Latest Film Photography


Captured during a snowy blizzard.


The branches seemed quite striking against the dramatic clouds.


Cumulus clouds always seem to lend themselves well to landscapes as they add a sense of drama.





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#2786 Kodachome 64



Kodachrome offers it's own unique colours and tones which photographers have used to capture timeless images for decades.

It's now only processed by one shop in the world which is located in the USA.

Kodachrome is the trademarked name of a brand of color reversal film sold by Eastman Kodak. Since its introduction in 1935 it has been produced in various transparency (slide) and movie formats (8mm, 16mm and 35mm), and was for many years the standard film for professional color photography, especially when submitting images to major magazines such as National Geographic. Since early 2007 it has been produced only in 35mm (135) slide film format, in one speed, ISO 64.

Kodachrome is the oldest successfully mass-marketed color still film using a subtractive method (see color photography for details of earlier additive/'screenplate' methods such as Autochrome and Dufaycolor). Kodachrome has been through many incarnations and undergone four major developing process changes over the years; the current is the K-14 process.

Kodachrome is widely regarded as one of the best films available for the archival and professional market because of its color accuracy and dark-storage longevity. This longevity was demonstrated in February 2007 with the discovery of a Kodachrome 8 mm reel shot by George Jefferies of President John F. Kennedy just 90 seconds before his assassination in 1963. This film is now on display at the Sixth Floor Museum in Dallas.

Because of both the longevity and the tonal range of Kodachrome colors, Kodachrome has been used by professional photographers like Alex Webb and Steve McCurry. McCurry's famous image of Sharbat Gula, the "Afghan girl" portrait taken in 1984 for the National Geographic, was taken with Kodachrome.

When shot with a high quality lens, a 35 mm Kodachrome slide will hold detail equivalent to 25 or more megapixels of image data.

Spielberg's War of the Worlds

Back in 2004, I was contacted by someone from Steven's Spielberg's company, Electric Light and Magic. They said they were looking for some imagery for a film (which she couldn't mention) to be released the following year. and were inspired by my work.

Naturally I was delighted they had even seen my work and even more thrilled at the prospect of my imagery being used in a movie. There was no mention of the film's title, it was still hush-hush, but the following year 'The War of the Worlds' was released. Unfortunately they didn't use my imagery (as far as I know) but it's nice to think that my imagery made an impression and got noticed.

The images below are in some way inspired by the movie. These are not the original images which were in question but are a film photographs with this sci-fi genre in mind.

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I was driving back home from shooting some landscape when I saw a row of electricity pylons that looked quite dramatic against the sky. I knew the black and white film I had in my Bronica would work with this subject, so I pulled over and grabbed my camera. The pylons were in a field and not easily accessible (for obvious reasons). I jumped a ditch, nearly falling in it, only to find an opening 50 metres down the road (note to self - look before leaping).

As I approached the pylon I was a little nervous to be honest. I don't know about you, but pylons scare the b-gessus out of me, they look so menacing and you know they're dangerous. The pylon was buzzing and making crackling sounds. I got as close as needed with my 40mm lens (about 28mm in 135 terms), composed my shot, then pressed the shutter.

The other shots are of a water tower Ive driven by lots of times and always wanted to shoot. Im hoping to go back to get permission to go inside to get closer.

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The War of the Worlds (1898), by H. G. Wells, is an early science fiction novel, describing an invasion of late Victorian England by Martians using Tripod fighting machines, equipped with advanced weaponry. It is considered one of the most important foundation works of Science Fiction, and the seminal depiction of an alien invasion of Earth.

The novel is narrated by an anonymous journalist, living in the area where the invaders first land. Throughout the narrative he struggles to reunite with his wife and brother, while witnessing the Martians spreading destruction across the Southern English counties and London itself, destroying all human resistance. Finding London an abandoned ruin, and seeing little hope for humankind, he decides to sacrifice himself to the invaders, only to discover that they have succumbed to the effects of Earth bacteria, to which they have no immunity.

It has been related to Invasion Literature, which was common at the time of publication. It has been interpreted as a commentary on evolutionary theory, Colonialism, Imperialism and The British Empire, and the fears and prejudices of late Victorian culture.

It has influenced many works of literature, film and other media, as well as spawning several films, radio dramas, comic book adaptations, a television series, and a number of sequels or parallel stories written by other authors.








My image on BBC's QI with Stephen Fry



While watching QI on BBC1 tonight, (we're fans of Stephen Fry and his team) one of my images appeared on his large illustration screen to demonstrate the topic in question. I'm chuffed because Fry is one of my favourite TV personalities (I don't have many). I couldn't have asked for my imagery to have appeared on a better show. So, thank you to the QI gremlins for choosing that image.

I follow Fry on Twitter, if you don't know what Twitter is, you need to go to www.twitter.com and see for yourslef. Stephen Fry's page can be found here: http://twitter.com/stephenfry

I sent Fry a personal message on Twitter to thank him for using my image on his show. Im a little embarrassed (ok, quite a lot) at my compulsion to blog the fact that I got a reply from him, which was:
"No, no - we thank YOU x
Stephen Fry / stephenfry"
If it were anyone else but Fry, I wouldnt have bothered to blog it.



