30. november 2012

Bits and nicks


It has been a few months since the last entry, so I'm long overdue with a blog-update.

The past 5 months, I've had a long break from work and just about everything.

I suppose I felt I needed some extra time doing what I want, to ponder over life, see the family and generally just have a little bit of freedom to do what I would like to do, -without having to plan like crazy due to a limited number of available vacation-days.

I'll do a little wrap-up from the extended free-time later, creating some entries about:

- A cultural exchange event between Japan and Norway in Hardanger, which I attended in June.
- A little entry from my trip to Side, Turkey, where I finally felt I got somewhat of a break-trough with my Hasselblad (and Kodak Tri-X ^^).
- A little report from a trip I made to Tokyo in October (always awesome to go there).
- The story on how I became a Rolleiflex TLR-fetishist. =D

But, we can't have a blog without photos now can we? ^^

Here are two:

Yokohama skyline
Yokohama, Japan, October 2012
Hasselblad 503CW, Kodak Tri-X

Hikawa Maru, the old steam-liner
Yokohama, Japan, October 2012
Hasselblad 503CW, Kodak Tri-X

Back with more soon ^^

Have a good one. :)

12. juli 2012

Droplet Collisions


Been a while since the last entry now.

Basically I had a photo-assignment in June in Hardanger and then I went for a two-week a holliday-trip, so there wasn't really much to blog about.

Anyway, a few entries back, I got a tip (and I took it as a challenge as well :P) about droplet photography. And since it's raining like crazy here, what better subject to shoot than water-drops?

Le green snake
The last time I tried was.....well it was a fairly long time ago, I stopped, because of various things and activities, but mainly because I had problems controlling viscosity and "stickyness" of the water.

This resulted in, kind of, boring stuff.
Anyway, after some research from the tip/challenge ( ;) ), I dug out my drop-catching/collision kit, brushed some dust off it and cleaned it, before I set it up again.

 Challenges right now, are:
1. Controlling splash-stem height, other than altering the height of the rig.

2. Viscosity and stickiness of the drop-water influence what size of drop that can be made, this again (it seems) influences 1). Drop size is also dependant of nozzle size ^^

3. Too "thick" water creates problems getting two drops to fall fast enough after each other, because they take too much time to be created and release from the nozzle.

4. Experimenting with the surface tension of the capture-tray water, have some unknown effects (for me) at the moment. I've tried thickening the tray-water (resulting in a lower splash-stem). But, reducing it with dishwasher liquid doesn't seem to have any practical influences, as far as I can see anyway, I may have used to little dishwasher?

5. My rig is flimsy! I need to build something that can be adjusted in height, as well as being tight and controllable. Right now, the drops seem to fall a bit randomly, as the nozzle angle varies to the capture tray each time I change the water or make adjustments. :)

I even created a double-baffle macro softbox exclusively for the drop photos, works very well with the speedlights and it isn't too large. (more on that in a later post I suppose).

- If anyone has any good tips on how to get the drop-stems higher, please contact me. Right now, I am gradually decreasing viscosity to the drop-water to create bigger drops, in hope that they will jump higher.
I am already at about 60cm nozzle-height above the surface water and the drops doesn't seem to want to jump that high really, they aren't even releasing from the stem on the way up for some reason.

- It's a slow, meticulous process....but it's fun. :)

Oh, here are some of the photos I've created so far.
I've only used photoshop to clean up the background and removing splatter and bubbles in the tray, the shapes and colours are as-shot.

Golden Vase

Rocket punch

Purple light

Red tree

Blue sombrero
I'd like to recreate the rocket-punch thing, but that was a pure fluke, so I am not sure how I did that one (drop height was around 70cm though, so 60cm should create something similar as well).

As for the light on these, I used two speedlights (580 EX and 580EX II) triggered by my Pocketwizard II triggers. The last two photos were shot with the home-made softbox on one of the speedlights.

Here is an amazing video of some droplet collisions

Peace out. =)

21. mai 2012

Infrared - Shooting what you can't see

The past two weeks, I've been fiddling around with infrared photography again.

I created a little slideshow from the result, for those out there more interested in the photos than the technical jabber.

Make sure to watch it in HD, enjoy ^^

Watch it on YouTube if maximise don't work

Last time I tried infrared photography (or more correctly, near infrared), was late autumn 2011 and my initial trials with EFKE IR820 in 35mm didn't go too well to be honest.

The negatives were vastly underexposed  and I could hardly get any good results from them, even after scanning.
- Too much noise and generally bad tonality, but at least I got my feet wet.

Generally, the first experience with IR-photography, can be summed up by this amusing and fitting meme by Copperrein over at APUG

Estimating exposure with IR is quite hard, because the light meter will only meter visible light.
The actual amount of invisible IR-light is unknown and will vary with the season, as well as the time of day and sun position.

A good rule of thumb though, is to measure normally, then calculate filter factors and then bracket from there. I use a Hoya R72 filter and calculate a 5-6 stop filter factor with it.

