14. januar 2019

A walk with Nicky, in infrared.

Wow! It feels like it's been ages since I wrote about a model-shoot here.

Well, it has been ages since I've had a model shoot as well, somehow I found the world of old cameras and analog very intriguing and my time went (and still goes) into that.

However........!

I've been tinkering with  the idea of shooting a model, using my Infrared-converted Canon 550D for a good while, well....since I bought it a couple of years ago actually. Reason is simply because IR is often very fascinating, but this camera can also be hand-held, so a model-shoot is perfectly doable.

It needs to be summer though, and green, for this to work, and in the beginning, I thought I should try and learn how to use this camera, figure out which lenses work well on it and how to process the photos later.

And when you work, and do other things, that stuff usually takes a couple of summers here (summers are short!).

So in May 2016, we had a few days of nice, stable weather, sunny and warm, with green leaves and flowers everywhere, so I sent Nicky Namnam a message, asking if she wanted to try out some infrared model photography.

And, as often, she was up for that.
I had aired this idea before, outlining roughly how I figured the resulting photo's would be like, the mood etc, so all we needed was a nice location.

IR Converted Canon 550D
Canon 70-200 F2.8 IS

Bygdøy in Oslo is perfect for this type of shoots, because the area does have open fields, forest areas and also a good variety of tree-types. (skinny trees with small leaves, Oak-trees and others).

IR Converted Canon 550D
Canon 70-200 F2.8 IS

So basically we went for a walk.


Nicky had a nice summer-dress for the occasion and she made herself a little crown out of bright, yellow dandelions that grew on the fields (and that made my black pants full of yellow spots :P ).
IR Converted Canon 550D
Canon 70-200 F2.8 IS

Processing-wise, I decided to keep the shots more or less as from the in-camera processing. My particular IR-camera does not capture a whole lot of the color-spectrum, so certain infrared light-conditions can be hard to open up to more colors.

IR Converted Canon 550D
Canon 70-200 F2.8 IS

Nicky looks quite ethereal in these indeed. Skin looks like porcelain and the eyes sometimes almost alien, very strange and interesting results.

Be aware that when you photograph people in infrared, veins below the skin become very visible, like dark lines below the skin, I have retouched those away off-course.

IR Converted Canon 550D
Canon 70-200 F2.8 IS

Also, depending on type and model, sunglasses can be completely transparent, leaving only the frame visible, so if you plan to incorporate sunglasses into your shoot, test beforehand how they actually look in infrared. ^_^



Fun stuff, and the shots came out really great :)

7. januar 2019

Winter storms in the arctic

During the Christmas-holiday, I had just one opportunity to do some photography due to very bad weather and difficult road-conditions at the island of Senja, Norway.

Senja is located approximately 69 degrees north, but does enjoy a slightly milder climate than normal, due to the golf-stream. Still, it can be both wild and challenging during the winter-months, due to shifting weather-conditions and temperatures.

When it blows from Russia, it can get down to -20 to -25 degrees Celsius even here....and with the humidity and added wind, it can be very uncomfortable to be exposed to. The roads over the various passes can close in short notice and several places are vulnerable to avalanche.


Due to the bad weather, I had another Christmas-celebrations with no aurora......it's becoming a theme =D

On one of the final days of my stay, the weather let up just enough to allow for a round-trip with my camera, no roads over the passes were closed, to it went smooth.

So, I went for a 4 hour round-trip of the island (that's when you have some of the limited light). Icy roads and downpours varying from rain to snow and all kinds of slush in between, made that quite interesting, especially since the roads were shiny ice. ^^


The landscape is mostly monochromatic during winter, so i opted for some moody black and whites.
During the trip, I tried to spend my 2-3 hours of decent light well, to find some good compositions.

My 5D mk III and lens got a bit of water here and there, but no real danger to the equipment.


Steinfjord
Canon 5D MK III
Canon 70-40 F4 L
ISO 50(L), 10s @ f16

Bergsbotn
Canon 5D MK III
Canon 70-40 F4 L
ISO 50(L), 12s @ f16

Black rock formations at the point between Steinfjord and Ersfjord.
Looking south-west, due to the wind and the ice-slush coming from the open ocean here.
Canon 5D MK III
Canon 70-40 F4 L
ISO 50(L), 20s @ f16

Too bad the conditions were so difficult this year, I would have liked to work longer at these locations, to find more exiting ways of photographing this landscape.

