mer cr ƒ t C Freelance Photographer incorporating
SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER 2016 • £5.95
REWARDING CREATIVE PHOTOGRAPHY
PAINTING OVER THE CRACKS ED BUZIAK JOHN EAGLE ROGER HARVEY
SEASONAL STYLING IDEAS FOR YOUR 2017 CALENDAR FROM THORNTON & HOWDLE
REACH FOR THE SKIES MAGNIFICENT MONTAGE BY DAVID STODDART
PENTAX K-1 LANDSCAPE PRO SIGMA MC-11 SA-E SONY FE 70-300mm
LIGHT & FOG
SCOTT JOHNSON’S AUSCHWITZ ROLLFILM FELLOWSHIP
FACES OF THE STREETS AARON DRAPER CAPTURES THE DIGNITY OF AMERICA’S HOMELESS
ƒ2BY Cameracraft 1 COVER PHOTOGRAPH STEPHANIE September/October THORNTON & STEVE2016 HOWDLE
“A very powerful program”
MAKE LANDSCAPES BEAUTIFUL
f2 Cameracraft Sept/Oct 2016
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Edited and Published by DAVID & SHIRLEY KILPATRICK Icon Publications Ltd Maxwell Place, Maxwell Lane Kelso, Scotland TD5 7BB firstname.lastname@example.org +44(0)1573 226032 News & Tests Editor RICHARD KILPATRICK RTK Media, The Grange Pincet Lane, North Kilworth Leicestershire LE17 6NE email@example.com +44(0)1858 882105 Associate Editor, USA GARY FRIEDMAN Huntington Beach, CA 92646 firstname.lastname@example.org Associate Editor, Ireland STEPHEN POWER email@example.com Advertising & Promotion DIANE E. HENDERSON dianehenderson@ iconpublications.com +44(0)1573 223508 f2 Freelance Photographer incorporating Cameracraft is published six times a year September/October, November/ December, January/February, March/ April, May/June, July/August. On sale in the month before first month of cover date. Distributed by COMAG: www.comag.co.uk
ISSN 1754-0615 UK subscriptions cost £35.70 for six issues. Europe £41.70. Rest of World £46.70. Cheques to the publisher’s address made payable to ‘Icon Publications Ltd’ or subscribe at www.iconpublications.com Icon Publications Ltd can accept no responsibility for loss of or damage to photographs and manuscripts submitted, however caused. Responsibility for insurance and return carriage of equipment submitted for review or test rests with the owner. Views expressed in this magazine are those of the individual contributors and do not necessarily represent the views and policies of Icon Publications Ltd or its advertisers. All technical data and pricing information contained in news and feature articles is printed in good faith. While all advertising copy is accepted in good faith, Icon Publications Ltd can not accept any legal responsibility for claims made or the quality of goods and services arising from advertising in this publication. All contents including advertising artwork created by Icon Publications Ltd are copyright of the publishers or the creators of the works, and must not be reproduced by any means without prior permission. ©2016 Icon Publications Ltd. E&OE.
mer cr ƒ t C VOLUME 10 No 5 (Issue #84)
FREELANCE PHOTOGRAPHER incorporating
By Steve Howdle and Stephanie Thornton – the season of harvest and the gold of autumn. See p.37.
NEWS & DIARY
photokina 2016 taster
LIGHTING UP STREET LIVES Aaron Draper really brings some light into the daily – and nightly – existence of the USA’s homeless. Story by Associate Editor Gary Friedman.
SONY FE 70-300mm G OSS No poor cousin to the 70-200mm models here – a 70-300mm which delivers £1000+ class. Editor David Kilpatrick reviews, with photograph by John Parris.
SIGMA MC-11 SA-E Looking at the Sigma mount version of this converter used with their APS-C 18-35mm ƒ1.8 ART.
PENTAX K-1 Richard Kilpatrick tries out the bargain priced full framer with every feature under the sun – or rain. With photography by Stu Williamson.
PORTFOLIO: THORNTON & HOWDLE Stephanie Thornton and Steve Howdle style set-piece portraits to inspire your 2017 calendar concepts.
REACH FOR THE SKIES! And replace them… superb Photoshop montage work by ‘Mr Four Hours’ David Stoddart.
PAINTING OVER THE CRACKS The feature which no photographic magazine has ever dared to run – actual painting, not Photoshop, done by photographers who trained as artists and returned to the fold. Interviews by Associate Editor Stephen Power.
LIGHT AND FOG A contemplative BIPP Fellowship panel to make you pause, as Scott Johnson did when he visited Auschwitz.
LESSONS FROM AN OLD TIMER Gary Friedman wishes he was still in the dark – if only he had the time…
ANTHROPICS LANDSCAPE PRO A retouching program with automation and customisation which can transform city scenes and architecture as well as landscapes.
LIGHT READING Martin Grahame-Dunn is set firmly in the romantic era, Wuthering wherever he can find a Height to do so.
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with Richard Kilpatrick
DIARY September 4th 2016 Natural History Workshop at The University of Nottingham School of Life Sciences RPS Events (open to all) Call 07955 124000 for details September 6th 2016 Photovision Roadshow Dublin Meet ƒ2 Cameracraft! September 16th 2016 to February 19th 2017 51st Wildlife Photographer of the Year exhibition National Museum of Scotland Edinburgh September 20th-25th 2016 Photokina Cologne, Germany October 10th-14th 2016 Salon de la Photo Paris, France October 16th 2016 Meet the Masters Open Day Hinckley Island Hotel Master Photography Awards Dinner & Presentations November 19th 2016 Photovision Roadshow Epsom Meet ƒ2 Cameracraft! January 30th 2017 to February 7th 2017 Photo Training Overseas Hotel Playa Pesquaro Cuba This annual training event is limited to 40 photographers/80 seats (many photographers being accompanied by partners, and also taking advantage of second week optional holiday extension). Flights leave from Manchester on January 30th and Gatwick on January 31st. George and Glenys Dawber, the organisers, have reached the 30th year of PTO and the first to go long-haul. See: www.pto-uk.com February 10th & 11th 2017 Ultimate Photographers’ Weekend in the Lake District with Joe Cornish, Steve Gosling, Shahbaz Majeed, Chris Ireland. With Phase One digital systems and Cambo. Limited to 20 places, £950. See: https://cambouk.wordpress. com/2016/07/27/the-ultimatephotographers-weekend/
send your news releases & events to firstname.lastname@example.org WALKING ON IMAGES: Poole-based Quadrant2Design recently took delivery of an HP Scitex FB750 Printer – a real gamechanger for clients. This industrial printer creates photo-flooring, a unique way to enhance stand space at trade fairs, exhibitions and events. Quadrant2Design is currently offering this facility to their clients for the same price as plain exhibition carpet. One ‘early adopter’ of Q2D’s state-of-the-art technology was Lipo Love, providers of a non-surgical weight loss alternative. Their presence at the Beauty UK show at Birmingham’s NEC in May, saw the company unveil their stand (right) complete with ‘ice cube effect’ photo-flooring, designed to complement Lipo Love’s brand message perfectly. Now how about that studio floor? * See: www.prestige-system.com
BenQ PV270 £789 BenQ CONTINUING their expansion into the professional graphic display market, BenQ’s latest 27” offering targets video production as well as high-end photographic and design work. Supporting 10-bit per channel colour with 14-bit 3D LUT and a 99% Adobe RGB gamut when driven by appropriate graphics cards (Apple, we’re still waiting for the correct drivers), the PV270 is a genre-crossing solution that remains highly competitively priced at just £788.40 including VAT. 2560 x 1440 resolution on a panel of this size is comfortable, without the burden of driving a 4K panel’s bandwidth. Support for Rec. 709 and DCi-P3 gamuts ensures the video post-production market is equally well catered for. To meet the expectations of professionals, BenQ includes a 5 year warranty with 6 month zero pixel defect guarantee, backlight sensor and of course, the essential monitor hood. * See: www.xpdistribution.com
Nanguang LED lights KENRO has announced the NanGuang LED Studio Light Panel (CN-T340). It features a stepless dimmer control for adjusting the 68W 5600K output. Illumination is 4020 LM and the 340 LEDS have an average life of 50,000 hours. SRP is £209.94. A more powerful and larger NanGuang CN-T504 is larger but even slimmer, putting out 6000 LM. SRP is £263.94. The LED Fresnel Light CN-20FC is designed for use on a camera hotshoe or tripod, with flood and spotlight adjustment from 15-55° and adjustable colour temperature and stepless dimmer controls. SRP is £71.94. Designed for studio use, the larger LED Fresnel Light CN-30F focuses from 12-35° (stepless) and comes with a full range of accessories including barn doors and filters in a fitted case for £239.94. * See: www.kenro.co.uk
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21st Century Tri-Flector £295 Stu Williamson FEW PHOTOGRAPHERS have the opportunity to put their creative concepts to the test in the wider marketplace, yet Stu Williamson’s innovative solution to reflected light control became an industry staple when he took the time to develop a commercial version. Now with two decades of additional development and feedback from users, Stu has redesigned the Tri-Flector from the ground up. Although the tapered light shaper remains a crucial part of the system, it no longer defines the form and flexibility. Taking queues from touring equipment, the compact base system now allows rapid repositioning with positive locking, and no more wrestling with fabric-covered frames if you want to switch to warmer or cooler reflective material - a central attachment system allows reflectors that are no bulkier than the original frame design to be quickly flipped between two surfaces or swapped for different surfaces. materials or colours. Designed and engineered in Britain, the high-quality modular design also offers potential for accessories beyond the capability of the original, including a choice of direct light sources. We’ve seen the new Tri-Flector in action, and as well as a faster unpack and setup time, repositioning and adjustment is repeatable, consistent and accomplished with a precise, light touch. Stand mounting is also improved. Although the concept of the three panels system remains intact, the approach and implementation is completely different, with significant improvements for fine tuning. To mark the introduction of the new Tri-Flector, Stu is offering the first 12 photographers purchasing at the launch price of £295 and mentioning ƒ2 Cameracraft a day’s masterclass at his Leicester studio. * Stu Williamson – 0116 2791103 * See: www.stuwilliamson.com
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Sigma SD quattro hits the market Hasselblad goes mirrorless with the X1D X1D £5,990 Hasselblad THE HASSELBLAD X1D benefits from the same technology that has allowed the latest backs to make significant advances over previous generations without massive price increases; CMOS sensors with fast LiveView. Just as 35mm-format DSLRs have done, the next step is to go mirrorless with super-accurate focusing right on the sensor itself. The new model costs about the same at a top end Canon and has the essential 2.36Mp EVF for eye level work. The rear display is a 3.0” VGA touchscreen, and a low profile grip reduces the body size. In an exceptionally wise move, the hotshoe supports Nikon i-TTL standard, making it compatible with most triggers and some studio flash units. The 3200mAh battery should allow around 300-500 shots with dual card slots offering around 240 shots per 16GB card. These are high dynamic range, 16-bit 3FR raw files. At 725g, the camera (with battery) is impressively light for this market segment, and it offers capture rates up to 2.3 frames per second. It also offers 1080/60p HD video, but no 4K (yet). Connectivity includes HDMI, USB 3.0 and audio in/out. The new XCD lens family kicks off with 45mm and 90mm primes, both featuring 1/2000s leaf shutters as you’d expect from Hasselblad. An adaptor for H-system lenses is coming, and no doubt other adaptors will follow from third parties. The sensor size of 44 x 33mm is the same as the 50C. The price at under £6,000 with the lenses priced at under £2,000 each clearly competes with the Pentax 645Z as well as with the Canon 1DX MkII, and undercuts the more conventionally styled Leica S2 by more than half in practice. Not only that, in the hand it competes with Sony A7 for size and weight. A new 30mm lens is expected to be shown at photokina. * From The Pro Centre and other retailers * Telephone 020 7729 8822 * See www.hasselblad.com
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£799.99 Sigma THE SD QUATTRO, announced earlier this year, is already landing on our shores priced at £799.99 body only, or £999.99 with a 30mm – and we’ve got one of the first samples, putting it through its paces at the same time as the Pentax K-1 reviewed in this issue though as an unexpected arrival it will have to wait for a full review in November/December’s edition, out in October. The back view, above, gives a clue as to just how eccentric this mirrorless Sigma SA-mount camera is – and how interesting. We took this picture using the Pentax K-1 multishot mode, which is the closest you can get to a Foveon sensor quality in a more conventional Bayer RGB design. * See www.sigma-imaging-uk.com
One in 100 Million AF-S Nikkor 105mm ƒ1.4E ED £2,049.99 Nikon CELEBRATING 100 million Nikkor interchangeable lenses produced since production began in 1932, Nikon’s latest announcement looks like a legend in the making. Although priced at a level that will keep it appealing to the well-heeled enthusiast and professionals, the Nikkor 105mm ƒ1.4 E ED offers a groundbreaking aperture, and thus speed and depth of field control, for one of the most popular and essential portrait lenses on full-frame systems. Combining this fast design with similarly fast autofocus and 21st Century optical design, Nikon have engineered the new 105mm for a 1m minimum focus and exceptional edge to edge sharpness and resolution. Naturally strong claims are made for that most important factor, bokeh, as such fine control is going to appeal to photographers paying as much attention to the out of focus as the in-focus. As Nikon’s previous halo portrait lenses relied on more complex designs to achieve a distinctive focus separation - the DC “Defocus Control” models - and have yet to be updated to the latest AF systems or optical glass, it’s likely that this 105mm answers the question of how those models will be updated. Compared to the DC models, the price is quite compelling too. We look forward to seeing the results from what promises to be a highly attractive portraiture lens when availability starts around the end of August. • See: www.nikon.co.uk
