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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Night Photography with Phase One IQ250 (Part II)

Do not get misled. I am not an expert in night photography. Not at all. There are plenty out there such as Ben Canales, just to name one. I have not taken more than a dozen night shots in my life. And at least ten of them with my iphone when drinking at a friend's stag night. Hence this is not a tutorial for shooting stars. Look at Alister Benn's articlesif you want to read a truly good one.

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Isle of Harris with Phase One IQ250 (Part I)

I have been using Phase One backs since 2009 when I got lucky with a reasonable price on refurbished P30. Back then, I intended to get rid of the digital SLR that I carried as a back up for my film medium format camera so that I can entertain one system only. I ended up with Hasselblad H1, on which I could switch the Phase One with a film cassette. It is a very handy set up that contains one medium format body and three lenses only, but allows shooting film or digital as desired. With some alterations, I enjoy using it until now.

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Greetings from Isle of Harris

We are now sitting in a small bar in Tarbert, on the beautiful Isle of Harris for the second consecutive day. The good news is that it's just a few steps from the ferry terminal so it's likely we are not going to miss one when it goes. The bad one though is that no ferry to the mainland has been permitted due to the harsh winds over the past 48 hours. By now, we both have missed our flights to home and exhausted any topic that could have been talked (except for photography that is endless), including serious thoughts about settling down over here for good.

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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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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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Empty (Landscapes)

I took it very light with my blog (and imagery) lately. Partially because it’s low season for my kind of photography. And, the summer is definitely not my favorite part of the year in general. The sun rises way too early and it is moving way too fast for my Linhof (and my age) to catch up. Also, it’s been extremely hot over here in Prague so my basement workroom provided for a good (cold) place to sleep rather than servicing its usual duty as a landscape photography meditation center. Another reason behind the silence is my ‘civil’ life. Too many changes have been occurring around here; I’ve gone through one of the busiest period in my daily work that included lots of travel. I could not refrain from watching the political turmoil in Czech, which by the way is one of the weirdest thing I have seen ever since I remember following the scene – one of the cleanest prime ministers they (we) ever had got naively swept by his own efforts to make the politics less corrupted... What a world we live in.

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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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Photographing Northern Lights in Iceland

This past winter provided some excellent opportunity to get photographing northern lights in Iceland as we could have witnessed strong solar activity capable to produce fantastic performance of green dances up in the sky. We believed Landmannalaugar to be one of the best locations to shoot it. Deserted and wild, very remote and hard to visit. Actually the only way to get there, with a little bit of luck, is to hire a guide with a special truck and naval GPS as roads are invisible - covered by thick plates of snow and ice. We agreed with Stefan from Icelandic Mountain Guides to drive us there. One video is better than 1000 words, so check out below how beautifully it all looked like. And yes, many thanks to Dead Can Dance for their Frontier (Demo) that plays out there instead of our small talks, car sounds and winds.

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The Ultimate End of Fuji Velvia?

At the end of July, the scary news from Fujifilm discontinuing Fuji Velvia flashed through various websites and blogs. I first saw it in British Journal of Photography. Although at this stage it more affects my future ambitions to move towards true large format as 'only' the production of Fuji Velvia 50 in 4x5 format is to be halted (and the full range of Fuji Velvia 100F that I would not connect to at all anyway), it really sounds like the beginning of the slow end of the legendary inverse material. Will it mean anything to me? Yes and no.

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Lofoten Reminiscence - Rocks and Cabins

As it happens to happen every summer, I did not manage to do much photography related stuff over the last two months. Way too many things have been going on in my other lives that kept me very busy but eventually also let my eyes rest from looking at images, my mind from creating them and my legs from walking for getting them. So I guess I'm checking in fresh and with a long to-do list. To start with, I have been browsing through some older photographs from Lofoten made last winter. I got attracted by the below two that I thought the comparison might have been interesting. Both were shot from the bridge over the bay near Hamnoy, with the difference of few hours, couple of hundered meters and the media used (here, because I process digital files other way and time than film, I only now realized the two were created one after the other).