I had to work quickly though, since the driving rain/slush/snow was getting into my lens (and down my neck) and the light was just fading slowly away.

45 minutes after the last photo was taken, it was dark as the night....and the clock in my car showed 14:15.





Next year then ^^

9. september 2018

Summer-activities

Ta-daaa!

It's been a while since I blogged.

Did I stop shooting?

Nah....

I have calmed down the activities a lot though, I have mostly been shooting analog the whole time, enjoying the various pieces of excellent gear I own.

Also, we had the driest and hottest summer in over 70 years in 2018, so being inside, either shooting or processing photos, wasn't really very tempting.

Outside-activities this year, was confined to bike-riding in the trails around Oslo and generally enjoying the warm weather and day after day of sunshine.

The areas in the south-east of Norway is.....well...crap in regards to photography to be honest.
Messy forest-areas and low, boring hills (no real mountains to speak of), and the farm-land around here was dry as Sahara too, which prevented shots of those rolling wheat-fields.

Naturally, the sea-side (which is a bit boring down here as well to be honest), was filled with sunbathers.

So, for photography, it has been pretty boring.

Besides, I am still in debt to deliver some goodies from a former shoot, so I don't take on anything new until I have delivered all that I felt I could deliver.

Inspiration has also had a bit of a slope this year, which has affected both digital and analog photography a lot and post-processing ideas and practice.

Combine that with a pretty hectic work-week and a chronic lack of Vitamin B12 and you get the speed of molasses in January =)


But a month ago, I went out the door and shot some infrared in the old-town and canals in Horten:
Canal infrared

Mamiya RZ 67 Pro II
Rollei 400 Infrared
Hoya R72
1 second exposure (EI 3)
HC-110B for 6 minutes



And then I finished this roll, with some shots between the tourists, of the fountain in the lovely queen's park here in Oslo.
Fountain, with a small island, with an even smaller house

Mamiya RZ 67 Pro II
Rollei 400 Infrared
Hoya R72
4 second exposure (EI 3)
HC-110B for 6 minutes


This is basically a re-shoot of a photo I took a while back with Fomapan 100 and my Rolleiflex 2.8F. I think the Fomapan looked much better, but this is not half bad. (surprisingly the exposure went well, even in the shadows).

There is also very little water in the pool, this was at the end of the drought-period, even the royals were suffering =D


I also went on a trip with my friend Pedro, we drove towards Kongsvinger and the Swedish border (which was  more or less on fire at that point) and tried to capture some farm-landscape.

He used his lovely Sony A7R III and I used my Mamiya RZ 67 Pro II again, this time with some EFKE IR820 Aura, and I also brought my 5D MK III with my 70-200 f2.8 IS, because I knew of some interesting stuff to be shot out there.
Alone on the line

Mamiya RZ 67 Pro II
EFKE IR820 AURA
Hoya R72
2 second exposure (EI 1.5)
HC-110B for 6 minutes

House in the distance

Mamiya RZ 67 Pro II
EFKE IR820 AURA
Hoya R72
3 second exposure (EI 1.5)
HC-110B for 6 minutes
First, I didn't like this shot too much, but it has grown on me. As the title suggests, there is indeed a house in the distance.
The moving grass and the black sky and rather dark forest around the house, creates quite an atmosphere in my opinion....others may disagree off-course, in any case, it is a very different type of photograph from what I usually do. 


Here are the shots with the 70-200, I wanted to try and capture the color, shapes and lines of the harvested landscape.

Interesting to get a new idea and also try something new, without including roads, roadsigns, houses, power-lines and whatnot for a change. ^^

The muted colors came from a non-existent sun (already set below the horizon and thick clouds)
Flowing fields abstract I

Canon 5D MK III
Canon 70-200 f2.8 IS

Flowing fields abstract II

Canon 5D MK III
Canon 70-200 f2.8 IS

Finally, I went to the polar-regions just in the start of September to cover my brothers wedding.
The day before, I was able to capture a slit of the setting sun, in a small river close to the resort we were at.

