Something for the Holidays

The Focal Encyclopedia of Photography, Fourth Edition is a must-have for every serious photographer… period.  An earlier edition was a constant resource for me while at RIT and now this newer edition is my Xmas gift to myself this year… it is expensive but well worth it. It is quite thick and full of very useful content on just about every photographic topic imaginable from film to digital and beyond… and if the heat bills get too high this winter I can burn it to stay warm… or my wife could throw it at me to knock some sense into me or perhaps I could learn something about this wonderful medium we all love… either way it will be my constant companion for the dark winter months here in VT. Be sure to add this gem to your holiday wish-list today!

Viva la Revolution- Stephen

LINK to Amazon

LightMeter iPhone App by Ambertation Review

If you own an iPhone 3Gs this is a must-have application for every working photographer.

For additional information please visit:

http://iphone.ambertation.de/lightmeter/

Correction: in the video I mention that this app works with the 3G and 3Gs iPhone… I was wrong… it only works with the 3Gs which is what I have.

Working at Less Than 100 Percent

Most pinhole images are made using a pinhole that is very close to- or at the optimum size for- the chosen focal length and in most cases this is a good choice for general photography: it lets you get the best quality image a pinhole can produce. That being said, while testing the PinZonie I have been experimenting using pinholes that are in some cases up to 2 stops more open or closed than the optimum setting and really liking the creative options it gives me.

As I always say… experimentation is key!

Pinzone-2Pinhole28mm

Trees in Afternoon Light, Massachussettes. 2009
From the Negative Series
28mm PinZonie, Pinhole Setting, -2 stops from optimum
Kodak BW400CN, Scanned on an Imacon Scanner
d’Vinci Noir Print on Hand-made Bhutan Mitsumata Thick White
Copyright Stephen Schaub 2009

Film Scanning Technique 101

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In this audioblog I present a philosophy of scanning film based on the understanding that in the end photographers make prints and our entire process from film capture to scan to Photoshop to printer is all based on making prints. I outline in detail techniques and settings which will apply to most scanners and will help you get the most of your film and scanner combination. This is a very long audioblog- 27 minutes- and as such have paper and pencil ready, as you won’t want to listen to my voice for this long twice!

Full Process Example Image

YellowSpringPawletVermont2009

Yellow Spring, Vermont. 2009

This recent artwork of mine is a good example of the process outlined in the audioblog. I started with Kodak Ektar 100 film (35mm)- I’ve tested this film and understand how to get the most out of it in a variety of different lighting situations. The camera was my Leica M7 with a 28mm Zone Plate, and the image was made using my Overlapping Frame Panoramic Technique outlined here on FR. After processing (C41) the negative was scanned dry on my Imacon at 4000 optical dpi, 16 bit as an RGB positive, with miminal sharpening and dust removal. All other editing and contrast adjustments were done in Photoshop.  My chosen Photoshop color working space as well as the scanning color space?sRGB.

Final thought

Knowing the real limits of your workflow, technology and skill level and having a clear understanding/ feeling for your visualized final print helps make the entire process a very fluid and creative endeavour. Test first and remember: experimentation is key!

Viva la Revolution- Stephen

UPDATE: 5.16.09

Link to BETA RGB:http://www.brucelindbloom.com/

Click on Info, then click on Beta RGB: A New Working Space Proposal… the BETA RGB download if found on this page… spend some time on this site as it is a wealth of knowledge.

High Speed Pinhole and Zone Plate Photography, Part 3

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The final installment of this series provides information on all films tested, thoughts on Zone Plate and Pinhole as it relates to these films and observations and conclusion on this process. The audio portion can be heard by clicking on the Audio logo: note the audio portion is around 16 minutes.

