Photoshop CC and scans


Scanning 35mm and 645 transparencies also benefits from the new upsizing function in Photoshop CC.  By scanning 35mm at 8MP and 645 at 12MP and then upsizing to 18MP and 26MP respectively I get sharper, cleaner images than by scanning at larger sizes in the first place. This finally does justice to these film images and shows what size reproduction they are capable of with only a desktop scanner. 









Professional, high-end reproduction drum scanning is VERY expensive and up to now thats the only way that I would have been able to produce files like this. Photoshop CC has turned my Nikon LS 9000 scanner into something better and produce these colour rich images you see above. Almost makes me want to shoot film again. Almost!
 


Back - but for how long?


I guess its hard to imagine why people would prise open a series of manhole covers, cut several lengths of phone cable and steal them. But that is what has happened locally here, resulting in my being off line yet again. The thought of people preventing other people contacting the emergency services in a crisis so that they can make a few pounds is beyond belief, unless of course you are a thief bereft of any moral conscience. Who knows what damage they did, how many ambulances were too late, how many fire engines didn't make it in time. Some people regard this as kind of amusing, a bit like the seemingly strange attitude to computer hacking, which results in unnecessary pain, suffering and death. It seems that vandalising war memorials to steal other materials isn't the lowest these people will stoop to. 

Though we all know that these things go on and the capacity for certain members of the human race to demonstrate they are morality free happens on a regular basis, I am still surprised by peoples capacity to demonstrate just how startlingly sub-human they can be. In my view they deserve to find out just how a pair of pliers, two bare wires connected to the mains and a kettle of boiling water can be used creatively to convince them of the error of their ways!! There seems little other chance of stopping things like this. I must admit I've never had a great opinion of the rest of my fellow man, this just confirms it.

However my personal inconvenience was temporary and was little more than just that, an inconvenience. It did mean I could get on with with something else, in this case some scanning. 





You may of course be wondering as to where is the new digital stuff? However just as I described the UK climate as being under the influence of global soaking, we are also suffering from serious global dimming. Since the start of 2013 the sun has been in short supply. Today was cold and dull with the ground covered with a combination of snow, ice and slush. Its been like this for days, with no end in sight. I enjoy winter light, but this year its disappeared behind a grey blanket of cloud. On the rare occasions the sun has appeared its been accompanied by a wind so cold I thought my nose and ears were going to snap and fall off. 

Somewhat optimistically I regard the 1st. march as the first day of spring. God knows what I'll get this year. I can at least spend my time remembering the summer sunshine of the French alps and pyrenees, if only in two dimensions. 


N.B. to see more on the cameras and lenses featured in this post click on the relevant labels (tags and keywords) below.
All original material on this blog is © Soundimageplus
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Some recent scans


Some recent scans. All from a Pentax 645 camera and (mainly) Fuji Velvia 50. With some of my recent posts about depth of field, I was remembering just how difficult that was to cope with using the 645. I very rarely used anything lower than f11, even with wide-angle lenses. I used a 35mm, 55mm and 150mm lenses for years before they got stolen and then replaced them with a 45-85mm zoom and 200mm lens. Not too bad, but selecting what to photograph was often tricky as I used the camera mostly hand held. A lot of light was usually needed. A case where the lack of adequate depth of depth was a distinct disadvantage.







N.B. to see more on the cameras and lenses featured in this post click on the relevant labels (tags and keywords) below.
All original material on this blog is © Soundimageplus
Join the Soundimageplus Blog Readers Group at Google+

For comment and discussion - join me over at Google+

More Scans

Pentax 645 Fuji Velvia 50 Nikon LS2000 scanner

Been doing a lot of scanning recently, hence the quiet on the blogging front. Here's some from France.

Pentax 645 Fuji Velvia 50 Nikon LS2000 scanner

Pentax 645 Fuji Velvia 50 Nikon LS2000 scanner

Pentax 645 Fuji Velvia 50 Nikon LS2000 scanner

Pentax 645 Fuji Velvia 50 Nikon LS2000 scanner

N.B. to see more on the cameras and lenses featured in this post click on the relevant labels (tags and keywords) below.
All original material on this blog is © Soundimageplus
For comment and discussion - join me over at Google+
about soundimageplus - soundimageplus website
soundimageplus on flickr - http://www.flickr.com/photos/45203414@N06/
soundimageplus blog readers pictures group - http://www.flickr.com/groups/1705334@N24/
soundimageplus on YouTube - http://www.youtube.com/user/soundimageplus
soundimageplus on Vimeo - http://vimeo.com/user1050904/video

The Scanning resumes

Pentax 645 Fuji Velvia Nikon LS2000 scanner
All pictures - Pentax 645 Fuji Velvia Nikon LS2000 scanner

After somewhat of a gap, I've started scanning again. I'd forgotten how much pleasure I get from working on these files. Now I wonder how much a S/H Pentax 645 is on ebay??