Basic traditional landscape I suppose.
Bøvær in September

Canon 5D MK III
Canon 70-200 f2.8 IS
1 stop grad-filter

From the other side of the little river, square cut

Shot just a minute after the other one, note how fast the sun actually moves.

Canon 5D MK III
Canon 70-200 f2.8 IS
1 stop grad-filter
None of these last two were processed in the sky, I used a simple 1-stop neutral density gradient Cokin filter, no polarizer, most post is done by lifting the shadows a bit in the foreground and adjusting the color-balance.

Both shots are at ISO 800 at around 1/20s, had to do it that way since I did not have a tripod, a slight noise-reduction and they should be printed pretty damn large before noise is an issue.

The weather was good that day, and the next day, but as soon as the party and dinner started inside, the clouds finally won and the rain started.

So we were lucky with that one, up there it can rain for weeks, as long as the wind-direction is "right"....which is 270 degrees of rainy opportunity, these two days had drier winds from Finland and Russia. 



So not completely inactive, I do still shoot and have no plans of stopping ^^


I suppose I blog as much as I shoot too! =D

11. april 2018

End of the line for Fuji Acros


Yep.

Fuji has finally decided to kill their last black and white film in 35mm and 120 format, along with several other products, like black and white paper.

The date of EOL for Acros is slated to be October 2018 and anyone reading this, should stock up if they can, and want, to be able to enjoy it after this date.




Yeah..about stocking up and such....


I've been following this news after a pretty well-founded rumor was posted on photrio (APUG) 30th of March and I decided to stock up once the official news was a fact, the 9th of April.

Translated version of the official announcement:

https://translate.google.com/translate?sl=ja&tl=en&js=y&prev=_t&hl=no&ie=UTF-8&u=http%3A%2F%2Fffis.fujifilm.co.jp%2Finformation%2Farticlein_0081.html&edit-text=

From around the 30th of March, I have seen people scrambling to order and stock up, unfortunately, the rumors begun in the middle of easter-celebrations, so some may have hesitated to place orders on places like B&H, since they are normally on a break for that celebration.

Anyway, I placed my order from fotoimpex.de the 9th of April (25 rolls in 120 and 20 rolls in 35mm), I already have a good amount to keep me shooting Acros for decades. As an ISO 100 black and white film, it will keep and keep long after the expiration-date, if you keep it frozen.
Fuji Neopan 100, 120 pro-pack with 5 films will be a thing of the past.
(or something you thaw from cryo-sleep only)

But on the 9th and 10th, well known sources have already ran out of the film, seems like the marked is already scraped.

I am not sure if stores will be restocked again before October either, fotoimpex.de claims that it may be back in stock from the 17th of April in 120, hopefully, or it may already be gone and gone, for good.

Which is very sad, but also surprisingly quick, seems like the film was quite popular after all.

But for a behemoth like Fuji, I suppose if a 1% activity of their total production-line makes a profit or not, it's probably irrelevant in the big picture...who knows, maybe they need the space for more plastic-lens Instax-cameras, Instax-film coating machines and makeup-products?


Fuji Acros in HC-110B
Hasselblad 503CW
Exposure 1 minute 30 seconds
All is fair in war and business...eh..apparently....!
Just remember what Fuji has always said, while they were slitting the throat of a good film-product: "Fuji will continue to support film".

So there. :)

I know many people never really liked this film, but they should at least never say "good riddance" with a shrug to any film being pulled from the marked.
- because it sends signals that may diminish/discourage use of film in the long run, which, in the end, ends up affecting your particular brand of poison. It is always sad and gives fewer alternatives.

For those that have a few rolls, but feel the tonality is lacking, try it in Rodinal 1:50, or shoot it at 400 and develop it in HC-110 B for 10 minutes.....or don't, you may like it too much and now it's too late... :)

The production-technology and knowledge will be gone as well, so it's not as easy as just buying the rights and start the product under a new name with a different manufacturer.

Fuji Acros in HC-110B
Rolleiflex 2.8F
The product-quality from Fuji is and has always been, impeccable, never a problem with their products.

