Silhouettes

Here’s a few with a general theme of ‘silhouette’ – often the only graphically strong option on a day with flat lighting. There’s usually enough contrast between trees, railings etc and an overcast sky to provide a good image – even if it sometimes takes a boost in contrast to really bring the best from the shot.

First one – a grab shot on a 60D with a telephoto zoom. The crow was flying into the shot and turned up right on cue in the viewfinder.

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Next a simple abstract of a church lantern and some bare trees. 00228205

This flock of starlings good enough to stop the car for (I was on the way to shoot so had all the kit ready). The contrast was increased using a DXO Filmpack ‘ortho’ film setting.00199875

OK – this is more of a shadow than a silhouette, but it’s sort of in the right post. Lightly textured in photoshop.

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All shots taken for the book market, hope you like them and thanks for looking.

Some more Adox CHS20 Developed in Adotech

After sorting out some problems with a very unwell PC, this one comes from the new one – which is working well – at least so far.

These were all taken on the latest roll of Adox CHS20, developed in the recommended Adotech developer at 12 ASA in an OM2N with various Zuiko lenses. The extremely slow speed of this film allows the use of fast primes wide open even in quite bright conditions – and it would be a shame to waste such an opportunity!00325928

The range of tones captured in the flaking paint is wonderful – they’re green ‘in colour’.

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A gate and the opportunity using the 85mm f2 to blur the background away.00325914

Same gate – different angle .00325913

Finally some rather odd bokeh from the Zuiko 50mm f1.4. It keeps surprising even after 20+ years.00325910

The next roll will be developed in Rodinal – if anything results I’ll let you know!

Thanks for looking – hope you like them.

A Few in a 1930’s Hemmingway Style

Having tested loads of old manual focus lenses on a Canon 60D, this post is about using them for a practical, commercial purpose (rather than just mucking about with them!).

This set was shot for a specific request from the agency for images of a typewriter, booze and a cigarette – I suppose in a sort of vintage  Hemmingway style. The typewriter was bought two years ago in a second-hand shop because, well, I couldn’t resist it for £10 (did I mention I’m a terrible junk buyer), and it finally came in useful! The ‘scotch’ is unfortunately only cold tea….

All taken on a Canon 60D with various manual focus lenses, then given different treatments in DXO Filmpack.

First one – on  a Meyer Optik Gorlitz Primotar E 50mm f3.5 (tested here) with an M42 to EF adaptor. The softness wide open seemed to compliment the subject. 00325899

Second – on a Zuiko 50mm f1.4 (used previously here) – that narrow depth of field blurred away the otherwise modern looking kitchen.00325897

And finally, two shots with one of my favourites – the Helios Jupiter 85mm f2 (tested here), stopped down slightly to give just a hint of the scotch and cigarettes in the background.

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So – they do have a practical use after all, especially for shooting ‘vintage’ look shots. DXO Filmpack added to the images by giving them a final ‘film’ tweak.

Hope you like them and thanks for looking.

AgfaPhoto APX100 Film

After doing some posts on various Ilford, Adox and Fuji films I realised I hadn’t done one on the film I use most, Agfaphoto APX100. This is an excellent general purpose film, reasonably priced, fine grained with very good contrast control. Although other films may be better in any single aspect, this emulsion strikes just the right balance for me.

These first few were all taken on a dull, wet day to add to the challenge, using an Olympus Om1N and a 50mm f1.4 lens.

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Although the negs were fairly low in contrast it’s always easy to add some in post-processing. If they’re very contrasty to start with you’re stuck with it! I liked the vintage feel to the next shot – could have been taken 60 years ago.

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Same with this one…

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The curved distortion of the 50mm F1.4 wide open (lower part of the frame) is quite noticable here – I quite like it, but others won’t. It’s gone at F2.

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Finally one which made it to the agency – a bandstand shot through a dirty shelter window.

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At about £3 for a 35mm/36 exp roll in the UK (less if bulk bought) it’s a recommended choice for an ‘everyday’ B/W film. While it doesn’t have any strong characteristics – such as Rollei Blackbird or Ilford Pan F+ – it’s a consistently well behaved film with a great range of midtones providing loads of scope for post-processing to get a desired final result.

