Thursday, September 08, 2005

ineluctable visuality

fog at dawn over the Rapidan River
fog at dawn over the Rapidan River

Left Sophie in the care of my neighbor and spent 24 hours in the last best place in America.
Can't say last best place, the wannabe trademark holder might sue.
The house sits on the rim of a natural ampitheater in the Piedmont of Virginia. A river runs through it, cows and horses graze around it. Sitting on the porch at night there is a sky above, fields below, chorus of frogs and cicadas, 360 degree beauty and no "security" lights.
The ineluctable visuality of the house and surrounding countryside beats me senseless. My plan was to photograph for 36 to 48 hours. Couldn't live up to the plan, I was overwhelmed after a single rotation. Twenty four hours all the unmitigated beauty I could handle.
The photo method was to shoot first with digital (check placement and balance of rented lights). If the scene was good enough, shoot next with 35mm film. If the composition was still looking good shoot 120mm film with a rented lens (Hasselblad 40mm).
The plan worked fine inside, none of the furniture or windows moved while I was watching.
The panorama outside made a fool of me, beauty in flux. Much of the outside was shot with digital, should have gone straight to film.

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Blogger Michael said...

Well this photo is superb! The sharpness in the grass makes me think digital, the nuances of grey in the mist make me think film. So please please put me out of misery.

And as for the digital shot of the church a couple of days ago: what was it shot with?

Blogger emory said...

hey michael- this shot and the church were taken with a Nikon D70. Once again, had to take the image into Photoshop's "channel mixer" to tease something out of the image that would work in B&W.
Notice the striations visible in the image's dark areas? Those secondary to boosting the contribution of the blue channel...

Blogger Michael said...

You mean the striations just visible on my monitor on the horse's shoulder? They came up with your boosting of the blue channel? What is that about?

Following the advice one incarnation ago of D Beckerman I invested in Power ReTouche Pro, which seems usually to do a better job of conversion to B&W than I can do...unless I spend an unconscionable time at it. But then since I haven't yet managed to afford the Epson R2400, let alone the R4800, I have to tone my photos slightly, again using Power Retouche. Then at least they have the tone I choose rather than the tone the R800 chooses.

Too much information?

Blogger emory said...

Michael- I've been tempted to acquire the power retouche black and white studio, my reluctance is income based, no money in, no money out...

Is it better than DESATURATE + CURVES?

If you and Dave both like it, gee, where is my charge card.

Blogger Michael said...

I don't really know about the desaturate, which I was warned off at the very beginning and have hardly touched. The Curves is a super control, though you may find your life draining away in tiny adjustments and readjustments maybe only you imagine you see. You can certainly use Curves after you use Power Retouche. I'll send you one or two shots that I've done with Power Retouche.

Blogger emory said...

Why do people hate desaturate? Is it the throwing away 66% of the information?
Please do send me a shot, before and after...

Blogger Michael said...

The reason I hate desaturate is that I heard it/ read it from the gurus. I also can't make it work very well, but that may be me. But I also think throwing away all that info without some magical something to replace it (i.e. the magical fact that in Power Retouche they convert to CMYK before converting)seems profligate.

Blogger Dave Beckerman said...

Bill - power retouche if you can afford it. Simply faster and easier to convert to b&w. However are you printing them? Desaturating and channel mixing as well as tweaking with RAW conversions, never gave me the look I get / got from Power Retouche.

If you're not printing them than it's all moot.


I'm still trying to find a good fast film combination.



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