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Random Walk

point & shoot

in Photography in Ticino , Friday, May 08, 2015

Just a quick burst of random photography walking to work through Bellinzona, Ticino, one random morning in May. No plan, no preconceived idea, and very little time. Just point, and shoot. It’s probably something I do two or three times a week, and forget about. But for some reason this little set said “publish me”. So here it is.

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And for those who like to know, all shot with an Olympus E-P5 with Sigma DN 60mm f2.8 lens.

 

 

 

 

Thinking Panoramically

enough with the philosophy

in GAS , Tuesday, January 13, 2015

I’ve very recently discovered RPF, the Real Photographers Forum. A dedicated site for people to discuss photographs in a good natured way, and without hiding behind nicknames. Seems like a good idea to me.

Naturally, being fully committed to the Art Of Photography, the first sub-forum I visited was “Equipment and Media”. And there, I immediately found a very interesting post by a chap named Rob MacKillop about the 21:9 format available on the Sigma DP2 Quattro I’ve previously drooled over. I do recall being intrigued about this feature before, but I’d forgotten about it.

Now, 21:9 isn’t that far removed from the 12:6 format of the Linhof 612 Technorama which I’ve drooled even more over but cannot realistically afford this side of a serious bank heist. But I’m already a card carrying Sigma Foveon fan (literally, Sigma includes a little plastic card in the box in Swizerland), so all in all it looks very tempting. And even vaguely affordable.

So I decided to see what the image aspect looks like:

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The photo is a scanned XPan frame, so 2.7:1, not far off the 3:1 format of 617 monster cameras. The green lines represent a 612 frame. And the red, a 21:9 frame.  Looks pretty ideal to me…

Of course this is a crop of the Sigma Quattro sensor, and possibly does not match the resolution of a 612 slide or negative scanned in my OpticFilm 120, but I bet it’s not far off.  And, of course, I could just as well crop a shot from my DP2 or DP3 Merrill. But I would like a DP1 to complete the set, and framing at the time of the shot is important to the way I photograph. So maybe this would be a good compromise. And the look of a Foveon image on a good day is pretty stunning. Almost like film…  Actually, it’s almost like film on a bad day too, although that’s probably not a good thing.

Alternatives still remain: a Fuji GSW690 would crop down nicely, although obviously not a 6x12 resolution, and 6x9 is basically boring old 35mm 3:2. And I’ve got my eye on a Mamiya 7 at at very attractive price on a certain auction site (no, not that one). But can one use a Mamiya 7 without plagiarising Bruce Percy? I doubt it.

So, thank you RPF for nourishing my Gear Acquisition Syndrome. But, for once, in a good way!

 

 

Sigma Merrill: good in parts

the sky’s the limit

in Photography , Tuesday, October 28, 2014

On a few days wandering around the trails of Grindelwald, under the shadow of the Eiger, I decided to take my Sigma DP2 Merrill out for another outing.  Although it’s a nice camera to use - at least I find it to be - it is ultimately so frustrating that sometimes I’m tempted to just bin it.

In good conditions, which for the Sigma means flat, diffuse light, it is an absolute dream. It produces colours so real they’re surreal, and detail which just goes on and on without getting overwrought or artificial.

But, Lord help me, point it any kind of interesting sky, or indeed snow, and it’s a total lottery.  This, below, for example. Is the sky that colour on your planet ? Does it have gorgeous purple rainbows in the corners ?

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But then again, what camera that size could extract this kind of detail ? The Eiger ridge Mittelegi Hut is clearly visible at 100% zoom. You can even see the light.

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In more subdued light, it really can be quite remarkable…

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...but on the whole, it’s just too unpredictable, and using it has a feel of being different for the sake of being different. The experiment of using it in Antarctica was a disaster, and although probably I’d do a bit better with it now, last weekend’s outing underlined that wintery landscapes can really trip it up badly. The white balance goes so wrong that it is near unrecoverable.

It some surroundings it is great - along with it’s sibling DP3, it has let me produce some very satisfying photos of Venice. But otherwise, it’s too risky to rely on. I doubt I’ll be buying the new Sigma Quattro.

 

The Secret Sea

where the souls meet

in Photography , Tuesday, September 02, 2014

Anybody who has more than glanced at these pages will have noticed that apart from a twisted devotion to snow and ice, I also suffer from a chronic obsession with Venice. There’s no cure for either, and I wouldn’t have it any other way. It would be interesting to hear what a psychoanalyst would make of these recurrent themes.

So, more Venice. Back in June, sort of on a whim, I took part in an Olympus-funded photo workshop in Venice. Now, I don’t function well as a photographer in a group setting. I try to impress, or I try not to impress, I get distracted, I make terrible mistakes, and by and large terrible photos. But I enjoyed the vibe, a lot. Nevertheless, knowing that this would happen, I made sure I had some time beforehand to myself.  I had a number of pieces of the jigsaw to track down.

It was a hot, sunny day, quite busy, which in Venezia equates to “very crowded” for other cities. But as usual, away from the main attractions and routes between them, it was quiet, alternating between peaceful, and slightly eerie. In other words, perfect.

This selection of photos has been staring back at me for sometime, but with so many ideas and projects clamouring for attention, not to mention the rest of daily life, it’s taken a while for me to let them out. So here they are.

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The idea of presenting the first and last as diptychs, I must confess, is partly inspired by the wonderful work of Johnny Patience, which I’ve been devouring in the past few days.  However it’s also a nod in the direction of another idea which has been bouncing around my skull for a while. Maybe it will emerge.

All these photos taken with the Sigma DP3 Merrill and brought to life by Iridient Developer.

 

 

Life at 60

(60mm, that is!)

in Photography , Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Well, I may be a way off 60 yet (mind you…), but the effects are clearly setting in early: when I wrote my review of the Sigma 60mm lens a few days ago, I completely forgot that I’d taken another set of shots specifically to illustrate it.  Oh well, it gives me an excuse for another gratuitous post.

So here are some more photos taken using the rather excellent Sigma 60mm DN f/2.8 “Art” lens.

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The following two photos are processed using a blend of colour and black & white layers, following Gianni Galassi’s mentioning of this technique on his blog.  I’m sure he does it better than me, but anyway I quite like the effect.

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