Thanks for looking – hope you find this useful.

Infrareds – yet more…

(Five images) Well, you can’t have too many! This set is all taken in the typical ‘IR genre’ – graveyards and their monuments. All taken on a converted Fuji F810 and R72 filter.

First – an impressive angel in a rural church. The form of the wings makes the shot.

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Next – layered to add to the effect, and the figure on the pillar gives it a vaguely ‘roman’ look. The hexagonal flare is quite nice too.

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Different angel – similar effect. Unfortunately one of the wings has been broken off or vandalised.00178424

This was very odd – a nautical monument miles inland. An odd place to find an anchor.00177103

Finally a favourite location – an overgrown graveyard with some very grand monuments. IR helps distinguish the metalwork from the undergrowth. 00175971

Right – not that many IR’s left – thank goodness. Summer is coming, and it’ll soon be IR season for 4 months so get ready!

Hope you like them and thanks for looking!

A Few More Adox Silvermax Samples

(Five images). This time in better lighting conditions! The previous shots were all taken on overcast days, so a bright  weekend and a few hours by the coast was the obvious excuse to burn off another roll. These are all straight off the scanner using the Agfa APX100 film profile, which after some messing around seems the best one. All the shots are from one roll, shot at box speed using an Olympus OM2N and developed in Ilford ID11 stock.

First one and a dynamic range challenge which the film has coped with very nicely. Zuiko 28mm lens.

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This larger portrait oriented shot shows how little grain there is and how well this film/developer combination works. Zuiko 85mm lens.

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This is the best of the lot – shot on a Vivitar 17mm lens, the range of tones for a bright day is impressive.

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Next – a  ‘torture test’ – deep shadow and bright sky, but excellent result again.

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This was a bit out of the DR range of any film or non-HDR digital image – the sky a few stops past rendering any detail, but the rest is fine.

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The bright light shots from this film confirm the claims Adox make – the extra silver content seems to be making a real difference. I’m really impressed – and now need some more rolls….

The seaside shots at Kimmeridge Bay, and the church is in Kingston nearby in case anyone’s interested (Dorset UK).

Thanks for looking – hope you find this useful!

Adox CHS50 – My Last Roll

(Three Images). A few weeks ago, my last roll of  Adox CHS ART film was shot and developed – an ‘old school’ film made in the same way it was 60 years ago and despite a few irritations, was a bit of a special film. The Efke factory (where it was made for Adox) was closed last year, so shooting the last roll was a sad day – I used to use a lot of Efke film.

The CHS range (25, 50 and 100 ASA) had a fine grain and an unusual response to colour which gave the results a special ‘vintage’ look. The example below has been lightly layered to enhance the effect. Everything developed in Rodinal 1+50, and shot on either an OM1N or an OM2n with a variety of lenses.

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The range of tones captured is impressive due to the high silver content though they may seem rather low contrast to digital photographers. A characteristic darker appearance of blue skies can be seen in the example below.

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Its weakness is its soft emulsion which produced some very dusty negatives when compared to modern films. It also needed more care than usual during development – especially with regards to temperature. Above 20 degrees centigrade, the emulsion becomes very soft, and at 25 degrees will separate from the backing! Still, the vintage look was worth the dust cloning required – in the example below there are still a few dust spots in the sky above the church tower.

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All is not lost though – Adox are developing a 100 ASA replacement, made in Germany and available in 35mm (36 exposure and 100 ft rolls), 120 and every variety of sheet film size – see here.

I’m really looking forward to trying it – I just hope we don’t have to wait too long!

Hope you find this useful, and thanks for looking.

Rocking Horses and Russian Dolls

(Four Images). The search for saleable stock images on a wet day leads you to have a look around the house for something to shoot – hence a very strange combination of subjects….

Starting with the russian dolls – no idea when these were bought, they were just sitting on a mantelpiece. A plain white background left cover designers an opportunity to place whatever background they wanted. The camera was an Oly 620 with the 50mm f3.5 macro.

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Same subject, different angle – the important thing is the part of the image which is out of focus.

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And next it’s the rocking horse, sitting under the stairs, it’s been there for years but worth a few shots both taken on the 60D. Can’t remember the lens – sorry.

