Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Corn Lily #5

Working in low light and a long exposure to create a blend of light and form.  An image from my corn lily series.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Corn Lilies

In the springtime back in upstate New York, I enjoyed going out in early evening and photographing the young corn lily plants along the river.  I would setup my large view camera just after sundown and prepare for a few long exposures ranging from 5 to 10 minutes in time.  The need for such a long exposure is required because of the small f-stop needed for close up work with a view camera, reciprocity failure of the film, and the slow film speed I liked working with. The light is very soft at this time of day and the leaves of the plants take on a wonderful glow from the low ambient light.  There is a real challenge to photographing in low light, but with experience it can render some very rewarding images. The slightest breeze during the long exposure could ruin the image.  Many times I would be several minutes into an exposure and a gentle breeze would come up just enough to make the leaves rock back and forth.  Knowing that the first signs of movement would not be recorded in a long exposure, I would cover the front of my lens with the dark slide from my film holder and wait for the the breeze to stop.  Once the plants stopped moving I would continue my exposure and add any extra time I thought may be need because of the failing light conditions I was working in.  The soft light with the added benefit of increased contrast in the negative due to reciprocity failure of the film is a great advantage when photographing basically a mono toned subject like plants.


Saturday, July 12, 2014

Castle Creek

This image was made in 1994 with a 4x5 Linhof view camera.  I was in Snowmass Colorado at Anderson Ranch working as an assistant to John Sexton at one of his workshops.  The workshop experience provided a chance to visit some great locations as well as interact with students.  I have always enjoyed photographing in low light and using a long exposure.  When working with film and long exposures, film has what is called "reciprocity failure", where the film doesn't react to the available light as it would during a normal daytime exposure.  To compensate for reciprocity failure an increase of exposure requiring two or three times the metered reading value of the scene is needed to get proper density on the film.  As I recall the meter reading with a spot meter of this scene was 25 sec. at f16.  To compensate for the low light I gave an exposure of 60 sec. at f16.  To be able to photograph in low light situations is a great advantage.  The shadows are much softer and with greater detail than if the scene was photographed in harsh mid day sun.


Wednesday, July 9, 2014

The wave

This is a hard image to convert to Black and White.  The color of this area is over powering and it is one location that I prefer the look of color for the final image.  This location is in Northern Arizona and Southern Utah. It is called Coyote Butte and is in a section of the Praia Canyon-Vermilion Cliffs Wilderness area.  It is a strictly protected area and it requires a permit to hike into this location.  It is a fabulous location for seeing a rare sandstone formation.  It is best to hike in spring or fall because the summer and winter temperatures can be extreme.


Saturday, July 5, 2014

Zig Zag

I am always intrigued with the repeating patterns found in nature.  There are abstract shapes and forms that are common in plants, rocks, and water if you are aware and look for them.  I made this image back in 2005 with a view camera and a 75mm lens.  The exposure was made at sunrise with a red filter and a slow film, Tmax 100.  The time required to make this exposure was 25 seconds, and with a long expose there are risks of movement with the film or the subject.  There is a slight fuzziness in this image that could be the results of the film popping in the holder or the the sun and shadow movement across the dunes with the first rays of sunlight during the exposure time.  The dunes are always a challenge to photograph effectively.  I can accept the slight fuzziness in this image because it adds to the movement of the abstract quality of the scene.