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ead for Cologne – maybe via the convenient CologneBonn airport, maybe by the low-cost and rather less well-connected Dusseldorf Weeze landing strip, maybe by ferry and car or even train – for the world’s most famous biennial photo industry show in late September. From Tuesday to Sunday, the 20th to 25th, the Köln Messe trade fair complex hosts many hundreds of exhibits by the big names in photography. This includes names from behind the camera as well as the ones which make the gear, as photokina is very much about the art and business too. There are many related exhibitions and galleries to see. The biggest stands are the ones you expect, like Fujifilm, Sony, Canon, Nikon, Panasonic, Ricoh-Pentax and Samsung. There is a complete hall almost totally dedicated to studio lighting, which makes it easy to compare the accessory ranges for all the major flash brands like Elinchrom, Broncolor, Bowens, Profoto, Briese, Hensel, and Multiblitz. In recent shows the new generation of Chinese brands like Phottix, Godox and Jinbei has been in the Chinese trade hall (Shanghai even has its own micro-zone) and it will be interesting to see whether these makes join the top level European players or are only represented in the main lighting aisles by re-branders like Lencarta, iLux, and Pixapro. Part of photokina is all about building brands and customer backup, part of it is all about just selling as much factory output as possible to all comers. Lenses are going to be big business this year as the April earthquakes in Japan have set back sensor production and development by many months. The makers will be trying to sell you accessories and glass because their camera body innovations have been restricted. Look for the new 30mm (24mm equivalent) for the Hasselblad X1D mirrorless medium format, for the Zeiss Batis 35mm ƒ2, 50mm ƒ1.8 and possible
photokina 2016 Sept 20th-25th – www.photokina.com
Shooting the iconic Gothic Cologne Dom
Waiting to enter photokina 2014
Fujifilm always has a large and varied stand
Getting to grips with a big Sigma
Canon’s completely redesigned EF L series range with linear motors, power zoom and focus and LCD information displays. Expect to see prototype medium-format mirrorless from Sony, Mamiya/ Phase One, Sinar and Nikon and 8K video from Panasonic and Canon; the first 200kHz electronic viewfinder modules; the first ISO one million setting; the first camera with 1/64,000s electronic shutter speed – and, of course, and continued rise of the Fujifilm X and Olympus OM-D systems beyond th 24 megapixel ceiling. But all this is just informed guesswork… Á Explaining Elinchrom flash reflectors
135mm ƒ2 lenses for Sony. Expect more Samyang autofocus and ciné lenses, and more innovation from Venus, Laowa, Mitakon and the new generation of Chinese optical designers – and look for
Shooting 18th century glamour on the Sony stand in 2014…
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…while Fujifilm’s studio set had more appeal to Generation X
If only Michelangelo could have used Fujifilm Wallpaper on the Sistine Chapel… WHEN A NEW restaurant commissioned a motorthemed display for its bar area photographer Nick Turley turned to CC Imaging and Fujifilm’s Wallpaper Media for help. Michelangelo may have established the trend for ceiling art with his celebrated treatment of the Sistine Chapel, but the principle of creating rich visual entertainment above the heads of visitors is still going strong some five hundred years later - albeit in a 21st century format. While the newly-opened Waterwheel restaurant in Howden, Yorkshire might not share the same sweeping dimensions as the Vatican, this upmarket new venue nonetheless boasts a sumptuous interior that’s the setting for a remarkable overhead artwork, designed and created by photographer Nick Turley. “There’s a motoring theme running throughout the whole restaurant,” says Nick, “and we were briefed by our client to look at putting together a selection of photographs that tapped into this and which would be displayed on the ceiling/wall in the bar area. The idea was to create one complete artwork that would become an integral part of the decoration.” The spaces to fill on the ceiling came in a range of different sizes and Nick needed to find a pro lab that could understand the unusual
nature of the job and who might suggest a suitable media to print on. “The first step was to measure all the bays very carefully,” says Nick, “and then to produce scale drawings. Then I had to produce a visual design and make any changes they asked for. At this stage I could go ahead and produce the finished artwork files, all at the correct sizes.” “I chose to work with CC Imaging in Leeds because it was a lab I knew well and I was aware of their reputation for high quality printing and attention to detail. They advised that Fujifilm Wallpaper would be the perfect media to use.” Halifax-based Nick provided comprehensive printing instructions and sizes to CC Imaging. Mark Senior, the company’s joint MD says, “This was a first for us but we knew we had the facilities to cope and we felt confident that Fujifilm’s Wallpaper media would be up to the job.
Mark Senior of CC Imaging with output on Fujifilm’s Wallpaper Media “In fact, the only issues we faced were ensuring we got the measurements spot on and also of handling the non-standard sizes and overlaps. “The images were created in Fujifilm ImageHunter software
Fujifilm ImageHunter Software Fujifilm’s ImageHunter product manager Peter Hayward suggested to CC Imaging that this RIP software, designed specifically for use with large and wide format printers, might be perfect for this particular printing job. Senior product specialist Mark Wade then guided the lab through the set up. ImageHunter delivers easy resizing, tiling and cropping with an accurate preview and also offers the ability to divide an image into borderless strips - perfect for a project of this kind. Download a trial version at: http://www.fujifilm.eu/esp
and printed on an Epson Stylus Pro 11880 64" inkjet printer. The whole process was really straightforward. The ink went down really well, with no smudging or banding, and, importantly, the colours from roll to roll also matched perfectly.” Great care was taken to ensure that the colours would be resistant to fading. “We did some tests where we coated the paper with a cellulose spray,” says Mark, “but it quickly became apparent that the media was actually really durable and it wasn’t required. It was also quite lightweight despite coming in rolls that were 42 inches wide, and our fear that it might be difficult to hang was unfounded. In short, Fujifilm has got the product exactly right.” Mark also appreciated the fact that, like genuine wallpaper, the Fujifilm product had the right smell when it was wet (“a little fishy”), and it was pasted up at the restaurant by two professional paper hangers working off a scaffold. For the record the choice of adhesive was Erfurt Mav ready mixed paste and the mounting of the 24 prints was achieved in just two days. “The result is breathtaking,” comments Nick. “Photographs of the ceiling look amazing, but they don’t do justice to the actual ‘wow’ effect.” For more information see: Nick: www.inside-outbranding.com CC Imaging: www.ccimaging.co.uk
ƒ2 Cameracraft September/October 2016 9
LIGHTING UP STREET LIVES
aron Draper is a busy guy. A commercial and wedding photographer for more than 15 years, a professor of photography at Cal State Chico, founder and co-runner of www.professionalphotocritique.org and now a controversial photographer of homeless people throughout the United States. What he does is most unique, applying high-end portraiture techniques to capture a neglected segment of the population with the look of a Hollywood movie. The process is orchestrated. After introducing himself and establishing trust, he pays his subjects a dollar a minute to take their portrait normally using flash with ambient lighting – “Every commercial photographer does the same thing with their models!” Using no lighting assistants, he meters for the ambient light, underexposes by about a stop (depending on the effect he’s going for), directs his subjects, and shoots. “This isn’t a photojournalism or documentary project, so I’m allowed to control my images in this way.” He then has their portraits printed to 5 x 7 inches bonded to aluminum for durability, tracks them down and delivers the portrait. “It gets really emotional. Most of them cry, because they hadn’t seen themselves in a long time. You don’t have mirrors when you sleep under bridges. Most hadn’t been photographed in 1020 years.” He also gets a model release, and submits the images to local homeless organizations for their use. “It’s our obligation to produce meaningful work that’s going to affect people, that’s going to make people feel something. Once they feel, then they act, then things are changing. That’s our responsibility as artists.” So where does the controversy come from? “The panel on my Master’s thesis didn’t appreciate it. They said you might be exploiting these guys. Some blogs were accusing me of doing the same
Light reveals the strength and individual worth of homeless people as Aaron Draper puts the camera to work changing perceptions and values – for the subject and the viewer alike. Gary Friedman talked to him about ‘Underexposed’. thing”, says he. “I make no money from doing this; in fact I’m out thousands and thousands of dollars on this project. So the idea that I’m exploiting them for personal gain is nonsense”. The fact is, the opposite has happened: the effort has gone to help benefit the people he photographs and the homeless community in general. And it happened in a very serendipitous way: “Initially, the people I shot were showing their images to the organizations that were helping them, and the reaction was ‘Holy cow! Where did you get these? Would you let us use these?’ – and then the Salvation Army, the Hospitality House and a couple of other organizations actually used the images for their own promotional material, so they could have really strong images showing the people that they actually serve, making it more intimate and personal. So, I released the rights to them.” He was then asked to exhibit the show to benefit the
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homeless. About 250-300 people attended the event, contributing almost $5,000 for the cause, but something even better transpired as a result. One of his subjects whose name is Kenny saw his picture in a promotional piece in the local paper.
Personal appearances “Kenny got hold of the writer and in turn the writer got hold of me, and I ended up inviting him to the show. So he actually got to go to the show and see the people there in support of (tackling) homelessness. He got to drink wine, have hors d’oeuvres, and hang out.” Kenny mentioned on the way home that he could now see supporters in a different light, and he was interested in helping to organize more exhibitions. It was great to see him empowered. “So that’s where I’m going with the project now – letting organizations use these images to help increase awareness and raise funds. I’m also going to start bringing it to the schools. I’ve
hooked up with a couple of high schools and colleges who have galleries and we’re turning it into a touring educational piece. “The goal of Underexposed is to make the homeless as visually appealing as possible in a society that is visually demanding. You achieve greater public awareness by communicating hope not hopelessness. Hope sells.” Are there any cases where a person stopped being homeless as a direct result of the exposure? “That’s actually a difficult thing to do, since so much of that depends upon the services in their area. I’m not under any illusion that my photographs are going to suddenly make them have homes. All I can do is create ‘advertising’ and hope to bridge the needs to the resources.” However, there is a guy named Steve whose fate did take a positive turn. “He dropped by three or four years after I took his picture. Steve came by my class one day and said ‘Hey, I just want to let you know that because of the exposure your project gave me, my son was able to find me and we reconnected after 25 years.’ And then I got to introduce my class to this guy also and put up his image on the projection screen, and so my class got to listen to this guy first hand talking about his life. It was really rewarding. Steve is now in a home, having been helped by the infrastructure that serves that community.”
Lighting matters The visceral draw of his images is the very strong lighting style. He has two units he uses in the field. The first is a 12 inch square Photoflex soft box with a speedlight inside, attached to a monopod and triggered by a Pocket Wizard. That’s used to cover up any splotchy lighting on their face. The second is a “global light”: a five-foot Octa also from Photoflex powered by an battery pack Einstein. “They’re easier to repair or replace than the Profotos
Daniel is 64 and has been living on the streets of Sacramento, California (the capital of California) for about 8 years. He was photographed in front of the State Capital building at a time when lawmakers were removing homeless camping sites in the city and proposing legislation that would make it more difficult to be homeless. Steve had his contractor's license in Florida and worked there rebuilding homes after hurricane Ivan. He got divorced and moved out to California with his 16- year-old son to be with family but after various setbacks the father and son found themselves on the street. He sold the tools of his trade to make ends meet and spent two years on the street while his son lived with friends. A month after this photo was taken he got a home of his own, reunited with his son. I met him at the Salvation Army with some of the friends he met while homeless. The Jesus Center (shelter for the homeless in Chico, CA) has asked Steve for input to help others get off the street.
Ć’2 Cameracraft September/October 2016 11
Andrew is unapologetically addicted to meth. He is 38 years old and has been addicted to meth for longer than he can remember. Understanding his history was difficult because he jumped from story to story in a nonlinear way. He has been living on the streets for more than 10 years and says he is content there. He uses music as a way to earn money and also as a way to calm himself and pass the hours in his day. Lonzo was a marine during Vietnam and served two tours. He moved to San Jose, California from Mississippi and then moved to Modesto, California when housing became too expensive. Has had his social security locked up with some technicalities and hasn't been able to collect any. He turns 60 in a couple of months.
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Sergeant Marvin Rogers of the U.S. Airforce. The 60-year-old served in the Vietnam War from 1972-1976. Many veterans are homeless and are hampered by physical and psychological damages since returning home from service. Marvin returned to much anti-war sentiment from fellow Americans and has found government services to be ill-equipped to deal with soldiers. Ed is a former 64-year-old truck driver who I met in Starbucks in downtown Sacramento, California. Ed has learned to survive on $2 a day and utilizes sales he finds at local markets. He also relies on the free hot water he gets from coffee shops downtown to help him prepare the dry soup mixes he purchases. He is disabled and has not been able to find work in many years.
