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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Col des Aravis - My Unlimited Playground

Col des Aravis is very nice and easily accessible area close to the mountain town La Clusaz in France (my favorite skiing resort). It is known for its countless outdoor possibilities from hiking to ski touring. To me it provides also interesting but in the same time challenging opportunity to pursue my photography. It is relatively small area with two dominate mountains on both side of the pass. When you arrive from La Clusaz, there is L’Etale on your right hand side. In my opinion, one of the most beautiful mountains in the chain of Aravis. 

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Expect the Unexpected

As a hobby photographer I cannot choose to go out when the conditions are perfect. I have to squeeze my photo adventures to couple of weekends a year. When I am not outside making pictures I do think about what kind pf photographs I would like to make next time, and I usually set  high expectations for the next trip. But as I cannot choose the perfect moment I am heavily relaying on given weather conditions on one specific weekend. 

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Small World - Part Two

Fist public presentation of this latest project of mine is done, and after all I am very pleased with the feedback I received over the long weekend in Gex in October last year.  As I do not have regular exhibitions it is always very special event for me. The closer itI become to opening ceremony, the doubtful I was. The voice in my head was constantly asking the unpleasant questions “how people will react to it?”, “will they understand?”, “will they find it interesting?” etc. These questions were permanently on my mind, as it is impossible to hide behind computer screen and internet anonymity during the exhibition. I have to face and talk to real people who  give me immediate verdict about my work.   

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Confrontations Photo - Upcoming exhibition in Gex, France

I am very excited to announce that my photo project Small World has been selected by jury of Confrontations-photo as one of the 11 portfolios to be presented during the upcoming photo festival. All of you who are close to Gex or Geneva you can reserve weekend Sep 30 to Oct 2 in your calendar and come to visit and support this unique photo event. Marek and I were already participating to this event four years ago, and it was really nice experience so I hope this year will be at least the same or even better☺

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We are still here

Our blog has been quiet for some time, so I think it is time to bring some life back here. Marek and I have been very busy with our daily jobs recently, and it has been extremely difficult for me to find some extra time to sit in front of computer screen also at home. But do not worry we have not abandoned photography and this blog at all. We are still here and continue this journey, even though in a bit slower pace than we would wish. Today I would like share an update on what I have been up to recently.

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Inspiration for photographers

I wanted to write about something totally different today. But I spent quite a lot of time in darkroom yesterday, and it was not the easiest session (a lot of paper got wasted), it really took me long time to get all the tiny little details right in final prints. It was hard work, but when I came today to pick up the dry prints I could not believe how well the prints turned out. The hours of work really paid off. The prints look really great! I really enjoy the incredible scale of gray tones and their smooth transition, which in my opinion makes silver gelatin prints very special.

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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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Silver Gelatin Prints

Today I would like to announce start of this new product. Until now we have been offering inject prints only in our shop section, but from today I would like to offer you unique chance to buy newsilver gelatin prints. My objective is to print a new print in archival quality every month and present it here. I am also planning to share all details about the printing process and the photograph itself. I have found this inspiration in LensWork magazine and I strongly believe in systematic work, so I am willing to put this kind of pressure on me from now on.

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Developing Black and White Negative

Marek mentioned here that we spent a great week on Isle of Eigg attending workshop with well respected photographer Bruce Percy. I have never been to photography workshop before, so I had no idea what to expect, but somehow I took more rolls of film than I usually take for one week long trip. It was good decision since, I did manage to take 27 rolls of medium format film despite the fact that we went only to two locations during the entire week. Now is time to develop them, which might take approximately three weeks. In my previous post here I was describing how I do expose my black and white negatives, so now I would like to follow up and share how I do develop them. Before I begin, I want to emphasize the fact that I am describing here the way I work, which might not work for other more experienced darkroom masters. As I mentioned earlier I am exclusively using Kodak T-Max films.

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Isle of Eigg - The Perfect Hideaway

We are now about 10 miles off the Scottish west coast, on Isle of Eigg. Wikipedia says it's 9 km long and 5 km wide (which makes its total area of 31 square kilometers). Locals say there are about 100 people permanently living here. That means we have seen the most of them in the small harbour pub when we arrived. Bruce Percy is saying it is one of the most photogenic islands in Britain. We have not seen many of them but we both absultely trust Bruce and our own eyes.

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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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Exposing Negative

I wrote about my darkroom experience here, but later on I thought I should also write bit more about individual stages of my analog workflow. Therefore in this post I would like to focus on exposure and film development, since both are very important for future work in darkroom or in Photoshop. I am aware that internet is full of similar post and tutorials, so please take this as my individual approach, which is not the only one possible, but rather the one which works oaky for me. There are plenty of more experienced photographers, which I believe might have different opinion:)

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Darkroom Experience

It is very obvious that I have been through significant transitions over the last few years. From color to black and white, from digital to analog and from fast to slow process. I cannot really say what was the trigger for me to undergo such changes, but I already know, that I am getting more enjoyment form my photography than any other time before. There are also moments of high frustration, when things are not coming out right, but still the level of satisfaction when you get one good print out of developer is extremely high.

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New Photo Gallery

As I promised here I just added selection of my black and white photographs of Northern Lights to our gallery section. At the end I have decided to include photos I took on film and also with digital camera. I want you to see the difference between these two types of media. As much as I love the traditional analog black and white photography I have to admit that the digital system can produce higher technical quality files than the film. But maybe it is too early to say that, since I still have not printed my negatives in darkroom and also it was just my first attempt in this field. As I said earlier there are still a lot of things which can be improved when I have a chance to photograph the northern lights next time. So maybe next year I will tell you exact opposite:)

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Northern Lights in Black and White

Seeing Northern Lights is very exceptional and amazing experience. I hope that I never forget the feeling I had after the first magical show I saw last winter in Landmanalaugar. The explosion of colors and shapes was unbelievable and definitely not from this world. On the other hand, from pure photographer’s perspective it is not easy to capture those special moments. That time I really did not handle it well from technical perspective. For example I was using only ISO 800, but I could have used even higher and get much shorter times, without blurry stars, and there were many other little things I should have done differently. With this experience I was getting ready for this year’s trip. I tested my Canon 5D mark II and I was sure that I can use up to ISO 1600 without any obvious quality deterioration, that I can use the lowest aperture on my 17-40 lens and I really have to pay attention to focus properly, manual focusing recommended.

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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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Photographs with words

As I mentioned here I have quite decent collection of book about photography. One book, which I like quite a lot is Michael Kenna’s “Love in Black and White”. This books combines amazing Kenna’s photographs with very special poems written by Bianca Rossini. I have always found this combination of the photographs and words as the “ultimate” form of art, and I was dreaming how nice it would be to have a chance to accompany my own photographs with some meaningful words. The problem is that I not very good with words and to write a poem would be definitely a huge disaster. Therefore I was very please, when I got email from Joshua Sellers asking me for approval to use my photograph “Between” with his own translation of passage from Marcus Aurelius. You can see the result here. I think it is very nice and I really like it. So maybe I should start little projects and try to found more meaningful words for my photographs. I am convinced it would be very rewording process and the results might be worth of the extra work.

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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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