I'm really liking the Kodak TMAX film. The detail looks great and it seems to develop easily, at least in the Kodak HC-110 I've been using. I have another roll that I'll be scanning this weekend that has a lot of shots from the recent Caffeine & Octane car show.
Street photography is something I haven't done a lot of but I would like to get better at it. I like the idea of using my vintage Rolleicord to capture the scenes of the city. Yesterday was the 2nd anniversary Google Plus Photo Walk. Here in Atlanta, about 40 of us got together at Centennial Park and took a stroll through the Fairlie Poplar district. For this photowalk I brought my vintage Rolleicord Va as well as my T3i DSLR. I hoped that I could get some decent "street" photography using the Rolleicord.
I went through 2 twelve-exposure rolls of film during the walk. That yielded about 10 "keepers" that I am working through. Here is one of the first few that I managed to get scanned and processed:
This shot was a little hard for me to compose and shoot. The combination of the fixed focal length of the Rolleicord, the square format of the negative and a bunch of extraneous "stuff" to the right of the barber pole made placing the elements I wanted to include in the photograph a little challenging. It took me a couple of minutes to figure out the best position that would allow me to highlight the barber pole as well as get some of the entryway and reflections in the image.
In the end I chose the composition you see here. Unlike digital shooting film each exposure costs you real money (about 50 cents in this case), so I only took one exposure here. I think it came out pretty well.
Shooting film requires a different approach than shooting digital and that's one of the things I enjoy most about it.
During our time visiting Great Smoky Mountains NP we stayed in Gatlinburg, TN which is right outside the border of the park. Needless to say, it is a VERY "touristy" town with all kinds of stores, shops, etc. to entice people to separate themselves from their money. Towns like this are a like/dislike thing for me. I like them because of all the things there are to photograph, especially neon signs, which are quickly becoming a favorite subject of mine. I dislike them for pretty much the same reason, all the shops,signs, and over-the-top stuff. I guess I'll just have to learn to balance things out (and bring my camera) whenever I visit these types of towns. Speaking of neon signs, here's an image I shot of the Hard Rock Cafe's neon sign while walking back to the hotel after dinner and a few tasty craft beers:
As you can see, it's a big Guitar, or as they say down here, "GEEEE-TAR". I took this just after sunset, right in the sweet spot of the famous "blue hour". The result was a very nice deep, dark, blue background for the sign. I tried to give some perspective to the sign by including the side of the building in the image. The only thing I wish wasn't there (in a perfect world) is that light sticking out from the sign, but I guess I could clone it out if I wanted to.
On second thought, I probably won't do that,....WARNING!: POST-PROCESSING PHILOSOPHY MUSINGS START HERE.... since I'm finding that I enjoy keeping the images as close to what I actually saw with my eyes. And since I saw that light when I made the decision to compose the image the way I did, I can't very well clone it out and say "that's the sign I saw while walking back to the hotel from the brewpub after a few tasty craft beers!", which is exactly what happened.
Good thing the camera had image stabilization then, I guess :-)
That's not to say that I do zero processing on my images. Far from it. I'm finding that my "prime directive" when it comes to post-processing images is to try and get the image to match what I actually saw with my eyes. I think I'm sort of in line with Trey Ratcliff's philosophy of photography (though not 100% completely on everything) which is basically that your eye and brain see far more than the camera can capture. So, in order to really communicate what you saw, you need to make adjustments to the image. In many cases that means that I must adjust the color, contrast, sharpness, etc. in order to get the image to match to what I saw before I pressed the shutter button. Oftentimes that means that I use "image enhancing" software like HDR Efex Pro, Topaz Adjust, Lightroom or any number of other apps, in order to get the final image to match what my eyes saw.
What it doesn't mean (at least to me at this point) is that I can't just fire up editing software and delete/clone-out, severely crop out, any object I find objectionable in the image. The way my thought process goes is that it's my job as photographer to get the best composition I can, given the circumstances, before I press the shutter. Do I do this stuff (crop/clone out objects) some of the time? You bet I do but I try not to as much as possible. I think that sticking to my self-made rule will help make me a better photographer in the long run.
What do you guys think? Do you substantially alter an image (remove objects, severely crop, ect.) or do you tend to keep things basically the same (outside of adjusting color, contrast, sharpness). You can enter your comments below and/or record your answer in the "Photography Poll" on the right sidebar. Remember, there are no right or wrong answers, it's just photographic opinion.
