at Hayborough, Victor Harbor

This photo is from an  early morning photo shoot at Hayborough, Victor Harbor in  South Australia. It is looking west to Granite Island. Rosetta Head, or The Bluff,  is in the background. 


This was made  in  autumn  in 2015. Autumn is a good time to photograph  along the southern coast of the Fleurieu Peninsula, since the weather is more stable and predictable. The weather during spring is all over the place. 

We had just shifted from living in the CBD  of Adelaide to the coast  at Victor Harbor,   and I was looking  to start work on  the Fleurieu Peninsula  region as a place in which we belonged. 

in the studio

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I've been going through the archives  looking for material for the website's various galleries  and I came across some studio based work:

I had ignored this body of work because I couldn't develop it. I didn't know how to.   Technically it  wasn't very good and that discouraged me, especially when I saw the quality studio work on the internet done with  high end DSLR  cameras.

 But I  do like the way film can flip things--makes them odder or wilder. 







an outtake

I made a number of 5x4 negatives for the 2015 Magpie Springs Photography competition.  This is one image that failed to make the cut,  and as it didn't work in colour,   I converted this underexposed negative  to a black and white image using Silver Efex Pro 2 software.  

Though it looks better in black and white,  and I've overcoming the over sharpening problem caused by the Epson software,  I still have the  other  problem of  blown highlights  caused by scanning the negative. However,  looking at this image of straight photograhy makes me uneasy and this unease  is over and above these technical flaws. 

I cant help but feel that straight photography, exemplified by this image,  appears as a rather archaic discipline—even in its digital form, let alone the chemical one. There is still the attitude in the art institution that  contemporary visual artist's   love  for the photographic medium is because it is so “simple,” so “non-artsy,” so “direct.” Photography, in this sense,  has always been an important counterpart to modern art, The corollary of this is that straight  photography has gradually acquired a strange status of something not completely artistic and yet highly artistic. 

abstractions: an exhibition?

I've been mulling over where to next after the Edgelands exhibition  at Manning Clark House in Canberra in November 2014. What project do I pick up and start to work on? Something that is different from the topographical approach of Edgelands. 

I thought that a  modest exhibition of abstractions would  be an easy step as I can select the images from  the archives. They'd be a mixture of colour and black and white and they would include abstractions from the urban and the natural environment. I'm not sure where the exhibition would be at this stage---probably in Adelaide and possibly at the Light Gallery in late 2015. 

Abstractions are a bit passé these days ---retro probably, given the  current emphasis on street photography.  Or  its a niche,  even though abstraction has been intrinsic to photography. On the other hand, there  is the retrospectivity of contemporary art that is nostalgic for, or repurposes,  Modernist art.  We could do without modernism's  main themes: the transcendentalthe contemplative and the timeless.  

next exhibition project

I'm starting to think of my  next exhibition project now that the project for the  Dark exhibition at the Ballarat International Foto Biennale  2013 is  over. 

What is forming is one of black and white landscapes and  abstractions  of rocks from the Fleurieu Peninsula around Victor Harbor and some  landscapes from Kangaroo Island

This would be a mixture of medium and large format work. I already have about six or so printed and framed. That's a good start. 

Maybe some muted  5x4 colour of rocks--high tone--- as well, as these would be mostly great.  

8x10 colour

I finally managed to use the  old Cambo SC monorail to make some 8x10 colour pictures of  the bark of the redgum in the reserve.   

I mucked up one exposure---the first one--- as I'd forgotten to take off the yellow filter on the Schneider Symmar 210 mm lens that I'd been using for my black and white exposures. 

The next step  is  take the  sheet film to Atkins Technicolour to have them  to process the  negatives. That service will not be cheap-- probably around $16.50 for one sheet of film. The next step is to  scan the negatives  myself with  the Epson V700 scanner. 

I did  two abstractions of the  peeling bark in  the open shade:

I'm not sure that 8x10 colour is an economic  proposition or that it is worth the expense.  I had the sheet film in the fridge and I needed to use it before it expired.  

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. 

digital suite

I have just had the  backup technology for Encounter Studio's digital suite updated.   I've been forced into it, as  I  needed to replace  an old,  dysfunctional data storage device---a  Lacie Quadra (500 gigabit)--- with a NetGear  Nas Raid (2TB) storage device with its  mirroring disc.  It will take around 12 hours to back up my photos.

It's  a prosumer --home-based or small business--data storage device  rather than an industrial or professional photography one. Though it is a network solution to data storage,   it does not have the capacity to keep  adding or replacing the  hard discs,  or to automatically backup to a remote location. That will be the next upgrade I guess.

I'm very paranoid about backing up my photographs and data  storage these days,  as  I have experienced  hard disc failures in my computers and  my  Apple and Lacie data storage devices die in the last year.

The next step  is to  back up the data storage devices  with  a portable hard disc  using the hard discs that we have been aale to  salvage from the  now useless Lacie Quadra. These portable hard discs can then be stored on the library shelf at Victor Harbor,  or in another place for safekeeping.

In the meantime I've been  figuring out how to continue with my  table top  photography  using  the  Sinar 8x10, a standard lens  (Schneider Symmar 360mm f5.6), natural light and black and white sheet film. I wanted to avoid the expense of buying an extension rail or a telephoto lens. 

 

roadside grasses

 I've been laid low with a torn ligament in my lower back and that ends the planned 8x10 photography for this weekend. So  I've been going through some of the roadside pictures on the computer that I took  last year during the summer.

One area   that I started in the roadside series was the summer grasses:

I'd just seen some of James Cant's  sunny and dry South Australian landscapes, and more specificially, his close-up images of local grasses and brush. These were highly textured, almost calligraphic, paintings. 

I had a quick look at my summer grasses  photography before, just after I'd scanned them,  but I didn't like the series  at all. I thought the idea was misguided. So I forgot about  them.

It's winter  now and everything looks different. So I can see the pictures I took then  at more of a distance.

near Kings Beach

This is a picture that was taken between Petrel Cove and Kings Head in the early morning using a Rolleiflex SL66  and Ilford PanF Plus 50 --a slow black and white film.

The location  is difficult to access as  it involves climbing down the cliffs via waterfall.  So the camera gear needed to be as lightweight as possible.  I did lug the Cambo 5x7 monorail down there on a latter occasion.

The picture has been posted in my Flickr stream and it was processed in Silver Efex Pro software using a gold toning filter.

The Heysen Trail  starts from Petrel Cove and wanders along the cliff tops. We walk  the section from  Rosetta Head to Kings Head  with the standard poodles when were are in Victor Harbor. It's a lovely walk.