Long Exposures with Phase One IQ250 (Part III)

I would definitely use a better weather when shooting Phase One IQ250. I only had couple of days on Isle of Harris with this chubby baby. Not enough. The very most of time spent either drying it or admiring its design. Or, testing the wi-fi connected to my iPad and Capture Pilot app. This is by the way a lovely feature.

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Photographic Process: From Snapshot To Artwork

Okay, I'm perhaps exaggerating on both ends here but all I am trying to show in this post is my photographic process of getting from the first brief snapshot of subjects that grabbed my attention to the final image I am very satisfied with. I explain working with the composition and other considerations, out in the field. Ota and I attended the workshop with Bruce Percy couple of weeks ago. We spent couple of mornings and evenings photographing Bay of Laig on the Isle of Eigg. I packed my stuff and slowly headed for breakfast when I noticed interesting sand waves created by the low tide water. Also, some nice heavy clouds started to group above Rum on the horizon.

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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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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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Iceland - Winter Landscape Photography Paradise

I truly believe Iceland is the winter landscape photography paradise. Over the past few years, it has become one of the must-go spots for plenty of landscape photographers. For many good reasons that are often discussed on this website and all over the place. What I loved the most during my first two summer visits was the excellent quality of light and angles of sun that allowed to photograph through the (entire) night. I did not mind the community crowd - not too many shot film overnight, their results inspired me and, especially during the second trip, we went quite off the beaten track...

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Transform Your Scenes with Lee Big Stopper

For few of you who might not know, Lee Big Stopper is 10 stop neutral density filter that reduces the amount of light passing through your lens hence allowing significantly slower shutter speeds than what we all are used to under normal circumstances. Couple of years ago, I started series of images that I call 'Landscape in Motion' using Singh-Ray Vari ND filter. I was particularly inspired by Daryl Benson's breathtaking image of moving branches of the tree colored by the fall palette. Soon I learnt that Singh-Ray would not suffice for manually controlled film camera for its lousy calibration but that's a different story. I swapped for my beloved Lee Big Stopper some 3 years ago. Ever since I have been playing with it occasionally, building on my old series of landscapes in motion. The main reason I like Lee Big Stopper so much is that it fits my feelings for simple compositions, it adds to it via removing the texture from scenes with large uniform areas.

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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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Baltic Sea with Phase One IQ140

This past weekend I spent couple of interesting days in eastern part of Germany, by the Baltic Sea. I did not expect more than just locations scouting and (mainly) testing my Phase One IQ140 digital back. I've owned it for few months but did not have much time to find out what it can actually do. And I can say now it can deliver a lot, much more than the P30 I used before. I'm still waiting for my slide films to be processed but unlike anytime before, I don't need to wait to see them in order to publish a note as I'm happy with what I captured digitally. Or, perhaps, following the announcement on Velvia discontinuation, I should rather feel that way. I have not done any explicit tests but the bottom line is that, compared to P30, the Phase One IQ140 made a tremendous progress when it comes to colour rendition. It's been showing a character, a sense to capture much less instantly and eventually show what has really been happening out there in the atmosphere.

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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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Black and White Magazine

Few days ago I found out that my portfolio from Iceland won the Excellence Award in yearly portfolio contest organized by well respected Black and White Magazine in USA. I am really excited about it and it is just great motivation for my future work and development. So here are few photographs which were published in the Special issue at the end of May 2012.

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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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Where Water Falls From Heaven

It takes 500 kilometers to get from Reykjavik to the Lake Myvatn, which is about 6 hours of non-stop driving. It's actually a very interesting route for the most of time, passing through couple of mountain ridges and valleys with some spectacular views. We had dropped Ota at the airport on Friday morning and decided to drive over to Myvatn for the weekend, sort of fed up with the southern sceneries. The plan came out quite well despite the tight schedule - we aimed to stop at Godafoss for sunset shooting. One more hour of drive to Myvatn. We would definitely used some more time to explore the location but what actually helped was that we have been there before 2 years ago. Unlucky though then, leaving with few documentary shots only. I now happened to have a pretty good idea of what I wanted to do there. And that was to get off the official parking place to the other side of the river. The short walk to the waterfall allowed for a little bit of time to absorb the surroundings while the lighting that was turning to get quite dramatic and beautiful.

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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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Linhof Techno at the Equator

I have been married for 10 years. It was impossible to imagine back then but it actually got to this point much faster and easier than expected. What's even more intriguing is that my own wife has been married for 10 years, too! Happily, I have no doubt. So I thought these were two excellent reasons to leave kids behind and spend few days in Seychelles together. And one thing that I made sure not to leave behind had been my Linhof kit. La Digue, one of many islands belonging to Seychelles, looked like the perfect place for the trip that would combine lots of hideaway resting and a little bit of photography. In this scope and order, dear Mrs Potomova. :-)

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Canon 5D Mark III

This new camera from Canon has been rumored for many moths and finely on Friday, March 2, 2012 Canon launched this new generation of 5D series. I am not technical expert, so I do not want to write a technical review I will leave that for others, but since I own Canon 5D mark II I feel I can write about my own impressions and whether I am going to upgrade or not. So for those who do not want to read the full story, I can say right now that I am not going to upgrade and I will stick to my current camera until it keeps working. I am seriously very happy with it and most of the new features of mark III are not really important for my work. I believe that Canon is right in saying that they listened to the existing 5D mark II users and they tried to satisfy most of their needs. Internet was full of complains about the mark II autofocus and speed with only 3.9 fps. I am not expert on video functionality, but there were also few complains in that area, which Canon tried to solve trough firmware updates.

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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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