Ć’2 Cameracraft September/October 2016 13
Billy Bowman with Princess, Baby Girl and Little Girl. Billy is developmentally disabled and has a heart condition. He’s been homeless for about 3 years now and is currently sleeping behind the local university in Chico, California. Many people worry about the care that pets receive at the hands of the homeless community. A local animal control officer stated that animals receive excellent care and are able to be with their masters all day long. “It’s every dog’s dream to be with their pack all day.” Kenny has been homeless since the age of 14. He began taking drugs many years earlier when his uncles offered him cocaine. Kenny worked a variety of jobs over the years and had some medical issues that made it difficult for him to work. He currently volunteers at a facility for the homeless called the Hope Center in Oroville, California. Kenny is 46 years old.
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Hank is 52 and is pictured here with some items he found to sell. Hank is given belongings to sell from passersby or he pulls them from dumpsters and repurposes them. Although he is currently staying with a friend he has been on and off the streets for the past 6 years. Joseph has been homeless for 8 years now. He has worked as a handyman and held many odd jobs over the years. He sleeps in a cemetery in Modesto, California because nobody bothers him there at night. He found a small job doing some carpentry work that helps supplement his monthly disability checks.
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I use in other circumstances – as I found when I dropped one.” With such risks included, the project is an expensive part-time hobby. The rest of his time is split between being a commercial and wedding photographer (you can see examples on his own website), teaching undergraduate photography, and participating in the unique web community he founded called ProfessionalPhotocritique. The website was designed as a place where serious photographers can seek out equally serious critiques, similar to the kind of feedback that a graduate student in art might receive. A quick review of the site reveal submissions from a wide range of experience levels. “My friends from grad school were frustrated because, once we graduated, there’s no place where we could bounce ideas off of each other. Online discussion forums only provided uninformed feedback which really wasn’t very useful – for example, I don’t want people to tell me an image is “cool” unless the color balance is actually off. Tell me what I did wrong, or specifically what I did right, and what I could have done to make it better! We wanted feedback from the professional world from people who were actually doing this stuff for a living, not the wannabes who hang out on forums.
Maddie has been on the street for 5 years. She is 22 years old and makes her money flying the sign she’s holding. She stands at one of the most popular corners in Oakland CA for soliciting financial aid. She got her pet pit bull to help protect her from the unwanted advances she often receives from men on the streets. She has been battling addiction for many years. “So I pulled three grads from the academy of art, and other working pros, with the goal of doing one good critique a week. We all have different backgrounds and we don’t always agree.” Yet, for all of this accomplishment in a field that is most difficult to be successful in, Aaron says he
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missed his calling. “I have a minor in Linguistics”, he says, and points out that his desk is filled with dictionaries of other languages. “My dream job would be that of Historical Linguistics, where I would get to pore over these books all day and document how certain languages have changed
over time”. So should he be a travel photographer because of your love of language? – “I’m so busy working that I haven’t had time to pursue that.” Á See: www.underexposed.world Also: www.aarondraper.com and www.professionalphotocritique.org
Lucia is 20 years old and has been homeless and addicted to heroin for two years. She received a scholarship to an art college on the East Coast but wasn’t able to finish her education due to her addiction. She is currently on the streets of Oakland and can usually be found with her boyfriend “flying signs” (asking for money with a sign) so that she can raise the $10 a day she needs for methadone at a nearby heroin clinic. Will Dalgard was a member of the "Powell Street All Stars," a homeless quartet performing in Powell Street station in San Francisco. He and his friends left Dayton, Ohio, in their 20s for Portland, Oregon. One by one they lost their jobs, and decided California was a better place to be unemployed. With Haight-Ashbury’s music scene as their inspiration they moved to SF 10 years ago. Will died in 2014. He once worked in shipping/receiving: he was making about $20 a day when photographed, and kept his guitar from theft by sticking with his friends: "There is safety in numbers on the street. We're good people man, we're not criminals or thieves. We're good folks."
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SONY FE 70-300mm ƒ4.5-5.6 G OSS LENS
irst you have to understand that Sony’s understated, black finish 70-300mm FE f/4.5-5.6 G OSS is a completely new type of 70-300mm lens. It’s been designed from the start to benefit from the 18mm thin register of the E-mount bodies and you can see how very unusual it is by looking at the bit you never see. The rear element and lens mount. Where a regular 70-300mm of a similar specification for full frame will normally have a fairly small circular rear element well recessed – even in a DSLR mount – this lens has a multi-element rectangular assembly filling the position where a rear baffle would be. That’s the metal window which limits stray light and reduces flare in other designs. Whatever Sony and the G-lens design team have done, it’s produced the best 70-300mm ever made. I’m not going to claim it will match a Canon USM or Nikon AF-S pro body and lens combination for AF-C action tracking, though it will do well enough. What I see is a lens which is almost perfect at full aperture across its entire focal length range, has no discernible aberrations and with its profile applied no distortion or vignetting. Without the profile, it’s really only these two aspects which change, slightly improving the peripheral sharpness and noise levels. I’m coming to this as someone who owns three 70-300mm lenses and has used pretty much every such lens ever made; the only missing one in my experience is the Sony 70-300mm A-mount G SSM version II, and that will be an excellent lens if it matches the new FE. Recently I’ve used Canon’s L-series white 70-300mm IS USM, and the latest Nikon VR. I’ve used many other zooms and primes overlapping this range too, and after my initial exploration of the new 70-300mm I think it’s a fair match for anything out there. Mind you, it should be. This one goes out (or did before the threat of Brexit price increases) at £1099 which is four times the cost of a comparable independent lens (Sigma or Tamron). It’s a little more than either the Canon L or the compact diffractive element L DO, about 50% higher than the Sony G II, twice as much the Nikon, and three times the price of a ‘black’ Canon. The closest comparison should be with the Sony G SSM II, though that lens is not stabilised since it’s intended for the body-stabilised A-mount system. Both have 16
They are the poor cousins of the 70-200mm ƒ2.8 and ƒ4 which every professional uses, a longer range more appreciated by enthusiasts. But the Sony FE G has a performance to match the best – and needs to at £1099. David Tried&Tested Kilpatrick reports. Main photograph: by John Parris.
Left: the lens and its unique rear element configuration. Right: a tiny section of sunlit leaves shows there’s no purple fringe or any other such issue. Above: Lindisfarne from Mill Burn, focused on the curlew and other wading birds at 300mm and ƒ6.3. Section: 240dpi, 33" print. elements, with FE in 13 rather than 11 groups, both use 9-blade diaphragms and have high speed AF optimised for contrast and onsensor phase detection. In theory, a G SSM II mounted on a Sony LA-EA adaptor will offer the same functions as the native FE lens (in practice this doesn’t happen but the core performance is similar). For me, the deal-clincher on the FE lens is one ‘best’ in class – the close focus. No matter what focal length you have set, it offers a continuous range down to 0.9m and at 300mm that’s 0.31X through double linear motor action. This compares to 1.2m and 0.25X of the A-mount version’s Supersonic Wave motor. You may not think that 30cm difference in focus matters much, but try something as simple as taking a shot of the squirrel which jumps on the arm of the park bench you are sitting on. One lens gets the shot, the other one misses it. This lens is fairly large, but still under 900g so practical for travel and daily use unlike larger tele zooms
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you may prefer to leave behind sometimes. Along with close focus, the FE G delivers reasonably clean bokeh. It’s not as complex and wiry as most zooms in this range, and it has almost no longitudinal colour effect. Defocused high contrast edges behind or in front of the subject plane do not acquire colour fringes or casts. These can be very hard to shift, and are present in nearly all fast standard designs. The Sony CZ 55mm ƒ1.8 shows very strong colour effects of this type which can affect portraits as well as the kind of still life shot which is most prone to the problem (typically, use of a wide aperture to isolate text on an angled page, such a signature on a document or a key headline on a news page). However, the FE G 70-300mm when used at ƒ4.5 can not achieve the same strong differential focus at 70mm, and by the time you hit 90mm the lens is already only ƒ5. At 150mm this reduces to ƒ5.6 for the rest of the range. Think about
this. Most competing lenses (like Sigma and Tamron) are ƒ4-5.6 not ƒ4.5. They start off a clear third of a stop faster. The Tamron USD is ƒ4 to 90mm, then ƒ4.5 to 140mm, and finally drops from ƒ5 to ƒ5.6 at 195mm, yet it doesn’t need a 72mm filter thread (67mm) and Sigma’s OS model achieves slightly worse break-points with a 62mm front rim. Their original APO Macro with its minimal size and 58mm filter maintains ƒ4 all the way to 135mm, drops from ƒ4.5 to ƒ5 around 180mm and ƒ5.6 only when you’re over 220mm and wins the prize as the fastest of the lot in terms of real aperture. These figures may not be all that accurate as they rely on the lens chip to report the aperture in use, but if we believe them, the FE G can be two-thirds of a stop slower at 150mm than a lower cost independent. Sony has apparently created the slowest 70-300mm lens in maximum aperture terms, but with the most glass and the largest front element. In return,
John Parris kindly agreed to try the Sony A7RII with 70-300mm for this Elinchrom Hi-Sync test, 1/8000s at ƒ5 full aperture of the lens at 123mm in his studio, using two Elinchrom D-Lite4 RX heads and the camera set to ISO 800. The small repro shows the full image, and the spread is reproduced at 300dpi, or a 26" wide print. John’s outdoor and studio tests of Elinchrom’s EL-Skyport Plus HS with Canon equipment appear in the next Master Photography magazine.
you get the sharpest and closest focusing (excluding secondary macro range) such a lens. It’s also surprisingly flare-free considering the very visible reflective internal hardware of the zoom mechanism, and of course the AF is finely tuned to the A7 series bodies. In use, the forward positioned deep zoom ring is very large to grip and demands the correct start-point as it’s not really easy to rotate by finger-power, you need your wrist or even your elbow. The travel is very short which mitigates the size. The rear focus-by-wire ring is similar and you just need to hope you never want to use it. The lens hood is not especially deep when compared to others like the Tamron 70-300mm USD hood, but has no petal-type cutaways. When stored in reverse it neatly prevents any use of the zoom action, cocking a well deserved snook at those who habitually wear their lens hoods backwards. The AF on the A7RII does not, frankly, even begin to compare with a pro DSLR and while it’s very accurate and tracks faces (and eyes) well it struggles with anything fast moving or not very “obvious” as a lock-on target. The lens is unmatched for landscape work, not bad for portraits and good for nature and wildlife because of its exceptional sharpness and close focus. It’s only worth the price if you want the unusual combination of challenged AF but sterling optical performance in a longer range AF zoom. Until new technology or firmware changes the whole way such cameras and lenses work together, I don’t see this changing either. Á www.sony.co.uk
The closest focus at 300mm made a single Alchemilla leaf fill the frame while the bokeh circles at ƒ7.1 were rounder than at full ƒ5.6 aperture. The cat’s eye effect disappears at ƒ8. Sharpness on the original is exquisite in a very narrow plane. The water droplets show no colour fringe at all. ƒ2 Cameracraft September/October 2016 19
SIGMA MC-11 SA MOUNT ADAPTOR
n the last issue I looked at the Canon EF mount version of the Sigma MC-11. I’m not impressed by Sony’s protocols for controlling the lens aperture and autofocus sequence, and Sigma through working closely with Sony ended up making the operating speed of the MC-11 EF-E with any recommended Sigma lens significantly slower than the same adaptor used with a typical Canon lens or a non-recommended Sigma EF mount model. Since producing that report opinions on the MC-11 have varied. With lenses where it is likely to be used wide open all the time – such as the 150-600mm ƒ5-6.3 Sports or Contemporary models – there is no delay as the aperture does not have to be operated, everything happens at full aperture, and the focus action of these lenses on Sony E-mount bodies makes major changes slowly but reacts fast to very small adjustments. Some photographers who work wide open most of the time, exploiting the bokeh of fast lenses or pushing the low light and action abilities of the gear, have found the MC-11 works well. Others who have fitted Canon EF or independent lenses (which don’t work with the progressive aperture change designed by Sony and allowed for in Sigma’s latest designs) also have no complaints. So, I obtained the Sigma SA mount version along with an 18-35mm ƒ1.8 ART zoom which I already knew from two years ago to be a superb lens optically, and tested this APS-C combination on my A6000 body. Essentially it’s the same situation; the lens works ultra-fast when used wide open, tracking focus during video and giving a minimal shutter lag for stills. It makes good use of face detection and object tracking. Stop down to ƒ11 or ƒ16 and the position is very different as for stills the Sony system will open and close the aperture fairly slowly to acquire autofocus before firing. It really pays to use back button AF, or even manual focus, to avoid this repeated slow step. It is also a good idea not have Pre-Focus enabled in the menu settings as this causes a periodic refocus (with native Sony lenses too) and the effect can be an unwanted defocus and refocus through the electronic viewfinder just before you take first pressure on the shutter to perform your intended AF/shoot. This can go a long way with a
Following our last issue’s look at the Canon EF to E adaptor, we checked out the MC-11 SA on a Sony A6000 with the fast wide 18-35mm ƒ1.8 Sigma ART lens, a tried and tested performer Tried&Tested – by David Kilpatrick .
