Up on the north Brittany coast at Le Diben scouting locations for night time or Pinhole shots, so no kit bag just the D750 and 20mm f2.8 to keep me company. Now I had promised myself there would be no faffing or photo jiggery pokery, just some straight shots to see if the location would fit in to how I see this project going.........anyway.... I stood there, and it was a wee bit wafty and breezy and I could see the clouds were scudding along at a rate of knots....so I started thinking..always dangerous.
So this (or these, as I have done a few) is standing still, trying to keep the framing as still as possible,camera on manual 1/1600 at f6.3 iso 200 and taking a shot every 10 seconds or so. Now truth be told I was thinking of aligning these as layers in Photoshop so any movement would be negated...but.. I opened them as a layer stack from Lightroom into Photoshop, selected the top 9 of the 10 image layer stack and changed the blend mode to LIGHTEN...and that's that....I think this technique has some legs in torch lit portraits(!!!!????) ...more later... anyways a bit of detail from the image to show you it close up
This image doesn't give you a feel for the scale of the rocky outcrops here but it's all on a grand scale and down in the harbour there was some broken concrete mussel pens that look a dead cert for a bit of torch wafting....laters..
We live in a 'Dark Skies' area here in Central Brittany, there are a few street lamps in our nearest village, well when they can be bothered to switch them on, so when the sky is clear you get to see a rather spectacular starscape. Now as I have set myself the challenge of mastering light painting with both torchlight and flash/strobes., this week it will be torch power.
Now as it's a learning process for me I might as well pass on some basic settings to you. Camera is set up as follows.. Nikon D750 (including it's brand spanking new shutter), the highest quality RAW file, Nikon 20mm f2.8 set at F4.5, iso 200 and with a 30 second exposure time, noise reduction applied in camera which will delay the image appearing on the camera screen by about 30 seconds. This is 3 exposures, one for the ambient, one for the main building (ma maison) and one to twiddle in the bits missed, all loaded into Lightroom for some lens correction and then opened as a layer stack in Photoshop, masked faffed and saved back into Lightroom for some perspective control and some clarity painted into the sky to 'pop' the stars.
So I used no colour gels on the torch but I'm just getting used to a standardised group of settings before the real creative stuff can bob to the front of the queue. Going to switch off the in camera noise reduction and use my Yongnuo strobe trigger on camera as it has an auto focus grid pattern that it throws out to assist the autofocus in the pitch black, which should be better than me , torch in one hand trying to fathom out what is in or out...
Now 30 seconds shows up a small amount of movement in the stars and if you google astro photography there are plenty of formulae out there to work out your max exposure time /focal length combination to freeze star movement. Now then I'm already looking at very high flash sync to kill ambient light in daylight conditions...but I'll get these techniques nailed first..
If you are from the UK,GB or as it will be known after Brexit..Billy-no-mates...news reports often use Wales as an analogous construct so folk can get their heads around how big say..... a forest fire is, or maybe an oil slick or how big one of 'The Donalds' eastern european golf/hotel resorts is going to be after impeachment...anyhow..projects need planning, clear thought, objectives and clarity as well as knowledge of what gear would be needed to fulfil the quest, I'm scoring one out of five at the moment.
Lets swing it back to the Wales thing...Brittany, just Brittany on it's own is BIGGER than Wales,,it has 2,860 km of coastline.... Wales has 2,250 just to give you an idea...although if you go to Landerneau you will find Caernarfon Bridge.... those monks used to get everywhere. Now why am I telling you this???..no seriously...ah yes this year it seems I have challenged myself to do some projects, where by the thinnest of threads , images will hang together to form a narrative from which you, my dear viewer, will draw together the subjective nature of things, join me in my visual quest or deem it as a bag of old pants dressed up as the Emperor's new clothes. It will involve a lot of trekking around Brittany an area apparently, a similar size to Wales.
So this is what is on the agenda
10 x 8 Direct Positive paper Pinhole mono images...they're in my head as i've already seen them so 3 set projects of about 40 images each
Light painting with flash guns and / or torches ...so many abandoned things...so many Menhirs
Polaroid...nothing specific but is it the medium, the way in which the image is presented or is there a way of bending the Polaroid to represent the way I see things (absolutely no idea of subject but all the gear/film is sitting in the office waiting pensively)
...and do you know what...not for this year...but oh my, I keep going onto ebay and looking at Hasselblad Xpans ...need Getty to pull their finger out and flog more files before that happens...
Anyway here are a few images that form part of my sketch book for the basis of some light painting. Out on the Crozon peninsula in Western Brittany.
Bonjour, bonsoir and hello, I know , it's been quiet on the blog front, doesn't mean that nothing has been going on
The Search for the Direct Positive Paper..
Imagine the horror of finding out that after months of planning, budgeting and procrastination that the paper of choice for aforementioned pinhole project suddenly becomes 'unavailable'. I emailed Ilford and got the reply that. errr we're not sure when it will be back for sale...panic based google searching then got me to America where I located some only to collapse from the vapours when the tax and import duties were added on...okay it remained an option...then delving for what seemed like an interminable 10 minutes or so I found a little lab in France that had some, right price and could get it to me toot sweet!!! So I snaffled the lot....just need to properly black out the office/(ahem) studio and procrastinate for a while and it will all be sorted.
Okay, the figures are out there, in a bit of a poopy place financially, well make properly engineered camera bodies that don't need to be recalled (TWICE) and you might get some cash back in the corporate sock drawer. So free postage D750 goes back to Nikon, good communications , free repair with a new shutter system...and I waited....2 weeks I waited....so I emailed them and apparently it was sent back to me but there was no one in...hmmmm...I know my postman Dominique and next time I saw him asked if he had a package that had to be signed for but found we were out....NON and then surprisingly the camera arrived the following day..delivered without the need for a signature....now dear reader you may at this point want to roll your eyes and wonder if there is anything that can be gleaned from this.....well
Sent off my D700 body to Nikon repairs as I have an event where I need to do some tethered shooting and the usb connector, a bit like me, has some wonky teeth....off it goes I tracked the camera through La Poste they got it on the 9th of March....and I waited......so after 10 days I contacted them only to be told that I had been sent a Pdf of costings and they were waiting on my reply...you know...that email arrived in my inbox an hour after I contacted them...funny eh!!!! Well not that funny as it was nearly 300 euros to just fix the connector...er non merci. Now then ...Nikon...one way of keeping your long time customers happy and with half an eye on them buying more stuff that will get infrequent use is not to piss them off with lacklustre customer service, I have history of this as 'back in the day' I worked at Jessops and my task was checking in all the bent, dropped and fiddled with camera gear and sending it back to the right place to get repaired...I more often than not sent Nikon gear to independent repairers as I knew it would get back to me quicker... is it too late to change to Fuji....
One last point...if you buy some top grade very lightly used photo gear off of that ebay... just leave some feedback...even if it's only 'well packaged' or something or xxx , as I have been finding homes for lenses that sit in their boxes rather than get any vigorous usage it would be nice if just one of the recipients could have found the time for a bit of acknowledgement ...because the last thing you need is some procrastinating grey haired old cheeser writing about it on their blog post......
Anyway I've been doing a lot of painting recently...one of Trevarez just south of us near Chateaux neuf....
What's all this then????
An unyeilding torrent of Photo babbel full of unconfirmed facts and manufactured photo drivel.. take from it what you like, it won't change the world but may leave you feeling nauseous...