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Technical Cameras, old and new

August 23rd, 2018

Continuing on from the Previous Post…   Around about the same time I was struggling up mountains in the Icelandic Highlands with my crazy heavy camera bag full of the Phase One XF camera, IQ3-100 digital back, lenses, tripods and other ancillary items, Phase One released their third firmware upgrade for the XF camera and IQ3 series backs.  Which amongst other features included the activation of a full electronic shutter in the IQ3 digital backs.  Meaning the Digital Back could be used on a technical camera without the limitations of the clockwork mechanical shutters in technical camera lenses (shutter speeds of just 1 sec – 1/500 sec in full stop intervals).

Cambo technical camera and the Phase One XF camera

Read the rest of this entry »

Phase One Vs Hasselblad Part 4

July 5th, 2017

Following directly on from the previous post Phase One Vs Hasselblad Part 3, talking about the decision process to buy either the Phase One XF-100 or the Hasselblad H6D-100

Dealing with Shutter Speed Limitations – Hasselblad

One of the major differences between Phase One and Hasselblad had always been the maximum shutter speed.  All the Hasselblad H series lenses have built in leaf shutters with a maximum shutter speed of 1/800sec.  They have flash sync right through their speed range, which is great for studio work but very limiting for landscape or natural light action. Read the rest of this entry »

More on Tiradentes, Brasil

March 2nd, 2011

I got curious last night after writing the last post on the Brasilian town of Tiradentes, seemed like i should know why it was thus named, and it seemed like i would have asked at the time.  Sometimes my memory is a little unreliable about stuff like that, so its lucky we have Wikipedia!

So, the town of Tiradentes is named after Joaquim José da Silva Xavier,  also known as Tiradentes (tooth puller) due to his one time profession as an impromptu dentist.  He was also a leading member of the Inconfidência Mineira, a revolutionary group formed in 1788 dedicated to the political independence of Brasil from Portuguese colonial rule.

Typical street in the town of Tiradentes in Minas Gereis, Brasil
Typical street in the town of Tiradentes in Minas Gereis, Brasil

The group, including Tiradentes was betrayed by one of their own members, and he was captured and eventually hanged in 1792 for treason, after a trial lasting nearly 3 years.  Imagine 3 years in a Brasilian/Portuguese prison in the 18th Century, i think the eventual hanging would have been a relief.

The Human irony  is that a man can be considered a villain by society one day, and for the very same reasons a hero the next.  The place in Rio de Janeiro where Tiradentes was hanged (and quartered…) is named in his honour (Praça Tiradentes), there is a town in the inland state of Mina Gereis that bears his name, while his likeness is on the Brasilian 5 cent coin.  He has been considered a revolutionary hero of the people of Brasil since the late 19th Century.

Another irony is that the town of Tiradentes, along with most of the state of Minas Gereis (which translates literally to General Mines), was built entirely by slaves (see previous post), and while the Inconfidência Mineira was agitating to lift the colonial yoke of Portuguese oppression from Brasil, they were still happy for the disenfranchised African slaves to be worked to death pulling the gold they so desired out of the ground.  In fact the driving force for the proposed rebellion was to stop the gold  that was being dug by the African slaves from the Brasilian soil being sent as tribute to the King of Portugal.

Slave built wall in Tiradentes, Minas Gereis Brasil.
A 500 year old slave built wall still shows evidence of the hand tools used to carve it out of the solid stone

So really what it all came down to was greed, thus the coin is flipped again, was Tiradentes hero or villain?.  Very little changes in the world it seems.

Both these images were taken on the Hasselblad XPan at dusk, and shot with Fuji Velvia 100.

Tiradentes Brasil, Os Amigos Velhos

March 1st, 2011

Another one from Brasil shot on the Hasselblad XPan.  This time from a small town in Inland Brasil called Tiradentes, literally “pulling teeth”… can’t say i know why the town is called that, seems like an odd name for a beautiful place.  Perhaps it describes the difficulty in building it, its all built on hills of stone, and of course the whole town is made of stone, including the window lintels and the door frames.

Os Amigos Velhos, Tiradentes in the state of Minas Gereis,  Brasil
Os Amigos Velhos, Tiradentes, Minas Gereis Brasil

The title of the image is Os Amigos Velhos, the old friends, and thats exactly as they appeared to me.  I had seen these two wander across to this spot and sit watching the sunset the night before, they hardly said a word to each other just sat in that comfortable silence that you only see with people who really know each other well.  It seemed like a regular ritual, so the next night i was there  photographing the street when they arrived.

This is not a posed shot, i’m afraid i didn’t ask permission, i just went about shooting the paving stones of the street as i had been doing when they arrived.  The thing i find profound about this image  is perhaps not immediately obvious.  We have two old men of very different heritage, one being European probably Portuguese and the other obviously African, living in a 15th Century Slave built town where one man’s ancestors would have been wielding the whip and the others would have been the back it was striking.  Now, 500 years later they are friends watching the sunset together.  I wonder if they ever talk about these very different yet entwined beginnings?

