Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Color Crazy

  Well, the redwood decks are all sanded and refinished, the woodshed is built and stocked with firewood, the new generator  is up and running and ready for emergencies... Ahh. At last I'll be off to color heaven in southern Utah.. I can think of no better place to be at this time of year. Even though we now live in a beautiful mountain environment and at pretty high elevation, we get hardly any fall color.. only the oak trees change and they mostly just go brown. Everything else around here is pine and cedar, so it remains green all winter... (very pretty in the fresh snow, however).
The forecast where we're heading: high elevation foliage at PEAK, mid elevation: near peak, skies: partly cloudy every day, with a chance of thunderstorms (excellent.. love those stormy clouds), temperature: around 70 during the day and 50's at night... made to order I'd say. Hope it holds true.
I'll be shooting mostly film this trip which I have not done for a number of years, so I expect my pace to be slower and more contemplative.. it promotes a mindset closer to that of a painter.  We'll have to wait and see how the end results compare to my recent all-digital stuff.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Good Glass is Forever

Yes, a long time since my last post... but I've been busy behind the scenes, I swear...
This little stream view is from a field testing session last week, a few miles up the road from home. I had no intention of shooting anything worth looking at, I just wanted to run some new lenses (and this one old one) through their paces to verify that everything works as it should (unlike with digital, you can't just press the preview and see what you've done).  This Schneider 135mm lens has been sitting in a closet at my father's house in Massachusetts since I finished school (more than 30 years ago-wow!), but I was pretty sure that it could still work, so I had him dig it out and mail to me here in California... I especially wanted to shoot the same scene under the same conditions with both this and 2 newer Rodenstock lenses I recently bought that are the best you can get. I was prepared for this one to pale by comparison, but surprised to find that I can see little if any difference in sharpness, so I guess this will do fine as a "normal" range lens (135-150mm in 4x5 format is equivalent to 50mm in 35 format) without any further shopping, at least for now. Back in my student days I used to use this on an old Crown Graphic press camera.. I still have that too, but am not planning to coax that back into service anytime soon:)
Why mess around with film in this day and age you ask?  That's what I have been asking for years too.. I loved digital right from the start and will continue to use it, especially for paying work, but recently I've been feeling the need shake up my way of thinking and working artistically... getting back to the "old" ways, so to speak. I'm sure moving away from the big city to a slower paced life had a lot to do with it. Seeing these first samples of Fuji Velvia back from the lab with their incredible, clean detail and rich color convinced me it is certainly the right decision. Really just a matter of adding some new tools/options to the old bag of tricks. If you like to produce large prints, like me, then there are some definite quality advantages too, that I will talk about coming up...
Too bad I ran out of DOF in the upper right corner here, otherwise I kind of like this shot, but I was only experimenting after all. (A little tilt on the front standard would have fixed that, but I forgot!)