Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Hey Sugar . . Take A Walk On The Mild Side

Firstly can I say a big thank you to ALL readers whether human or robotic - like Bruce's Online Darkroom plateau of ONE MILLION PAGE HITS, so too have I hit somewhat of a landmark.
It's been hard at times writing FB - this computer is creaking at the seams and I am in definite need of an upgrade . . which might possibly happen this year - watch this space . . .
Anyway, gone are the early days where I bared my all and talked long and slow about everything that concerned me - FB has since turned into an occasional where I get to expound on all sorts of schiite (albeit mostly photographic schiite) for you my lovely readers . . .
When I were but a lad, new to t'game, just typing "Fogblog" into Google got you several pages of blogs about weather, birds, fog and Cartesian Dualism and all sorts.
I was on about Page 3 of Google results which was a little disheartening to a young whipper-snapper to say t'least . . . caps were dragged off heads and wrung dry, clogs were chucked at t'monitors and a right ol' palaver went on with the gnashing of teeth and the wailing of women
However now?
Well go on . .click on this link here
OH YES, Number 1 in the charts, which to me is a sort of little victory as I have always been a bit of a Number Two in a lot of people's eyes! 
So, much happiness, and much gratitititititude is being sent out to yourselves - thank you.

Well, you've dotted the T's and crossed the I's . . (or something like that) on another year of Christmas excess - you've split your trousers, burst your shirt, beaten your Granny, drunk your cabinet dry and generally behaved so hedonistically that you're now sat in your chair in your pants like one of 2000AD's Mega City Fatties (oh how prescient that cartoon truly was) . . .

 . . . well, not quite maybe, but in truth even though I only had one helping of Christmas lunch and one-and-a-half of pudding, I still feel like he looks . . . . eating to excess is I often think really bad for your soul. You enjoy it, but end up feeling so crap that you wish you hadn't.

Anyway, the title of this Blog is a stupid interpretation of what good mate Bruce said that he liked about my colour stuff - apparently it is subtle.
That pleases me - garishness is something I try and totally avoid - subtlety in colour reached a zenith and has since sort of dropped away - my ideal of colour is entirely down to the Kodachrome/Ektachrome look of the 1960's and 70's.
That is my idea of colour.
This is a slide of my father-in-law (in Durham) circa 1972 - the colour is wonderfully understated and naturalistic.

And here's an even earlier one from the late 1960's.

Youch - that's a sharp as a knife isn't it!
It was taken with an Agfa Sillette- a zone-focus camera with a wonderful lens. 
They're both Kodachrome Transparencies, processed by Kodak.
Those wonderful old cardboard mounts have the date printed on them too, just to keep you right on your memories! So for the former it's July 1972 and the latter is April 1969.
I find it truly remarkable that these slides (OK they have been carefully looked after and stored properly) still display a naturalistic colour that is all but missing from today's photography. I guess there's a program to replicate the look out there, but it couldn't replicate the patina on the cardboard mount or the date or the signs of careful handling over the passing decades . . 
Oh how much we have lost.

Anyway, that look and the inspirational work of Ernst Haas, and to an extent Elliott Porter and Stephen Shore are what drive my colour aspirations . . . that and just general Sheephousian Weirdness.
Subtle is what Bruce said.
See what you think.

There's nothing trick about these - they're JPGs straight outta the camera.
Canon AWB was on.
EI's were 200 and 800 and most everything was manual. I underexposed by a half to one stop on most of them, just so everything wasn't Auto 'Dayglo' Exposure . . you know the sort of thing, where everything is correct and nothing looks right!
And that's about it - camera was the EOS 50D and the lens was the 40mm Canon prime pancake.
I like what it is doing, in fact it is this naturalness of colour and slightly muted feel that drew me to a Canon DSLR in the first place.
Now all I need to do is get the bloody things printed!

Well, that's enough o' me guff - you've got to get yourself ready for the intense binge-athon that is Hogmanay . . .oh yes, no matter where you are reading! (Gawd I can still taste Highland Park whisky, 3 years after a Hogmanay wheat beer and three [LARGE] triples excess).
Hoots mon - see you on the other side.

Friday, December 18, 2015

Season's Greetings (But Why Is It That ALMOST Everything Chinese Made Breaks?)

Greetings playmates - we've made it through another year and onwards to the next one - I wish you all the best for the Seasons and also all the best for a rooty-toot New Year!

Now, a thorny problem - well I don't know if you've noticed but it is a global world we live in - yer large corporations (and yes camera companies, that means you too) are now far more concerned with shifting large units of something which is effectively the same thing as you have in your kitchen - in retail terms "white goods".
You know, the numbers game - X-number of boxes containing X-number of Consumer Products. All manufactured in lovely clean factories (mostly) in China.
The relentless march of new model X versus new model Y; cameras out of date whilst still languishing on retailer's shelves.
You know the sort of thing.
It's called modern commerce.

It pisses me off actually.
I mean, I look at my Leica M2 or my Rollei T or the Nikon Fs, or the Hasselblad or Wista or Sinar and think, Mein Gott - they REALLY don't make them like that anymore - these were mostly assembled by hand by a highly skilled craft force the likes of which you'll never see again.
I'm not denying that China (et al) doesn't have a highly skilled craft force - of course it does, but the problem comes from the oft-vanishing bottom line.
It isn't all cheap Far East though - you do get cameras manufactured in Europe (and America and Japan) - please stand up all you lovely tiny (and that includes Leica) camera manufacturers - now, no looking around the room, but lets say you could probably hold your Christmas party in a cupboard whilst outside on the street there's a multi-float parade going on from the Big Four. But that's the way the cookie has crumbled.
I do wonder how long the smaller manufacturers (and even the big ones) can keep going against the relentless onslaught of the phone though - yes certainly there's a small army of concerned photographers who will want a new Alpa (and I count myself amongst them) but really - could you honestly afford one?
So how on earth do they continue to stay in business, when they can only be selling a tiny amount of new cameras every year?
There's a problem you see - the world is awash with old cameras and people continue to buy them. And if, like me, you love using old cameras, you must surely realise that what you are using was actually a pinnacle of mechanical engineering wrought tiny.
(Well, I'll add a caveat to that, they're MOSTLY that - obviously there were a lot of cheap cameras and they haven't really survived that well, but then again, even the humble, very very 'umble, Olympus Trip, is a damn fine ingenious and reliable piece of equipment. It goes wrong some times, but if you're handy with a screwdriver and feel a bit brave then it is fixable. So try doing that with your Panasonic Lumix or Samsung or Sony whatever, or Canon or Nikon - are these modern cameras fixable? - possibly, but tbh unless you like the idea of being a brain surgeon and rocket scientist at the same time I would say chuck it in the bin and buy another!)
But would you consider doing that with your M3, or your Standard Rolleiflex from the 30's? Would you feck - you'd get the little beauty repaired because not only is it a damn fine piece of engineering, it has a soul.
Like that bag of old soft toys you've still got tucked away a real soul. (I confess I have my 55 year old teddy bear (called Tedson) at home and whilst I don't cuddle him every night, I know where he is and sometimes go and say hello, because he has a soul, albeit imagined by me).
Call it Zen, call it Craftsmanship, whatever, but a lot of old cameras have souls - they're imbued with the hopes and dreams of great images by their previous owners.
My Rollei and Minolta Autocord are very elderly gentlemen who have had hard lives but still like a wander down to the shops with their flies open.
My Nikons are also reasonably elderly chaps who took up running years back and are still doing it.
My M2 is a retired watchmaker who has looked after himself and knows how to stay healthy.
The Wista and Sinar the same.
The Hasselblad is a newly retired surgeon, enjoying a more relaxed life.
You see - SOUL!
The Canon EOS 50D - whilst it's a VERY GOOD digital camera (same with the wee Lumix) has nothing there at all - they're effective machines produced in immense quantities, but they have little to make you feel affection for them.