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Beach Graphics

I have been silent to this blog in the recent weeks. Too hot in my roof workroom, too much football (the most of it quite crapy though), too much happening in my non-photographic life that proved to be no less important than images. But now, it's time to catch up fast. It's raining in Prague now. Pleasing more than 20 degrees difference from how it was in Bratislava today - 41 Celsius when I sat into the car this afternoon. I went through some storm drama on the highway that somehow associated my thoughts with two things. One is the concert of Soley, one of endless musical talents from Iceland, whose concert in Prague was cancelled earlier this month (sadly) and I'm still left with the ticket (I will survive till the next one hopefully). So I'm playing her now while the soft rain kisses the terrace of my house on the background. It always amazes me how deep the music of many Icelandic artists I get to discover over time (and trust me, it's so many of them) connects with their landscape and its mood. Try this one while looking at photographs below, for instance. And be patient for a minute (or rewind :-)).

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Lesnicke Sedlo, the Place of Infinite Inspiration

I certainly do not remember when exactly my fondness for this place evolved, but for more than 20 years I have been taking there everything I loved at a time. It started with my bike when I was a teenager, followed by couple of girlfriends that qualified worth showing them around. I then drove my first car there to see how well it can handle the steep curved road that leads up there. In recent years, I have spent endless hours wandering round the place with all my cameras I owned so far. And finally, few weeks ago I brought my kids there to witness a joy in their eyes that would help me recall my first visit thus the beginning of my passion. 

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Film or Digital?

Film or digital? Both!

Whenever I'm out with my Hasselblad putting it up for a shot, I keep asking myself this particular question. The beauty of my setup is that I can switch between the two within seconds. No more I spend removing the film cassette and replacing it with Phase One digital back (and okay, placing a crop mask on the ground glass). I'm actually fortunate to have a choice, which is exactly why I designed my kit this way.

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Matter of Luck?

I was not particularly blessed with a luck with lighting in my recent photographic trips and attempts. Actually, I had no luck whatsoever. To be factually correct, I would call it an absolute misfortune. Being a little more on an unsettled side as a person, I would have full right to talk about a huge frustration as I can't remember when I last time witnessed an epic landscape lit by a bold and spectacular light. This is what I was grown on and have been always looking for. I planned this autumn to be much more active than anytime before. And I really was, spending the most of recent weekends out exploring new places near my place, the old spots in High Tatras as well as my new linhof.

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Expect the Unexpected

I just returned from long expected and looked forward to journey to High Tatras, my home land. Spending 4 days with one of my best photography buddies, Stefan Mestan (see his gallery), walking long hours below cloudless skies and familiarizing with my linhof techno was both, exciting and refreshing. As it always is when I get out there to do nothing but shoot. I'm now looking at processed slides and I have to confess that I never returned back from any trip with such pathetic results. The autumn has not come and likely won't this year - instead of rich yellows of birch trees and reds of rowans, we only saw leafs that were drying up alive. We saw far too much grey and perhaps two-three clouds, not more.

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Ice Cave Patterns

We usually shoot our Earth in its various forms and fashions from the ground. Those happier of us get up in the air and photograph from there. But there's an incredible beauty below its surface, too. In Slovakia, we're lucky to have as many as 2,400 caves (wikipedia) of which about 400 have been explored. One tenth of them is open for public. I rather believe that these are the most picturesque and fascinating. Because five are included in UNESCO World Heritage. :-)

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Peace in Mind

I have been silent in recent days traveling (no photography) and recovering and traveling again. I returned today from Slovenia where I had some noble plans that did not come true because: a) the sun rose too early, b) I stayed up too long, c) I met too many friends, d) there were too many storms, e) my dearest daughter reminded good old forgotten Roald Dahl to me after no less than 20 years and I was too busy re-discovering his unbelievably comical stories. All of the above is a cause I carried some pointless cargo but at the same time I call all of it rest. It was really nice rest till Friday when whole my heart and all my thoughts went to Norway. I travelled there two times this year and fell in love with it. I consider Norway as one the most beautiful and peaceful countries I have been to. What happened is so sad and painful and no words have a power to express it. So I only browse through my images from Lofoten looking for one that is perhaps showing how tranquil the place was, is and always will be...

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