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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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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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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Iceland - Work in Progress

I am still busy with processing my negatives from my trip to Iceland in winter 2012. I am done with scanning and I have started the selecting and adjusting process. Since I am not in a hurry, I do find useful to compare the new photographs with those I took during my two previous trips to Iceland in 2009 and 2010. I am quite amazed how much some of those places have changed and also how my personal photographic vision has changed over the years. The first obvious difference in my photography approach, is the total change of my equipment. Unlike the two previous visits, when I was using mostly digital camera (90 % of time), this time I was using almost exclusively Ebony 4x5 large format camera with black and white films and the digital camera was used only in a few situations as a back-up.

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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 - November 27, 2011

I have been to Slovakia for couple of times, but I have not been lucky to take any photograph which would be worth keeping, and you have to believe me, that this little country in Central Europe is extremely photogenic, so the problem was always on my side not that there was nothing to photograph. I was very happy, when Marek invited my and my family to spent a long weekend in Slovakia, which was also great occasion to test extensively my new camera. So I packed Ebony RSW 45, couple of lenses, 50 sheets of 4x5” Kodak T-Max 100 film and with high photographic expectations arrived to Banska Bystrica. Unfortunately, the weather was mostly against us, with exception of one afternoon, when Marek and our good friend from Lightharmony Stefan Mestan, took me to see their favorite locations around their lovely town. All the places we visited during that afternoon were proving endless photographic opportunities.

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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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