I'm really interested to see what y'all think!
Hello everybody. After a too long break, I'm hopefully back to regular posting here on the blog. Work has settled down and I have a bit more free time. I'm getting back to using the camera and we recently took a trip up to Tennessee and Great Smoky Mountains National Park with one of our photography meetup groups, The Decatur Digital Photography Meetup, and spent a few days in the mountains. Both Pam and I took a bunch of images but it was a bit of a challenge because the weather was more stormy than not.
On Friday, we were driving West across the park on Highway 441 when we stopped to photograph the mountains and valleys below us. The sky was threatening rain but the clouds were pretty cool. I decided to braket my shots and do an HDR to see what I could come up with. Here's the result:
That night we met for Dinner in Gatlinburg and I shot this sign with my Canon Powershot S95:
The quality of images from this little camera is very nice, and it's a perfect "carry around" camera. Most of the shots in my Project 365were shot with the Powershot because it was easy to take with me wherever I went
I'm still working on images from the rest of the trip and will post some of the results here in the next few days so stay tuned...
It feels good to be back shooting again. We have some trips planned for this Summer so I hope to be able to get some "keepers".
Welcome to the first official Friday Photo Share! This week we'll review the results of the photography poll question "How long have you been into photography", discuss a few images I uploaded to the flickr group and reveal next week's poll question.
Remember to join the flickr group and share your images. I'll discuss some of the images each week as well as every once in a while post one here on the blog. I will link back to your flickr account which could get you more views. You can find the group at:
There is a new photography poll question over on the sidebar, so check out this week's question "Do You Own A DSLR?" and cast your vote!
I am also still soliciting your feedback for a new design of the blog. Please leave your comments here or on the blog about how I can improve the look of the blog or any Wordpress themes that I might want to check out to improve the look and functionality of the blog as we build our community.
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As always, thanks for your support and feedback. Happy Shooting!
Last Friday we visited Piedmont park in Atlanta. I shot a roll of Ilford Delta 400 film as I wandered around the park. We were walking along the "wetlands trail" when I saw this: It looks like a regular, ordinary, manhole cover but I guess it must be really important because someone took the time to tag it with some graffiti.
I guess all "taggers" need to start somewhere :-)
- Camera: Rolleicord Va
- Film: Ilford Delta 400
- Developer: Ilfosol 3 for 7 minutes
Here is one of the good black and white images from my first roll of film that I developed myself a couple days ago. Its not much but I'm happy I have a few usable images from my 1st attempt:
I received an email from the photo lab that I used to develop the 1st roll of film from my Rolleicord Va. The email had the link to the low-res scans from the developed roll of Ilford HP5 Plus 400 speed film. The negatives should show up in the mail in the next couple of days. As I expected, the images definitely aren't going to win any awards but that's not what matters. What matters is that the camera works! I did notice a couple of things though, which I'll cover in a little bit. But before that I wanted to share with you the very 1st image that I took with the Rolleicord:
Impressive, huh? :-) Actually its a pretty poor photograph. Its overexposed and out of focus. All I did was set the camera on the table, take a stab at the exposure settings, focus quickly, and take the photo.
I got a little better with the other images, but none of them are very good. Here's a couple more (from a low-res scan and not modified):
As you can see, all of the images are incorrectly exposed, although the last one (of the building) is ok. I blame that entirely on operator error as I wasn't using any type of light meter. All I did was take a SWAG at the exposure settings and fire the shutter. Once I get the negatives I may try to do some high resolution scans with a couple of the images to see if I can improve them.
I've shot two additional rolls in the last week and for both of them I confirmed my SWAG with an actual light meter (the 1st roll on my DSLR and the other with my new eBay Gossen Pilot 2). Most of the time I was off by quite a bit in my estimate. I expect the next rolls to be better exposed overall. We'll see...
One other thing I noticed, and I think you can barely see it on the images above, is a thin white line running top to bottom (on the right side). It occurs on all of the images, so my guess was that it was a rough spot somewhere on the film transport of the camera. I opened the camera and checked all of the rollers, etc. and did find a small fleck of something that had adhered itself to one of the rollers at about the same spot in the frame as the line. I scraped that off and cleaned off the entire transport just to be sure. Unfortunately, I had run through 2 more rolls of film before I noticed it so we'll see what comes back on those negatives.