Watch the show here

Ansal Adams Interview Videos

Ansal Adams - '...the negative is the score, and the print is the performance'.
I agree with Ansal in that the end result can be quite far from what was originally seen and captured. My own minds eye has a vision or version of that 'scene' which I know how to manipulate; sometimes drastically from the 'original' and sometimes very subtly, to convey my minds eyes view of the scene. I sometimes go back to look at negatives (and positives) and begin again, this time with new eyes and a new outcome in mind, which becomes a new 'performance' of the original 'score'.

Ansal is still regarded as one of the worlds greatest photographers. He invented 'the zone system' which is a photographic technique for determining optimal film exposure and development, formulated by Ansel Adams and Fred Archer in 1941. The Zone System provides photographers with a systematic method of precisely defining the relationship between the way they visualize the photographic subject and the final results. Although it originated with black and white sheet film, the Zone System is also applicable to roll film, both black and white and color, negative and reversal, and to digital photography.


Ansal Adams Video (Part 1)



Ansal Adams Video (Part 2)

Musings

Below are musings from email's or blog posts Ive commented on to friends or peers, which Ive gathered together.

I would recommend taking a look at Bruce Perry's portfolio and words, his art is stunning and very inspiring.
'Many of my images were created during the early hours of the morning or at the moment before the last rays were overcome by darkness.
I love being somewhere wild and remote during these times to see something exceptional happen between the light and the land.'
http://www.brucepercy.com

The Magic of Film -
Bjorn Vaugh's travel blog and portfolio is also very interesting. He's documented his travels using a legendary Leica M8 digital rangefinder. Björn is very fortunate to work as a translator for the Hasselblad Victor magazine and Lecia, which he translates from German in to English.

He writes 'A great part of effective rangefinder photography with wide angle to normal fixed focal lengths is about entering a scene and becoming part of it. Somehow you have to participate. It's almost as though you were forced to become the photograph before you can take it. So the act of taking pictures with a rangefinder camera feels, to me, more intimate or involved than anything else I've tried in the digital past. I imagine I'll write about this in more detail in a blurb soon to come.'
http://www.bjorntoday.com/

I do understand the logic behind digital, the work flow is so much easier, hardly any dust/scratches to remove etc etc and no doubt it would be hard to process film while 'on the road'. It would depend on the length of the trips I suppose. I would probably opt for digital if travelling extensively, or shoot both for planned photographic trips.

For me, Ive wrestled with the whole digital versus film for a long while, and I still do to some extent. My 5D just sits here while I 'play' with very old film cameras. Ive compared shots which Ive taken with the 5D versus, for example, my Bronica ETRS medium format, and although sometimes I cant see the difference other than the 5D produces a 12.7 MP image and the Bronica produces a 40MP image when scanned, which is useful for fine art publishers who want to print mural size prints. However, I think part of the appeal is for the exact opposite reasons digital is great. What I mean is, with digital you can see what you've just shot and make alterations on the fly if you wish. This is handy, but I like the magic, the not knowing what Ive just shot and how it will come out.

There's the in between time of having shot a roll of film and it being processed, where it feels like all the 'moments' Ive captured are suspended in time, on hold, waiting to be developed and brought to life. There's endless ways of developing each roll of film which will have an impact on the final images. I feel excited with the knowledge that in this relatively small canister/roll, are images which when brought to life, will excite and inspire me, hopefully.

I love processing a roll of film, 135 or 120 and when Ive done the last rinse and open up the canister I see a roll of images just before I hang it to dry. It's magic because I clicked the shutter and now I have 'images/art' in a tangible form in front of me after mixing 'potions' together.

I also like the 'look and feel' of film. It could be the way the light (and shadows) react with each individual film which I find so compelling, whereas with digital its kind of predictable. I like how film is not always 'perfect'. I like grain, I think it adds to a shot. I love the tonal range of some films. I also think technically, digital falls down with blown highlights, it just cant handle them like film can. I love all the different emulsions on the market. Each film has its own characteristics, tones, colour etc, whereas with digital, the CMOS sensor is fixed and takes images as it does. Sure you can play in Photoshop, but the individual inherent characteristics are not there, unlike film. The combinations of film and developing chemicals offers an endless range of results, all of which Im enjoying exploring.

Ive seen some very amazing photographs taken digitally, and I sometimes think to myself – 'that would have looked even better using X film or Y film'. It's true digital is very sharp, especially with auto-focus, auto-this and auto-that, but that's part of the magic of analogue photography – I feel more part of the shot when I shoot film. It slows me down, makes me think more about the composition. With digital I always feel like I'm cheating. That's part of the reason I like film, when I see a shot I really like, I feel excited that 'I did that'. From loading the film, shooting the shot and then developing it, it's mine, I did it all - with the kind collaboration of nature or the subject. In some ways it's a lot more satisfying.

