I dropped off a roll of film to get processed today, specifically, a roll of Kodak Portra 160 120 film. While this piece of information may not appear to be a significant development, it signifies the fact that I am back to shooting more regularly.
I’m genuinely excited to see the shots from this roll too, as it contains the first batch of images I shot using my Pentacon Six medium format camera following my test roll.
I would also like to apologise, yet again, for my lack of activity since my last post. I know I promised to post more, and I will. In addition to the aforementioned roll, I’m two-thirds of the way through another of the 35mm variety, with the shots taken on it so far being of the cats at the newly-opened Melbourne Cat Cafe.
It was so wonderful seeing all those cats looking comfortable, and safe; especially since my own cat, Tiger, was walking the streets of Geelong in the freezing cold of winter before I adopted him.
Some of those cats were really photogenic, with one of them even posing for me, and looking at me like, “dude, how long am I supposed to hold this position for?”
I honestly think that everyone should go, and check it out if you’re in town; whether or not you own a cat yourself. These guys are just a bunch of cool kitties hanging out, and they’re sure to make you smile no matter what mood you arrive with.
P.S. I just realised that my theme frames all of the posts in such a way, that all of the image posts look like Polaroid snaps. Awesome!
I’m sorry for my hiatus as of late. I only wished for it to have been a short one, but the last couple of months were quite eventful.
I am happy to say that I have taken time off university in order to dedicate more time to Doublejump, and hopefully, carve some time to post here regularly.
I have dusted off my trusty cameras, and look forward to posting some new images. Lord knows I’ve missed seeing the world through the abstracted perspective of a viewfinder.
Also, I have finally updated my ‘About’ page with actual information about my life, as well as the myriad of ways you guys can reach me.
Things are picking up with Doublejump, with a redesign on its way, and a plethora of local gaming events to cover.
Stay tuned, folks!
I’m metering my shots with a Pentax Digital Spotmeter. It’s a 1 degree spot meter and is used to measure the exposure of very precise areas. There are quite a few 1 degree spot meters available in a range of prices but I found the Pentax Digital Spotmeter to be the most simple to use, especially when paired with Ansel Adams’ “Zone System”
Kodak Portra can give a variety of looks when exposed differently. A lot of portrait photographers state that they over expose by 1-2 stops. For them it is as simple as that since they are either shooting in soft evening light or open shade both instances with a smaller dynamic range, or a situation where naturally over exposed highlights are ascetically acceptable. For landscape just adding 1 or 2 stops from your box speed to your ISO dial and shooting away is not going to work.
I have modified this method to my own purposes, all of these methods are borrowed from the masters of black and white film photography.
I expose my film so the scene falls within the face of the latitude curve of the film. The Zone System works perfect for Kodak Portra because Portra has about the same latitude as the black and white films it was originally intended to be used with. If you are unfamiliar with the Zone System I’d suggest doing a search for it, but in short there are 10 zones, 1 being complete black and 10 being complete white. For landscapes, equally important to exposure is texture and with Portra you start to loose texture in anything under zone 3 1/3 and over zone 7 2/3rd’s. For example in the image below I was standing in a medium deep shadow as the sunlight was just peaking over the cliffs behind me, illuminating the pillar in front of me. I wanted the detail of the texture of the rocks in my foreground as well as their steely gray color as the contrast of cool gray to the warm light on the pillar in front of me I felt was key to what drew me to stop and take notice. I needed to place the shadows “S” about 2/3 into Zone 3. Which would be above the toe of the curve where the color would be dark and untrue to what my eye was seeing. Getting beyond the toe of the curve would also give me greater spacial separation, the amount of latitude that can be rendered within a single stop, which would give me texture. That would then put my highlights “H” past the shoulder of the curve into overexposure. I used a ND grad filter to bring my highlights down off the shoulder of the curve into zone 7 and within the desired exposure range. I chose this example image because as you can see my highlights while not blown are slightly into the shoulder of the curve where there is less spacial separation causing there to be very little texture.
Equally important to all of this is simply paying attention to and learning to understand light. Light comes in many different colors in different times of day and in different conditions. It can make a rock look bright and vibrant or dingy and uninteresting. Also remember that the human eye adapts to light and “normalizes” it. If You stand under a canopy of green trees your eye will render it as normal balanced shade but your camera will see the green cast by the leaves from above. Try and keep in mind not just how you see, but how the camera will see light.
This has been asked a few times so I hope this helps clarify what I individually have answered.
Simple words of advice from a brilliant photographer.