A Twist On Time-Warp Tuesday

I am going to put another twist on Time-Warp Tuesday this week. The image below is not an old image; in fact it dates from just this past Sunday, when I was at the Beaches in Toronto. What qualifies it for Time-Warp Tuesday is that it represents a mix of old and new technology. First the old: the camera I used, my Mamiya M645J medium format, dates from the late 1970’s. The film format it uses, 120, dates from the first decade of the 20th century. Finally, the developer chemical I used to process the film, D-76, dates from the mid 1920’s.

The new is represented first by a couple of great iPhone Apps that had a part in the making of this image. First, since the camera is a completely manual model with no built in light meter, I needed something to calculate the exposure. Instead of bringing along a traditional light meter, I used a great (and free!) iPhone app called Pocket Light Meter, which takes advantage of the light meter built into the iPhone’s camera, and it did a pretty good job, better in fact than my “real” light meter as a matter of fact. The second app I used was in the dark room, and is called Massive Dev Chart; it combines an encyclopaedia of development times for various film and chemical combinations, with a specialized timer that makes timing the various steps of the development process a snap.

Toronto Beaches 21/11/10
I think one of the greatest things about photography is the ability to mix the old with the new; you can go completely digital start to finish, or at the other end, use completely “obsolete” processes, like wet plate collodion. With the hybrid workflow, you can find your spot anywhere in this technology spectrum, using whatever fulfills your vision. These are exciting times.

Manipulation Monday?

I was tempted to make the theme of Monday images digital manipulation, but the jury is still out on that one. The image below is an example of a photo that is digital from start to finish; digital camera, manipulated with an HDR plug-in from Nik software. Both “digital” and “HDR” are red flags these days in these eyes of certain purists (and I am guilty of dissing HDR as over used).  Scott Bourne once wrote that the only thing that matters is the image. A very simple statement, but a very profound one. Does the image, however produced, deliver on what the photographer was trying to do? This is the only metric that matters.

I took the image below last week in Cologne. The image is looking up at the Cathedral in Cologne. This structure is large and imposing, and dominates its space, in a not entirely positive way in my opinion. I joked with some folks (perhaps unfairly) that this massive structure would not out of place at the gates of Mordor. This image, with some HDR added, captures this feeling I had, better than the straight image does. And that is the only justification I need.

The Cathedral in Cologne

In the Mood For Medium Format

I’m heading out this morning to the Beaches in Toronto with my Mamiya 645 medium format film camera, so to get in the mood here’s an image I shot with my Mamiya a few weeks back on a photo-walk with a bunch of great folks in Hamilton, Ontario. I had no idea there were so many beautiful and delicate waterfalls in the Hamilton area.

Waterfall in Hamilton, Ontario

Sometimes It’s About What You Don’t See

Normally, Tuesdays on this blog are reserved for “Time-warps”, pictures taken some time ago, as opposed to recent images. Today things will be different; since it’s my birthday, I will indulge in a break from routine and post an image I captured a couple of hours ago. As I write this, it is a beautiful sunny morning in Cologne, but the day started out with the city wrapped in a dense, swirling fog. I grabbed my camera and ran out outside the hotel to capture it before it burned off. My favourite image is below.

Fog and Bridge, Cologne

There is a symbolism here; the bridge shows the direction of travel, but the destination is a shrouded mystery; I won’t be able to see it until I get there. The bridge is life, and the destination is the future, and getting there is half the fun.

Another Cathedral Catches the Light

I am in Cologne, Germany on business this week, and of course I am taking advantage of the location to do some photography. This morning the light was amazing for a brief interval, and it was breathtaking to see the Cathedral across the Rhine take on the ruddy colours of a red-sky morning.

Bridge and Cathedral