I love the philosophy and spirit of Leica, it's class. I'm looking at getting a Leica Minilux rangefinder. I want a camera small enough to fit in my pocket with a reasonably fast lens. I probably get too hung up on the equipment, always striving for 'better gear', whereas in truth, any camera will do – its the photographer that takes the shot, not the camera. That said, as with any passion, its nice to play with toys and test and try all that's out there.

I do plan on travelling to Europe this year, all being well, I'm still deciding what kit to take. One of my publishes has asked for some 'Spanish style/themed' imagery. Id love to take my Bronica and maybe the 5D, but I think it will probably be the Leica and the 5D and maybe a Holga...I'll have to see.

I do think that different camera's offer different ways of shooting and have their own characteristics. For example, the Holga produces different 'looking' images to my Canon 5D. In the same way that my 35mm Chinon with it's 1:1.9 lens (not even that fast compared to some) allows me to take shots I wouldn't have with my Bronica or 5D due to their size, because the Chinon and the 1:1,9 lens it's faster and smaller. The Leica will, I hope, allow me to take 'opportunistic/candid' shots as it will be in my pocket - I couldn't do that with my 5D.

Id also like to try large format. I like how film slows me down, makes me think more about the composition. I could take more time when shooting the 5D, but I 'feel' different when shoot film and with particular equipment.
I just dug out my old Olympus MJU rangefinder and was impressed and inspired to be more creative with the fill in flash (which is actually quite good for portraits, doesn't blow out the highlights). All-in-all, I enjoy using the different emulsions available with the endless combinations of processing which I dont get with digital.

Musings - Suspending Time

Retro Polaroid Art | Polaroid SX-70 Video



The SX-70 is a folding single lens reflex Land Camera which was produced by the Polaroid Corporation from 1972-1977.

Though Polaroid had considered a Henry Dreyfus-designed SLR for its Colorpack film, the SX-70 was the first instant SLR and the first camera to use Polaroid's new SX-70 integral print film, which developed automatically without the need for intervention from the photographer. The SX-70 was also notable for its elegant folding design, which allowed the camera to be compact enough to fit a man's suit-jacket pocket when collapsed.

There were a variety of models beginning in 1972 with the original SX-70, though all shared the same basic design. The first model, sold in Florida in late 1972, had a plain focusing screen (the user was expected to be able to see the difference between in- and out-of focus) because Dr. Land wanted to encourage photographers to think they were looking at the subject, rather than through a viewfinder. When many users complained that focusing was difficult, especially in dim light, Dr. Land was forced to include a split-image rangefinder prism of the kind used on 35mm SLR focusing screens. This feature is standard on the SX-70 Model 2.

The later Sonar OneStep and SLR 680 models were equipped with a sonar autofocus system, which permitted returning to the plain focusing screen. The Sonar Onestep models were the first autofocus SLRs available to consumers. (Polaroid Corporation marketed this relatively inexpensive, novel sonar technology as a set of components to hobbyists in order for them to incorporate distance sensing into other systems.) The later SLR 680/690 models updated the basic design of the Sonar Onestep to more modern standards by incorporating support for newer 600 cartridges instead of SX-70 cartridges, and a built-in flash instead of the disposable Flash bar. Today they are the most evolved forms of the SX-70, and are highly sought after by Polaroid enthusiasts[citation needed].

Though expensive, the SX-70 was popular in the 1970s and retains a cult following today.

Kodachrome 64




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Kodachrome offers it's own unique colour and tones. It's now only processed by one shop in the world which is located in the USA. I feel privileged to be able to shoot with it.

Kodachrome is the trademarked name of a brand of color reversal film sold by Eastman Kodak. Since its introduction in 1935 it has been produced in various transparency (slide) and movie formats (8mm, 16mm and 35mm), and was for many years the standard film for professional color photography, especially when submitting images to major magazines such as National Geographic. Since early 2007 it has been produced only in 35mm (135) slide film format, in one speed, ISO 64.

Kodachrome is the oldest successfully mass-marketed color still film using a subtractive method (see color photography for details of earlier additive/'screenplate' methods such as Autochrome and Dufaycolor). Kodachrome has been through many incarnations and undergone four major developing process changes over the years; the current is the K-14 process.

Kodachrome is widely regarded as one of the best films available for the archival and professional market because of its color accuracy and dark-storage longevity. This longevity was demonstrated in February 2007 with the discovery of a Kodachrome 8 mm reel shot by George Jefferies of President John F. Kennedy just 90 seconds before his assassination in 1963. This film is now on display at the Sixth Floor Museum in Dallas.

Because of both the longevity and the tonal range of Kodachrome colors, Kodachrome has been used by professional photographers like Alex Webb and Steve McCurry. McCurry's famous image of Sharbat Gula, the "Afghan girl" portrait taken in 1984 for the National Geographic, was taken with Kodachrome.

When shot with a high quality lens, a 35 mm Kodachrome slide will hold detail equivalent to 25 or more megapixels of image data.