wide lens, including the extreme defocus shown for the night scene below (1/25s at ƒ2, ISO 3200). The combination of an unstabilised lens with an unstabilised body did take the refinement off hand-held video (I’m used to Sony’s 35mm
and 50mm ƒ1.8 OSS lenses for this). But the video continuous focus adjustment was superb – take a look at the short clip below. www.sigma-imaging-uk.com
In very low light, working wide open, the autofocus mechanism of the Sigma 18-35mm ƒ1.8 coupled to the AF functions of the MC-11 provided an extremely smooth transition of focus. A video taken mostly at 35mm focal length at the same time as this 18mm still shot shows how well the focus changes work - https://youtu.be/grxep2pnuBU
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REACH FOR THE SKIES!
our hours might seem a long time to spend on postprocessing a photograph – but it’s really no time at all to achieve the results which David Stoddart pulls out of pictures taken at vintage air shows. He’s also adept at dropping in both highly believable and meteorological fantasy skies above landscapes. Because of the way he handles tone, contrast and colour it’s not all that important to David to be out there on a good fine day. He can add colour, light and that all-important sky to the most unimposing foreground and create a picture worth putting on your wall. That, indeed, is what many followers worldwide already do – he sells his work in print form. While the dramatic sky images have an obvious use in landscape work, they are also a key to his complex recreations of imaginary war scenes. When you turn the pages you’ll be confronted by one of the best examples of photocomposition we have seen – a scene worthy of a billboard poster
David Stoddart is Arthakker on 500px – and he’s not afraid to mix and match his own images and purchased stock elements to create images with impact and style. From HDR urbex to classical architecture in great churches and cathedrals, his interests converge on militaria and historic aircraft, wild landscapes and world landmarks.
advertising a film not yet made. Although all the final work is David’s copyright, he buys stock photography (especially skies and background scenes) which carries royalty-free or Creative Commons rights to allow such uses. At a time when photo libraries like Alamy are toeing the National Trust line and asking for removal of almost anything taken in or around Trust property, the future for stock imagery may lie in this direction. Catch your details of masonry, trees, windows, maybe even bits of furniture or objects but alter them beyond recognition
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and put them in a context where the ban on photographs taken ‘in museums, galleries or other places where commercial photography is not permitted’ becomes irrelevant. The Vickers Valetta C2 VX580 composite below falls into the unpublishable category according to some picture libraries, but David has repainted the aircraft and changed colours to create his ‘Hangar Code Red.’ And it’s absolutely irreproachable as wall art for a private buyer. “The hangar is a stock image I purchased”, he says, “the plane I photographed with the Sony
A7RII at a local air museum. I had fun playing with the lighting and shadows on this one – my Photoshop time was around four hours.” We’d say that it would be most unreasonable for any museum or collection ever to do what the Trust does and attempt to prevent any photographic works based on the heritage we entrust to them. Think about the 18th century Grand Tour. All our enlightened aristocrats wanted to do was record the architecture, art, objects and landscapes owned by other aristocrats in other countries. Sometimes they just lifted them and shipped them home! Of course an original digital photoartist like David should be able to draw on today’s sources and create new work. Any brush and paint or pen and ink artist would be able to do so without hassle. For ‘The Night Hunter’ (top right), David photographed a Gloster Javelin FAW.9R at Flixton Air Museum using his A7RII and Carl Zeiss 16-35mm, with
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good enough light for ƒ8 at ISO 200. “The sky is a stock shot”, he explains, although he does also photograph skies for later use. The futuristic composition below it, ‘Stealth Mode’ also relies on a stock image purchased for the background. He photographed the Lockheed SR-71 ‘Blackbird’ at Duxford Imperial War Museum with the same kit. It is a long-range, Mach 3+ strategic
reconnaissance aircraft that was operated by the United States Air Force. “I spent ages added the lighting effects and placing the plane correctly into the scene”, David says. Once again, the Photoshop time was “around four hours”. But how about that set-piece we have selected as a double page spread? Right again, four hours according to the maestro! This is a
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concept for a video game cover. “I called this ‘The Final Mission’ – the cockpit is from a Canberra at Lincs Aviation Museum, and the pilots are from Flixton Aviation Museum, with all other parts purchased from stock sites, apart from the cracks in the windscreen which was taken after a typical night out in Ipswich! The flames and smoke were all Photoshop brushes.”
For simpler scenes, multiple images can still be involved. At Stonehenge, David found a 300mm lens ideal for the monument and a wide-angle great for the sky. ‘Aftermath’, below, is a “quick composite of a sunrise in Norfolk, a pillbox in Suffolk and a tree from Scotland…” Suspecting that David is slightly taking the mickey out of all the Facebook astro photographers
whose sole purpose for any given lens appears to be another shot of the Milky Way, his Eilean Donan sticks a stock shot into the sky. He’s not afraid of making the world look like Thomas Kincade has been giving it a makeover. Above, and right, you can see a final image ‘Flying Machine’ and its source which go the other way – removing the clarity and dynamic of a well-lit photograph, and adding a soft misty dawn light most convincingly. “It’s a Boeing Stearman PT-27 Kaydet”, David
explains. “The initial cutting out in Photoshop took about two hours to do, then around one hour post processing and compositing the plane on to the field.” On the next page we’ve selected two examples of montage and colourising based on one theme. You can find more of Arthakker’s stock images and art prints at: www.davidstoddartphotography.co.uk This is a SmugMug website and the prints are made by US lab EZ Prints of Georgia – as an example, a 20 x 30" metallic mounted print sells for a little over £120. – DK Á
ƒ2 Cameracraft September/October 2016 27
Two final scenes of imagination from David Stoddart: “I photographed this really cool US Army Truck above at a WWII re-enactment weekend, painstakingly cut it out, added it to a stock background and then put in the flag and some lighting effects. The US Army Jeep interior below was put together with the re-enactment US soldiers. All these images were taken on the Sony A6300”. To buy stock files or prints from David through 500px, go to: https://marketplace.500px.com/DavidStoddartPhotography
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aybe it had to be called LandscapePro because there’s no other blanket term for outdoor scenes, just as PortraitPro is so named when it’s extremely useful for fixing groups and wedding shots. What I found in the fairly brief time I have been able to devote to looking at Anthropic’s latest package is that it’s actually ideal for architecture and certain types of landscape like sea and rocks. The first landscapes I tried had typical scenery with woodland on the horizon making a complex boundary with the sky. As with any masking program based on colour and tone grouping, the best results are produced when edge transitions are high contrast and clean with a trace of anti-aliasing. The Studio version acts as a filter plug-in (in the bottom group of the filter menu) in Photoshop but can equally well be used on its own like the standard version (normally £59.90 but currently available as a download for £29.95 on the LandscapePro website). Unlike many utilities, it does not produce layers and converts the original image to a flat (Background) file when you save on exit. You would normally choose a new filename, and this opens in Photoshop. Using the system’s own colour management, bit depth control and Camera Raw conversions it can open most raw files directly. Since the defaults are to use the same working space as your Photoshop preferences, and honour the colour space of JPEGs with embedded profiles, there’s no real need to alter any settings. As a 64-bit program LandscapePro opens even very large (42MP or 50MP included) files surprisingly rapidly and navigation by dragging or scrolling, with variable magnification, is smooth and appears to be at full resolution for whatever screen view you set. The original image opens to a screen which allows you to drag identifying labels on to key areas such sky, grass, water, trees, plants, ground, and objects (anything with a distinct shape qualifies). From the points you position these labels, an auto mask floods whatever can be clearly identified as belonging to that group. The building on this page is a good example where the sky was identified and masked very well before using a clever drag-stretch tool to extend it in fine detail across difficult boundaries. Roof ridges, windows and metalwork
David Kilpatrick checks out the program which gives you instant changes of season, new skies for old, and a makeover for your landscapes, citysscapes and architecture.
Different coloured paint-on masks, which can be extended using a dragging tool which recognises boundaries, are used to tell LandscapePro which areas are sky, buildings, water, object (boat and birds), ground and people.
LandscapePro can automatically identify converging verticals and allows you to position a virtual horizon. The perspective correction (below right) is volumetrically natural. This sky was added from my own stock library.
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Tried&Tested can easily look like sky but it’s a matter of a few seconds to squish some ‘building’ mask on to them. With trees, it’s easy enough to complete the main masking actions and drag sky into gaps between branches which have otherwise been covered by the tree mask, but to make a clean job with leaves and twigs calls for working at 100% size and spending a considerable time fine tuning. Fortunately you get a soften tool which can gently hide quick work, and a sharpening restore tool which brings back the original edge. All the tools have Photoshop-like control, so the familiar keystrokes will enlarge or reduce the radius of the brush. The resulting multi-zone masking allows each element in the picture to be adjusted separately in many ways, ranging from contrast and white balance to noise reduction and simulated lighting effects. The entire picture can also be given a range of styled post-processes which go from restrained SilverEfex-like presets to very Alien Skin-like false colours and cross processes. It’s easy enough to turn your workaday digital colour capture
The examples on this page all use sky images from the built-in collection. For the RNLI RIB crew, the long lens had thrown the lighthouse into softer focus and the sharp sky behind this looks wrong – defocusing or blurring the sky is an option not yet offered in the controls. For Malleny House, above right, adjustments and enhancements were selected to imitate an Edwardian postcard. For the Budongo building below, lighting and colour effects were chosen to give a cross-processed otherworld look. into a Bamforth’s chromo-litho Edwardian postcard. The most obvious fix is the sky, and here you can start with blank white or a regular but uninteresting sky in your shot. A library of sky images comes with the program, and it’s clear that most have been taken using lenses
in the 28mm to 85mm range – there are no extremes of cloud perspective and horizon gradation. The image controls auto-position what they detect to be the horizon in your picture, and will also detect the convergence of the foreground and of buildings. You are provided with straighten controls which are
fairly sophisticated in the way they handle remapping wide-angle buildings, preventing you from going too far and keeping the visual weight of 3D about right. What the program can’t do is drop one of its sharp skies into a view with a blurred distance, and it’s not provided with extreme
wide-angle skies to match more than a few of my foregrounds. The answer is simple, you add your own skies; I have always taken sky shots for stock sales, ever since the 1970s when a single Kodachrome 17mm sky taken by Shirley earned over £1,000 in Tony Stone fees because they used it to add to dozens of other images. This also removes the accusation of being lazy and just using the set of sky drop-ins provided. The program can detect your clouds and even add just the clouds to any other sky, or the shadows of the clouds to the land – while making the grass look more spring-like, or the trees turn to autumn, or the whole shot become a misty sunset. I must emphasise the quality of the masking when you take care to use this program properly. Very large prints should be possible without any trace of matte edges and the plausibility or fantasy aspect of the result is entirely down to the operator. Overall LandscapePro is a very powerful program which will serve urban, industrial and architectural photographers with some great results… even better than those who haunt woods and mountains. Á ƒ2 Cameracraft discount offer – enter coupon no F2CAM www.landscapepro.pics/editions/
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PENTAX K-1 Richard Kilpatrick gets hands-on the new full frame Pentax with its Bayer-cancelled high resolution mode and built-in GPS, astro tracking, five axis stabilisation, large optical prism finder and 36 Tried&Tested megapixel new generation sensor.
hree or four years ago it looked as though there were two serious options for any professional photographer looking to stay within the 35mm form factor, and the current state of the market has witnessed erosion of that sector from below; mirrorless, lightweight affordable systems that have leveraged their nimble handling and unobtrusive nature to convince photographers to change shooting technique as much as platform. Sales figures suggest that the DSLR market is still strong, but in terms of mind-share, visibility and news you could be forgiven for thinking otherwise. When Pentax Ricoh announced their full-frame Pentax K-1 earlier this year, however, the general feeling was that this was a camera that would play well to existing Pentax users and stood a chance of recovering some of the historic market share enjoyed by this brand. There’s a lot of recognisable DNA within the K-1. Rapid access to the more experimental shooting modes, such as HDR, and the slightly dated four-button-pluscentre rear controller rather than the current trend for joysticks and rotating clickpads. Also recognisable for any long-term Pentax user is a particularly well designed and balanced body, with comfortable grip and sufficient relief for each of the controls to feel subtly different when working by touch. As with the K-5 series, when Pentax wants to make a camera aimed at serious users, they understand what those users really need. The Sv sensitivity and TAv priority modes are present, and no less than five custom user modes are accessible though a lockable hardware dial. As you’d expect of a high end full-frame body, full weathersealing is provided, dual SD card slots provide speed and redundancy, and the viewfinder is full coverage and a respectable magnification. For those used to the latest, bright and highresolution EVFs, the relatively dark
Pentax continues to disrupt the professional camera marketplace - after the medium format 645Z’s CMOS leap, the long-awaited full-frame DSLR has landed, and it’s got a few surprises beyond the £1599 price-tag.