The EFKE IR 820 AURA (nominal 100 ISO without filter) was shot at EI ISO 1.5-3 and it worked ok. A little early in the day still (I like the sun to be lower), but I got good exposure and nice and quite normal'ish negatives.

The AURA version of the 820 IR film has a nice glow in the highlights. This is due to a missing antihalation layer on the film, which, in turn, let the film pass IR-light trough itself and then reflected back trough it.
This can create a nice moody halo effect, or misty effects around the highlights.

I also did two rolls of Rollei IR 400
These photos with Rollei IR400 were shot at EI ISO 12 and that proved to be just about perfect.

I just love the look from the Rollei, it's got plenty of wood effect and it seems to be a bit less contrasty and have pretty high tolerance to overexposure (albeit not fool proof if you're dorking around, like I do sometimes), definitely going to order more.
The Rollei has higher resolution and is less noisy than the EFKE -and the Rollei is a ISO 400 film unfiltered. (The EFKE is ISO100 but shows much more noise than the Rollei for some reason).

- I must stress that I more or less blew a whole roll with the Rollei the first day, I overexposed it grossly by shooting it at EI 1-3 (that's 2-3 stop overexposure, ouch!), more or less 100% like the above funny-meme. ^^

I only got one usable photo out of that roll, well, you live and learn.^^

I've decided to only use the AURA version of the EFKE, as I don't see a huge point using the regular version over Rollei's cool film.

So, the shots came out well.
Both films were processed in HC-110, dilution B for 8 minutes (EFKE) and 9 minutes (Rollei)

Still, one must take note that these shots were made -in May-, -at my latitude-, -at that time of day-, things can change rapidly trough the year.

Too bad Kodak decided to kill off the amazing color IR film a few years back, namely the Kodak EIR, the only option for color-ir now days, is to convert an old DSLR into infrared, effectively making it an IR-only camera.

Could be an idea to buy an old DSLR on the used marked and convert it, hmm....

I can't wait to get into the darkroom and print the negatives, they look really good and printable, scanning was a breeze.

7. mai 2012

Macro and the reversed 50mm trick ^^

Yep, true story, there exists a trick! =)

May is here, time to dust off that macro equipment and get the winter-dead body outdoors.

Still a little early here for anything spectacular though, I went for a ride on my bicycle in my neighbourhood last weekend, to see if any flowers had sprung.

A few flowers were up early, so I was able to shoot a whole roll of Fuji Acros with my Canon 1v with my macro stack on it. My stack consists of a Canon 25mm extension tube  + Tamron 1.4x teleconverter + Canon 100 F2.8 macro lens (works swell)

Acros is 100 ISO, so I had pretty slow shutter speeds (1/30s and such), even on F4 in direct sunshine.

I had a sturdy tripod with me though, so the only thing that was moving, was the flowers each time the wind picked up a little, so I blew a few shots on that.

Since I had a ISO 100 film in the camera (35mm) and didn't want to push, I decided to go with composition and play with shallower dof's (f5.6-f8).

Oh....and yeah, I did this first macro-outing with film because I wanted to see if I could get a couple of shots for my walls (tired of looking at the current ones here at home).

Two made the cut into the darkroom and onto paper and these two are now on my wall, framed in 30*40cm (12*16 inches), so mission complete, thus far this year anyway, I know I can do much better.

The prints are too large to scan, but I've scanned the negatives and adjusted them to be similar to the prints. I printed them on Ilford warmtone paper and thus I gave them a little tint to match here as well.

Both flowers are maybe around 0,5cm in diameter. 

The second photo was pretty heavily cropped (I framed it wrong in the camera), but still it holds up just fine in 30*40cm. Both look nice on the wall. ^^

I used Kodak HC-110 developer, dilution B at 6 minutes at 20 degrees on these, as my Tetenal bottle went sour the other day and I've changed over to another dev brand for a while.
(Idiot tip of the day: When Tetenal Ultrafin looks like strong tea, toss it! :) )

Also, the same day, I wanted to try out the reversed 50mm trick, but since I'd already shot a roll of 35mm film -and already knew that this trick would work with my Canon, I opted to try this trick with my Mamiya RZ67 medium format camera and see where it led me.

In medium format-land, I am in the very situation that I do not own a dedicated macro lens, so it's just fitting that I'm trying this trick out anyway, seeing it's a a poor man's macro solution. =)

Basically I had my 110mm lens on the camera and hand-held the 50mm in reversed position against that lens and fought to get focus.

Here are two captures from that fiddly session (it was really awkward to shoot like this, but I really wanted proof of concept):

The widest cross-section of this leaf is about 0,5cm (0.2 inches)
Mamiya RZ67 pro II with 110mm lens with a reversed 50mm lens mounted
Fuji Acros 100 at EI 200 in HC-110 Dil B

Mamiya RZ67 pro II with 110mm lens with a reversed 50mm lens mounted
Fuji Acros 100 at EI 200 in HC-110 Dil B

A couple of notes:

- The 50mm was set wide open, if I was to do this again, I would probably stop it down to at least F16 and lock it there, as the DOF is so shallow that it was extremely hard to focus.
As you can see in the above photos, even individual parts of the leaves, which seemed to be in the same focus plane, were in and out of focus.