OK, so you're wondering what the hell I am on - machines with soul?
Can it be possible?
Well only if you're seriously deranged like me, but for the rest of you, they probably just come down to reliable and unreliable.
And I can understand that POV, but you see folks because of globalisation we have a massive worldwide problem - profit versus build.
Y'see in a bid to maximise profits from all you young dogs hungry for the next gadget, albeit phone, camera, whatever, build quality seems to have gone to shit.
Though (truth be told) I haven't been on the end of an unreliable 'modern' camera, a number of 'consumer' items I have bought recently have been defective.
Samsung laptop? Screen gone to shit in 2 years!
GE flourescent tubes - supposed lifespan 15 years? 2 years and they failed.
The worst though is my ongoing tale of woe trying to find that most basic of artefacts - the electric kettle. There's not a single one for sale in the UK that isn't made in China - big names and small names - the whole lot, from Dualit, Kitchenaid and Smeg, down to the lowly Tesco Value - everything in between - fine upstanding names of post-War manufacturing -  Bosch, AEG, Philips, DeLonghi, Breville - you name them and they ALL outsource to Chinese manufacture, and the crazy thing is, the massive price differences for, what is essentially the same thing and no doubt the same innards (roughly) made in the same factories. After my 3 year old Chinese Breville kettle started delivering chunks of metal from its supposed "stainless steel" interior (in reality - stainless coated steel) into my morning tea, I started hunting.
It involved the world's most boring man activity of heading to my local retailers and lifting every kettle and looking at the labelling:
Made In China
Made In PRC
All essentially the same thing.
I wanted something European, but no luck.
So I gave in and bought a Bosch - 15 boils in and the thing still tasted overwhelmingly of plastic . . . 16 boils in and the lid failed. It went back for a refund.
Next up Lakeland. I've had a few Lakeland things over the years and they have all been decent. This was Made In PRC and ROHS Compliant - all very impressive. The kettle took about 5 boils to stop tasting of 'stuff' - fine, thanks goodness I thought, and came down on the Monday morning to a worktop covered in water from a leaking kettle.
So that went back.
We then thought feck it, I did more kettle lifting and read more pages on kettle consumer reviews than anyone would want to do in a lifetime and ended up with a DeLonghi. It too is Made In China, but I am hoping that the massively inflated price for 'design' equates to higher QC.
You see QC (Quality Control) is, I think the one differentiating thing in Chinese goods - that and materials.
My brother has this fantastic joke:

"Did you hear about that fabulous new metal alloy the Chinese are using these days? Shit-ite!"

It's a cracker isn't it, but oh so true.

Several years ago I needed a crowbar - so I went to B&Q and surveyed the goods they had for sale - the once proud name of JCB had a range, I thought they sounded tough so I checked them out . . .
Not a single one was the same.
They all had a flex too them that was not appropriate for something required to be strong - in other words they were shite.
I looked at the labelling - Made in China - there was no QC, just a cheap piece of junk metal for bargain-hunting DIYers.
So I went elsewhere and bought a European made Gorilla bar - it was tough and did the job required, and it's still one of the most solid things I have ever used.

It's true though - in the hunger for ever-cheaper goods, that we, the money-wielding West are driving, quality of materials heads right out the window and in comes the shit.
And a huge amount is just that - SHIT.
And more fool you for buying it - and that includes me.
But you see it has taken a while to dawn, but I am now trying to take a stand - albeit a seemingly lone voice in a wilderness of consumerism.
If I can, I try to buy European or Japanese or American or even Vietnamese made.
If I can't I will seriously rethink about whether I actually need it - it's that bad.
Sadly it is unavoidable that you simply have to buy Chinese, but if you can, please try and look at where things are made.

You would think from this that I was against everything Chinese, but thankfully thanks to an Orient-loving Aunt that is far from the case.
I love my early 18th Century Chinese sword, and some of the marvellous export porcelain I got when my Aunt died.
I love my local Chinese supermarket because it is fun and weird and the food is superb.
I love the history of China, the resourcefullness and hardship and the transcendence of the human spirit, the uncanny ability to forge things.
The West owes China more than it can ever imagine from metalwork to paper to fireworks to tea, but sadly that is often forgotten.
China wants to be loved again, but what I hate is that we in the West are capitalising on that innate Chinese willingness to please, for any price.
We're guilty as hell in demanding of them a quick fix for our product-hungry society.
Sow the wind and reap the whirlwind.

It's our fault a lot of shoddy goods come out of China, and yet and yet, isn't that pinnacle of craft and skill, Japanese sword and knife-making, based entirely upon innovation from Chinese techniques and knowledge?
Thankfully there are some superbly made Chinese goods - truly fantastic quality using decent materials - but sadly they do seem to be few and far between.

So as you can see, it isn't all anti-Chinese workmanship around my way, I appreciate their abilities as a nation, but when you hear the cry from my kitchen "This Fecking toaster CANNOT TOAST!" you'll know that another Western profit-before-quality white good has hit the fan!