Reminiscent of Sony’s tough retro-look A900, the K-1 body is much shorter so it appears deeper. The rubber eyecup is particularly comfortable and the eyepoint is good for spectacle wearers, with its 0.7X 100% screen view. The top controls left and right are physical and very solid, with a locking mode dial. Microphone and headphone sockets are provided and audio can be monitored and levels set manually. Nearly everything has its own button and most can be re-assigned.
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optical view can be a surprising reminder of how things used to be until you get outside into brilliant sunshine and it puts LCD finders into the shade. Of course, live view is provided on the 1.2Mp rear LCD. Also as you’d expect on a high-end full-frame body, the sensor is a respectable 36Mp unit. The 1/8000s shutter, 1/200s flash sync, stabilisation and full-frame coverage 33-point AF module complete the main specifications, and it adds up to a respectable professional body regardless of the brand. However, this is Pentax, and they’ve gone all out to make the K-1 the most comprehensively equipped DSLR you can buy without needing to buy add-on accessories for functions like GPS and WiFi. It’s worth remembering that only two other full-frame DSLRs with stabilised sensors exist, the original 2008 Sony A900 and the 2012 ‘translucent’ hybrid A99. With the A900 well outdated, there has been no choice in this market for a conventional optical-prism full frame DSLR offering stabilisation in the body with almost any lens you can fit. The K-AF mount is not the world’s most adaptable (K-mount and M42 screw thread lenses are the most practical) but there’s a vast quantity of excellent legacy glass out there which has been enjoying rediscovery through the Sony A7 series. Though it does not reverse for neatness and protected convenience, the rear LCD doesn’t merely flip, it articulates away from the body on a complex and incredibly strong mechanism allowing it to rotate and pivot. Then it also flips up for waistlevel shooting. It’s debatable how much use this articulation is for 95% of shooting situations, but when you’re setting up a trap-focus manual wildlife shoot and want perfect framing from an uncomfortable angle, it makes sense. On the inside face of the LCD panel are four bright LEDs, which can be selectively turned on to
illuminate the rear controls on the body (which are many). The card slots and lens mount can be similarly lit. At present, the built-in WiFi mode is supported only by smartphone remote applications – studio tethering still requires a USB lead. Third-party applications to tether over WiFi with the K-S2 are under development so there’s a chance an unofficial method will be provided, though an official WiFi extension to Ricoh’s Image Transmitter 2 software would be preferable and exceedingly useful for studio shooting. As with older Pentax DSLRs, the presence of both GPS and a fiveaxis stabilised sensor allows their ASTROTracer capability to work, where the camera uses the GPS location and ephemera to move the sensor during long nigh-sky exposures to avoid star trails. Using the GPS is particularly easy, a simple switch on the prism housing and a confirmation LED. The geo-tagging is embedded in the raw files and includes Electronic Compass direction, superior to the Canon 6D or 1DX MkII. With Sony’s now outdated A99 the only surviving model in their range to have GPS, and a general outcry from their mirrorless system community to restore this or offer an accessory, Pentax could easily see Sony owners selling up and buying back into a DSLR kit, benefiting from Sony’s recent lack of interest in this feature which they effectively pioneered in 2010. Sensor stabilisation also allows a few other tricks in the K-1, taking for granted the 4-5 stop handheld advantage any stabilisation provides these days. Slight deviation from horizontal can be corrected through sensor rotation. In macro work or with some lenses offering a wide image circle, a small amount of sensor shift (1.5mm) is usefully available. Perhaps most significantly, the K-1 is the first full-frame DSLR to offer Multi-Shot, where the sensor is moved in 1 pixel increments to capture red, green and blue data for each pixel. This does not yield
Left: the screen occupies most of the back which is surprisingly compacy end to end. Below: there are two SDXC card slots, with weather-sealed door, offering dual recording options.
The articulated rear screen takes some getting used to. It has titanium legs and looks a bit fragile but is actually very strong. The screen can be angled for portrait work.
The body has a good deep right hand grip.
Here it is seen in its landscape horizontal position.
a higher resolution file, but it does result in a much larger raw file – typically around 168MB. There is no need for colour interpolation, and the resulting images in the right conditions are astonishing. Studio captures where the camera and subject are perfectly still have a depth and detail that is
unmatched by any straight Bayer image. Using the electronic shutter capability of the sensor – unusually, limited only to this mode with no option for electronic first curtain or silent capture in any of the conventional modes – in good light and handheld Pentax
have almost nailed it for moving subjects too. There’s a mode for compensating for movement in the subject, which works best with very fast exposures (and hence, higher ISO) and as such is a matter of weighing up compromises.
The 70200mm with hand grip.
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At present there’s no flash triggering with Multi Shot modes, so studio portraiture for fashion and textile work is theoretically possible only with powerful continuous lighting. Longer exposure work with static subjects is entirely feasible by manually triggering the flash four times, during each of the brief exposure periods. If you work with stills in a studio or produce landscape and architectural shots where nothing moves, multishot gives you a genuine edge in terms of image quality and dynamic range, and is not to be underestimated in terms of what it adds to the camera’s ability; this can rival the best medium format systems for image capture. Pentax need to be more innovative in their approach to flash control, however, to allow automated studio flash with this mode; the same criticism can be levelled at conventional capture where trailing/second curtain sync is only possible with specific TTL flashguns. The electronic rather than physical triggering used by modern flash kit should make it possible for a dedicated trigger or compact system flash to produce four timed, matched bursts for the multishot mode – if the demand is there for Pentax to develop it.
How about the files? Able to save files in PEF or DNG formats, the K-1 also carries the usual range of Pentax postprocessing and in-camera abilities, with colour space adjustments, digital filters for special effects, lens correction and dynamic range for out of camera JPEG. Portrait photographers working out of camera will particularly appreciate the clarity and skin tone controls. There are four levels of JPEG quality, and cropped 15Mp images can be produced as an alternative to the full 36Mp. The multishot files are remarkable and can only be compared to much higher resolution medium format (including Pentax’s own 50Mp). At the native 36Mp all trace of structure disappears at ISO 100, with gradations so smooth our iMac monitors were unable to display them properly (banding is usually disrupted by very slight levels of noise – completely absent in the K-1 multishot raw or JPEG files alike). We took the quick pineapple and shirt test (cropped to APS-C as shown to keep file sizes down, as sending 160Mb raw riles backwards and forwards is not efficient!) up to the equivalent of 12000 pixels wide full frame, a 96Mp output from raw, and the level of detail retained was similar
The multishot mode captures a 160MB true RGB raw file with 36 megapixels of red, the same of green, and the same of blue. The quality is similar to a three-shot back and every final RGB image pixel has triple the effective colour bit depth to work with, allowing huge adjustments which are not used here. The colour fidelity (setting ‘Camera Natural’) is everything it needs to be right down to the pallid interior of the pineapple. The small sections are at 300dpi. Just take our word for it – for any given image size this is the ultimate route to detail, but you need a rock solid tripod. 24-70@50mm, ƒ8, 3 x 0.6s at ISO 100. to regular Bayer sensor with an AA filter, like a Canon 5D MkII, at 100%. Taken to 9000 pixels wide (54Mp) the image finesse was certainly a match for the Canon 5DS R native 51Mp full frame DSLR. We can not really show the qualities of these file properly in print and they are, in any case, our first tests and relatively quick. We hope to revisit the whole are of super-resolution shooting for still life and static scenes in the near future! Let’s just say that the K-1 is large format in disguise, but only if you are willing to work with a tripod and with continuous lighting (not really a problem with the quality of today’s LED gear). The only area in which the K-1 is merely average is in the provision of video. We’re primarily concerned with still capture, but for those looking at the specifications the implementation and controls are logical, but there’s no 4K movie capability, just 1080P/30 or 60i and below. As with the 645Z, time-lapse interval captures can be saved as a 4K movie, and this extends to the “Starstream” mode which combines ASTROtracer and
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interval for rather beautiful incamera star trail movies. Final image quality at base ISO and noise performance at higher settings are impressive. Pentax have pushed the limits of “acceptable” performance with their ISO 204,800 specification – 12,800-25,600 is really enough for practical tasks with a sensor of this resolution. Shooting speed and buffer times are also good for the class. However, all of this becomes less critical when you consider the K-1 is priced to undercut all other full frame high-end DSLRs.
The bottom line At £1599 inc. VAT it beats anything remotely comparable by £600 before considering the additional costs of adding full-feature WiFi control or GPS to such systems (at least £200 if not £500 worth of functionality). The range of customisation for control, although daunting, ensures the Pentax can be tailored for your workflow very quickly too. Alongside the K-1, a range of three professional full-frame lenses joined the extensive K-mount
family. We had the opportunity to use the 70-200mm and 24-70mm ƒ2.8 options during this initial review of the body, albeit with little opportunity for extensive testing. Initial impressions are promising, with well-built lenses that shout their robust credentials – the distinctive red lens gasket on the mount – handle well and focus quickly; the 70-200mm will go as close as 1.2m. As with any Pentax, the great lure for enthusiasts is the immense back catalogue of K-mount glass and yes – you can commit such crimes against image quality as shoving an old Vivitar Series 1 zoom on and find that the trap-focus works impeccably, the aperture controls work as well as any modern lens, and the final image can be as stylishly soft as you anticipated. Currently the 24-70mm has an RRP under £1200, making it one of the most competitively priced “own brand” lenses of that range and speed; the 70-200mm is £1849 and the 1530mm £1499. There’s an affordable 28-105mm ƒ3.5-5.6 kit lens. However there’s very little else in the FA full frame range: the 31mm
Stu Williamson lit his 10-year-old son, rugger fan Kai, using studio flash and his new 21st Century Tri-Flector at ISO 100 and ƒ10 (right hand column) at 68mm on the HD Pentax-D 24-70mm ƒ2.8 FA ED SDM lens. Top, a 240dpi (30 inch print) section from the shot. Below, from another portrait taken by daylight at ISO 1600 to show the typical performance of the sensor, reproduced at 300dpi.
ƒ1.8, 43mm ƒ1.8 and 77mm ƒ1.8 AL Limited set; 50mm and 100mm macros, a 50mm ƒ1.4, 35mm ƒ2, 150-450mm ƒ4.5-5.6, 200mm ƒ2.8, 300mm ƒ4 and 560mm ƒ5.6 primes. All other current Pentax lenses are DA (APS-C) designs. You don’t see many working professionals with Pentax DSLRs, and models like the K-5II really did raise the question of “why not?” given how much they offered. The K-1 takes things to another level; if you’re in the market for a full-frame DSLR and don’t require ridiculous frame rates, the K-1 is the best option out there. Priced to compete with higherend mirrorless, full featured and with capabilities well beyond traditional DSLRs, it’s astonishing to think that Pentax has jumped into full-frame relatively late in the game and managed to do so effectively, and at such a compelling price. Yet it shouldn’t be surprising, as the 645Z has undercut any comparable medium format digital, and is doing so backed up with a range of relatively affordable lenses that perform well above their price point. If more 35mm K-AF FA lenses are introduced then professional photographers will take Pentax very seriously indeed. But they’ll be looking for fast 24mm, 35mm, 85mm and perhaps 135mm designs and a filter-friendly ultrawide. As for the non-pro market, the K-1 should satisfy even the most technically adventurous . The GPS and compact size make it ideal for travel stock shooting. Conclusion? We’d have to say the K-1 is the best specified and priced full frame DSLR on the market right now. Á www.ricoh-pentax.eu ƒ2 Cameracraft September/October 2016 35
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Styling the Seasons - Stephanie Thornton & Steve Howdle
aking the stage at the annual big photographic show in the UK (right), the double act of Stephanie Ann Thornton and Steve Howdle has become a fixture of the professional calendar. Although some amateurs may well attend the workshops delivered by Steve and Stephanie, and learn a great deal about lighting and styling for beauty and hair shots, these pictures are not just vanity compositions using models and make-up. They are the headline promotional images for a very successful pro studio offering. Adult models show off the ideas and colours for concepts like the ‘Winter Blues’ here was created by Stephanie. A range of silver, white and blue fabrics and accessories (especially the hair decorations) combine with make-up to give a look which can be linked to anything from Disney film popularity to public holidays and seasonal festivities. So in the heat of summer, Thornton & Howdle were promoting exactly this look as a £75 sitting ideal for children, betweens or adults and bookable at either of their northern Leeds or southern Essex studios. We asked Thornton & Howdle to explore the seasons a bit more thoroughly after reviewing their portfolio and realising that this time of year, September, is exactly right for photographers planning to release a 2017 promotional calendar. Nothing like some good examples as inspiration! Many years ago, when colour litho printing was relatively new and exclusive, most of the UK’s top printers and repro houses (plus an equal number in Singapore, Italy and other world centres of colour print) bought stock 10 x 8" transparencies taken by Michael Barrington-Martin. In the days before digital retouching, his images were flawless and the models who sat for these portraits had remarkably perfect skin and hair. 44 September/October 2016 ƒ2 Cameracraft
Shooting with today’s 50 megapixel digital mediumformat – most recently, the Pentax 645Z used for the sunflower girl (bottom) – Steve Howdle learned his lighting from a generation which in turn learned from masters like BarringtonMartin. Early in his freelance career, he was spotted by the largest hair products brand on the market and quickly refined studio techniques for hair shots, winning awards for himself and also for the hairdressers involved. Teaming up with Stephanie brought the previously rather reclusive Howdle into the world of social photography – he had always run a commercial studio, shooting catalogue fashions and products, never working for the public. Stephanie in contrast had a business based on portraiture, families, children and a different kind of rapport with the subject. Steve’s work had normally involved paid models – Stephanie’s work was mostly for the sitter as the client. With Steve looking after studio set, the lighting and the camera configuration Stephanie completes the shoot by creating the ‘style book’ for the shot, directing the sitter and pressing the shutter – while both work with a small team, as needed, for make-up and provision of art directed fashion accessories. This way of working should not be beyond any photographer with access to a creative network. Colour and the post-process ‘look’ are important in these photographs but most of the work is done in front of the camera and not in the computer. The full story of the ‘Winter Blues’ styling can be found in our Master Photography magazine issue for January/February 2016 – you can read the three-page story and the result of the issue on-line here: http://bit.ly/29YZdhy –DK Á
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PAINTING OVER THE CRACKS
STEPHEN POWER TALKS TO THREE PHOTOGRAPHERS WHO HAVE TURNED – OR RETURNED – TO PAINTING THEIR SUBJECTS INSTEAD
OVER the years, we’ve watched the careers of many photographers change, sometimes leaving behind the camera completely, the same way that others often enter photography as a second career. More young photographers are art-college qualified then ever before, more have portfolio skills encompassing digital creation or movie production. For those with a lifetime of photography behind them, a background in fine art or graphic design is more likely. We asked Associate Editor Stephen to talk to three such photographers, well-known in their own specialised fields, who have returned to the easel and palette alongside their camerawork. They are John Eagle in Ireland, Ed Buziak in France and Roger Harvey in England. Long live Europe!
