Large Format Photography with Ebony SW 45

I purchased my first large format camera Ebony RSW 45 in 2011, and I have been using it with more or less success for my landscape photography since then. I even traveled with this camera to Iceland, to discover that it is not so difficult to use this cumbersome equipment in rather challenging weather conditions. I regularly take it with me to the mountains and also around the lake here in Geneva. At the end it is not so heavy, so I can carry it everywhere I want. However, to set up camera properly can be sometimes quite challenging. Especially when it is windy or cold, but it is getting easier with practice.   

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Busy days

I have been quite busy with my work, which is why I have not been active much here recently. To be honest it was not only work, which kept me away from writing blogs and sharing photos. I also spent very nice time with my parents who came to visit us to Geneva. Regarding photography, I have been mainly thinking about my current and future projects and of course I have spent some time in darkroom. I have almost finished my next silver print offer for November. This time it takes me bit longer than I expected, since I have to do some spotting in the final picture, nothing major just few small dots, but I have to say spotting is art on its own and I have already wasted few prints.

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New Photographs From Lake Geneva Added

Today just very briefly. The weather has been extremely hot here during last few days, so I am not able to write anything interesting nor meaningful. Therefore I just want to let you know, that I added few new black and white photographs from Lake Geneva area to our gallery section here. Lac Leman has been my ongoing project for several years and I am now getting to know the lake little bit more. I have discovered few new places recently, which I would like to revisit, when the conditions get ready. Summer time is usually very busy around the lake, so I will wait until late September, when holiday season is over, and I will be able to enjoy again those very special quiet mornings, which I like so much. My plans for summer are quite simple, I would like to spent as much time as possible in darkroom and also to do some mountain hiking. I hope you enjoy those new photographs and survive this heat wave:)  

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Black and White Photo Gallery

As Marek mentioned here we have decided to share more of our photographs with you. I would like to start with selection of my black and white photographs from Lake Geneva area, since it is my main ongoing photo project. I have been working on this project for few years with intention to discover capture the specific mood of the lake. For that purpose I am frequently visiting more or less hidden ports and beaches. I have been avoiding photographing the main lake’s icons for some time, but everything can change this spring, when I feel finely ready capturing those places and hopping to find a little bit different and inventive way. The whole project is designed to be in black and white and approximately since 2011 I am using exclusively the traditional black and white films, mainly Kodak T-Max, to achieve my goals. I do not have any strong reason for it, it is just personal preference, since I feel that black and white film together with silver gelatin print can produce excellent photograph with very specific and unique mood respective for the place.

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Latest Thoughts

I know that I have been talking about the photo festival in Gex quite a lot already. But I would like to share one more thought, or I should rather say the result of my presence there. The really great thing about the festival was the opportunity to talk to other photographers and visitors. I was very much surprised how all the attending photographers were willing to talk about their work, share their experiences and ideas. It was really special.

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Large format photography

It has been almost a year since I started with Ebony RSW 45 camera and I am finally getting to the point when I do have better control at least over the technical part of large format photography. During the year I have been facing some challenges, partly due to wrong purchases of used equipment or due to my own mistakes and lack of knowledge.

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Long Exposure Photography

I have been interested in long exposure photography for quite some time. My interest started after I saw amazing photographs made by Denis Olivier, his pictures look like they are not from this world, being unreal but tranquil and meditative in the same time. Since then I have been trying to master this technique on my own. I was learning by mistakes, and digital camera was extremely helpful tool thanks to which I manage to understand the whole workflow. However two years ago I switched to analog camera system and now I am using mainly black and white films.

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Winter overview and plans for the summer

Despite the fact, that there is still a lot of snow in the Alps, the winter is definitely over, at least for me. However, I have to say that it was one of my best winters in many respects. We did spend quite a lot of family time in the mountains skiing and I also did take some interesting photographs. As I mentioned in one of my previews posts I have spent some time around Lake Geneva and I was very fortunate with the weather conditions, especially in February, when the temperature had dropped significantly below zero Celsius. As usual we also went to Gran Canaria during the winter school break and I have continued to work on my  two ongoing projects “Open Space” and “Dreaming Dunes”.

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Frozen Tree

Last week I mentioned my plans to do a first test of my large format camera system in extreme cold weather conditions, which are currently dominating to most parts of Europe. Last Sunday I went to Lake Geneva shore close to small town called Anthy-sur-Leman in France. I got there just before sunrise and thermometer in my car was showing -12 degree Celsius, which would not be that bad, if there was not strong cold wind blowing from North-East. These two factors combined together created real feel temperature well below -20 degree Celsius. As every landscape photographer can tell you it’s not so much fun to be out there if you feel cold, so to protect myself in those conditions I recently purchased special winter jacket from Sirjoseph and I have to say that it did exceed all my expectation. I did not feel the cold at all and I was able to easily wait for my long exposures to finish and in total I spent couple of hours outside without feeling cold.