Anyway, that's enough away from photography.
Here's something made on American film (Kodak), processed with British chemicals (Ilford and Fotospeed) printed on British paper (Grade 2 Ilford Galerie), also processed with British and French chemicals (Ilford, Fotospeed and Kodak) taken with  a German lens (1966-ish Schneider 90mm non-Angulon) on a Japanese camera (Wista DX) with a Japanese film holder (Toyo).
Oh, and the light was all Scottish (Dundee, under the lead-in part for the Tay Rail Bridge).

Just as a little adjunct to this - I know I have railed against Photoshop all my photographic life, but the adjustments to the final presentation of this print were done using that free version of CS2 that is out there, and you know what I was delighted with the ability to fine-tune the truly terrible auto-scan exposure I get from the cheap Epson scanner into something that looks more akin to what I have hanging on my wall.
It was surprisingly easy to get it looking right.

Anyway folks - that's it for the noo.
The Season is upon us, so before you force yourself to eat Mince Pie # 675 I will bid you a fond farewell.
thank you for reading this year and I'll set-to in the New Year with a more determined outlook - honest - refurbing those windows lost me a vast amount of light!
Be good, take care and until the next time, watch out for the normal people.

Saturday, November 28, 2015

Tales From The River Bank

Sadly not a FB devoted to the children's programme that probably no one remembers . . . ah where are you Hammy Hamster when the world needs your brand of innocence!

 . . . but a FB devoted entirely to photographing a tidal estuary shore! 
Oh yes, pure excitement here at FB towers!
Well, I suppose it was exciting actually - 7am on an Autumn morning with a guarantee of low tide and nothing but a tripod, a Hasselblad 500C/M with 60mm Distagon and a pair of wellies.

It's alright, don't panic . . . the oxygen tent will be here in a minute!

I've timed myself on these sort of expeditions before and they take me approximately 2 hours. Now this is sort of strange - that is per roll of 120 - so either my body has found a natural rhythm to making photographs with MF or else I am thinking far too much into it - whatever, 2 hours it took and actually, very pleasant it was given that I was downstream from Newport's sewerage outlet!
The pipe is a wonderful, seaweed covered, ceramic job and wends its way far out into the Tay. You can see it in Frame 11 (middle frame, far right) on the contact sheet below. Fortunately I was not troubled by the usual sewerage effluent that can beset many tidal shores downstream of such things, and actually, very clean is how I would describe it. Not that I'd want to eat my tea off of it, but it was smell and debris free and the massed banks of bladderwrack were very fresh looking and rather healthy.
So, you're asking why Sheephouse?
Why did I want to do it?
Well, I've been there before at high tide and the place was intriguing - it's a small area of intensely wooded, shallow cliff, heading eastward from the Fife end of the bridge, and I dunno, it just made me itch in a photographic way, so much so that I awoke from a pleasant Wiessbier/Woods Rum induced slumber and hauled my weary bones out into the pre-dawn light.
Oh yes, you've got to up and at 'em when the feeling calls!
I have been deeply aware all Summer, that I have barely used my newly acquired 500C/M and I felt ashamed of that - it is a first class tool and should be used all the time - that thought was a goad in my side.
I was also aware that I have a Scottish Photographers meeting coming up in December and I needed some material for that . . . and also, I wanted to make some pictures!
So, wellies on, everything readied, off I went!
Just a quick check though . . . are you wearing yours too? Those deck shoes are going to get awful messy if you aren't light-footed . . .

Obviously you have to be careful in such places - I had no wish of just being a Hasselblad raised high on a quickly sinking tripod above the incoming tide with me being sucked down first by soft mud, so it was easy-does-it and careful treading and testing some areas that looked dodgy just to be sure.

Exploring small areas like this in this way can be rewarding - I can't have walked more than about 300 yards beyond the point where I climbed down - and seeing as there was plenty to see, time seemed to stop and all there was, was me and my camera and the river . . . oh, and The Bridge as well - it is enormous from this side of the river, towering over you on massive concrete pillars but despite the early morning noise from cars and more cars, it was relatively quiet where I was.

I don't know if you find photographing therapeutic, but I do. Away from the demands and noisome mess of modern life and in such unlikely places as I try to find, you can just take your time and concentrate on the task at hand  - it's a form of meditation to me.
If you find it the same I'd love to hear what you have to say!

I used the Hasselblad mounted on my ancient Gitzo the whole time - I also used my small Giottos ballhead, which was tbh barely adequate and I had a few massive camera flops, which isn't the sort of thing you want to happen. I was also lucky it was quite still, as I fear the camera would have vibrated on the Giottos like a pair of flimsies on a washing line. To maximise me chances of sharpness on such a precarious set-up, I used mirror lock up and a small wait of time and then a cable release for each exposure - it would have been foolish not to. This being said, I still don't think I have extracted the maximum detail from the lens, but then I should have used a sturdier head (more on this in an upcoming FB - "Kenny Jazz And The Ballheads").
But the deed is done now, so scroll down a bit and have a gander.

Now I realise that when you look at the contact below you're going to say
"Hmmm - he could have exposed those better"
Well granted I probably could, but I've done years of trying to get the 'perfect' negative and to be honest, I am not sure there is such a thing - these days, my processing regime is very very simple - using the Rodinal replacement R09, I process to the times detailed on the side of the bottle! There, that was easy wasn't it! My old Agfa Rodinal leaflet ties in almost exactly with the bottle times and seeing as I have had some nice looking negatives from said times, I see little reason to change.
My only caveat to this is that I will down-rate every film.
In this case it was FP4 and I exposed it at EI 80.
Well I always felt that when I used box speed, my negatives were OK in a sort of dull, 'OK' way, but they had no oomph or guts, down-rating just gives that extra edge of over-exposure, and unless you are really really careless or shooting in vastly contrasting conditions on the same roll, the film's latitude (it's ability to deal with differing light) is generally able to take care of things (in other words your shortcomings as a photographer!).
So whilst the contact below has washed out skies, in reality, the information is there, it just needs slightly more careful handling in the printing stage.
Remember a contact is just really a visual check to give you an idea of what you have - it also has to balance any differences in the negatives and actually for such a seemingly simple thing, making a good contact is surprisingly hard to do - in fact I don't think I have ever made a perfect one.
The general concensus seems to be 'minimum time for maximum black' and I'll say I try and adhere to that.
There's a very good article on contacts and the 'un-zone' system on the late, great Barry Thornton's site - you can read it here
Anyway, if you can be bothered looking at the contact, you'll see the start (bottom left) and the end (top right) of my little adventure.
OK, it's a bit squinty/wonky but we're friends here - what's a little wonkiness between friends eh?

