Thursday, March 08, 2012

Up Close & Personal

Listen. What's that sound? It's like a cross between a lonely sea monster (thank you Mr. Ray Bradbury) and a fog horn, way out beyond the reef, where the dark ocean starts to shelve away to night. Yes, its the sound of another FogBlog!
On that salubrious note, I will greet one and all a jolly good morning.
Today's post deals with an oft overlooked (and much beloved by me) accessory for ye olde Rolleiflex, namely the Rolleinar. These close-up lenses were made in 3 different magnifications namely #1, #2 and #3. As close-up lenses they excel - you've never seen anything as sharp, you've never seen 'bokeh' as nice. They are extraordinarily good, and parallax corrected too. The people behind the design of the Rolleiflex really thought everything through - everything fits and everything works so well, you rarely have to think much about accessories at all.
However despite their abilities as close-up lenses, one day I discovered another use for them. Messing around, I focused in really close on something and then changed my view so that what I was seeing was something from nearer infinity, and bingo, I discovered that by racking the focus in and out on subject matter that wasn't a close-up, you had a wonderful, variable soft focus lens.
I love Clarence White's photographs, and I also have a massive respect for anything from the Photo Secession, and I found that by using the Rolleinars in this way I could achieve a faux Pictorialist effect. I think it works, if you like what you see, feel free to comment.

This photograph was taken in some woods on the edge of a caravan site we were staying at at Crocketford in Dumfriesshire; the weather had been the usual mix of shower-dodging and things were getting really stormy quite early. What I think about this photograph is that it can either be threatening or friendly.  You could get a feeling of threat from it (as in nothing is as clear as it seems; what is that shadow lurking up ahead? etc etc) but to me it is more friendly and hopefully touching on some of that Pictorialist Romanticism whilst being a tad ethereal at the same time.
Who'd have thought some densely planted Pine and Birch could have been so transformed by light.
Camera was my old Rolleiflex T, with a Rolleinar #1 fitted. Film was TMX 100 developed in Barry Thornton's 2-bath developer. It was a cinch to print on Grade 2 paper, and I printed it slightly lighter as the original lighting was a bit too oppressive.
In the words of Joe Satriani: I like it. 

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