Sometimes things go wrong and the results might be worth keeping. Here a few of my recent favourites:
In the above photo, I accidently put the camera in multi-exposure mode and took some long exposures from different angles. The Pentax MZ-S is a professional 35mm camera with all the settings conveniently available as switches on the outside of the camera for quick adjustments, yet it also means that you do need to check the settings when pulling the camera out of the bag.
If you work without tripod and put the camera on the railing of a bridge for a long exposure or night photography, make sure it is not a train bridge! I had put my camera on the railing of Norra Järnvägsbron in Stockholm to photograph the City Hall for this eight second exposure and the moment I released the shutter a long train came by.
I really need a better scanner that can handle the large 4×5 inch negatives that I’m working with now, but at the moment I have no choice but to use my Epson V500 PHOTO.
For the moment I found the following solution: I scan the negative in parts and use the Photomerge feature in an old version of Adobe Photoshop Elements to stitch the parts back together. Not a great way, probably not recommended, but so far it has done the trick.
I bought a second-hand Cambo SC2 4×5 large format camera, see here for an image of one just like it, and a Rodenstock Sironar APO N 150mm lens, see here. The 150mm lens is on the 4” x 5” negative format similar to a 50mm lens on an 35mm SLR.
This is my first photo taken with this camera and lens combination:
Not an overly interesting scene but important to me in any case as everything worked out. Large Format photography is quite different from using an SLR or a medium format camera: so many things can be adjusted. In this shot the camera is facing down a bit and I tilted the lens even more forward to increase the DOF. The back of the camera is kept vertically so the vertical lines wouldn’t fall ‘backwards.’
The image is composed on the ground glass with the aperture open using the dark cloth to actually be able to make out the details. When you’re happy, you close the aperture, meter the scene and set the exposure on the lens, insert the film holder, cock the shutter, remove the dark slide, release the shutter, reinsert the dark slide, preferably with the black side in front to signal that this side has been exposed and remove the film holder. That’s one photo done!
I posted it on Facebook and a bloke immediately jumped to the conclusion that the white reflections on the water was dust and treated me like a film newbie. So cute when that happens.
While walking around Skansen in Stockholm I had the chance to shoot some ADOX Color Implosion film and some Kodak TRI-X. As Skansen isn’t too large, we came upon the same scenes several times and I shot the same things with the different films.
This is not intended to be a comparison between colour and black and white as ADOX Color Implosion film is of course a very atypical colour film.
Even though I enjoyed shooting the ADOX colour film and the results were fun, I probably won’t be buying it and will continue to rely on slidefilm for my colour photos and for black and white film for everything else.
Ever since I bought my F&V K480 video light I had wanted to pick a dark location, light up just the model and create a photo with the model correctly lit but the rest close to pitch dark.
In the photo above, the light source is to the left in front of the model; I metered off her chin with my external lightmeter and used my camera in manual mode with an exposure of 0.5 seconds at f/2.8. The TTL tried to inform me that the exposure was way, way underexposed but as always, the incident lightmeter knows best. The video light is easier to use for me than an off-camera flash unit: The light I am using is available for metering and any shadows are visible while the shot is being set up, so it easy to make it work, etc..
During my visit to Scottsdale, Arizona, we walked the short, 3.7 mile, Marcus Landslide trail at the McDowell Mountain Regional Park in the Sonoran desert north of Scottsdale. Some 500,000 years ago one of the instable mountains crumbled and 5.5 million cubic meters of granite rock, vegetation and soil flowed eastward for 1.5-kilometres.
What’s left is a very scenic area with beautiful and changing vistas around every corner of the hike with the mountains on one side and the valley on the other.
The surprising thing is that this enormous landslide was only “discovered” in 2002. I think the word really is “recognized” as the location had been known for ages, of course, it was just that nobody had recognized it as the remains of a catastrophic landslide.
Shot on Kodak TRI-X at EI 400 using an orange filter, developed in HC-110 dilution H for 11 minutes, agitation: 2 inversions every 30 seconds.