Contact Sheet 

Right, so now we've got some pictures!
As I said before the processing regime was simple (more of that in a minute) but so was the exposure regime.
You know that saying 'a little knowledge is a dangerous thing'?
Well yes, and no, it is and it isn't.
I've studied and applied the Zone system to my LF work and everything else too, and after years of following Bruce Barnbaum's "Ansel was wrong, expose shadows on Zone IV" methodology, you know what . . . I now expose shadows on Zone III.
WTF Sheepy?

a brief excursion into simple metering.

Your meter. Yes, yours.
It is your friend, but it is still going to average out that scene for you!
Multi-matrix, centre-weighted, spot, whatever you're still getting an average reading that will give you an average exposure that works really well with colour materials.
It is designed to ensure that you (stupid human) at least come home with something and that something is a Zone V exposure.
Balanced Colour.
In Black and White terms - Mid-Grey. 18%.
An average rendering of the scene, and there's nothing wrong with that.
But in monochrome (our concern here - these are B&W photographs after all and FB is primarily monochrome-based) we don't necessarily want an average grey picture.
Strange as it seems, but this is a common mistake with people taking B&W photographs. Yes, even in a world filled with helpful photographers and more articles on the subject online than you could comfortably read in a lifetime, this mistake is perpetuated.
Just about every online gallery I have seen is filled with mid-grey exposures.
But wait a minute - This is monochrome.
It is an infinitely expressive medium.
We want to jazz it up a bit.
You need to play with the light, adjust it to suit your vision of what you see in front of you. You can make a photograph where everything is visible and rendered clearly; where ever single nuance of light is captured in grey, but what you want is a bit of drama, some light, some shade and some total black, or pure paper white.
Hence the Zone III shadow.
It's simple to understand - if you're using a hand-held meter move it around the darker area of the scene you want to photograph; if it is an in camera meter, sway that camera around like a hypnotised cobra . . there, that's better. Got the lowest reading you can get?
Now if you were to photograph that dark bit at the exposure your meter is suggesting, you'll end up with grey, not lovely, all-encompassing, luscious darkness, nope, just grey . . . mud. Folks that is Zone V.
OK, in Roman numerals V=5, so III = (er)3!
So to achieve a Zone III exposure, you're going to underexpose your scene by 2 Zones (1 Zone = 1 Stop as per standard shutter speed/f-stop marking).
So if say your meter reading was 1/30th of a second at f16 (and you want to keep the depth of field that f16 brings) then your exposure is going to be 1/125th at f16 - you've lost two stops of light and the lovely black shadowy-bit is rendered more akin to how it looks and not an 'orrible muddy grey.
And that is an incredibly simplified bit of Zone-systeming that works for me.
If you now process at your chosen film developer's recommended timings, you should get some negatives that are pretty alright.
Obviously I've not gone into the Zoney/Wonderful World of Expansion and Contraction of negatives by development, because I don't feel it is applicable to this .  . so there.
So your negatives are pretty alright, and of course, sometimes, things will go wrong (and you'll end up with all sorts of 'orrible images) but mostly they won't. You would be amazed at how much a film's latitude can deal with things - I've exposed rolls and rolls at guessed exposures in all sorts of conditions and on the whole they've worked out fine.  
The only cardinal sin is underexposure, hence it is always a good idea to downrate the speed of your film - it just gives that little leeway
It's like a Lazarus moment though, is guessing exposure - your crutch is cast aside and you can walk!
You see it can be very easy to get sucked into the drive for perfection, metering everything so carefully, so much so that you miss the whole point (which is to make images which are enjoyable to look at) and not to mention missing the light and the moment too!
Remember the greatest landscape photograph ever made (just about) Ansel Adam's Moonlight Over Hernandez was a guessed exposure by a master who knew exactly what he was looking at and the luminence values of everything.
Anyway, all this is besides the point, so onwards.

Ooops - OK - I did mention processing, so here goes:
For this roll of FP4 rated at EI 80, I used 1+50 Rodinal (R09) at 20 C. I gave one minute of constant agitation and then one inversion every 30 seconds . . for 18 minutes!!!
Yep - it has imparted an edge of contrast to things, but to my advantage I think - especially the picture of the bladderwrack - the slight over-development coupled with a slight error in exposure (oh alright then, under-exposure) has imparted a 'vintage' air to it which I find very pleasing . . . and the detail is extraordinary . .
But anyway, where were we - oh yeah - Agitation - again a seemingly simple thing that can go horribly wrong.
Most people think it is OK to chuck the developer in and slosh it around like they're mixing cocktails.

The Young Photographer's Guide To Home Developing - Page 34

Agitation is a gentle, lovingly tender operation. It has to be done calmly AND GENTLY.
Did I mention GENTLY?
To get all metaphysical, in making good wine you don't chuck it all in a cement mixer, slosh it around, ferment it in a fervour and expect it to come out feeling nice and fresh and treated with respect do you? 
No, it takes time and care, and it is the same with film. 
Treat it with respect, like you would your loved one.
Really - you think I am exaggerating, but I am not - certainly with a developer like Rodinal (and its derivatives) and even the various dilutions of good old HC 110 and D76, it really pays to agitate as gently as possible. And I can't emphasise that enough - if you chuck in the developer and slosh you'll end-up with negatives that are so hard they could penetrate Batfink's wings. So one gentle (and slow) tilt (tank upside down and back to normal) per recommended inversion. You'll thank me for it.

OK, so after I got the negatives, what did I want to do? Yep . . . I wanted to print them too!
I love printing - it is one entire half of the photographic process, and is so sorely neglected these days . . . well, don't get me going. It is not easy setting up a darkroom though and I understand people don't have space etc etc, but you kind of owe it to yourself as a photographer to try and do something, even if it is just contact prints off a 6x6cm negative with the paper being exposed by a baffled torch.
Anyway, Paper.
It was 10 year old Agfa Multi-Contrast Classic - yep, ancient and as such it all has to be printed at the equivalent of Grade 4 - anything less than that old 100 units of Magenta just doesn't cut through the inherent base-fog of a paper that age. And you will get base-fog on something very old and especially Multigrade. For some reason, Graded paper seems to hang on much better . . . so look, I've saved you time and effort already - got old MG paper? Expose it on the highest Grade it can deal with and take it from there.