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This was enhanced using the ‘Toy Camera’ effect, giving a vignetted/faded appearance.

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If it’s not that good outside, have a look around the house for something to photograph – it can work really well and it’s better than watching the TV!

All shots taken for the book market, hope you like them and thanks for looking.

Spooky Monuments Part 2

(Four Images). This is the second of a short series about very odd, some might say macabre, monuments which attract the ‘odd eye’ of a book cover photographer. The first part is here.

Poking around some old places usually yields some good results – the best shots are hardly taken in the most obvious locations or from the easiest viewpoints.

First one – taken with a Canon 60D and an ordinary kit zoom, toned in Photoshop. That eye is oddly mesmerising!

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Next a subject made for Rollei Blackbird film and a 17mm lens on an OM1N  – spooky, what more can I say?

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Next one of those gruesome 18th century monuments involving flying skulls – vignetted and converted to mono after shooting on a Canon G9.

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This final one seems to have been squeezed in by 1/2 cm – the laurel wreath is particularly odd. Extensively layered, taken on a 60D.

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All shots taken for the book market, hope you like them and thanks for looking.

Fuji Neopan Acros 100 in Ilford ID11

I don’t shoot Fuji Neopan Acros as much as I used to, probably because bulk orders of Agfaphoto’s APX100 fill my fridge with 100 ASA film. However, rummaging around there a week ago I found a forgotten roll from last year and decided to give it another try – glad I did!

All shots taken on an Olympus OM2N using the famous Zuiko 24mm f2.8 lens tested earlier, at 100ASA. The roll was developed in Ilford’s ID11 using stock solution.

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This has a good range of tones – better than I remember for Acros which always became too contrasty for me in the past.

Dev times are short in ID11 – 6 mins 45 seconds in stock solution making the process seem quite quick – I’m used to 12  minutes or more using my standard dilute 1+50 Rodinal.

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Detail from the shot – and nice, fine grain. A light ‘dust and scratches’ filter has been applied.

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Again – a good range of tones – I especially like the way the subtle transitions of tone in the water have been rendered. The exposure was obviously biased towards the water leaving the underside of the bridge more or less completely dark.

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Here sunlight has created strong contrast between the shadow and light grey path – the film has coped well (as has the good old OM2n!).

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Another good result – though I must check that left light seal again. An excellent range of tones albeit in near perfect lighting conditions.

The results show Acros to be a well-behaved, fine-grained film which handles strong lighting conditions nicely – definitely recommended. As a general purpose emulsion it’s perfect – I’ll be ordering a few more rolls to go with the much less contrasty APX100.

Next time I use it I’ll try to remember to use Rodinal as the developer, but I’m favouring ID11 more recently as it produces such clean negatives with no noticeable loss of sharpness.

Texture Layers Part Three

The last (for the time being) of the layer posts and this time it’s about even more subtle layering.

This was taken as a simple abstract but a light blue/brown helped it along nicely. Not too obvious, but then that’s the theme of the post…

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Next a Lensbaby shot which was taken on a stormy day by the coast. The post-processing added an extra boost to an otherwise so-so image.

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Finally one with a vignette, and the same image as number one layered to add something to an otherwise grey featureless sky. 00182158

Layering is a useful technique to add a bit of extra mystery and atmosphere to a shot which is graphically promising but lacks a certain ‘something’ – especially shots taken under flat skies. Give it a try using the hundreds of free layer/texture images on the web, or even better, shoot or create your own.

All shots taken for the book market, hope you like them and thanks for looking.

Texture Layers Part Two

Following on from part one of this layers series, this on is dedicated to a more subtle (but not too subtle!) use of texture layers in post processing.

This first layer is almost like one of those odd Hoya filters from the 1980’s with a strong colour bias to one side. Combined  with a Lensbaby Sweet 35 at max aperture it makes a nice combination!

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Next a shot of the same tower as the first post – but the rain and condensation in the inside of a car window added to the fogged effect. This was one of only a few shots from a wet and cold day which was worth the effort.

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And finally a narrow alley with a ‘daguerreotype’ layer added – that bricked up window makes the shot. Converging lines again….00178893

All shots taken for the book market, hope you like them and thanks for looking.’