- Film used was Fuji Acros (because!) but shot at EI 200 and pushed in HC-110. This was because I had limited light. I used a hot-light and not a flash for these.
Previous push attempts pushing Acros to EI400 in 120 format have been very successful, so EI 200 is no problem at all.

- The leaves themselves, are around 2.5 cm long in total (1 inch), and the leaf in the first photo is about 0.5cm (0.2 inches) wide. Both photos show a smaller part of those leaves which were actually in focus, but the latter photo was shot at absolute focus limit and have much greater magnification. You can really see extremely small details using this trick and the above photos could easily be printed in 30*40cm.

- You'll get massive amounts of vignetting, because you are basically looking into a smaller hole than your mounted lens has, so only half the negative area is left usable for the actual photo. Still, you'll have enough negative to make pretty big prints from it.

- Holding the lens to the camera isn't a good option in the long run (causes vibration and you are pushing the camera out of focus), so a reverse ring is highly recommended.

- Metering was pure guessing, so I was lucky, plain and simple :)

More experiments later this summer, next up on the medium format front, is infrared photography with Rollei IR400 (loaded, but I found out that we need another week before the foilage on the threes are large enough for any good photos).

Also up in a later post, the results from my collaboration with Imageakademiet here in Oslo, theme this spring is "Avant garde" and this year, I am working together with a group consisting of 2 make-up artists and one stylist.
Earlier years, we've only worked on a 1-1 basis with a single make-up artist.

Now get out and get those macro's going! ^^

27. februar 2012

Locked station makes for fun nursing home

Went for a little urbex trip on Sunday. ^^

I originally wanted to visit an old abandoned electrical station on this trip. I got a tip on that site 2 years ago, but never got around to check it out.

Unfortunately, when I got there, the station was locked (actually it was welled shut!). But at least I got to see it up close and it was damn huge, 3-4 floors at least!

I did snap some photos, but they were detail shots of the exterior and such, so nothing interesting urbex-wise.

Anyway, I was a bit disappointed about the locked power station, especially after driving that far, I really didn't want to drive all the way back without photographing something cool.

So, after checking the the net, (while eating some lunch in my car ^^), I got a tip about a nursing home that was in the area, so after a little more research and googeling, off I went! \o/

I checked the door at the front desk when I got to the nursing home and, to my surprise, it was open.

"Hi, just looking" ^^

I decided to shoot all-film this time, using my Mamiya 6*7 and 120 black and white film.(10 shots per roll)
I used two films, Fuji Acros 100 (which I love) and a new one, for me; Ilford FP4+ 125 ISO, which I decided to push to ISO 200 on this occasion.

I scanned the pushed Ilford film after development and then created some tonemapped HDR photos of those in Photoshop.

I think I got one hell of a gritty feeling from these, too bad I cannot replicate this stuff in the darkroom with the enlarger and paper...

"Very special letters" Mamiya RZ 6*7 Pro II, Ilford FP4+ @ 200, Tetenal ultrafin 1:20 14 min. Scanned, tonamapped
"Crooked canopy-room" Mamiya RZ 6*7 Pro II, Ilford FP4+ @ 200, Tetenal ultrafin 1:20 14 min. Scanned, tonamapped
"Some punk's getting 7 years of bad luck" Mamiya RZ 6*7 Pro II, Ilford FP4+ @ 200, Tetenal ultrafin 1:20 14 min. Scanned, tonamapped

"Washy-washy no more" Mamiya RZ 6*7 Pro II, Ilford FP4+ @ 200, Tetenal ultrafin 1:20 14 min. Scanned, tonamapped

The nursing home was more wrecked by vandalism than regular decay. (luckily no graffiti crap).
All (well, 90%) the windows are still unbroken, so the weather and rain is kept out, delaying the inevitable decaying process. The fairly large building had three floors and loads of rooms to explore, I only explored one "wing" and two floors before running out of film ^^

Let's hope it can stand around for a few more years and it will become a real bad-ass horror-house for sure.

The Acros, with the shots of the exterior of the power station and additional shots of the nursing home, is not yet developed.
I'll develop the Acros at a later date.
The Mamiya isn't extremely suited for this kind of stuff, it's just too heavy and big, so I think I'll head back at a later date and shoot some photos with my "nimble" 1ds mk II as well. ^^

Please do not bother to ask where these locations are, because I'm not telling.
Just do some research and you'll eventually find the information out there.

Peace out ^^

6. februar 2012

Inspirational masters: Richard Avedon

I highly recommend this moving 1995 documentary of one of our finest portrait and fashion photographers, Richard Avedon.

I find both his large body of work, from fashion, to portraiture and human emotion, and his philosophy about life and people, very inspirational.

Here is a documentary, that currently reside on youtube, for your enjoyment.
Even if you are not a photographer, the story of the man behind the photographs and art is really enjoyable.

Richard Avedon passed away in 2004, 81 years old.