The final thing was that I only got 9 images from the 12 image roll. The final 3 frames did not get exposed/scanned. I'm waiting to see if they send back 12 negatives. Maybe they got developed but not scanned. If not, I'm at a loss as to what happened. Maybe I did something wrong with loading the roll. The camera frame counter counted up to "12" and I thought I did everything properly. I guess I'll see what happens with the other two rolls.
Overall, I'm very happy with my decision to get the Rolleicord. The camera seems to work as advertised and any image errors are purely my fault at this point. I'm looking forward to seeing how the next two rolls of film come out. My guess is that they will be a little better than these but I'm still getting to know the camera so I'm not expecting too much. I definitely enjoy using the camera. Its completely different than using a digital camera, which is just fine with me. I think the Rolleicord will help me improve my skill as a photographer while having fun. I'm even considering getting some supplies so I can try my hand at developing my own film! :-) Stay tuned for more news on that front.
That's it for now. Until next time...Happy Shooting!
Pam and I visited Pittsburgh a couple of weeks ago. We spent 4 days visiting my Parents, Brother, Sister-in-law and niece and nephew. In between the family events we got away a couple of times to take some photographs of my hometown. While the weather was fine for visiting family, it wasn't the best for photography. We got up early one morning to view the sunrise over the city from Mt Washington but there was a fair amount of fog/mist in the air so the images we got weren't very good. The next day we stopped by the West End Overlook to get a view of the city in the afternoon. The light was pretty flat but overall better than the previous morning. I managed to get a few decent images of Pittsburgh's famous landmark, The Golden Triangle:
The image above is the result of combining three bracketed images in HDR Efex Proand then making a few additional adjustments in Color Efex Pro, mainly to contrast.
The final result came out pretty good but I'm still trying to figure out the best workflow for my HDR images. There are as many different ways of creating images as there are photographers so it might take a while for me to find a workflow that works best for me. I'll keep working on the process and trying different things. That's the beauty of digital photography, we can work and re-work our images any number of ways, whenever we want. Once we have a quality original image file (in RAW of course) our options are almost limitless!
Today was my 1st full day with my Rolleicord and I managed to get out over the lunch hour and burn through my first roll of film. I had a roll of Ilford HP5 Plus, Black and White Print Film in the camera and only about 30 minutes. Having never used this type of camera before I just wanted to actually run through the steps and see what I could come up with. I drove to a parking lot and walked around a bit trying to find something to shoot. I came across a fire hydrant that looked interesting so I spent about 6 exposures playing with the settings (and guessing as best as I could what the correct exposure value was). I also took some images of a nearby building. After I finished up the 12th frame I pulled out my Canon S95 and tried to replicate the view of the fire hydrant that I had with the Rolleicord. I ran it through Silver Efex Pro and used the Ilford HP5 film emulation to come up with this: I hope my image from the Rolleicord is close to the one above but we'll see... I know its not much but my objective was just to get used to using the Rolleicord, which I started to accomplish. I say "started" because it is going to take me a while to get used to the camera, for a main reasons:
- Everything is manual- There is pretty much zero automation on the camera. It doesn't even have a light meter. Mind you, I'm not complaining about that at all because that's what I wanted. But, it is going to take a while to get used to (and relatively proficient in) setting everything prior to capturing the image. Figuring out what exposure settings to use is going to be the hardest part. I really want to do as much as possible without the aid of a light meter, so that slows me down quite a bit. I even found myself forgetting to focus the camera a couple of times. I'm sure this is because 95% of the time my DSLR is set to auto focus.
- The image in the viewing screen is backwards-Because of the way the camera is designed, the image you see on the camera's fairly dim viewing screen is reversed. That means you have to move the camera in the "opposite" direction when trying to align the shot. My brain isn't used to working that way so I think it will take me some time to adjust. I also think its harder since you are looking down toward the ground instead of at the object you're photographing.
Other than those two things (which aren't complaints, just observations) I really enjoy the camera. I'm sure that with a few more rolls of film I'll start to become comfortable using it. The important thing is that the camera seems to work fine so any "less than optimal images" are going to be due to operator error :-)
I'm going to send this 1st roll off to the lab for processing so I should have some sample images w/in the next week to ten days. In the meantime I plan on shooting a couple more rolls of film this weekend if I have time.
I'll update you on my progress with this camera in the next week or two so stay tuned...