Pentax 645 Fuji Velvia Nikon LS2000 scanner

Pentax 645 Fuji Velvia Nikon LS2000 scanner

Pentax 645 Fuji Velvia Nikon LS2000 scanner

N.B. to see more on the cameras and lenses featured in this post click on the relevant labels (tags and keywords) below.
All original material on this blog is © Soundimageplus

For comment and discussion - join me over at Google+
about soundimageplus - soundimageplus website
soundimageplus on flickr - http://www.flickr.com/photos/45203414@N06/
soundimageplus blog readers pictures group - http://www.flickr.com/groups/1705334@N24/
soundimageplus on YouTube - http://www.youtube.com/user/soundimageplus
soundimageplus on Vimeo - http://vimeo.com/user1050904/video

Film and Photoshop

Pentax 645 Fuji Transparency film Nikon LS9000 film scanner

Images by David and Ann Taylor-Hughes

The great advantage of scanning these old film images is that I'm able to "correct" things about the original and turn them into better looking and therefore more sellable images. Bringing dull colours up, compensating for the effects of wide-angle lens shots of architecture and removing things that lessened the impact of the shot. All things that weren't possible with transparencies.

 In fact what has happened is that pictures which were never sent anywhere because of these problems have now become useful, and in fact some of them are becoming new favourites, and finally after all these years are starting to get used and seen

Pentax 645 Fuji Transparency film Nikon LS9000 film scanner


Pentax 645 Fuji Transparency film Nikon LS9000 film scanner

Pentax 645 Fuji Transparency film Nikon LS9000 film scanner

Pentax 645 Fuji Transparency film Nikon LS9000 film scanner

Pentax 645 Fuji Transparency film Nikon LS9000 film scanner

Pentax 645 Fuji Transparency film Nikon LS9000 film scanner


The scanning continues

Pentax 645 Fuji Transparency film Nikon LS9000 film scanner
All images:-
Pentax 645 Fuji Transparency film Nikon LS9000 film scanner

I haven't scanned anything from Ann and I's film collection for a while as I've been catching up with the editing, captioning and uploading. However I've started work on the archive again. These were all taken in the Massif Central in France in 1989. They were taken on a Pentax 645 camera with Fujichrome ISO 50 and 100 transparency film.

Pentax 645 Fuji Transparency film Nikon LS9000 film scanner

Pentax 645 Fuji Transparency film Nikon LS9000 film scanner

Pentax 645 Fuji Transparency film Nikon LS9000 film scanner

Pentax 645 Fuji Transparency film Nikon LS9000 film scanner

Pentax 645 Fuji Transparency film Nikon LS9000 film scanner

Pentax 645 Fuji Transparency film Nikon LS9000 film scanner

Pentax 645 Fuji Transparency film Nikon LS9000 film scanner


Sometimes you just get lucky

Pentax 645 Transparency film Nikon LS9000 scanner
Pentax 645 Transparency film Nikon LS9000 scanner

I was just about to pack up and go home and thought I'd just take a couple of sunsets before I left. Then I saw the hot air balloon and decided to stick around to see what happened. A short while afterwards the swans appeared and I had a real prize. No filters, no Photoshop, just a Pentax 645, 35mm lens (20mm equivalent) Agfa 200 transparency film and a lot of luck.

Film Sensibility

Pentax 645 Transparency film Nikon LS9000 scanner
All images - Pentax 645 Transparency film Nikon LS9000 scanner

In my last post I used the phrase "Film sensibility", so what does this mean? Is it pretentious BS or does it mean something?

Well it does actually mean something and its a shorthand phrase for what Ann and I were doing with our photography back in our film days. As I have said often before , film in the digital age isn't easy to work with, with scanning and editing its a time consuming and difficult process. 

When it was universally used for picture reproduction, which pre-internet meant virtually 100% print reproduction, it did make sense. Transparencies were sent here there and everywhere and the task of getting the image into print was undertaken by repro. houses. So with labs developing the film, as photographers we only had to get some rudimentary captioning done and make sure that the material got to the right place.