JOHN EAGLE: MIGRATING TO FLY HIGHER
n 1993, John Eagle, a native of Oxford, was cutting grass as part of an Irish employment scheme in South West County Cork, when he got a very ambitious idea. “I was watching a helicopter taking off and landing regularly, while I working on Dinish Island” says John. “I dreamed up the idea of taking aerial shots of lighthouses, never thinking for a second it would succeed. I actually just fancied going for rides in helicopters.” John, whose interest in photography began when his brother gave him a Kodak 127 camera in the early 1960s, had been visiting Ireland with his mother on holidays from around that time, after she bought a house near Eyeries on the Beara peninsula. John purchased his own property 3 miles down the road and moved in permanently in 1991. John will tell you that he doesn’t have the mindset of an
John Eagle and Irish Coastguard helicopter, above. Below, Fanad Lighthouse from the air and Fastnet Lighthouse from sea level. astute businessman. However, this statement belies the huge amount of planning, networking and arranging of sponsorship and financing that went into what became a massive – and important – sixteen-year project to photograph every major lighthouse on the Irish coastline. He began by contacting a local fish farm manager, Barney Whelan,
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who gave him sponsorship for the first batch of postcards. “On the first 12 postcards”, John explains, “there is a blue fish which was part of the Salmara Salmon sponsorship. I printed 54, 000 in 1994 and sold 48, 000 of them. The Fastnet and Mizen lighthouse images sold best from that series.” John reprinted the Fastnet postcards in 1994, and has
done so in successive years since, re-shooting some locations and re-numbering the collection as he included new images. Print quality for the postcards was a paramount concern and initially they were printed in Cumbria. In 1995 John began using a company based in Ireland and ordered 250, 000 cards. He quickly saw that the quality was inferior by comparison. He had borrowed £5,000 from his brother to cover the cost of printing the cards but found it difficult to recoup the money from sales, due to the poor print quality. That's when Sue Hill of The Heron's Cove restaurant in Goleen, West Cork, stepped in. Realising that John was in serious financial trouble, she put her restaurant logo on the back of the Fastnet, Crookhaven and Mizen postcards and over the years has bought many thousands of postcards for sale at her business premises and the Mizen Head visitors centre.
Sue has also made a huge display board for John’s work at the Centre and hung 30 x 20 inch prints of his work on the walls. Having changed his printer to Graham and Sons, in Omagh, John felt that ‘a true businessman’ would have stopped at covering the lighthouses on the south coast of Ireland. However, the artist in him decided that wasn’t enough and he set out to shoot even more lighthouses. David Bedlow, who oversaw the operation of helicopter flights at the Commissioners of Irish Lights, would let John know if there was a spare seat on a flight to a lighthouse he wanted to photograph. John would then arrive at the helicopter pad and be flown to it, free of charge. These trips generated commissioned shoots for Irish Lights and John eventually flew on dozens of flights with them. He became the first photographer to achieve the momentous feat of shooting every lighthouse on the Irish coastline and – in the era of the ubiquitous drone – he is probably the only one to have done it using helicopters. John’s interest in painting began at school, but on leaving he didn’t pursue it again until he moved to Ireland in November 1991. He spent a Winter in the village of Allihies, in West Cork, where eminent oil painter Maurice Henderson lived. John would go to his house to watch him paint, and Maurice gave John his first lessons in oils. John states that he rebelled against what had been taught to him, in order to find his own style. His first exhibition in Ireland, at the inaugural Beara Arts Show in the mid 1990’s, was a hit with his fellow exhibitors but not with
John Eagle: johneaglephoto.com Sarah Walker Gallery: sarahwalkergallery.com The Heron’s Cove B&B & Restaurant: www.heronscove.com Mizen Head Visitor Centre: www.mizenhead.net Above: After Sheep; below, Moonlight on the Beara Valley. Both oil on canvas. the exhibition organiser, who considered his work too avantgarde for the show. John’s oil was (in his words) “relegated to a hair dresser’s window”. This setback slowed John’s painting output down considerably, until Irish artist John Brennan suggested that he might try to be less exact and more freeflowing with his technique. He was initially very reluctant to exhibit his new techniques at the Beara Arts Show in 2000, but with the aim of “keeping people happy” he submitted a black and white scene of a rowing boat in a storm, called Seine Boats. John remembers clearly the show organisers asking how much he wanted for it. With a shrug he told them £100 pounds would be fine, and they told him that the price would need to be increased to £145 to include their
commission. He had the painting framed and was staggered that it sold quickly for the full asking price; later to be exchanged by the buyer for a sheep. That same buyer purchased a further 14 of John’s oils and also helped to promote his work around Ireland, including arranging his 2005 exhibition “Elements” at the Old Market Arts Centre in Dungarvan, County Waterford, where he sold 17 oil paintings. In the same year, John sold a total of 36 oils, and his work continued to sell throughout the recession with total sales of around 190 painting to date, around the world. His paintings are also now on show at the prestigious Sarah Walker Gallery in Castletownbere, West Cork. John has an emotional attachment to his paintings and states that the worst part of the
work is that he misses the ones he has sold. There has also been a lot of advice along the way, too. “So many people have told me I paint too dark, that I should lighten up, and it got to the point where I stopped painting because I started to listen to them”, says, John. He then met artist Tim Goulding, well-known for his Bog Fire paintings, who advised him to paint whatever he wanted, regardless of whether it sold or not, which stopped him from trying to please other people. This resulted in several very large and important sales, including 15 oils to Dick Grogan, a columnist with the Irish Times newspaper. Painting sales paid for John’s first digital SLR camera, a Canon EOS 5D, which in turn helped him to get more photography work for businesses that needed aerial shots. This work then helped John to buy a 5D MkII and the 5D MkIII (his current DSLR). Despite his success – and skill – with a camera, John regards photography as “donkey work”, which pays the bills and gives him something to do when he’s not painting or organising tours of lighthouses across Ireland. Most people know him a photographer, he says, especially those that have bought his two very successful lighthouse photo books. The second one, published by the Collins Press in 2010, was reprinted in 2013. John’s brother recently gave him the gift of a Phantom 3 Advanced Drone to “broaden my horizons” and John is very pleased to say that it did. He now flies it off the coast to get the shots for which he would have previously needed a large, noisy and expensive helicopter. Á
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ED BUZIAK: PHOTOGRAPHY IN THE BLOOD
’ve always had photography in my blood” says Ed Buziak. He was a war baby, born in 1944 and his mother used to swap ration-book food coupons for the one roll of film a week the local chemist was able to source. “So, from literally my first breath a camera was poked in my face” he explains “and I guess the magic and curiosity from being the subject of those tiny deckle-edged black-and-white prints grew to become a life-changing photoshooting situation for me.” Ed was entrusted (his own word) with his first camera - a Kodak Box-Brownie - at the age of eleven, during his first school holiday abroad. From then on, the act of framing a view, or pet cat, or schoolmates in the viewfinder became a skill that was unique to him amongst his friends. Hearing Ed describe how he would click the shutter with bated breath, then carefully wind-on the film to the next number appearing behind the red window, it’s easy to see how the bug for creating an image developed in the budding creative artist. The photographic bug became so strong that in 1974, on his 30th birthday, Ed gave up a well-paid career as Senior Production Designer with Granada TV and became a freelance photographer. “For the past 42 years I have basically lived by my wits, and a few other interests”, he candidly admits. However, he had given some thought to his change of career before making the move. “A couple of years before I left my job, I had entered several big photo competitions” says Ed. “I won enough motor-driven Nikon F bodies and a bag full of lenses to enable me to cover any kind of freelance assignment, after I’d previously touted my portfolio around, of course.” As a freelance photographer, Ed quickly realised that mailing single images to editors didn’t result in regular reproduction fees. What he found really grabbed an editor’s attention, was to provide a picture story consisting of three or four images accompanied by several hundred words of pertinent copy. An interesting story line - which didn’t have to be ‘current news’ per se but more of a ’soft feature’ to put between the hard news – usually guaranteed acceptance. In the late 1970’s Focal Press asked him to write The Focal Guide to Selling Photographs (published in 1979). This is the book that has encouraged and inspired
Ed Buziak at Saachi Art: www.saatchiart.com/ed.buziak very many aspiring freelance photographers (this writer amongst them) to find ways to make money with their cameras. Ed remembers supplying an 110,000 word text with which his publishers were not pleased, as the contract had stipulated only 55,000 words. This resulted in very heavy editing and another important lesson learned. “It shows that I’ve always enjoyed adding words to images to round-out a visual scenario”, says Ed. “I almost regard it as an insult to the viewer’s intelligence when I see images posted on social media sites which haven’t even been captioned with a location or the name of the subject. “A great quote from Rudyard Kipling which I have adhered to throughout my freelance career is: I had six honest serving men. They taught me all I knew. Their names were: Where, What, When, Why, How and Who.” Ed studied Art as the major subject in his final years at grammar school because of a desire to go on to attend art college. One of the teacher
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trainees in the sixth-form at his school was the Merseyside poet and pop artist Adrian Henri, who then became one of his tutors at art college. “The international art scene was very exciting in those days, so I’ve always drawn and painted and in fact sold my first abstract works more than fifty years ago”, he says. “A few years ago a Facebook friend posted a snap of one of my paintings still in the same house where it was first hung in the early 1960s by the original purchaser.” These days, Ed considers himself to be primarily a painter rather than a photographer. He feels that photography has become too easy; too ‘automatic’. “My first proper camera was a Nikkormat FS – the strippeddown version of the Nikon F – but without an exposure meter”, Ed explains. “This made the practice more difficult to start with, but with a more positive learning curve. Nowadays, everything is so automated it’s difficult to do anything badly – except perhaps compose.” Ed says that he loves the
‘hands-on’ process of drawing and painting as much as he loved photography when he spent hours every day in his darkroom developing thousands of rolls of film and making countless black-and-white prints. He vividly remembers the associated chemical smells and clock-timer ticking sounds under the glow of an amber or red safelight. He has used digital imaging software over the last 10 years to contribute digital images to Alamy and other stock photo agencies,
Top left, Homage to Verner Panton, acrylic on canvas by Ed Buziak (with Saatchi Art). Below left: Ed at work on a self portrait in his studio. Above: installing fibre optic cable, taken from a hotel window. Below: a man who regularly sells fresh produce from the pavement in the town where Ed lives. Both photographs ÂŠ Ed Buziak and sold through his regular photographic outlet, Alamy.
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Ed with work in progress in his French village studio. but it just doesn’t have the same appeal for him as being in a ‘wet’ darkroom. Ed had a similar experience related to his darkroom work, 20 years ago, after he replaced his manual Durst enlarger for a computerised one. “I struggled printing the shiny oiled steel ‘valve gear’ of a steam locomotive against deep shadows with the manual enlarger, he explains. “Whenever I printed the negative on a different paper stock, I had to make many test-strips to see an acceptable result. “However, with the computerised Durst Laborator L1200 all I had to do was swish the measuring probe across the baseboard randomly and the enlarger’s computer would indicate the paper to a tenth of a grade and exposure time to a hundredth of a second.” What Ed realised – after initially appreciating the Durst’s energy and materials saving capabilities – was that his darkroom was becoming too automated. “The trials and tribulations of a couple of hours under the safelights were replaced by five minutes’ start-to-finish for a quick ’perfect’ print. No sweat, little emotion, and ultimately less pleasure at having done it myself”. Before his move to France Ed edited and published, for a period, Camera and Darkroom magazine – one of the inspirations for this title and now a collector’s find. For his stock photography work Ed concentrates on what is around him locally, keeping the photographic equipment to a minimum. “All I own is one body and three old manual Nikkor lenses; a 24mm wide-angle, 55mm macro and 135mm short telephoto. They’re all I need to supply Alamy stock agency with interesting images and I can wander around France – which has very strict privacy laws – without being thought of as a pro photographer.”