Epson 9900 printer in action

February 24th, 2011

Today i printed a 2.5m print of one of the Hasselblad XPan images that featured in a previous post, A Garota de Ipanema-The Girl From Ipanema.  It was quite a stressful event, as 2.5m of image allows a lot of room for things to go wrong.  Nothing went wrong, it looks awesome.

Epson 9900 large format printer 1

The Epson 9900, a formidable beast

I have an Epson 9900 printer, a formidable beast indeed, it can print 110cm, or 44 inches wide and this 2.5m print is the biggest image i’ve ever printed in one go.  The 4m canvas previously mentioned was printed by Paul Parin, from Studio Red Dust on a bigger printer, an Epson 11880, which is 152cm, or 60 inches wide.  There will be a blog post about that 4m image once it is installed in its proper place.

As you look through these photos (click to enlarge) you can see the progress of the print.  Its difficult to imagine scale from a small photo, but just remember that the canvas this image is being printed on is 1.1m wide…

Epson 9900 large format Printer 2

Half way there

I’ve printed many 2.2m images before, there are usually 2 or 3 hanging in the gallery at any one time, and 2.5m is only 30cm bigger after all… so whats the big deal?  Well, the software driver of the Epson 9900, as with all past models, is supposed to be limited to a total print length of 2.28m, unless you are using a RIP (Raster Image Processing), which is an expensive bit of additional software.  If you try printing an image longer than this through Photoshop, which uses the Epson printer driver software to run the printer, you get some bizarre and annoying results, including wasting a lot of canvas.

I dont have a RIP, at a starting cost of $2000 for a reasonable one that would do the job i never saw the need for it when the vast majority of my printing is well below the 2.28m limit.  So how did i print this image?

Epson 9900 large format printer 3

Three quarters of the way there…

Well, i rang Paul from Studio Red Dust, who also doesn’t use a RIP, and he told me a little trick he’s discovered for getting around the limit. Save the image as a high resolution printing pdf from Photoshop, then print it out of Adobe Acrobat…  It works perfectly.  It shouldn’t, Acrobat should still be using the Epson driver software to run the printer, but it works anyway.  Go figure…

Epson 9900 large format printer 4

Ah, Safe and sound.

Santos Beach at Sunset

February 22nd, 2011

Another image from Brasil shot on the Hasselblad XPan (which i didn’t sell on the weekend), This is Santos Beach, the same beach as this previous post of the soccer players.  I lived in Santos for about 3 months back in 2003, as you can see from the buildings on the waterfront, its quite a big city, certainly by Australian standards.  Big and densely populated, with a big wide flat beach that is always packed with people running, playing football (soccer), swimming surfing reading or walking.  Brasilians love their beaches.

Santos Beach in Sao Paulo at sunset as two surfers head back along the shore
Sunset Surfers on Santos Beach-Brasil

This shot was taken just after sunset after a long hot day of tropical humidity.  Up the other end of the beach is a popular surf break and these guys had probably spent most of the afternoon catching a few waves before walking back along the shore to home.  The sky shows the typical colours of the classic tropical sunset with lots of moisture in the air really bring out the colours.

The city of Santos is built on an island in the middle of the river mouth of the busiest harbour in the southern Hemisphere, one of the 2 or 3 busiest harbours in the world, Santos is an island that is actually a sandbar… it’s made of sand.  What you can’t see in this image is that most of the high rise buildings along the waterfront are leaning at crazy and precarious angles.  They weren’t  built that way, they have sagged over time, like the famous tower of Pizza, as the foundations sank into the soft shifting sand they were built on.

Most all of them have been stabilised now, but fixed on the crazy angles they were leaning at, as it’s very difficult to straighten a high rise building.  So if you go up into some of the apartments, especially the upper ones, you can spend your day walking up and down hills.  A pen dropped onto the floor will roll all the way across the room, and falling out of bed becomes an everyday occurrence.  I think with time it would do some strange things to your sense of balance and perspective or perhaps your neck… as every time you gaze out the window the horizon is a diagonal line across your outlook.

I’m sure i have some images in the vast 5000 strong catalogue i shot in Brasil of those building from the waters edge where the angles are visible, i’ll have to make a concerted effort to find them, in the mean time enjoy the tropical sunset.

This shot was taken on the Hasselblad XPan with the 45mm f4 lens, i wish it had been shot on Fuji velvia, or even Provia 400, but it was taken on Fuji reporter pro, an ISO 800 neg film.  This film is great at what it was designed for, quick press work, but it’s not ideal for landscape, Negative colour film is not much fun to scan and requires a lot of dusting.  Still, it works, and i won a silver at the APPAs a couple of years back for this image.

A Garota de Ipanema

February 14th, 2011

Literally the girl from Ipanema, which is of course the title of the famous song by Tom Jobim and Vinicius de Moraes of Brasil.  It was the song that really created the whole musical genre of Bosa Nova, a mellow mix of Brasilian samba and jazz that embodied the  the feel and emotion of the Brasilian culture.