However there was a cost to this. For example a two week trip to France when I was running my travel picture library would cost around £1500 in film and processing costs. Roughly around £1 per picture. As you can imagine, knowing that every time we clicked the shutter there was a quite steep cost, we would make sure that we were getting something worthwhile. No "I'll give this a try, and if it doesn't work I'll delete it, or try to fix it in Photoshop" experimentation, as happens with digital. No firing off countless frames from every angle with every lens. 

On the lens and camera front, medium-format particularly, was expensive big and heavy, mostly involving prime lenses. Carrying a bag full of them was out of the question.

So consequently, what you are seeing with all these film scan posts is the result of a selective, disciplined approach, that is the complete opposite to a snapshot, shutter pressing frenzied, "there must be something decent in this lot" way of working.

Pentax 645 Transparency film Nikon LS9000 scanner

So, a kind of pre-editing, if you like. As a result of this, there was obviously a higher success rate and the images that we would return with, were the result of a much more considered and concentrated decision making process. True, there were occasions when something may have been missed, as digital has proved that often unpromising situations can produce surprisingly good shots, but on the whole this approach worked very well. Certainly going through the material as I am currently, has revealed very consistent batches of images.

Pentax 645 Transparency film Nikon LS9000 scanner

Pentax 645 Transparency film Nikon LS9000 scanner

Much of what I learnt then has crossed over into digital. Much of what you see posted is the result of using a two prime lens kit, and as you will be aware, that is very often my outfit of choice. I also spend a long time considering each image. Its why I'll never be any good as a street photographer, since by the time I've checked my exposure and composition a few times, as I invariably do, the "decisive moment" is long gone.

However one thing that digital has changed, is I now have a tendency to shoot far too much. The liberation of not having to calculate how much all of the shots are going to cost, has meant that I take far too many pictures in any given situation. Plus as my Photoshop skills have increased, I find that I can get a satisfactory image out of virtually anything I shoot. Consequently, during my busy times in the summer, I constantly have 1000's of images that need editing and uploading, and I only usually get them all sorted in the winter, which is the case at the moment. 

I've always promised myself that I must be more selective, but until recently I haven't been able to keep that promise. However going through all this film material is finally making the point for me. Looking at sheet after sheet of transparencies has shown me that being more selctive works. It raises the quality, and actually makes editing a pleasure instead of a chore. Currently I can't wait to get to the next batch of slides, to see what we came up with. Certainly it has made the daunting task of going through all this film material a source of anticipation, rather than the mind numbing task I thought it was going to be.

Pentax 645 Transparency film Nikon LS9000 scanner

Pentax 645 Transparency film Nikon LS9000 scanner

So, to sum up, use less gear and be more selective, is actually what I mean by "film sensibility", but then that doesn't sound quite as good does it?

Pentax 645 Transparency film Nikon LS9000 scanner

Pentax 645 Transparency film Nikon LS9000 scanner

All images taken in the English Lake District. Images are © David and Ann Taylor-Hughes




Forum free

I haven't been near an internet photographic forum for quite some time now, and I must admit its having its benefits. I'm getting a lot more work done, thinking much more about photography rather than gear, and I'm certainly a lot calmer!

So do I miss the bickering, the ignorance, the bad temper and the misinformation? Well no, I really don't. Much of them seem to involve an endless recycling of the same old opinions anyway (including mine!) , and after hanging around them for a while, I definitely get a strong sense of deja vu about much of what is being written. 

There were some that I enjoyed, and there are certainly some good people out there, but in the main they seem to be a vehicle for people to either justify their own purchases and / or criticise the purchases of others.

I really did think that I would get withdrawal symptoms, and at the beginning of this hiatus I had to force myself not to see what was being posted in those forums I used to frequent the most, but as time goes by I find myself far less interested.

Its yet another benefit of this heavy duty scanning of old material that I've started. I'm remembering a time before the internet, and before digital cameras when things were simpler, and more focused on the photography rather than the cameras.

Its also having implications on what I'm contemplating using in the future and even the pictures I'm planning to take. Its a process of re-introducing what might be described as a "film sensibility" into a digital workflow, and as time goes on I will explain what I mean by that. I have only just realised that this is happening, and I feel very positive about it.

Finally here are a few pictures that I was planning to post together with a piece on silhouettes, sunsets and backlight. However I've decided to shelve that, since all I was going to say about it was that I like taking shots "against the light", as I suspect do many photographers, but in terms of stock photography sales they aren't very popular at all. 