My grandfather from my mother’s side with Ilse van de Kilstroom, his guide-dog, in 1946/1947; my grandfather was the first blind person with a guide dog in the town of Zwolle and was heavily involved in organizing the regional office of the Dutch Blind Union in Zwolle. My grandfather and all his sisters turned blind at a later age of what we believe to be cataract although we are not very sure and it must have run in that generation of the family.
Ilse was a Saarloos wolfdog which is a crossbreed between a German Sheppard dog and an European wolf. The breed was created by Leendert Saarloos in Holland and Saarloos ran a school for guide dogs in Dordrecht.
The dog was a quarter wolf and could not bark but howl; she was afraid of fireworks and at the end of the year my grandfather would arrive home at times, drenched in sweat, as Ilse had pulled him along in a dash to get home. When my father started dating my mother and take the dog for walks, it did happen that they ran into my father’s older brother and if that happened, Ilse would do her best to sink her teeth in the leg of my uncle and she ruined several of his trousers and coats, somehow she had it in for him.
Even though Ilse served my grandfather very well as a guide dog, these family stories do make me wonder how well suited this Saarloos wolfdog really was as a guide dog
(Photos by my father on some very vintage camera)
In 2013 I walked the 34 Kannon Temples Pilgrimage in Chichibu and enjoyed that very much. Next time I’m in Japan, I intend to do the Edo 33 Kannon Temples Pilgrimage right in the centre of Tokyo.
This will be a challenge as the best part of the Chichibu pilgrimage was the countryside and its friendly people whereas the Tokyoites are using a social Botox and dealing with the crowded streets and public transport by pretending they are alone. A lot of this pilgrimage will be done by public transport instead of walking which will be another big difference that I’m not particularly keen on.
For reference I bought the Kindle edition of The Tokyo 33-Kannon Pilgrimage: A guide to ancient Edo’s sacred path book by Marcus Powles which contains a wealth of information. Unfortunately the small hand drawn maps in the Kindle edition are almost indecipherable on my 3rd generation Kindle so I collected the locations of the 33+3 temples of the book in a Google map to be used in addition to the book.
After my grandfather had died, my grandmother from my mother’s side remarried a retired farmer who had a farm in Wapenveld, Holland, see here for the location. The family name was “Warning,” and the farm was worked by the youngest son. The farm building, Hulsbergen, is interesting as it contains remains of a medieval friars’ abbey, the “klooster” to which the local names refer.
Adjacent to the farm is still a forest and a stream, this forest was the main reason for my father to visit the farm as my father was photographing birds and wildlife at the time and the area was quiet like an early bird sanctuary and full of rare species of birds.
Sometime in the early 1960s, my father took a series of photos of life at the farm that I recovered and scanned. I love these photos: the photos of today, are the quaint and vintage photos of tomorrow. With about forty milk cows, at the time this was a decent sized farm and I do wonder what happened to the farm in later years when farms became fewer but larger. As you can see on Google Maps via the link above, the farm is still there and is still in the same family.
Watching the video diaries of Ben Horne always gives me a dose of ‘fernweh,’ the longing for far away places. I do like Ben’s photos, his landscapes on large format Velvia 50 are gorgeous, but his video diaries give even more: The insight in how the photos are taken, slowly, maybe one exposure in a few days, is illuminating. It resonates with my own experience when I went back to film, slowing down really improves the results. But the most important quality of the video diaries is the feeling that you’re there in these beautiful locations.
I would love to visit these locations myself and see what I can make of them on my Pentax 67II. Which makes me think of other places that I would like to photograph. I would like to visit Iceland again, everybody has been visiting Iceland but that wouldn’t stop me. Only by visiting the same location many times will you be able to capture it at its best and unexpected. The reason for the urge to go again is that I have learned so much since 2006 and would make so much more of the place now.
As a new place, relatively close by yet very isolated, I would love to visit the Faroe Islands. It is gaining popularity and feels still a bit of an adventure.
The more remote locations that I’m dreaming of include Torres del Paine national park in the south of Chile or a city break in Havana, Cuba. These will be trips of a lifetime. But I guess that for the moment I need to satisfy myself with my biennial trips to Japan, still so much to see and uncover there even after all these years!