Ed states that around 60% of his recent stock image have been taken within a few minutes’ walk of where he lives. His best-selling image – of a World War Two map, copied from a French textbook found at a local car-boot sale – has sold 37 times. Ed’s artwork became much more concentrated during the last ten years of his late wife’s battle with multiple sclerosis. He was her sole carer and did not leave her side for more than a few hours at a time. “So, I spent much of the day near her bed with my sketchbooks and crayons and paints, hopefully amusing (but probably confusing to a greater extent) her with my ideas and output”, he says. His artwork is primarily abstract, and Ed generally has several themes on the go at any one time. Some art is completed very quickly in minutes, whereas a large graphic image such as the 1-meter square abstract, using the outline shapes of a Verner Panton chaise-longue, took three weeks to complete. The wide angle general photograph of part of his studio (above), in a quiet French hamlet, has several examples of what is typically coming from his mind to his canvas. Some of Ed’s artwork is viewable on-line with Saatchi Art and other art-based websites. He has also recently started using Patreon where the public can sponsor him for a fixed amount every month for which they receive an artwork. Ed feels that this is a neat way of buying his art on credit terms spread over the year, “although I must push that opportunity harder” he states. Interestingly, some of the artwork of this artist with photography in his blood, has been licensed for publication by Alamy stock image library, often for fees greater than was paid for the original work. Á
ROGER HARVEY: LIFE CHANGES, ART GOES ON
here are creative artists whose careers are defined by one major success in one specific field. Then, there are those whose work spans more than one genre and whose success is so wide-ranging that it is hard to quantify it succinctly in a brief magazine article. Roger Harvey is one of those people. Furthermore, he is not only one of the most achieved creative artists around but also a most charming and self-effacing man. He might reel-off a long list of high-end photography and art clients, in the matter-of-fact manner that most people will tell you what they had for dinner. Then, while your jaw is still on the rebound from hitting the desk, he will apologise for sounding conceited and explain that his success is really all down to luck. He does acknowledge, however, that he has had a long and very varied professional career: “That is the story of my life” he says with a chuckle; “it keeps on changing”. Not only did Roger have a very auspicious career as a photographer, he continues to have an equally successful one as an artist. Luck has nothing to do with it, though. Roger is an immensely talented photographer and painter. Perhaps as importantly, he and his wife, Chris, combine to form a strong business team that are able to recognise and build on profitable leads and opportunities. Roger was born in Coventry in 1936 and witnessed what, for a young boy, must have been the terrifying ordeal of his city “getting a right pasting” on at least two occasions, during the Coventry Blitz. He found himself being evacuated with his mother – his engineer father had to remain in Coventry - first to his grandfather in Ashburton in Devon and then to Barnoldswick in Yorkshire. Most of his schooling was done in Coventry following the family’s return to the city, towards the end of World War II. Roger recalls, at the age of eleven, taking a 127 camera on a school trip to Liverpool and recording the events of the day. These photographs – including a portrait of the Headmaster spitting out cherry stones – won first prize in the school’s end of year photography competition, for which Roger received a book on photography which he still has in his possession. On leaving school, he won a scholarship to Coventry College of Art, where he studied landscape
From Roger Harvey’s photographic life: the site of the Tate West, St Ives, Cornwall; below, interior of Ships & Castles, Falmouth.
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Oil paintings made with the help of photography as a notepad and source, by Roger Harvey. Above, a very traditional English landscape of Suffolk Harvest. Below, a popular destination for photographers and artists alike, Obidos Lagoon in Portugal. See: www.rogerharveyart.co.uk
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and portraiture painting, amongst other artistic skills. Roger then joined The Royal Air Force and it was there that he got one of his first commissions; to paint a portrait of President Roosevelt, from a photograph, to hang in the squadron Mess. It was while painting in Spain in the late 1970s that Roger was asked to make a small portrait of a man he met on a golf course. It transpired that he was the brother of the Coventry Evening Telegraph editor, who then asked Roger to paint a portrait of the Coventry rugby star David Duckham, as a gift on receiving his MBE. As occasionally happens in the life of a visual creative – although not always – one thing led to another. His painting of David Duckham was seen by George Best, who asked Roger to paint his portrait. In his own words “the flood gates opened” and commissions for painted portraits came in thick and fast from sporting glitterati including Nick Faldo, Alan Ball, Mick Mills, John Lloyd, Chris Evett, and many others. Chris Evett was so pleased with her portrait that she gave Roger the shoes that she had worn in her successful Wimbledon championship that year, 1980. Signed limited edition prints of Roger’s painting of the Liverpool football team, which still hangs in the Anfield stadium to this day, were originally sold for £60 each. Today, in good condition, one will fetch anything up to £1500. Roger’s photography business came out of his love for the craft, but also from necessity, when he was working as a marketing and PR consultant, following his time in the RAF. “I was at a bit at loss” he says. “So, I got a job and some training in marketing and PR through the company and built that up”. “One of the professors who trained me gave me the incentive to start my own business and I began by advising people on how to promote their own businesses. I needed to commission photography to use in mailshots I was preparing for my clients, but quickly became disappointed with the quality of the images”, he explained. Roger decided to buy his first professional camera (a Minolta Autocord) and before long found himself contacted by Graham Wainwright of Leeds camera centre, who became a personal friend. Graham asked Roger to photograph a new tripod for publicity purposes and insisted on him using a Hasselblad that Graham provided. Roger was so impressed with the quality that he bought one himself and has never looked back.
As a social and portrait photographer, Roger has several remarkable achievements to his name. These include photographing over 20,000 portraits of children in ten years as a consequence of pioneering the Cherubs child photography promotion. He was given the catchment area from Newquay to St Austell, in Cornwall, where he was based at the time. This led to work in general practice photography, plus lucrative commercial assignments. His clients in that field – to mention but a few – have included Volkswagen, Siemens, BMW, Jenoptik, McAlpine, and architect David Shalev OBE. Roger’s fisheye photograph of Tate West in St Ives, taken while he was inside a bucket, hanging from a crane 140 feet in the air, has been published all over the world (see page 53). Other indicators of Roger’s success in photography include eight Fuji Platinum Photographer of the Year Awards and Associateships of both the British Institute of Professional Photography and the Master Photographers Association. It was while working in Cornwall that Roger was diagnosed with COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease) in 2006. His medical consultant gave him the dire warning that unless he moved out of Cornwall, he would die. This shocking pronouncement, that left Roger speechless, was made on the basis that the average rainfall was very high and a less damp climate would help him. Roger and Chris moved to Suffolk, which has much lower rainfall, shortly afterwards.
Unfortunately, he became ill again within two years with double pneumonia and septicaemia. His survival, Roger is certain, was solely due to his “bloodymindedness”. This did curtail his travel plans for five years though, as he was “grounded” by his present consultant. It is only in recent months that he has been given permission to fly again, as his health is, thankfully, improving. Throughout his photography career, Roger continued to paint and became a full-time professional artist in 2009. His most recent commission was for the Kings Troop Royal Horse Artillery, of an officer in full uniform (above). Roger uses photography as reference for his paintings and prefers to take the shots himself, where possible. He asked to photograph the officer, only to be told that a photograph had been already taken, by one of Her Majesty’s official photographers. In addition, the same image was being used to illustrate a stamp. This could have caused copyright issues, but Roger was able to arrange for copyright restrictions to be waived by the photographer and Royal Mail. Roger believes passionately that the camera is a cornerstone to his paintings and that there is a very close link between art and photography. He stresses that the Old Masters discovered this connection, too, with their use of the camera obscura. “Painters like Caravaggio, Leonardo da Vinci, Rembrandt, Vermeer and Canaletto all used camera obscura” he explains. “This is where the great masterpieces came from, because
they used a camera to form the basic image. Vermeer’s Girl with a Pearl Earring has been x-rayed to show a perfect circle in the reflection of the earring. This says to me that he must have been using a camera obscura to enable him to paint the highlight to form a perfect circle, which would have been impossible to do otherwise.” Regular commissions for portraits and other styles of paintings and drawing are being received all of the time via his website and Roger is more than happy to oblige. “My life is currently dedicated to painting landscapes and seascapes and human and dog portraits”, he states with a smile. His weekday routine is very disciplined, a trait he attributes to his Services background. He wakes at 6.30am, paints until 10.30am then stops to make his own coffee – “just the way I like it” – then paints again until lunchtime, concluding his painting at tea time with a little work later to clean his brushes thoroughly. Roger sums up his life and career in this humble way: “I’m just an ordinary guy that’s had a bit of luck. I’ve worked hard, I’ve got a wonderful wife and a wonderful family, and we just go on. Some days I think ‘I haven’t sold a bloody thing this month. No one likes my work at all’. Then, I have days like today when a gallery owner calls to say that he sold a new painting within minutes of my leaving it with him.” Without doubt, this hugely talented and amiable man will continue to enjoy more days like those for the rest of his everchanging life. Á
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LIGHT AND FOG
he still autumn colours and soft mists of Scott Johnson’s contemplative view of the exterior landscape of Auschwitz contrast with the sharpness of darker details. Though the shadows can never be lifted, there is a quality to his 120 rollfilm images which eludes digital capture, from luminous colour to ominous black and white. Essex-based Scott has been in the spotlight for his wedding work, winning the Graphistudio Album of the Year two years running and gaining his FBIPP in that difficult field in March 2015. Later that year, Scott and his wife travelled
to Krakow and like many visitors made a pilgrimage to Auschwitz. “We went on a glorious autumn day, but it was very overwhelming listening to the horrors that took place there, and I didn’t take a single frame on the Rolleiflex film cameras I had packed for the trip. “When we got back to the hotel we realised we needed to go back – I needed to photograph it. So the next morning we hired a taxi. The weather was totally different – cold, foggy and very eerie with not a single other visitor in sight. We had only a two-hour window for our taxi but I knew where I wanted to photograph. I used my Rolleiflex
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‘T’ and Tele with Kodak Ektar, Ilford HP5 and Delta 3200 metering with a Sekonic 508. Due to the fog, I shot the HP5 at ISO 1600 (pushed +2), but the Ektar at box speed with +0.5 push for a little more ‘punch’ to bring the colours out.” The films were ‘dipped and dunked’ by Christian and Erica Ward (UK Film Lab, just moved to Canada) and you can find them as Canadian Film Lab still hand processing for clients worldwide (www.canadianfilmlab.com). The prints were made on Fujifilm Museum Rough by Loxley Colour. “My intention was not to shoot for a qualification submission,
but after exhibiting a handful as part of BIPP’s touring showcase, I was encouraged to put in for a second Fellowship, this time in Documentary photography. We think it is the first purely film-based panel in over ten years. “I would love to take it to bigger exhibitions and I’m holding a masterclass at the SWPP Convention 2017 about my journey – both to Auschwitz, and back to film. Any profit from print sales and talks will be donated to charity.” Á www.theedgephotography.co.uk @theedgepics
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LESSONS FROM A REAL OLD TIMER
ere’s a head-scratcher: Today we love the kind of absolute control that programs like Photoshop provides to the photographer. We covet widedynamic range sensors for those occasions where we want details in the bride’s dress and the groom’s tux. You would figure that this kind of control was always the norm – that in the days before digital, professional photographers would use negatives instead of slides because negatives have a wider dynamic range and you can make certain adjustments to the final image like you can in Photoshop. But you’d be wrong. Despite all the drawbacks, professional photographers always shot on slides, and when you understand what the printing process was like back in those days, it’s not hard to understand. The first thing you need to know is that low-ISO slide film like Kodachrome 64 was considered sharper than negatives, and had the greatest stability of any other color process (as long as it wasn’t projected continuously). Kodachrome was so sharp that there were legions of old Leica photographers who could look at a slide with a magnifying glass and can just tell that the image was shot using Leica glass. Of course none of those differences showed up in magazine print! Slides were also less expensive, especially if you’re the kind of photographer that would take 500 pictures just to ensure you got the one saleable shot. The other reason that print houses demanded slides was so the person doing the plate separations would be able to know when they got the exposure and color balance right; whereas if they started with a negative, they could never be sure the result was as the photographer had intended – and guide prints got lost very easily, giving many a photographer an ulcer once the publication came out, and by that time it was too late. Shooting with slides also meant you really had to know what you were doing in order to get it right in the camera – the equivalent of shooting with JPEG only – exactly
the opposite of the conventional wisdom of today. Only those who could do so could hope to make a living as a published photographer.