So rather than elaborate, I've decided to leave it at that. 

Pentax 645 Transparency film Nikon LS9000 scanner

Pentax 645 Transparency film Nikon LS9000 scanner

Pentax 645 Transparency film Nikon LS9000 scanner

Pentax 645 Transparency film Nikon LS9000 scanner

Pentax 645 Transparency film Nikon LS9000 scanner


Pentax 645 Transparency film Nikon LS9000 scanner


Landscape Photography

Pentax 645 Transparency film Nikon LS9000 scanner
All pictures - Pentax 645 Transparency film Nikon LS9000 scanner

I saw an article advertised, on a website I visit frequently, about landscape photography. I had a look at the link, and was greeted by an image of a dull grey seascape with a horizon that wasn't level. I didn't read on.

For me, a landscape photograph should be special. Like the images I've posted here, I want to be able to look at it in 20 years time and get the memories flooding back. If I get it right I can remember how it felt to be there and the excitement I felt at the time.

Pentax 645 Transparency film Nikon LS9000 scanner

Beautiful and wild places shaped by nature are often accessible to us all, and give us a welcome break from the mundane paved functionality in which most of us exist. Many of them aren't places to live, but places to visit and experience, for just a short while, the unregulated power of the forces that have created this planet.

Pentax 645 Transparency film Nikon LS9000 scanner

When I photograph places like that, I want them to look special and at their best. Its why I can't understand this fascination with long exposure shots of the sea on dull days. I'm not particularly keen to view an image of a process, its whats in the picture thats important to me, not how it was created.

Pentax 645 Transparency film Nikon LS9000 scanner

While I work in colour exclusively, I do occasionally try images in B/W, often to see what kind of impact the composition has. I believe a good landscape image should work in both colour and black and white, and while I much prefer the colour version in almost all cases, its a useful exercise to see if the contrast and framing have worked.

Pentax 645 Transparency film Nikon LS9000 scanner

Pentax 645 Transparency film Nikon LS9000 scanner

I'm as guilty as most, in that when I'm out with my camera, I want to press the shutter as often as possible. However over the years I've learnt to exercise a little more patience. I've sometimes waited years to "get the shot" and I still have a list of places that I'm planning to revisit, as I'm not satisfied with what I have.

Thats why I was somewhat disappointed with the shot I mentioned at the top of the piece. I was also disappointed that someone would see this as a representaion of their work, and even more disappointed that they would then go on to lecture others as to how to create good landscape imagery. If only I was that easily satisfied.

Pentax 645 Transparency film Nikon LS9000 scanner

Pentax 645 Transparency film Nikon LS9000 scanner


Images taken by and © David and Ann Taylor-Hughes in Spain (Asturias), Scotland (Argyll and Skye) and England (Cornwall)

Simplicity

Pentax 645 Transparency film Nikon LS9000 scanner
All pictures - Pentax 645 Transparency film Nikon LS9000 scanner

Sometimes a subject needs to "speak for itself" and all you have to do is hone it down until what caught your eye in the first place almost composes itself. Theres nothing wrong with simplicity, and nothing wrong with deliberately not letting any "art" interfere with the image. Then whats in the picture becomes more important and significant than the picture itself.

It may require a certain passitivity on the part of us as photographers, and we are certainly more "taking" than "making" a picture. But creative decisions as to what to leave out are often more important than what to include.

Pentax 645 Transparency film Nikon LS9000 scanner

Pentax 645 Transparency film Nikon LS9000 scanner

Pentax 645 Transparency film Nikon LS9000 scanner

Photographing the light

Pentax 645 Transparency film Nikon LS9000 scanner
All pictures - Pentax 645 Transparency film Nikon LS9000 scanner

I've often read descriptions from landscape photographers that include the phrase "I photographed the light".  While I understand what they are saying, it seems to ignore the most important element in a landscape photograph, the landscape itself.

Pentax 645 Transparency film Nikon LS9000 scanner

For me, its always been about the place first. Success in landscape photography for me is all about being in the right place at the right time, and my feet, my eyes and my map-reading skills are just as important as my cameras and lenses.

For the most part, we get what we can. Many photographers talk about the magic hours of dawn and dusk, but a decent photographer should be able to take a decent photograph at any time of day. However, there is no denying that there are special times to photograph special places. Unfortunately there wouldn't be enough time in many lifetimes to photograph all those special places I've visited, in the special light I can imagine. So I just have to make do with what I've got, and leave the rest to everybody else.

