the lack  of native vegetation and biodiversity rather depressing.

studio: yellow rose

The heat wave continues in Adelaide. 

 I'm doing more work in the studio--at the moment it is black and white shots of a clove of Russsian garlic. I'm decided to use up the expired Ilford FP4 125 ASA  film, which  came with the Rolleiflex 6006  system that  I acquired a year ago.

This is a rose from the garden at Solway Cresent. It was taken in 2011 with  Fujichrome Provia 100F using a Cambo studio stand.

I spent yesteday scanning 5x7 colour negatives on the flatbed Epson V700 scanner without much success.  The negatives were scanned without a film holder, as no film 5x7 film holders came with the scanner.   I used the film area guide  and they have a strong blue cast. I couldn't  restore the colour with the Epson software. It did not work at all.

Unfortunately for me there are  no 5x7 film holders  made for  the scanner. They only go  up to 5x4. I am converting some of the scanned negatives to black and white but I will have to invest in a flexible  5x7 film holder from betterscanning.

I can see why people make the shift to digital.

in the studio

During the high summer in South Australia it is difficult to take photographs.It is very hot and without the the cloud cover there is a very limited time at dawn and dusk to take photographs.

I don't fancy walking across rocks in the dark carrying large format equipment to have it all set up before dawn. Usually I have a location in mind and I  wait for some cloud cover to soften the very bright sunlight.

In the meantime  I make use of the studio. It's a simple set up: tabletop,  window light, closeup rings on a Rolleiflex 6006 , exposures of around 2-4 seconds, a 120 roll of  Fujichrome  Provia 100F and some fruit and  vegetables, such as this avocado.

erosion

It has been a couple of  months since I posted on the Encounter Studio's blog. Even though I'd been working on the Victor  Harbor book over the Xmas break I'd more or less forgotten about this blog. I only remembered it when I was  setting up the book's  gallery this morning.  

This is an picture  taken last year and it depicts erosion along the side of the Ring Road. I made a number of studies of this subject as I was attracted by both the shapes and the  colours.  

rockface: abstract 1

This is pretty much how I see the rockface in the coastal landscape just west of  Victor Harbor and around Kings Head.

It is  the constantly changing play of light on the rock forms along the coastline that caught my eye and intrigued me. I tend to see the rockface in terms of abstractions---organic abstractions, as it were. Abstract modernism in this  form makes sense to me as a photogrpaher. 

More here

Hindmarsh River mouth

This is a favourite area  in Victor Harbor for the poodles, Suzanne  and myself. It is the estuary of the Hindmarsh River near Hayborough, and it includes a board walk through the melaleucas,  a lagoon and the beach itself.  The latter is very popular.

The afternoon in winter is the best  for photography  here. The river is flowing,  the western sun  lightens up the estuary and the colours are quite intense once the sun has gone behind the hills.  

pink gum

This pink gum  is on the side of the road to the Council Rubbish dump.  I noticed it one day when I was walking  along the road with the  poodles. It was probably the first time that I'd started to look the roadside vegetation as a photographer.

The shape intrigued me so I took a quick snap. I've returned a couple of times to photograph the tree with different cameras and in different conditions. It is significant  moment for me because I  then started to look more closely at the roadside vegetation on the back roads.