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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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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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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Photo Exhibition

As mentioned here, Land and Colors was participating in one of the biggest photography events in Geneva area called “Confrontations Gessiennes de la Photographie”. We were invited to show our photo series “Iceland: One Place Two Visions” and few extra photographs. Together we presented 35 color and black and white prints, which can now be seen and purchased from Shop section on our website.

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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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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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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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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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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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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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Photo Exhibition

I am very happy to inform you that Marek and I were invited to exhibit our photographs from Iceland during one of the major photo festivals in Geneva region. Confrontations-Gessiennes is taking place in Gex, France from October 5 to October 7, 2012. We will be showing approximately 20 photographs, which we have taken during our last three trips to Iceland in 2009, 2010 and 2012. The name of our exhibition is “Iceland: One Place Two Visions”, which is also our ongoing project, where we are trying to show the same places taken by two individual photographers using different color and black and white media. More details will follow, but in case you will be around you can put this date already to your calendar.

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From Dusk Till Dawn

This is the enriched re-draft of my older text that celebrated the passion for shooting when the sun stays below the horizon. As it largely influenced my approach to photography, I wanted to post it here and now as well. There are many forms of light but generally a “golden hour” is widely considered as the very best time to take photos. No matter how cliche-ish this sounds. Whoever (landscape photographer or not) gets to any attractive place on  Earth during the “golden hour”, which is something totally different from a common daylight must always be amazed. You just can’t escape, unless your feelings are as dull as a rock on the bottom of a lake. Lighting conditions that are unusual for our eyes change any subject matter to a previously unrecognized quality. The landscape is gaining some extra hues and the real feel of three-dimensional space thanks to a long trip the sun needs to take through the atmosphere and a low angle it is illuminating the ground.

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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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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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From the Air

There are things in life that money can't buy. I love spending time with my kids as they both are quite funny little midgets. And I have to admit that not too much less I like photographing. I have been (and still I'm) dreaming of how to combine the two the earliest possible that is actually impossible now since when I go shooting, they have to sleep and vice versa. On top of that (and somewhat off-topic I know), I hate heights. But when I somehow manage to overcome my fears, I feel a vast euphoria.

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Photo of the Week - July 4, 2011

I took this photograph in February 2011 during our family vacation on Gran Canaria. We have been returning to the same place every year since our son was born in 2006. I know that family holiday and landscape photography do not necessary match together, but I am quite lucky that my loved family members let me spend some mornings alone by the Atlantic Ocean cost and focus on my photography. This year was quite tough for me since the weather conditions were not in favor to me and I was quite disappointed already on the very first morning since I did not get the chance to take the photographs I was pre-visualizing back home. Unfortunately, the same weather conditions had persisted also during my second morning and cloudless blue sky forced me to rethink my objectives and I went to explore nearby sand dunes, which is very beautiful small area with a lot of photo possibilities, but very often visited by many tourists so the amazing dunes structures are destroyed by footprints and in the worse case by trash left over by some irresponsible people.

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Prix de la Photographie Paris 2011

I am more than happy to share my little success in the world of photography with you today. I was awarded a bronze medal for my entry "Iceland - Long Exposure" at the Prix de la Photographie Paris 2011 in category Book Proposal-Nature (Non-Professional). You can find out more about the competition here www.px3.fr . It was quite surprising when I found out about the result and in the same time it is also quite encouraging for the future.

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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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My Book Collection

I guess that I do not have to convince you that photography is my hobby number one, but believe me not the only one. As many other people I do have the desire to collect things, therefore I have decided to collect photography books few years ago. I started with more technical ones. Especially at the beginning when I was trying to learn the basics of photography. After a while, when I  did understand the principles of exposition, depth of field and composition, I had moved a little bit further towards the books dealing with the essence of art and aesthetics of photography.

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