Fuji now has a small selection of C-41 and E6 transparicy-films available and one can only speculate where the axe (or the Katana??) will hit the next time.

Because it will be a next time, that should be clear.

Fuji Acros in HC-110B
Rolleiflex 2.8F
I have previously speculated that Fuji plans to be out of the film-business completely by 2020, so have your eyes and ears up for slashing and dicing from Fuji in the next 2 years.

My advice, is to stock up on your favorite color-film now, because it seems that when the axe drops, or the sword chops, the marked will be vacuumed considerably quicker than estimated.

Most likely my final order of Fuji Acros
Received today from Fotoimpe.de
25 rolls of 120, 20 rolls of 35mm
Expires in 2019, but will probabably be used some time after 2020 :)

Rest in peace Acros.
- there is no and will be no future alternative to your cleanness, tonality and amazing reciprocity characteristics.

You hereby follow your faster brother, Fuji Neopan 400 and the faser still, Fuji Neopan 1600, into the dreaded abyss called 'films we used to love'.

As for Fuji:








31. desember 2017

End of 2017


It is the last day of the year, wow that went fast.


I finally managed to catch the Aurora Borealis in the north of Norway. :)

(Click for larger versions)

Canon 5D MK III
Canon 17-40 F4 L
30s F8 @ISO 3200





Canon 5D MK III
Canon 17-40 F4 L
30s F6.3 @ISO 3200

Very lovely that it finally showed itself indeed.

Happy new year, may 2018 be fruitful and happy for all! ^^

14. desember 2017

Japan and Thailand

Here are some shots from a recent trip I had to Japan and Thailand.

I spent two weeks in Japan and visited Tokyo, Kyoto, Nara, Himeji, Hiroshima amd Kobe.
I also spent two weeks in Thailand and visited Bangkok, Krabi and the Phi Phi Islands.

I actually took less photographs n this trip than I would normally do, because I also brought a GoPro Hero5 with me, so it was more filming than photographing.

I only brought with me the Canon 5D mark III and my trusty 24-105 F4L lens and it was more than sufficient for the whole trip.

Japan


Anyone going to Japan for more than a week and/or plan to travel a bit, should buy the Japan rail-pass. If you take the Shinkasen (Bullet-train) a few times, you have already saved a good deal of money. Also, it is really hassle-free to use to book tickets, re-book etc and if you miss a train, you can use the pass to get another one without charge.

Street view from The Royal Park Hotel, The shidome.
Tokyo, Japan.
Cann 5d mk III
Canon 24-105 F4L
1/5s @ ISO 3200

City view from The Royal Park Hotel, The shidome.
Tokyo, Japan.
Cann 5d mk III
Canon 24-105 F4L
1/5s @ ISO 3200
The Shidome was in general a quite reasonable hotel (for Tokyo) and both the standard and the location was excellent. The view was amazing too, since the hotel itself starts on the 24th floor in a skyscraper, I think the room I was in, was at the 32'nd floor.^^

After a few days in Tokyo, Kyoto was the next stop.
The plan here, was to explore more of Kyoto itself, than I did the last time I was there.

So I basically planned a few routes using google-maps, so it was possible to walk to several temples and areas, without criss-crossing too much in a taxi.


Kyoto skyline from the north-west, looking south-east.
Kiyomizu-dera, Kyoto
Strolling around the smaller parts in the old town.
The couple wearing traditional, -and probably expensive, Kimonos in the foreground made the photo complete.

Kinkaku-ji or, as we westerners say: "The golden pagoda"
This is actually a temple-park with several other buildings.
Massive crowds of tourist though, so it was hard to get a clean photo here.
Day-trips to other places are easy from Kyoto, even more easy from Osaka, but Kyoto seems like a nicer place to use as the hub, seeing that city has 1400 or so temples and shrines.

Anyway, the city of Nara is mandatory ^^

Here, the Nara-park, with it's sika deer and the massive Toda-ji temple, makes for a really enjoyable tour.
Getting here is easy, you take the local JR line to Nara and walk straight up towards the park from there, they have maps on this outside the station, it's a 500-800 meter walk to the start of the park.
There are also buses going there if walking is not an option.