Garota De Ipanema, Rio de Janeiro, Brasil
A Garota de Ipanema – the Girl from Ipanema

That song was written about this beach in Rio de Janeiro, or rather about a girl walking along this beach, rather like the girl in this image, which is why this image, that i shot in Brasil a few years back, shares the same name.  It could well have been a scene like this that inspired Tom Jobim to write that famous song as he sat on the bench overlooking Ipanema beach all those years ago.

This image was shot on fuji Velvia 50 with the Hasselblad XPan camera, and i’ve just recieved an order for a 2.5m print of it!  I can’t wait to see this one really big.  I did a 1.8m print of it a couple of years back and it looked great, i think 2.5m will look stunning.  See this image as a 2.5m wall print.

The 4m print i mentioned a couple of entries back is now stretched.  It was quite an exercise, that i of course photographed and will put up here in the next entry.

Lakes District of Chile

December 8th, 2010

This time last year i was in Southern Chilé for the wedding of a couple of good friends, one of whom is Chiléan, hence the location.  I had never been to Chilé before, so it was a new adventure for me,  I’ve seen plenty of images from there, so i had a bit of an idea, but they was nothing compared to the reality.

The Volcano visible from the town of Pucon in Chile, South America

The view down the street... any street... of Pucón.

What an amazingly beautiful place, totally different to anywhere i have been before.  The South of Chilé is all mountains forests, fast flowing crystal clear rivers… and volcanoes…

Awe inspiring!  Nothing quite like waking up in the morning and looking out the window  to find an enormous smoking volcano taking up most of the horizon, especially when the day before – the day of arrival – had been so overcast and rainy there was no horizon and the presence of the volcano was hidden. Something i never really got used to, i think the locals were wondering what i was staring at all the time. Read the rest of this entry »

Soccer Players on Santos Beach-Brasil

October 22nd, 2010

Back in 2003/2004 i spent a year travelling around Brasil, a country of amazing diversity.  Why i was there is another story for another day, but i took a vast number of images in that year (the majority of them on the Hasselblad XPan), most of which have never seen the light of day.  I put the first one up last week, and gradually i will be putting more and more of them here as i think the Blog is a great place to finally show them and eventually create a category on the website for that and other adventures.

Beach soccer on Santos Beach in Brasil

During my stay in Brasil i lived in a city called Santos for several months, which is on the coast of Sao Paulo state. Santos has the dubious honour of being the largest port in South America, with all the pleasures that brings… Santos also has a very long open beach, and on any given day there are always loads of Soccer games running, of all ages, from 3 or 4 year olds playing with 2 sticks for goals, to semi professional clubs having play offs.
Being Brasilians, most of them are great soccer players, so the games are exciting to watch and the sheer number happening at once  is a fantastic thing to witness.

This particular day was a Sunday, a big day for beach Soccer, and about 10am a dense fog rolled in off the sea.  Now fog is great for photography, especially Black and White Photography, and fog in Santos was totally unheard of.  So i grabbed the XPan and ran off to the beach.

These teams playing here are in fact one team split into 2 sides for the day.  One side wearing white shorts the other black. You’ll notice all the team shirts are the same and this is in fact the seniors division of Santos Football club, the team made famous by the magical Pelé. He’s not in this shot…

The official name for this image is “Futbol na Paraia, Santos” Soccer player on Santos beach-Brasil, but the unofficial name is “Caralho!” because thats what the goalie was heard to shout just as this image was taken.  I’ll leave it up to you to figure out what it means…

It was shot on Kodak Tri-X 400 on the Hasselblad XPan with the 45mm lens, which due to the extended field of view, makes it the equivalent of about a 24mm in standard 35mm speak.

The fog gives it a beautiful soft look with the background fading away nicely.  The white disk visible in the sky is in fact the sun, and if you look closely (click on the image), you can see the edge of the water on the far left of the image.

Can you guess which player kicked the goal?

The old Barman of Parati-Brasil

October 17th, 2010

I was looking through some  folders on my computer the other day (while i was supposed to be working) and i came across my images from Brasil that i shot several years ago and have never done anything with.  I have been promising friends over there that these would end up on the website, and so far there has always been too much to do to actually do anything about it.  Well, i’m an expert procrastinator, so while i was supposed to be doing other things i sat down and worked up this image a bit.

The first of many images from Brasil
The old Barman of Parati

I came across the old barman of Parati-Brasil, while walking through some magic coastal bush just out of a 15th century town of Parati (pronounced Para-chi).  The trail went out around some headlands covered in South American rainforest that ran right down to the waters edge, the coastline was craggy and beautiful with many inlets and deep, steep sided bays.

It wasn’t a particularly long or difficult hike, the path was pretty flat and the views were stunning, but it was certainly wilderness.

After about 4 hours of walking we suddenly came across this tiny house perched on the side of the hill at the waters edge, amongst the trees, and a bar… Yes, a bar.

Not quite what i had been expecting, but the beer was cold and welcome, and the barman had a great face.  If the face is the map of a persons life, this guy had been lots of places!  I had my Hasselblad XPan on this trip, its my standard travel camera, or was (until the 5D came along), and although not the usual portrait format i like the details of the mans life and work around him, it adds context.

I’m sorry to say i have forgotten his name, but i will always remember the experience

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