PineBudsTmy2testzonem71600
Pine, Vermont. 2009
28mm Zone Plate on Leica M7
Overlapping Frame Panoramic Technique (3X)
Film: Kodak TMY-2 (Tmax 400) at an EI of 1600, processed in Xtol Developer.
Printed on Fabriano 640 gsm, edition size one.
Copyright Stephen Schaub 2009

ZonePlateLongHHExpTestEktar100

Spring Blossom, Vermont. 2009
28mm Zone Plate on Leica M7
Overlapping Frame Panoramic Technique (3X)
Long Hand Held Exposure, 30 sec +/-
Film: Kodak Ektar 100Printed on Fabriano 640 gsm, edition size one.
Copyright Stephen Schaub 2009

ZonePlateLongHHExpTestEktar100_2

Field Edge, Indian Hill, Vermont. 2009
28mm Zone Plate on Leica M7
Overlapping Frame Panoramic Technique (3x)
Long Hand Held Exposure, 20 sec +/-
Film: Kodak Ektar 100Printed on Fabriano 640 gsm, edition size one.
Copyright Stephen Schaub 2009

A Creative Day

Many of you have been asking for some insight beyond the technical- more of “A Day in the Life” creative -type stuff, SO… here is a good example of how things can happen around here:

Ok, yesterday after posting the video on Focus and DOF here on Figital Revolution I was searching the web and came across a great new attachment which allows youholgaconversionnikandcanto connect a Holga lens to a Canon or Nikon with precision… here is a link. It is made by S.K. Grimes who I have done some work with in the past and I am sure the construction is spot-on. I decided to call Adam at S.K. Grimes and ask about making a device like this for my Leica M. I love the Holga (my second book is all Holga work) and thought this could be a great side project. I also found online a home-made attachment / modification for the Holga lens on the Leica M, LINK, but I would prefer the precision of the S.K. Grimes version if I have a choice.

Then I got to thinking about my Through A Glass Darkly artworks and what I liked about them and remembered that last year I had done some work with Zone Plates on several different camera systems and that I had purchased a 28mm F32 Zone Plate for my Leica M7… so then, of course, I had to go find it. After digging through a few drawers in my studio it ultimately surfaced so now I only needed to find some fast film because at F32, 100 speed film would be out of the question for hand-held exposures (maybe). So, yes, I found a roll (one, lonely little roll!) of XP2 Super which I knew had enough exposure latitude to rate with an EI of 800 or even 1250 if needed (I settled on 800).

Finally I decided to shoot a test roll around my yard here in Vermont. I was really curious to see if I could fuse the look and feel of my Through A Glass Darkly Artworks, the Zone Plate, the Overlapping-Frame Panoramic Technique AND my most recent A New Eden Artworks into one creative stew. About 30 minutes later I was off to my favorite lab Phototec, in Rutland Vermont,  to have the C41 film processed and-equally importantly although perhaps not so much creatively- get my Prius’s oil changed. One hour later my car was running fine and the negatives were dry.

new-zone-plate-image1
Zone Plate Overlapping Frame Panoramic Technique

I was surprised at how much I really liked them… really, really liked them! (This is not the way ALL my brilliant ideas go, you know.) So I had to hurry back to the studio, fire up the Imacon and run a test scan. After a bit of thought on how to compensate for the very low contrast negatives I came up with a good scanner setting and set to work on the file. An hour or so later the image was finished and I really liked how it looked on the screen. Buuuuuut as I had chosen to shoot B&W film and my current favorite art paper (hand-coated Fabriano, 640 gsm) only has an icc. for color and not the required K4 linearization for black and white printing on my d’Vinci Printer it was time- oh yes!- to make the linearization. So about an hour after THAT the linearization was complete and I was all set to print. I had several sheets of paper coated both rough and cold press (luckily left over from a client’s job from last week) but I ultimately decided to go with the cold press as the smoother surface texture would, perhaps, help define the soft elements of the image better than the rough would (I plan to run a test soon on this to be sure!)

surfacedetail
Surface Detail of Final Print on Fabriano Cold Press HC

Conclusion… I really liked the image and possible new direction for these artworks- hooray! Did I get my work for client’s done today? No! Is it ultimately worth it, in the end, to go with the “art attack” when it strikes? Always!! You can’t do it all the time, BUT inspiration is too valuable not to follow up whenever humanly possible. And if you can get your car ready for another couple of thousand miles of exploring at the same time… even better.

Next, I think I will try this in color using the Fuji 800Z. And as I always say… experimentation is key! Stay tuned.

Viva la Revolution- Stephen