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Time

It has been more than four years since I moved to Geneva. I still remember my excitement from the fact that I had not been so closed to the mountains before and I was so convinced that I would spent all my free time hiking and photographing in the mountains. So that was the plan, however the reality was quite different. There was always something that stopped me from going up there or I was just so lazy and tired from my daily job that I was finding excuses why I should stay home. At the end I have not taken as many photographs in the mountains as I wished four years ago, but I still have a lot of great “mental” photographs in my mind, which I will have a chance to take next year or year after that or...

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View Point

It has been few months since I bought the Ebony 4x5 camera  and I have been quiet busy learning how to use it since then. For my personal education I borrowed the famous Jack Dykinga’s “Large Format Nature Photography” book from Marek, and I bought “View Camera Technique” by Leslie Stroebel on Amazon. Both of these books are proving great introduction to large format camera system, but the latter gives more technical details, to which I personally begun to understand just after I started to use my camera and be able to test all the tricks in real life. I am still quite far away from mastering the large format camera technique, but I am slowly discovering the amazing potential, which such camera can provide to landscape photographer.  I am especially impressed by the possibility to get the ultimate control of the “Depth of Field” even with wide angle lenses, which is quiet difficult to achieve with any other camera system I have used yet. What I actually mean is that I am now able to get just very small area in focus, while the rest is remaining blurred or out of focus, something like the lonely bench in this photograph.

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Photo of the Week - October 10, 2011

From time to time I had been thinking about trying a large format camera, but I never made any effort into it, and most importantly I have been more than happy with my Contax 645. It is really great camera, which fully suits all my landscape photography needs and its autofocus ability is also quite handy when it comes to family snapshots. However, when Marek showed me his new Linhof Techno and all the fantastic features which large format camera can offer I was very impressed, and I started to think about trying it by myself. It is quite obvious that Marek has quite big influence on mine own photography and unfortunately also on my cash-flow:) Few month latter after Marek’s visit here in Geneva, I was ordering my first large forma camera from Robert White in UK. I was quite happy, because they just got very gently used Ebony RSW 45, which is designed by Robert White and Joe Cornish especially for wide angle landscape photography. Due to its design it can take lenses from 45 to 210 mm, which is the perfect focal range for my type of photography. On the other hand this is entry level camera, which provides limited movements, which at the end I do not mind, since it is much easier to use and it should also minimise  a chance for error. When I took the camera from box I was surprised that it is actually smaller than I expected. The precision with which Ebony cameras are made was obvious on the first look, the dark ebony wood together with titanium metal parts look simply stunning. The whole camera is very solid and all movements are very smooth.

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Photo of the Week - September 26, 2011

The longer I do have photography as a hobby, the more it represents an open dialogue between me and nature, rather than speed and quantity oriented picture taking, how It used to right at the beginning of my photography journey. I am personally trying to develop my own active dialogue with nature, but in the same time I am trying to hear or better to say observe ongoing dialogues between other different nature objects and I put myself in the position of distant listener, who does not want to interrupt ongoing discussions.

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Photo of the Week - September 12, 2011

Today I would like to share with you one of my recent photographs, which I took at the end of August close to Anthy Sur Leman in France. It is part of my ongoing project “Lac Leman”  and I have been photographing this exact place for couple of times already and I have never been really happy with results. So this is my first attempt I am willing to show to others, I guess it is not perfect, but at least it gets some of the things I was hopping for. The weather turned out to be almost perfect, it was little bit chilly in the morning and stormy clouds were quite quickly approaching the lake. I was on location some time before sunrise trying to observe it before setting up tripod and camera, but most importantly I was enjoying the quiet morning with only few ducks and some other wild births wondering around. I really like the time at the end of vacation season, when mornings by the lake get nicely quiet again and one can really relax. I am planning to travel more around the lake this upcoming winter. First of all, I want to discover some new places, but I want to keep returning to already know locations like this one. I have quite a few photographs in my mind, so lets hope that I will have a chance to take them.

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Photo of the Week - June 19, 2011

I moved to Geneva in 2007 and since than the surrounding mountains were the primer target for my photography and I have been trying to get up there as often as possible. I have quite a stressful day job, so it has also been giving me the opportunity to relax and handle the daily stress a little bit better. I very often came back home from my mountain hikes physically exhausted, but with fresh mind ready for another day. When some time passed by, and we were getting more and more settled here in Geneva, I have begun to pay attention to other photo locations in my neighbourhood, and guess who was the first obvious candidate. Of course it was the lake, one of the biggest in Western Europe. To give you a brief description, the lake is split 60/40 between Switzerland and France. In Switzerland itself it goes trough three cantons (Geneva, Vaud and Valais) covering the total area of 345 square kilometres. While the entire world knows the lake under the name Lake Geneva, the locals - meaning all the many great cities on the Swiss and neighbour French shores - call it Lac Leman.

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