I’ve just come back from a quick 1000km round trip to the Flinders Ranges. A scouting trip more than anything but the scenery was spectacular. Unfortunately both sunset and sunrise were nothing spectacular with golden hour lasting all of 60 seconds.. None the less, camping out under the stars was with a million miles of headroom was simply stunning. I’ll be making the trip back more than once I suspect.
I’ve had a roll of TMAX 100 sitting in the F3 for quite a few months now and have finally finished it. I picked up the results from Atkins Technicolour last week and was very pleased will all frames exposed well. I’ve added the image ‘Swept Still” to the film gallery. Overall this stuff is really good in terms of black and white film and really lends itself to the larger formats. I would be happy to shoot this over Ilford and Fuji stock.
Well its been two months of shooting with the Nikon Df and about 1K of images to show. Here are some quick observations. Image quality and dynamic range is fantastic, no complaints at all. It’s actually a big camera but sometimes hard to hold (using large zooms and off camera speedlights by hand can be awkward). I mostly use small primes so not a huge issue but it really lacks the option of a MD-4 styled grip (Nikon are you listening?). Option of miniature effect in re-touch menu – why? This is a pro camera. No AF illumination (SC-29 or speedlight helps to a degree but okay for the most part). Everything else is well laid out and intuitive. My only real complaint is probably that I haven’t used it enough! A new digital gallery to follow soon!
Shooting film limits itself to star trails unless you have a tracking mount and a big telescope. Film is actually fantastic at star trails because of its low noise, however, capturing the Milkyway in its frozen glory is far more alluring. Now with my Df and its incredible low light ability this has become a goal of mine. Essentially, ISO 6,400 or above at f2.8-4 with a wide angle and about 10-20sec is the goal. Too long a shot and the starts will appear to rotate close up. However, the most important considerations come from understanding the night sky. With a cheap planisphere (a must!) this can be easy, along with finding a dark sky location and a new Moon if possible. If you have a subject to silhouette or light paint as the foreground, the planisphere will indicate when the Milkyway will be where you want it (often at 2 or 3am in the cold morning…). This is the key to getting a great shot, just like planning for a moonrise or lunar eclipse. Australian Geographic have great and cheap planispheres available here.
With the recent heat wave here in Adelaide conditions were just right for an amazing lightning storm. Here is a shot with my Df courtesy of the wonders of digital! Taken at f/8 on a 50mm lens.
For those that don’t know I have also created a sister website to Candela dedicated purely to the Nikon F5, my favourite camera of all time. Check it out! NikonF5.net
As the title suggests, here comes a bit of a rant. Now that I’m back in the digital game I simply cannot help noticing every magazine image or Flickr post is often over edited well beyond what it should be. Most tutorials on the net or magazine articles for that matter appear so focused on what layering techniques were used or arguing between Photoshop, Lightroom or Aperture they forget about the picture. The important bit! Let me say first up here to anyone not wanting to read further, go and Google the iconic images of the last century. You will find them to be stunning and mostly all on black and white film. They were either taken on a Leica M3 or a Nikon F3 (best and most influential cameras ever…). They have fantastic composition that was not the result of cropping and NONE are HDR composites. That’s because pro’s know when the light isn’t right, walk away and know when not to waste film or SD cards. These are simple concepts, obey them. I’ve hiked for miles in the early morning to set up shots that I didn’t take because the weather and sun just didn’t turn the way I wanted it to. Big deal, I got some exercise in the process. I didn’t the waste a shot then spend hours trying to save it because I shot RAW (I haven’t gone down that road with the Df yet..). It even worse seeing magazines promoting all this digital darkroom magic that people will try and use to no avail. Get it right in camera first, I can’t stress this enough. I’m still learning to get this perfected with the Df but if a shot didn’t work I simply make a note to learn then delete. Simple! With over 500 images taken so far with my retro machine I only have about 30 that I’ve kept. The rest were digitally dumped, no regrets! Couldn’t do that with film… A digital gallery will be coming soon so stay tuned.
A gem of a film that is out now at cinemas, The Secret Life of Walter Mitty. The story of one man’s personal journey to find himself and a missing film frame for the last cover of Life magazine. It’s funny, it’s moving and has loads of stuff for those photography types who love film! Just one small blooper I couldn’t let slip though. A Nikkor AF-S G type lens just doesn’t belong on a beautiful Nikon F3/T and neither does the small flimsy tripod underneath that super-tele. Image courtesy 20th Century Fox.
My first break, I have been lucky enough to have one of my images published in the January Australian Photography + Digital magazine. The image is one from Nepal and is a part of a showcase of entry samples from the Fujifilm X Landscape Photographer of the Year 2013 competition. Its a small start but I’ll take it. The magazine is a great source of photography info, reviews and tips and is certainly well worth a read.
Merry Christmas to all! Hopefully friends, family, food and festivities are on the menu this year as well as a good splattering of photographic presents and opportunities. This year I certainly got more than I bargained for with a new Nikon Df wrapped up under the tree, many thanks Mum and Dad, really appreciate it! It is an incredible little camera that has flagship performance wrapped in a neat retro package. It doesn’t quite mold to the hand like an F5/D3 but with images this good and the ability to see in the dark, all is forgiven. Needless to say Candela will take on a digital presence in the new year. I’ll be adding a digital gallery to the site and expanding the work I do. On top of this, I’ll be based in Adelaide as of 2014. A new city and a bunch of new opportunities, I can’t wait!
And a special thanks to the guys at Camera Electronic who do a fantastic job. Its worth buying local and from people who know their product.