OK, session over. It took me about 2 hours to produce 6 prints, of which the best are above. With my current developing/paper/chemicals/printing regime (and at the same height on the enlarger for 10x8 paper) I seem to have hit a magical exposure time of 16 seconds at f22, using my 100mm Vivitar lens. What you see above are pretty much straight prints. 
No split grade or any form of trickery. 
Just neat (ish).
Oh alright then . . . I will admit to having cheated a tad on these with just the merest tickle of PotFerry bleaching too, just to up the ante - and it worked. 
I immerse the print in a weak solution till it looks about right, take it out and wash under running water then store in a clean tray of water till I am ready for the next step - Selenium Toning. Again the same procedure and then it is a quick blast in rapid fixer and then another quick blast with Kodak Hypoclear and into the wash tank for a couple of hours. 
The prints are then air-dried (suspended by plastic clothes pegs [not wooden - they adhere to the surface]) and filed away in archival sheets in an archival box for doomsday until they meet the great skip at the end of the line . . .
Such is life.
I love these prints though and the last is my favourite - I think it has that old-skool tonality I love in the work of Adams and Bullock and to aspire to the work of those masters isn't a bad thing methinks..

So there y'go folks, from field to plate, an analysis of what this particular photographer does to while away the time on some weekends.
Hope you enjoyed it.


Monday, November 09, 2015

Stepford City (On With The Future)

Boredom Police Intervention:

There was far too much navel-gazing shite - we've removed it. This is by far his worst read Blog post you know - only 18 readers in over a week, so we've cut the fluff and on with the show.

Now this is a statement of fact, but (whisper it) there's someone works for Dundee City Council Graphics Department, who is fond of big heads.  
Honest - it sounds bizarre doesn't it, but it is true.
For years they've appeared on hoardings and advertising for the Council and to be honest, they're utterly surreal
Strange thing is, they look kind of ordinary too, melding into the general scene so you're not really aware of them too much. This was certainly the case with me, but when I started looking at them properly, I found them hilarious, sadly missing out on many generations of different heads through sheer lack of observancy.
Anyway, here's a semi-recent one from the Seabraes; a slowly changing white elephant area with a modern "wtf-does that mean?" subtitle of "Digital Hub". It occupies an area that used to be a maze of tenements, railway lines and coal yards (long since demolished and dug-up).
This particular Big Head was (for a while) the thrusting modern face of Digital Dundee advertising "Dundee's Creative Media District" but sadly he became a magnet for vandals and was eventually almost entirely defaced by very very very tall graffiti artists and was then, two Winter's back, wrenched free by a powerful storm.
I found half his face in some bushes afterwards - he'd landed safely, in between some lovingly coiled dog muck.

The Man From Seabraes Yards
(Nikon F2, 35mm F2 Nikkor)

The Man From Seabraes Yards
(Wista DX, 203mm Ektar)

The Other Side Of The Man From Seabraes Yards
[This Is The Rear Side Of The Hoarding]
(Leica M2, 50mm Elmar)

The Skeleton Of The Man From Seabraes Yards
[After He Was Wrenched Free, This Earlier Poster Was Underneath]
 (Leica M2, Canon 50mm)

Death Of The Man From Seabraes Yards
(Koni Omega Rapid, 90mm Super Omegon)

I suppose I developed a relationship with this stupid hoarding because it was so interesting. and now he's been replaced by a very nice bridge!
He used to occupy the space where the crane is to the right of the picture below.

Seabraes Bridge, Dundee

And this is the completed bridge - its made quite a difference to a hard-to-get-to area, but I still miss The Man.

Seabraes Bridge Completed

Anyway, On With The Future.
The photographs below are all courtesy of the Council Graphics Department (God Bless 'Em!). They are so Stepford Wives like in their plasticity and sinister falseness I had to photograph them. 
Luckily they're getting quite vandalised now, so I can see this as an on-going thing till the new hotel (!) and station (!!) is built.
They were made with the 500Cm and the 60mm CB Distagon - quite the most remarkable lens I have ever used. They're real prints too - printed at Grade 4 on ancient Agfa MCC paper. Developer was Fotospeed which does a great job, and they were archivally processed and given a final toning in Selenium for good measure.
Sadly the scanning has washed them out a bit, but the full nuance of greys are there in the originals . . you'll just have to pop around and see them . . . remember to bring some biscuits.

I'll say TTFN now, simply because Blogger won't let me add any more text at the bottom of the page . . . TTFN.

"I Love It Here! Really . . . I Do . . . Don't I?"

"Me Too. It's Great And Can Only Get Better With The New V&A Dundee"

"You Ain't Seen Me . . . Right?"

"They Can Be Just Like Us, Can't They Darling"

Monday, October 12, 2015

Last Gasp Of A Dying Race

The selling of Harman is a worrying thing don't you think? 
I mean, I hate to get all panicky about it, but to be honest in the world we live in niche companies are shifted around like chattels, like a hareem as it were, and if that chattel under-performs, well, it's off with it, shoved further down the pecking order till no one wants to risk any money at all on it. 
For all the talk of the 'analog (sic) resurgence' is there really enough money in traditional photography any more to keep any venture capitalist interested? 
Yeah, Boots might have started selling monochrome film (did they ever stop?) but like Tesco's recent trumpet-blast from the ramparts that they were going to 
"get back into the Vinyl Revolution Man . . yeah, we're sticking it to the kids . . we're selling the new Iron Maiden album . . ON VINYL! Er . . cough .  .well only in selected stores and only that album . . cough cough, and er . .cough . . . we'll see how it goes!"
Yeah right. 
See what I mean? 
Another niche market.
At the end of the day, venture capitalism is about business and profit. It isn't about lovely bonhomie and chap's agreements written on a beer mat over a pint of Samuel Smiths and a ploughmans down the local. Perhaps the final paragraph from the article in the BJP lends some creedence to what I have said:

“We remain totally committed to analogue photography, and indeed to all forms of imaging.  Our product range is uniquely stable and of the highest quality, and we can assure all of our customers that we will continue to support them in our customary way for the foreseeable future.”
Whiles Pemberstone’s plans for the storied photographic company remain to be seen, their comments suggest that the famous brand will continue to endure for the time being.

You see, I've got a big problem with that last bit . . "time being."

