Thoughtfactory’s image-text blog

an experimental image-text blog based in the southern Fleurieu Peninsula of South Australia

Posts for Tag: b+w


The  b+w  picture below is of roadside vegetation in Waitpinga on the southern Fleurieu Peninsula. It  is from the archives,  and  it was made with a large format camera--a 1950's  Super Cambo 8x10 monorail. 

I used this  picture of the local landscape as my contribution to the online print viewing/sharing of the Melbourne based Friends of Photography Group (FOPG). I've linked up  with FOPG due to my isolation  as a large format photographer in Adelaide.  There are very few people doing this kind of slow photography in Adelaide, and I have little connection to, or empathy with,  the few that  are.  I decided to  share some of my photos I've made  of the local landscape in  Encounter Bay/Waitpinga  with FOPG,  since  most of the photography the members of  FOPG do  is orientated towards the genre of  landscape.    

I am on the fringe  of FOPG due to living in Adelaide. It's not practical  for me  to attend their face-to-face print viewing sessions in Melbourne, but I  did plan to go their field trip to Apollo Bay and the Otway Ranges in April. Unfortunately,  that field trip was cancelled due to the Covid-19 pandemic.  I plan to submit a photo of the  Waitpinga  landscape from those that  I have been making during the lockdown to their upcoming online exhibition.  

photographing country roads

My frustration from the rushed Talem Bend photo session has mounted,  due to  the very gusty  northerly and south-westerly winds and continual rain  over the last 4 days. The frustration comes from these weather condition  making it impractical to make a  return trip to Talem Bend at the base of the Mallee Highway. It's 90 minutes drive time each way. 

Suzanne  suggested that  I make things a bit easier  for myself in using the 8x10 Cambo by starting to photograph around my local area.  I took her advice and I was lucky to squeeze a photo session of roadside vegetation in Waitpinga in one morning after a   poodlewalk with Kayla. This  just before  it started to rain. 

I realized afterwards that concentrating on  pictures of roadside vegetation was far  too limited,  and that  really  I needed to broaden my local  image making  to include the roads I travelled along by making them  more central to the photography.   Here was a good model.    

I decided to start this exploration off  by beginning with the roads that I usually  walk down whilst on the  poodlewalks. I needed to start with what I was familiar with.  The connection between walking and still photography  is crucial,  as it is on these walks that  I  see the possible subject matter. 

digital b+w photography

It is rare for me to convert my digital photos into black and white. I nearly always use medium format film  for my black and white  photography of the details along both the coast and the landscape of the southern Fleurieu Peninsula in South Australia. I avoid the grandiose or the panorama.

However, as  I have no b+w film  at the moment,  and the spare film back for the Rolleiflex SL66 that I used  to use for  my b+w  broke when I was in Queenstown earlier this year and cannot be repaired, I  have done  a quick conversion of  a  digital colour image  into black and white using  Adobe's Lightroom.

I dislike the way that Lightroom converts colour digital files into black and white files.  The  tonal richness disappears and the image becomes rather drab and flat. There is no punch to them.  

So, like many others, I've been  using the Nik Silver Efex Pro 2 plugin software to process my digital black and white images in Lightroom.  I was happy with what I was using,  and I didn't bother  looking for alternative software  because I rarely  converted my digital photos into black and white. Digital black and white photography  didn't really appeal. 

This is  just a small step into the world of digital black and white photography. Though  I  will eventually buy more black and white film  to  use with the  Linhof Technika 70,   the new iMac (currently running the  High Sierra O/S)  is forcing me  to  think in terms of upgrading my  Sony NEX-7 digital camera to a full frame mirrorless one,  and updating my Adobe post processing software.  

The Nik Collection

The Nik Collection suite of software,  which has been  owned by Google since 2012, was downloaded  to Encounter Studio this afternoon. I know very little about the different software  products in the collection----Color Efex Pro 4, Nik Sharpener Pro,  Viveza 2, Dfine 2,  HDR Efex Pro 2 and Analog Efex Pro 2 apart from Silver Efex Pro--and I'm  not interested in some of them--eg., HDR Efex Pro  or Nik Sharpener Pro as I detest that  digital aesthetic. Nor do I know if they add much to what you can do using Adobe's Lightroom or Photoshop. 
The reason  for downloading the collection  is Silver Efex Pro 2.  I find that Lightroom is not that good  for post-processing my scanned black and white  files --- they come out  a bit flat and they lack a rich tonality. I've been without Silver Efex Pro 2  since I upgraded the Mac's  operating system to Yosemite,  and  I've missed using it  for post-processing my black and white medium format negatives. Silver Efex Pro  works well, but it is now part of a package,  rather than a standalone software. Hence the download. 
I have started exploring Analog Efex Pro---a film emulation program---to see what it offers.  When people nowadays think of the film look, and when they go ga-ga over the film look, they aren't really going ga-ga over the look of film. They're fetishising a simulation of an idea. An implanted memory of something that didn't really exist. That's Analog Efex Pro.

 I'm not interested in its  gimmicks (eg., adding dirt and scratches to the image),  but  I am willing to explore  how the  various types of retro or aged looks would work with black and white medium format. Will  the software  add anything? Or should I just stick to  using Silver Efex Pro? 

in the Adelaide Botanic Gardens

I  made some  pictures in the Adelaide Botanic Gardens  using tranny film (Fuji Velvia)  earlier in the year.  It  was part of the Atkins Technicolour's  2014  Summer School Film Challenge.  I was only able to attend the film challenge workshop due to other commitments.  

It was a 40-45 degree day  in high summer and we were  to make our  photos between 9.30am --12.30 pm.  The roll was processed  by Atkins and we then selected one picture from the shoot.  This was then  scanned by Atkins, lightly post-processed by the photographer, then printed by Atkins for an upcoming exhibition.  

My pictures  of bamboo strands in the Botanic Gardens was hit and miss,  and  some of the pictures were badly underexposed. I've just scanned  the two rolls  that I exposed  back then.  I've  quickly converted one of the badly underexposed  pictures  to black and white using Silver Efex Pro 2 to see  if it is possible to  save them:

This  picture  of leaf litter was next to  a strand of bamboo  under some trees that  provided some deep,  open shade and this allowed me   to avoid the summer glare.  I gathered bits and pieces of leaf litter and  some colourful flowers to form a "still life".   

a portrait

I  don't do portraits very often because I am not very good at them.

I also struggle with the lighting. I've been  using natural lighting from a window,  but I find that it  is too harsh and contrasty. I don't really have the studio equipment to do diffuse the lighting; or increase the lighting from above.