I seem to travel to this country during the hottest periods, so I struggled with the heat a lot.
My shirt actually got so wet from sweating, it was no longer apparent that I was sweating at all =D

Bring good shoes, lots of water and an umbrella to provide some shade while walking.


Sika-deer at Tamukeyama Hachiman-gū Shrine

A lovely walk in the old forest between the various shrines and temples.

Sika-deer posing for photos on the way to Tōdai-ji temple

The massive Tōdai-ji temple

I wanted to visit Himeji-jo as well, this castle was refurbished in 2013 I think and they changed the roofing to a more white appearance, when I visited the last time, the roof was all black.

I suppose the white is the original idea, hence the name "The white egret".
The castle is a huge complex and also involves a pretty hefty labyrinth, to get to the top.

Going here is easy, you take the Shinkasen train and jump off in Himeji, when you exit the north entrance, you can see the castle straight up there.

Entrance-gate Himeji-jo

The Himeji-castle with the extremely well-kept gardens in the foreground.

Thailand


After two weeks, the trip went to Thailand.
I wanted to visit the Phi Phi islands, to get a real tropical holiday.

In the planning-process, I thought it would be smart to have a lay-over after a 6 hour flight from Tokyo and another hour flight south from Bangkok. So the layover-town was chosen to be Krabi, since I wanted to avoid the crowds, backpackers and prices in Phuket.

Stayed only 2 nights here, to relax a little and book some ferry-tickets.

But even Krabi has something to look at :)


Wat Kaew, Krabi, Thailand

View over the Krabi mangroves from Chao Fah Park Pier
After a hefty 1h 45m ferry-trip, which started in grey and rainy conditions in Krabi, the ferry eventually somehow popped out of the bad weather and revealed the Phi Phi Islands.



Phi Phi island, with Ko Phi Phi Lee to the far left of the frame.
The city of Tonsai lies on a small strip of land, almost separating the  main island in two.



I can recommend Phi-Phi indeed, maybe not Tonsai-city, but one of the isolated resorts....those are indeed super awesome. The resort of choice was Phi Phi Island Village Beach Resort and it was wonderful. (although, not cheap, when you add everything together after the stay :P )

Phi Phi Island Village Beach Resort, the view that was seem from the long-boat, after Tonsai was left behind, to transport visitors to the resort.

There are many trips to the small, idyllic island of Ko Phi Phi Lee, the smaller sibling of Ko Phi Phi, but be prepared to wade trough masses of like-minded tourists.
It seems that the Chinese has also discovered this gem, be aware, when they arrive, they are usually not just a few.....they are plenty and often loud. :)

Normally, such trips involves a bit of hiking on the small Ko Phi Phi Lee island, snorkeling, swimming and some monkey-spotting.

One of a few "rocks" in the waters around Ko Phi Phi Lee
Amazing shape...and that warm, clear water! ^^


One of the monkeys on what they call "monkey island".
Monkey island is just the rocky part of the main Phi Phi island.
Funny buggers indeed, they almost jumped onto the boats.
Impressive climbing-skills on these, no fear of the water below.

Phi-Phi islands was a hoot and a really relaxing part of this trip, I can really recommend it.
Traveling back to Norway was done by taking a ferry to Phuket, jump on a plane to Bangkok and stay there at a hotel, close to the airport, for a couple of days, while sight-seeing a tiny bit, easy-peasy. ^^


Final sunset, Phi Phi islands with Thai long-boats in the foreground.


19. juni 2017

Edinburgh HDR-experience

I recently came back from a trip to Edinburgh and as usual, I took a day-trip around the city, to find good spots for photography.

The problem with trips like vacations or weekend-getaways, is that you will shoot in mostly high-noon light, or early morning to late afternoon.

The light during these hours isn't the best light really, as it is has high contrast and can also be a little boring; either very flat or very high contrast. If the sky is completely without clouds, well, then the shots tend to be pretty dull.

So, this time, I opted to do some HDR shots, taking several handheld exposures, mostly at +2 and -2 from normal exposure, due to the big span from shadows to hightlights, and later blending them in Photoshop, to obtain something different.