OK - I was on holiday recently, in Berlin actually (and thank you for asking) - anyway whilst there, I indulged in my usual casual holiday pastime .. camera spotting. 
It's FUN, you should try it, for there are now a billion cameras in the world - everything from super-giant, 80000 mm f.95 primes through to the ubiquitous phone and everything inbetween too . . with the exception of one thing.  
Film cameras
I saw one in 7 days - it was a Nikon Fm and was being toted by a young Japanese woman . . indeed it ONLY EVER seems to be young Japanese women with film cameras . . apart from me . . and this time I let the side down by only carrying the Canon EOS 50D. 
Spot a Leica? Young Japanese woman.
Nikon? the same.
I did once see a Minolta in the hands of a young teenager in Liverpool and a Trip in the hands of a family man in Jedburgh, but all too often, film cameras are nowhere to be seen . . . which makes me think . . well how many people are actually using film these days? 
Where is the renaissance? 
If it's happening somewhere else (from Dundee) then it certainly isn't in any of the places I have visited in recent years . . in fact film cameras could be said to be as rare as rocking horse shite, and that is pretty rare!
So who is using film? 
The Nocturnal Hordes of Photographers? 
The Early Birds? 
I've not encountered a single early bird using film apart from me and that's from years of photographing in Dundee - and this is a creative city . . honest . . it is!
As I have said before, I am a member of Scottish Photographers and every so often we have a get-together in Perth. These are wonderful sessions where no judgements are made and you can get to speak freely about what you have been up to, and people are genuinely interested too. 
It's a salve to the lone photographers soul and I love it . . but out of a room of often ten to fourteen people, how many use film? 
Well, often just two, sometimes three. 
And these are people who LIVE PHOTOGRAPHY. 
The numbers are tiny, and are they buying 20 rolls of film a month? Are they shite - they're like me - they use it, but not a roll a day - it's occasional use.
I reckon I must use around at a maximum 30 rolls of roll film (mixed 120 and 35mm) a YEAR. Sheet film - even less - I have a fridge full of it and it is starting to feel like it will finish out my life. 
So if I (as a committed and dedicated amateur) am not buying in numbers decent enough to satisfy the hungry investor . . who is?
Camera clubs? 
Nah, they've been digital for years.
Creative Institutions??
Hmmm - that's an interesting one - Dundee once had a proud and solid heritage of photographers educated here and photographers raised here by a strong grass-roots foundation. This is where Albert Watson was educated, and we now have the figurehead of Calum Colvin toted as being the prime example of being a graduate of Duncan Of Jordanstone, flying the flag for strong, bright, thrusting modern photography . . . but erm that's two . . 
Oh yeah? . . what about you Sheephouse? 
Well, that's three . . 
And of course, Joe McKenzie . . well he's sadly deceased, so one less . . . 
See what I mean?
About a year or so back, I spoke to a lecturer of the Digital Animation Department at DOJCA in Dundee. It was one of those chats that just get going - he was curious about the Minolta Autocord and I filled him in and offered to make his portrait at the same time (he refused) - anyway he said that whilst students were keen to explore the whole beardy/70's/analog (sic) thing and there were some facilities (they have a darkroom)  for pursuing it, it wasn't really pushed and there was a lack of knowledge to help them along! 
And this is in a creative institution.
OK - so how many rolls are they shooting then?
I spoke to someone else who said that the darkrooms at Dundee City Arts Centre (the DCA as it is known) are largely under-used.
There are plenty of courses - the oncoming tide of 'analog' (sic) photographers who are going to use all these traditional materials are going to need somewhere to go!
But really, can you see it?
I don't know what it is like where you live - maybe you're lucky and film still lives and breathes and there are hordes of folk buying it up like there's no tomorrow, but here in old Blighty I feel we're a sad footnote. There's simply no voice out there shouting at the oncoming dark.
As a traditional photographer in Britain you are that weird beardy Uncle that lurks around at family gatherings - people see you as history, and a harmless, impotent side-bar of history at that.
Analog (sic) is too hard.
As I've said before printing and making  photographs requires dedication and graft, and I feel that in an age where you're almost forced (by peer pressure) to upgrade your iPhone every 18 - 24 months or so, the amount of effort required to become really good at something that takes a large amount of cash and a dark space, is really far too much.
In a small sentence, we've lost the patience.
I get customers screaming down my neck if they haven't had their CD three days after they ordered it, how the feck are they going to pay nearly £100 for a box of 8x10" grade 2 Ilford Galerie which requires love, dedication and patience (that word again) from them to produce something from it, when they can instantly access something similar in mere nano-seconds on their phone and get a so-so representation of it squirted out of their inkjets?
Are people really bothered about the fine print?
Of paper lustre and greyscale and tone and the physical presence of a piece of paper with an image on it when our world is beset with images, is swamped with a billion new ones every day?
One isolated point of time.
One person's take on the world.
One effort that took TIME and CRAFT to produce?
Who gives a shit?
And when that shit hits the fan and Ilford/Harman aren't shifting the megabucks these investors require to keep their interests going (after all the whole point of investing is to make, not lose money) what happens then?
When the pay-offs happen what remains of the big words and promises?
In a nut-shell, where is your next roll of film going to come from?


So here's some old shit from yer weird beardy Uncle of some shit he saw and liked and then made photographs and printed, taking hours to do.
He can't be arsed spotting them, because the dust is from the scans, not the prints which are pristine and actually took about as much time to make as the scans (well . . not quite . . but I did hit upon the magic exposure).
At the end of the day, they're his shit take on the world and he's just using up some old film (Neopan 400 in 120 . . long gone - thanks Fuji - it was a gem) and printing on some shit old paper (10 year old real Agfa Multicontrast Classic - thanks Agfa - it was a gem) and toned with some Kodak Selenium (thanks Kodak - I love you) which is going to kill him in the end , but who cares?
Oh yeah and the camera was his shit old Hasselblad with the slightly more modern 60mm Distagon, but come the impending loss of 120 film they'll make nice paperweights - or the perfect weapon for a smash-and-grab . . .

Sunday morning, Dundee.

Love your wrist

Real men glow

And that's it - sorry if this is an incoherent ramble, but it is quite early in the morning and I haven't had enough tea. But who cares anyway?

Anyway, chocks away . . I'm off to carry an unfeasibly heavy camera into the wilds . . 

Thursday, September 24, 2015

The Complication Blues

Readers of a tender nature should look away now, or scroll through all the writing to look at the pictures, because, as is my right as a middle-aged man, I am about to go off on one.
Other readers of the same age, should kick off their shoes and celebrate with me, because © The Seventies Stoneage Revolution starts here.
I've had enough of modernity (just about) and would prefer a return to the days of switches, knobs and LEDs that let you know exactly what is happening as it happens . . think Nikon F2 metering and you'll know exactly what I mean . . . it seems strange to say it, but THE SEVENTIES looks like a golden age from the mess of modern times . . .

