Saturday, October 30, 2010

Autofocus Whines

I am a very very very satisfied owner (among other cameras) of the Canon 5D Mark II. Recently ran across someone's rant about the failures of the camera's autofocus system to be absolutely perfect and wonderful all the time.
Well...alrighty then.

If you want perfect focus all the time you are living in another universe. No camera offers that, no photographer is capable of it (unless you are in the studio with everything bolted down and the camera on a tripod and even then I've seen people screw up). Not to mention that there are a lot of truly great photographs that aren't that sharp.

Yes, the autofocus will search and fret when the situation is right, which is why we have eyes and the ability to switch the damn thing off and use our eyes and our brains, which seems to be a lost or dying art.

Oh to find the perfect camera - six or seven ounces with a 12 to 800mm f1.4 zoom with a 65 megapixel full frame sensor and an 8"x12" view screen for $199.95.
In the meantime I'm gonna shut up and shoot...

Monday, October 25, 2010

robert ullmann photos

Friday, October 22, 2010

The Better the Color, the Better the Black and White

Got to discussing with someone how I make black and white images in the digital age. What I do is this: get the fullest range of colors and color contrast possible, and then convert to black and white. As in the image to the left. Photography has always been in color - it's the materials that dictated the output.
A full range of tones, with details in the shadows and the highlights is the ideal. And since we have the advent of 16 bit color, we are dealing with a huge number of colors. ]
The Zone System made it possible, for the first time, to represent a contrast range that the naked eye could not see - if one squinted to make out the highlights, the shadows vanished, and vice versa.
Note: I am not referring to HDR which has it's place. Just not sure where...Given the movement of clouds, leaves, water and people HDR can be problematic. To squeeze the most out of any given fame is my goal.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Upcoming Show

After a long, and I mean long, hiatus, I am starting to show my work again...
It's taking the form of a small start in an OIA sponsored show at New York Law School in November of this year.

The images shown are from a couple of years ago and while I am really excited about showing, I look at the work from a different perspective than that of my newer stuff.

There's a gap between making and showing work which allows me to detach, and helps propel me forward.

Two of the images were shot digitally, one is a scan from film. The digital images were shot on an eight megapixel camera and the color negative was scanned commercially (didn't have a decent scanner at the time). Reprinting them on better paper, and more in line with the way I see now, reminded me a little of trying to milk the most quality out of 35mm negatives. It's easier to get better detail, color, contrast range, etc. out of medium and large format film. It's now easier getting the above from full sized sensors and 20+ megapixel cameras.
Learning to get the best quality from the the smallest, when applied to larger files or formats, only improves the work. I don't tend to coast on the image size alone.

I'll post opening dates as soon as I get them...

Monday, October 4, 2010

Tools and Intent

Last night, as I lay abed considering the fate of the universe, I started to think about issues of tools and techniques in photography.
The conclusion arrived at was - the closer one can bring one's intent to the tools at hand, the better the image will be. This requires an ability to see what the image will look like before the camera is in front, and long before it is opened in whatever editor y'all use. It is also the place where pushing buttons to see what happens moves from automatic art making to considered use of the controls of the software and the camera.