It is also possible to use tone-mapping, if you have only one exposure, but you need to prioritize the highlights, as the shadows are the easiest to recover with digital.

I also did this on my trip to Beelitz Heilstätten in Germany in 2011, check it out.

Now, HDR can be made into whatever you like, it's all in the processing and final output.
Personally, I tend to turn them into a more painterly style that is a little softer and I personally try to avoid halo's or super-sharpened details.

I like them a little dreamy and colorful, but also well defined, not always an easy task.
They do work ok to my taste here.

A "close" in Edinburgh old town, where people used to live and work during the middle-ages.
The slit of light seen at the end is normal daylight, which I recovered in the HDR processing stage and warmed up.
Canon 5D MK III, Canon 24-105L
Handheld +-2 stops, blended with Nik-collection and adjusted in Lightroom.

Balmoral Hotel bell tower.
Canon 5D MK III, Canon 24-105L
Handheld +-2 stops, blended with Nik-collection and adjusted in Lightroom.

Stairs leading up to the Royal mile from Cockburn-street.
Canon 5D MK III, Canon 24-105L
Handheld +-2 stops, blended with Nik-collection and adjusted in Lightroom.

Plaque at Canongate Kirk.
Canon 5D MK III, Canon 24-105L
Handheld +-2 stops, blended with Nik-collection and adjusted in Lightroom.

Cemetary Canongate Kirk.
Canon 5D MK III, Canon 24-105L
Handheld +-2 stops, blended with Nik-collection and adjusted in Lightroom.

Overview from Carlton hill, showing the Balmora hotel and the Edinburgh Castle in the backround
Canon 5D MK III, Canon 24-105L
Handheld +-2 stops, blended with Nik-collection and adjusted in Lightroom.


Holyrood palace, shoot trough the fence.
Canon 5D MK III, Canon 24-105L
Handheld +-2 stops, blended with Nik-collection and adjusted in Lightroom.




Overview from Carlton hill, showing the Balmora hotel including more, like the Scott monument, parts of the Edinburgh Princes Street Gardens and the Edinburgh Castle and church-spires.Canon 5D MK III, Canon 24-105L
Handheld +-2 stops, blended with Nik-collection and adjusted in Lightroom.



Edinburgh castle, shot from Edinburgh Princes Street Gardens
Canon 5D MK III, Canon 24-105L
Handheld +-2 stops, blended with Nik-collection and adjusted in Lightroom.



The castle again, this time shot from the other side, Grassmarket area.
To the right is Flodden Wall from the 15th century.
Canon 5D MK III, Canon 24-105L
Handheld +-2 stops, blended with Nik-collection and adjusted in Lightroom.

Last light, old town and castle.
Canon 5D MK III, Canon 24-105L
Handheld +-2 stops, blended with Nik-collection and adjusted in Lightroom.


I tend to end up with something that isn't hard to look at at least, but the taste for these kinds of shots are many and varied.

The shot from Edinburgh Princes Street Gardens is perhaps the most normalized shot of the bunch, and is probably the type of shot that will always work well during sunny and difficult light, it is shot directly against the sun and the HDR-processing was mostly used to open up shadows and retain a blue sky, the composition helps to reduce the boring, cloudless sky as well.

The cemetery-shot is a good example on how to reduce the intense contrast to a level where it's actually starting to become more viable in terms of both tones and composition, the light is hard, but the tonal scale is long and ok to look at.

My main goal is to soften the photo, open the shadows, lower the highlights and make the shot "pop" a little more in terms of color-contrast.

I use the Nik Collection from google, which is now free. In that package, I use HDR-pro to merge and adjust the photo to my liking and in the final stages, I adjust them slightly in Lightroom as well, mostly in terms of temperature and/or  vibrance/saturation.

Google's Nik-collection can be downloaded from here: https://www.google.com/nikcollection/


I also shot a couple of rolls with my Rolleiflex Automat, but those are for a later entry. ^^

Oh and by the way, Edinburgh really is a nice city, not too big to walk around in and offer a lot to a visitor, both in term of views and history and also in terms of the number of brands of Whiskey to be tasted ^^