But anyway, where was I?
Oh yeah . . The Complication Blues - makes a great title for a song doesn't it, and as far as I am aware, there hasn't actually been a song called that before, except in my head . . 
Y'see back in ye olde guitar-picker days, I did actually write a song called that . . we're talking about 1978 - guitar was my old (and still lovely) Epiphone FT150 . . a Japanese Epiphone made under licence to Gibson by the Ibanez factory in Japan sometime in around the mid-70's (though having just read that, can you see the roots of over-complication?).
£120 was what it cost me in 1977 - I had saved like crazy from my milk round, and buying it was one of the most exciting things I had ever done! 
You see things were relatively uncomplicated back then (well apart from leaving the cosy familiarity of school, then O'Level results from Hell, change of school etc etc, but in general terms . . ) 
You wanted something back then and you had a few options.

Ask your parents (mine had very little money having spent it on a top-notch (sic) private education for me).

Get it on tick (well, I was under 18 so that was a no go)


Save for it.

I still give thanks for my Dad's encouragement to me, stomping off to Northolt Post Office with about 30 tons of thre'penny bits and old pennies dragging my cordouroys groundward to pay them into my PO Savings account.

Saving is a very under-rated thing isn't it?

It's all too easy nowadays.
You see something.
You want it.
You buy it.
That's it.
Anticipation gone.
I am as guilty as anyone (as you can no doubt tell from the amount of cameras that have been bought in recent years) and I'm not sure if I like it.
Anyway, that's a tale for another day, because looking back at those times (when the most complicated thing a teenager could dream of owning was probably one of those new-fangled computer kit thingies they were starting to use in America [I knew no-one that owned one] or one of those models of a Nuclear Sub that always used to get advertised in Marvel Comics) the most complicated thing I owned was a Polaroid camera, and even then I hardly used it, so second down the list of most complicated things I owned, was an electric guitar (Vox Clubman II) - again a product of saving, costing the grand sum of £20 in 1974, and it was shite apart from the pickups . . and then I suppose third down the list was my Mum and Dad's giant Stereogram upon which I did the majority of my record listening . . . 

Get on with it man - what are you trying to say???

OK - I recently bought a phone.

Big deal you say, well yes, considering the last phone we bought was about 8 years ago and a Nokia soap bar (which still works - does the job and that's that).
It's an Android device, a Motorola and a very nice little unit, but get this - it took me about 6 hours to set it up and I still hadn't made a call with it! Why? because everything is totally and completely and unecessarily COMPLICATED!
Everything has an option, opt in, opt out, accept cookies, share data, turn this on, turn this off, monitor this and that . . even buying a simple Sim card you would think would be easy, but no. 
No way Daddio! 
The phone takes a Micro-Sim - easy enough you might think, except that it states in the literature DO NOT USE A NANO CARD WITH ADAPTERS. 
OK - well, me being me, I think they wouldn't just say that, and I read around and it seemed like a number of people have caused damage using adapters, so I had to get a Micro-Sim . . .except, yep you guessed it, most are Nano-Sims
Now the lad in the shop I went to was very nice and accommodating but I could see him getting quite agitated when I said that a Nano was no good and I had to use a Micro. He'd not heard anything about that and had sold tons of them. 
Well I said to him, it clearly states it in the literature with the phone! 
But he'd still not heard of it . . anyway, eventually, I got a 3-in-1 Sim which is a normal sized one pre-stamped in three sizes . . and eventually I got that fitted. 
Then I tried to use the phone. 
OK - nothing doing, turns out I had to register online and then use the code on the voucher he had given me (which he didn't tell me) . . so, I switched on The Sheephouse Maschine and got to their site, registered, entered voucher code, and got a text saying I was topped up. 
So that was something. 
Then I had a look at their roaming rates. 
OK, so I was now on the wrong plan - their roaming plan covers a number of countries but not the one I was going to
Brilliant. Fecking brilliant. 
So, I switched off roaming on the phone and decided feck 'em I'll do it Wi-Fi and messaging that way . . hmmmm Google Hangouts looks good, and I knew a few people using Skype. 
OK, so I got those done . . more registration, more passwords, more levels of security, more stuff to remember . .
And I still hadn't made a call, because I had been led up an ever-narrowing path of complication to register other stuff which took time and which always threw further spanners into an already complicated works.
Is it just me?
Does everyone find technology a snap?
Or, is it, rather as I am beginning to suspect, that the world in totally uneccessarily complicated and ever-greater levels of complication await us?
You remember the kids at school that were into this sort of stuff?
Well they are in charge of our world now.
Now I don't know about you, but I was always a book and a cup of Ovaltine sort of person . . electronics had no interest for me, neither had much in the way of science apart from Biology. 
Maths? . . no, er, definitely not. 
At school, the kids that loved complication and science and maths were tempered by the nutters like me who added a banana skin to their flights of fancy, but in their positions of power now - who is there to trip them? Who brings them down to earth?
I saw this at Virgin Retail back in the 1980's early '90's - the fun was gone, records were 'units' and all that counted was The Sale. Seemingly overnight, accountants had turned an organic, wonderful organisation into a money-hungry machine where staff were mere chattels, and it's happening today, but even worse. The NY Times revelatory piece on Amazon Management is shocking in its exposé of these Digital Plantation Owners. You can read it here.
But anyway, that's one of those asides - back to the phone!
I'm not a total neanderthal despite what you may think - I can be super-complicated, but my complication comes from the complications of an arty-based brain - I'll think a lot on different levels about things and let my spirit run free on all sorts of fancies, but I suppose that is too flighty and too damn OLDEN for the data-driven, hard-bitten world we live in.
And where does that get me?
Oh yeah . . . 6 hours in and no calls.
Oh yes I could use Google Translate to speak "My Brain Hurts" or "My Hovercraft Is Full Of Eels" in the language of my choice. I could download maps from all over the world. I could do pretty much anything I could imagine using a phone for all at the drop of an option!
But was it the right option? Was there something else lying hidden in a sub-menu that I hadn't done, or could be doing to further enahnce my experience? There's no doubt about it - Option Anxiety strides the earth beating everyone down with a cudgel if they don't pick the right thing.

So how the feck did we get in this state?

Why is everything like 'Tales From Topographic Oceans' by Yes when in reality it should be 'Iron Fist' by Motörhead?

All I wanted at the end of the day was something simple.
Something with a basic Yes/No thing that was easy to use . . 
Maybe a bit of a screen for this and that and a microphone for actually talking to people and a speaker for listening to people . . . and that's about it, the simpler the better.
But oh no, what I got at the end of the day was a portable Enigma Machine and a guy in a shop, the same age as my son, telling me that Nano Sims are fine with adapters and that I can use my new plan abroad but only in countries my new provider deals with, and all phone usage outwith those countries was covered by the more expensive roaming charges, but he couldn't tell me what they were . . . do you see what I mean. Nothing is simple.
Anyway, I suppose that's enough moaning man - evolve or die
Oh . . . OK.
All the same, something with a nice clicky switch on it, or a knob, or something you could hit . .
Yeah, something you can hit - that would be good . . .


