Sunday, June 19, 2011

Velvia - I made a prediction but how did it turn out?

Last week I made a prediction about how my Velvia slide film shoot would go.  And in terms of what I wrote, all three predictions were correct. Sorta. The first 16 were indeed keepers. I did end up tossing a couple of shots that came after I wrote my prediction though. Apparently shooting 50 ISO film with a telephoto at dusk isn't really doable at least hand held. Despite this there were only 2 that didn't make the cut. You can check out the set on Flickr here.

My exposure did turn out to be pretty good and there weren't a lot of noticeable exposure problems which I am quite pleased with.The images did indeed have rich colors. I don't think the digital version actually does the slides justice but then again I got the low res scans. If you compare the image above to the one in the set you can somewhat see what I mean.

Overall, I was pretty happy with the results. The old 50 mm f/1.4 I used for most of my shots is pretty soft especially wide open but it seemed to suit the images I got. I think I am going to try using my 50 mm f/1.8 next time as it is far sharper and its only 1 f-stop slower.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Digital? I don't need no steenkin' digital!

Following a personal trend that I have been following the last few weeks, I went out shooting today. My wife was at the spa in Kensington and she suggested going to Riley park to photograph the flowers. What a great idea! I had a roll of slide film I wanted to use and bright colors tend to work well with slide film. Interestingly enough, though I packed my dSLR with me the whole time I did not shoot one frame with it. Every shot I took was with my film camera.  So right now I have nothing to show for today. Very sorry about that. I know it sucks coming to a photo blog and there's no pictures but they are coming. For now I want to predict what I got though.

First off, as mentioned previously, I think the slide film is really going to show off the colors well. I was using 50 ISO Fuji Velvia which is legendary for how much it makes colors pop. Of course, the subject matter doesn't hurt either.

Secondly, I think that despite the bright day, I handled the exposure well. There is no way of knowing until its developed but I was extra careful with the exposure. Certainly, slide film doesn't have the latitude of dynamic range that color negative film has but I made sure I didn't have any excessively contrasty situations. I shot in the shade when I could and made sure there wasn't anything overly bright or dark when I couldn't shoot in the shade.

Thirdly, I shot about 16 frames today and I think that I am not going to have to junk any of them. I got my exposure correctly and I careful with focus. There were a couple of frames I shot where the wind was moving my subject but I was patient and I waited for the wind to die down. I took my time to get interesting compositions too so they should definitely be more than snapshots.

Its interesting but when I shot film back in the days before I shot digital it was pretty much a crap shoot. I'd load a roll of film and snap until I ran out of film. Most of the time I got an OK shot but a lot of times it was just plain bad. There were even a few times where I hadn't even loaded the film right so I got nothing. It just goes to show that taking the skills I've developed with a digital camera are certainly applicable to the film world.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Commitment to the Shot

One of the photographer's in the Foothills Camera Club made reference to being committed to the shot - doing whatever it takes to bring your vision to life. It makes sense because that it is probably the biggest difference between a snapshot and a great image.

The best shots are the result of planning, preparation and committing to getting everything in place to give your camera the best chance it has to get the image the way you, the photographer, want it. And really is this much of a surprise? With any endeavour the more you put into it the more you get out. Whether its scouting a location or finding the perfect model or getting up with the sun you have to not only want to get the shot but you have to put effort into the getting it. Just because the actual exposure is often measured in tenths or hundredths of a second, doesn't mean you can't measure the effort of getting the shot in terms of hours, days or even weeks and months.

An example of this was a shoot I did yesterday. I have photographed Vermilion Lakes a number of times, at different times of day and at different times of the year. On one level its kinda "been there done that" but I still find I can get markably different and unique images so I keep heading out there. Thus far, for all the times I have been out there I haven't shot the lakes at sunrise.  The challenge, however, at this time of year is that sunrise is especially early. Try 5:29 am local time. Added to this is the fact that I am about an hour and a half or so from Banff and of course a sunrise isn't something you want to arrive "just in time" for.  So in light of this, my day started at about 2:50 am.

So my personal commitment to this shot meant getting up extremely early and driving a fairly long distance to get the shot. I even got my feet wet to get my tripod and camera in the position I wanted.  The image I wanted deserved this commitment though.