December 31, 2008

Midsommer morning mist

Here is another photo taken almost at the same location as the Winter fog photo but facing the other direction (and at another time of year, obviously). I was awaken early this morning by some birds outside my window and emediately grabbed my 35mm camera when I noticed the heavy morning mist. In order to capture the calm of the moment I wanted the motif to only cover a small part of the frame and let the mirror of the lake and mist become a large comfortable void in the picture. When looking through the viewfinder i realized that I needed something of weight in the lower left to counter balance the land in the upper right in order not to get the feeling that the picture was about to tip over. By turning the polarizer perpendicular to the water surface I did what I could to eliminate the reflection in the water nearby in order to let the rocks and pebbles in the shallow show. In my opinion it was just enough to turn the bottom of the picture sufficiently dark to make it bottom heavy. Still being able to see the shallow lake bottom reduced the feeling of a threatening darkness of the water and keeping the overall calm feeling. The film used was my favorite color slide film, Fuji Provia 100F.

December 30, 2008

Winter fog

I used to have a Kiev 88CM MLU (a reworked and upgraded version of the notorious Ukrainian Hasselblad 1000 copy). I learned to like the square format after a while but I guess the most alround proportions for my kind of photography is slightly rectangular such as 4:5 or 6:7.
Adverse weather usually makes for interesting photographs. Is there anyone who can say that Ansel Adams a winter storm isn't interesting for a landscape shot? This is a cold winter morning (about -13 degrees centigrade) by the lake I grew up by. A couple of shots later the high relative humidity made my Kiev freeze. I am not sure whether it was the trigger or the cloth curtain but after a couple of minutes in room temperature it was fit for fight again. About a year later I sold this camera to buy me a rangfinder. Sometimes I miss a medium format camera.
This is an almost straight, slightly selenium toned print from that day.

Average gray

Photo Display Background
I think Ansel Adams wrote somewhere in his trilogy, probably in the Print, that the optimum background for displaying mounted prints is a wall painted in matte average gray (the shade of a gray exposure card). When my family and I built our house we decided to paint one of the walls in our living room in this color. And watching the final result I am tempted to agree with Master Adams. In a proper lighting the gray background nicely lets all the shades of each print out in a beautiful way without distraction. The highlights appear really white and the deepest shadows really black. In the natural color system (the s version) the color of the paint that was used is NCS-S 5500 N which was the closest match in the system for my Sekonic gray card. Since I got kids at home I went for the most matte surface (7) that I still can wipe off without ruining the surface.

December 26, 2008


When shooting landscapes or other fixed scenery I like to come back to the same location at different times to capture change (e.g. change of season) sometimes using vastly different techniques. In this case the examples are both large format (4x5") but using Velvia slide for the winter shoot and a heavily filtered black and white with a selenium toning of the print for the spring shoot.

Lambrecht & Woodhouse, Way Beyond Monochrome

For anyone with interest in developing their own negatives and prints this book is a must. Far more modern and inspiring than Ansel Adams' trilogy (though that one is not a bad one either). This is the book that really got me started in the darkroom. A few engineering genes can be useful (as always) to get the full juice out of it. Some downloadable excerpts in pdf format can be found at Darkroom Magic . Please check it out.


So is there anyone interested in photography who has not taken a self portrait in the bathroom mirror? I guess most people have. Here is a slight twist of it through a Voigtländer 15mm Heliar ultra wide angle in a mirror box to get a few more angles of myself (My ego needs to be fed, you know).

The Second Harvest

I came back to this place a year after taking a digital snapshot of the same scenery (the first harvest). This time I used black and white with a polarizing filter and a dark red filter on top to accentuate the clouds as much as possible. The print is a lith print on Forte Polywarmtone using Kodalith (discontinued) chemistry that I got with my large format camera. This photo is taken using ordinary 135 small format film. The composition is almost cliché but the lith colors and contrast together with the depth created by clouds makes this one of my personal favourites.

Merry Christmas

Christmas Polaroid
About half a year ago I got hold of a pack of outdated Polaroid 59 instant film (unfortunately discontinued) for my 4x5" large format camera. Yesterday I finally got the time to try it. It's a 4 second exposure on full aperture. I like the imperfectness of the colors, motif and exposure.