(P)Sheephouse Postscript

Well, we've been, and got back and me and Ali had a marvellous time.
The phone sort of worked with no dramas apart from having to log-in to the hotel WiFi every 24 hours  . . . and we sort of got reception in most bits of the City some of the time . . . but it wasn't as easy as inserting coins into a phonebox and calling Whitehall 210, oh no . . .
So, anway, ramble nearly done - in keeping with Un-Complication, here's some snaps.

All were made with the unecessarily complicated Canon EOS 50D, but with all the complication switched off.

EI was 200.
Camera was set (a la Bruce's recommendation) to Aperture Priority.
Lens was the marvellous 40mm EF and strangely for me, largely used in autofocus mode except where it was telling me I wasn't focusing on the right thing . . . och don't be daft machine . . . .
There's no post-processing whatsoever -  these are the JPGs straight from the lion's den.
Obviously I shot highest quality RAW and JPG too so I can tinker if I wish.
Yeah there's a bit of camera shake, but this wasn't a photographic expedition and I was snapping on the hoof, and I didn't want to pee on our chips as it were . . we were having a wonderful time.
The EOS was a dream to use - battery lasted for ages.
Of course I could have done all this with real film, but tbh the thought of being strip-searched and all my lovely negatives being exposed to light by some over-zealous airport security guard was a bit beyond the pale . . .
So didgy it is and you know what - I am very happy with the results - now all I have to do is make them REAL, by printing them!

TTFN - and remember, when the chips are down, you've dropped yer kerry-oot!

Thursday, September 03, 2015

Freak Out! . . . It's The Technicolor Sheephouse

Morning Folks.
Y'know, for some years I have had a hankering to explore the world of colour photography (by the way, in some weirdly synchronised thinking, this is rather similar to me old chum Bruce's post about colour . . .  again, no collusion, just entirely independent thinking!) 
Anyway, I've got the books, got the cameras, shot the practice films (6! all undeveloped) bought a C41 kit, and yet, I am still not there. 
Now there is a very long and daft excuse for this . . . 
So if you've got a mo, sit down and have a read . . . 

Many years back, when me and Ali found ourselves in the position of two wee Church Mice with a large mortgage on an unloved Victorian divided house, a small child to deal with and not a huge amount of money to spare every month, we both felt it would help us if I fitted a new kitchen with a budget one from B&Q - it had to be better than the old kitchen from the previous owner which had been a badly hatched plan of home-made non-joiner joinery and pine cladding - it was, to say the least, VERY brown and not a bit greasy. So, suitably bouyed-up to sort ourselves out (we both love cooking - it had to be done) we purchased a bunch of budget units from B&Q and, because they were being promoted as 'just the thing' at the time, a plastic sink. 
Oh you might think a:
® Corian! 
Nope - no such luck . . 
In typical Sheephouse fashion it's a:
® It'll Do Till We Get Something Better!
Well I do it a disservice actually - it has put up with years of HC110 and Rodinal being dumped into it without too much staining (Bar Keepers Friend helps!). 
But now I find myself with the thought of all those super-corrosive and super-staining colour chemicals being put into it . . . could we accept a permanently stained sink? 
Yeah, that's what I thought, so, until I can work my way round this and discretion being the better part of valour, the film stays in the fridge . . .

Anyway, to cut a long story short, you'll remember that I have officially sold out? 
I can't get rid of the people with placards from my front garden and the hate-mail has been particularly upsetting, but anyway, what do I care? 
I'm a digital warrior now, all that useless silver-based stuff . . pah! 
That's for Grandads innit! 
Nah, I'm cresting a new horizon to a land where all is golden and bright and everyone wears white suits, just like The Eloy in The Time Machine! 
Oh yes, none of that nassssty, wet stuff for me now, nope, it's didgey all the way.
Well, not really, but for colour and at the moment, it is 'convenient' and 'handy' as well as sparing the sink . . got to remember that sink.

So, here goes - a very basic initial exploration into The Wonderful Wurld Of Color, courtesy of a certain Mr. H.Sheephouse Esq, B.A (A.R.S.E.).

But why so few? you ask.

Well, because I've spent the WHOLE of August refurbing a very nice but very enormous (10 feet tall! 4 and a half feet off the ground!!) Victorian Bay sash window (and it is still ongoing) . . I must be the only person in my City using 'hairy' Lime Putty at the moment and LimeWash too - I have immersed myself deep into the wonderful world of Lime mortars - it's not been easy, but man is it nicer than cement. 
I've also come away with the knowledge that Victorian craftsmen were real artisans - so much so that I am in awe of them.
That, as they say, is my excuse and I am sticking to it . . . 

Anyway, on with the 'modern' shite:

Dull Morning 1

Dull Morning 2

Dull Morning 3

Dull Morning 4

As you can see from the above, my fondness for Ernst Haas and Elliot Porter and Stephen Shore has come through, though please excuse the 'loose' framing - not enough attention paid to the viewfinder in the haste of desparately trying to take something to shove in t'Blog . . .
You know, I love the muted tones of old colour films - it stomps all over HDR and all that hyper-colourised stuff that people think is an accurate take on the world . . maybe it is in places with more sunshine, however here in Scotland muted is IT. I think the Canon's 'capture' has made a decent enough job of rendering what I saw at 7.15 AM on a semi-dreich August morning.
Of course, I could probably have replicated all this with proper real tootin' film, and I will attempt to do so at some point, but in the interests of the Sink (think Sink before you start having a go) 'unreal 1's and 0's' is how it is.
Now all I need to do is make them into physical prints (thanks Bruce in advance).
There was no footering around with this lot, all I did was switch everything off except the meter and focus confirmation.
EI is 200.
White Balance (goodness I can't believe I am writing that) is Auto.
The camera is fully manual including focus (because the camera doesn't believe me when I want to focus on something weird).
And that's it.

I am now going to try and do some more intensive 'work' with the EOS.
Yes all the menus and all that crap are very annoying, but at it's heart I actually think I now have a very decent modern-ish camera.
To be honest, I have no idea what I have been afraid of, apart from the constant nagging that what I have taken a photo of, doesn't actually exist in physical terms . .
That, I think at the end of the day, is the hardest step to accept.

TTFN and remember to oil your galoshes . . just remember the stuff goes on the outside though . . not the inside.