Gary Friedman recalls the heyday of darkroom work and silver images – when nothing much changed except a few more years in the dark, and his own revolution in print exposure and grading control
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In addition to malleability, negatives also had the advantage of being able to send copies everywhere, not worrying about if some got lost since the negatives would be cataloged and indexed and stored in a cool, dry place. I know this because I have half a lifetime of negatives and slides that have all been cataloged over the years for easy retrieval. The binders containing slides are numbered and there’s a “table of contents” for each one. The storage of negatives was a bit more involved, since it’s nearly impossible to just throw negatives into plastic sheets and browse for the negative you’re looking for later on. With negatives, you had to make proof sheets to really be able to see what you had. To make a contact proof sheet, you took a piece of 8x10 photo paper, placed all the negative strips on top, covered the whole thing with a piece of glass, and exposed the photo paper via the controlled light from an enlarger. Proof printers helped by keeping the strips in order and adding space for dates and info. The contact sheet gave you a 1:1 enlargement of each frame you shot, in positive form, from which you could choose the ones you wanted to work with. Just as it’s impossible to impose Zone-system-specific developing for each frame when you shoot roll film, so too was it impossible to have every frame in your roll “proof” properly – you have to have one exposure that makes all of them look good on average. For economy I made B&W proofs of my color negatives too, making them a little bit harder to see initially. Later, in the 1990s, when B&W became more expensive than color, I did proof sheets in color. Each proof sheet then got a 3-hole punch and a piece of masking tape, on which I would
A lifetime of negatives and slides cataloged for retrieval.
A proof sheet which showed you every frame at a single glance.
write the date and subject matter (and also a subject code – clearly I was destined to work with databases when I was young), and the negatives went into a plain envelope with the same information written across the top. Oh, and I never bothered with negative sleeves (glassine sleeves designed to protect the negatives from scratching during ordinary handling). I just treated them carefully. The only scratched negatives in my possession were scratched by the 1-hour photo place that developed them. I think if you add up all of the time spent in the darkroom making proof sheets across 30 years, it would probably total between three or four years’ worth of life energy. That’s a lot of time I could have spent being with my friends or breathing fresh air!
The Perils of Printing
Negatives last a lifetime with simple storage arrangements – rather longer than some of the unused photographic paper kept with them.
Significantly more darkroom work was required to print the selected images, resulting in even more anti-social isolation. The process was so tedious that I invented a computerized darkroom controller, built around my Hewlett Packard 41C calculator. The calculator had
full control over the enlarger; it would analyze the lightest, darkest and ‘18% greyest’ parts of the negative,, recommend an exposure time and polycontrast filter number (top) for most pleasing results, and directly control the enlarger lamp for the recommended duration. To measure the multiple values I invented the GF RAT hand-held metering probe (below). The calculator would also keep track of all the prints in all the chemicals and issue distinct audible alerts when it was time to move a print from one bath to the next (lower photo). This alleviated much of the “dog work” in the darkroom and left me freer to concentrate on the more creative aspects of printmaking. Then digital happened. And like most poor souls I had the unenviable task of having to digitize my prized and profitable images. I used a Nikon Super Coolscan LS-2000 (the “cool” part of “Coolscan” referred to the fact that it used LEDs for illumination, rather than a conventional light bulb), which attached to my PC via a SCSI connector and took between 30 and 90 seconds to scan and remove dust and
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scratches from both slides and negatives. And, heartache of heartaches, the dust-and-scratchremoving software used by the scanner would not work on Kodachrome slides nor silver halide-containing B&W negatives (it has something to do with the IR light used by the scanner which can only detect dust against an IR-transparent chromogenic C41 negative or E6 slide), so each of those images had to be cleaned up by hand. I also had invested in the very first photo-quality inkjet printer – the original HP Photosmart printer circa 1996, whose output looked and felt just like a real photograph, and whose dye-based inks still look great today despite hanging in frames for decades. Interestingly, when originally introduced, HP angered the entire graphic arts community (you know, the printer’s demographic) by only releasing drivers for the PC and not for the Mac. (“Because Macs only have a single-digit market share!”) MBAs can justify lots of inept decisions. Today, everything has changed. Although I still rely on the skills learned as a Kodachrome shooter to get as much of it right in the camera as possible, I also use Photoshop and Lightroom to tweak my images a little bit (and to replace faces when shooting uncooperative kids).
Above: focus finder, print easel and self-built analyser/timer – the good old days? Below: negative rephotographed using a digital SLR, on a light table, and positive conversion. This school project did not get a young Gary hauled in by the FBI. certainly something different and for the love of the art and science (the real camera craft) many disused darkrooms are being refitted. There’s also a great choice of materials, now revived by small makers after the majors declined. Assuming you exercise proper digital hygiene (have offsite copies; use a file system that protects against bit rot as I mention in my blog at http://bit.ly/2a023jS), your digital assets should outlast your negatives and slides AND they’re searchable as well! But I’ll never get rid of any of my old unscanned and “nonexcellent” negatives either, for you never know which images will become more valuable – and in general, ALL images become more valuable over time, some much more than others. Photography is like fine wine in this regard. For the same reason, never throw away your silver-process real darkroom prints (or even real lab prints, pre-scan and digital printer days). They are now vintage authentic originals, even if you refit your darkroom and start making new wet-process prints for the love (and the value) of it. Á See: www.friedmanarchives.com
Family silver As time goes on, some older images that I had never used suddenly become valuable. For example, last year there was a viral news story about a kid who repackaged a digital alarm clock and brought it to school, only to have the teachers call the bomb squad and have the kid suspended. That triggered an instant flashback to when I was in High School and I actually DID design my own clock – well, it was a time machine, a prop I built for a friend who was making a timetravel movie. The red counting LEDs reset after 12 and the months after 31. Anyway, I wanted to use that for an op-ed piece I wrote about how times had changed, so I dug up the negatives of this device at the time and, since the Nikon scanner doesn’t work anymore, I resorted to my NEW method of scanning film: my old light table, a macro lens, and a tripod. I use the 1:1 macro lens to shoot the negative as it lies on the light table with my 42MP Sony A7R II, and then use Photoshop to convert it to a positive image. You get a larger file size too: 7952 x 5304 pixels versus 3779 x 2522 pixels from that
generation of Coolscan. With this setup you can really see how much better that Leica glass was! Even the highest resolution desktop film scanners at around 5000dpi are beaten by today’s DSLRs and mirrorless models.
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No-so good old days Would I go back to these “simpler times”? No. Do I envy the hipsters who like to shoot film because it’s cool? Double no. There is nothing better about film, though there’s
More about the enlarger controller and other photography-related inventions can be found on Gary’s blog at http://bit.ly/1Fe6wpn. If you’re interested in the nutsand-bolts details of how to build your own automated darkroom controller (and many other useful things!), read his very first book Control the World with HP-IL available free at http://bit.ly/29WT8gv
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LIGHTREADING A LITTLE
Martin Grahame-Dunn looks back to a painted past to see it as it might have been photographed
sat down to pen this piece after completing a two day workshop in the Peak District of Derbyshire where the key word has been ‘painterly’. I wanted a literary theme now in keeping with my own journey. In essence, one that is backward in time to my own origins, captivated in the world of fine art – painting. The problem has been that for nearly all of my photographic career, I have not been in love with photography and as an artist, have found it difficult to personally validate it as an art form. Was it my perception of accessibility to all and sundry with everything from a camera phone upwards to wake up one morning and call themselves a photographer? My only real pleasure has been in the conceptualisation of the images I created for clients where my camera for life, or so I thought, was a Hasselblad loaded with film? Or perhaps its because I had become lazy and to make a photographic capture had become too easy for me? In any case, it was a conflict. We all have pivotal moments of enlightenment or re-enlightenment in our lives. Mine came when a literary artist came into my life and asked the questions, ‘why don’t you paint anymore?’ and ‘when was the last time you actually did anything creative?’. I became painfully aware that the images I had been making for years and for clients were fit for purpose, saleable but to me, profoundly disposable. Fine art has always been about longevity and provenance. And although the works of my art heroes were created in the Renaissance from the 14th-17th centuries (and just as much commissioned work for a client as we do today as working photographers) in my own mind it is eminently superior in every way. I asked myself, why not simply put down the camera and go back to painting in the manner I know so well? Oils and natural mediums lovingly moved over the face of a ‘School of Art’ canvas. Sketches made in charcoal. Rough layouts in pastels. No, this all seemed like too much hard work with the busy life I lead. I needed to finally face the challenge of facing my demons and falling in love with the medium I’ve worked with for the last 37 years. The voice in my head came through loud and
Above: ‘The wayward daughter’ by Erika Hiscocks (absolute newcomer, taken during the workshop). Below: ‘Vindication’ by Martin Grahame-Dunn – Image from ‘Shadows of Magdalene’ poetry collection © Katypoetess 2016
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clear, “Martin, just get on with it and create your own art with the camera as a tool and move light, colour and texture around your virtual canvases as you would paint – and for God’s sake, make sure you make prints!” What I have never lost is the artistic temperament, the passion for what I do and the typical moods to go with it! Time to solve my problem and get on with it. September of 2015, a few days break in Champagne, quaffing that nectar of the Gods, eating fine food and soaking up the lifestyle of artist and muse, really changed everything. Too many years working outside of my own country resulting in a disengagement with the domestic market needed sorting out. Travelling the globe and training photographers from all walks of life has been fun but its exhausting and my greatest pleasure has been helping others to achieve their goals and ambitions. Time to revisit my own provenance and show to the UK and the world that I can still cut the mustard! I’d already ‘illustrated’ my partners first poetry collection where my task had been to marry her words with images to illustrate either a complete poem, a stanza or even a single word. Walking around the beautiful city of Troyes, we stumbled across the Basilique Ste. Madeleine, dedicated to Mary Magdalene. It was closed. We were heading back to Calais
the following morning. “We have to go back in the morning. There’s something I know I have to see in there”. Kate was pretty insistent. She had come up with the title for her new collection ‘Shadows of Magdalene’ many months before – something was going to happen for sure and I’m used to that with this special lady. It was at 9.30am precisely the following morning that the doors opened. There, placed high on a wall in the North transept was a painting, well not just one but a series of seven by an artist with whom I was not familiar, Jean Nicot. Painted in the mid Renaissance they depicted seven periods in the life of Mary Magdalene. No, I didn’t have a proper camera with me! Just our iPhone’s and iPad. Only enough to take a few record snaps. “Can we do that?” She paused in thought and said, “I want to do this together”. I certainly wasn’t going to argue! Not, I must add in a plagiaristic way, more of a source of inspiration. After all, the challenge would be how to put across a message with just one subject, rather than the customary biblical cast of thousands so to speak. So began our cooperative project to illustrate her second collection but this time, all pieces in the style of my Renaissance adoration. Low tones, limited colour palette, Sfumato blending – everything I’d been taught so long ago. But how to develop a trompe de l’œil in photography, blending and shading as I used to do in oils? Also, what was in it for me personally as after all, I felt I needed a purpose. A dear friend, Kevin Wilson said, “Martin, make these images into a BIPP Fellowship in Fine Art”. Things were becoming clear. Re-engage with the key professional bodies in the UK. Communicate with British photographers. Starting again on a journey. Being from the ‘Shire’ (I’m a Tolkien lover too) I couldn’t help smiling and the thought came into my head… There and Back Again – a Hobbit’s Journey by Bilbo Baggins. That project is complete (although Kate has asked that we do a couple more pieces to add to the collection) and I’ve used my literary themed workshop to pay it forward. Each of the delegates, now Fine Art photographers, were given guidance and technical assistance. Encouraged to do their own thing and use literature to come up with their own creations. Eight people in period costumes is definitely a catalyst for creativity. They explored under a watchful eye the forms of communication expressed with expression, body posture, gesticulation and relative
Above: ‘The Wood Nymph’ by Martin Grahame-Dunn FMPA. Below: Alice in Wonderland’ by Allen Thomasson LBIPP, from the workshop. position within their frame. They learned to talk a great image. To create in camera, pieces of art that will endure. In the final session of the day I talked about my methods of creating my ART. I likened the camera to nothing more than a sketching device to create the linear structure and underpainting awaiting the application of the
“Master’s Touch”. As a lover of ‘cheffy’ things I went on to explain my methods of ‘deconstruction’, just the same as the current buzz of for example a deconstructed cheesecake. All the ingredients rearranged in a different manner for the purpose of alternative and often, dramatic presentation. In like manner I showed how I take a capture and deconstruct it.
Lovingly rebuilding in layers of ‘light impasto’ (my own phrase) to construct a finish piece that to many would be perceived as a painting. The finishing touch is to print these pieces out on the surfaces commensurate with the style. In these cases, in the style of the Pre-Raphaelites. My journey to the past has only just begun as my mind is swimming with ideas. Recalling my youth and those crazy creative times, I’m going to fill what I have left with filling the creative vacuum by absorbing and sharing my passion for art by creating art, not with brushes or pallette knives, but with my camera. If at the advent of photography, Julia Margaret Cameron and her Pre-Raphaelite friends had colour film, I wonder if photography itself would have evolved differently as a universally accepted art form? I’ll leave you with that thought. Á For further information on training, contact Martin at firstname.lastname@example.org or call him on 07854 249710.
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