Pentax 645 Transparency film Nikon LS9000 scanner

Pentax 645 Transparency film Nikon LS9000 scanner

The above images were taken in the Picos de Europa National Park, Spain and on the west coast of Ireland, County Cork.

Old School

Pentax 645 Transparency film Nikon LS9000 scanner
Pentax 645 Transparency film Nikon LS9000 scanner

One of the nice things about scanning all this material, taken by Ann and myself many years ago, is that it has refocused me much more on the images and away from the gear. Adding in the fact that I'm VERY happy with my current camera / lens combinations, and there has certainly been a shift of emphasis round here, which will be reflected by what gets written and posted in this blog.

Sony NEX-7 Zeiss 24mm f/1.8
Sony NEX-7 Zeiss 24mm f/1.8

Pentax 645 Transparency film Nikon LS9000 scanner
Pentax 645 Transparency film Nikon LS9000 scanner

I've never wanted this to be a gear review site. I have no desire to become Dpreview, Imaging Resource and the like, and while I try to present my "reviews" as user experiences and ongoing reports on how gear works for me, with the tests and presentation of comparison material, on many days you could be forgiven for thinking that you had stumbled on yet another equipment test and evaluation site.

However, first and foremost I am a photographer. Yes, I test equipment to see how it works for me, and the publishing of the results of those tests does make the process a little more bearable, but in all truth, not much more. It is a tedious process comparing settings, lenses, sensor performance and the like, and as time goes on and more and more equipment gets released, the more I realise that there are actually not great differences between all of this anyway. These days there really isn't a huge difference between using a m4/3 camera with a kit lens and a Sony NEX-7 with a Leica lens, though its obviously in the interests of the sites that make money out of reviewing cameras and lenses, to make out that there is.

Sony NEX-7 Voigtlander 28mm f/2 Ultron
Sony NEX-7 Voigtlander 28mm f/2 Ultron

Also the more time passes, the more things start to revert back to how they were before. Just as the design of the electric guitar was just about sorted out by 1958 do we really need to redesign the camera? Do we really need much more than a Leica M or a Nikon F in terms of design? The nouveau retro that is all around us currently has some of its origins in fashion yes, but a lot of it is that this works, it always has worked, and it probably always will. Fuji have just brought out the X-Pro 1, Olympus are apparently working on a digital OM camera. Leica are doing great business, and the faux rangefinder, lookaleicas are everywhere. Despite manufacturers trying to persuade us that we don't need viewfinders, we keep insisting we do, we like knobs, dials and many of us even like to manually focus our lenses and decide on our own exposures. They keep trying to do all of this for us, but somehow we don't seem to want to tow the line, and keep insisting that we would like more control, on the grounds that we know what we want and a microchip doesn't!

Sony NEX-7 Zeiss 24mm f/1.8
Sony NEX-7 Zeiss 24mm f/1.8

So recently I've been working with my NEX-7 and mostly prime lenses. I've found a nice set in my Voigtlander 28mm f/2, which I've found a solution to the magenta cast and vignetting for, by using Cornerfix.The lens is also much sharper when I use it for real, than when I test it. I have no explanation for this, but it is. This paired with my Voigtlander 75mm f/2.5 makes a great combination. 

I've currently been deciding what exactly I want to keep out of all the cameras I've currently got. Its not a lot! I'm very happy with the NEX-7 and it gives me the results I want and handles the way that I want. It works very well for me. If something comes along I think is better, then I'll buy it. If not I wont.

I've dusted off my polarisers and they give me a nice option. So to a large extent, I'm back in the late 80's - early 90's, hence "old school". You don't have to be Sherlock Holmes to realise that this is not unrelated to my scanning activities. 

I'm not going to go into a glorification of film and how wonderful it is, because in the digital age, it isn't. There isn't a snowballs chance in hell that I will ever go back to it. It just happens that I (we) have these images that we really like that were taken with it. There is no way that we can go back and reshoot everything digitally, so scanning is the only answer. 

What it does make clear however is that manual focus, rudimentary functionality and much more control of what the camera is doing is no handicap to producing good photography. We actually don't need as much help as camera manufacturers think we do. I'm using just a fraction of what my NEX-7 can do, but most of it is unnecessary for me anyway. Ultimately its what we see and record that is important and the camera is merely the means of achieving that. There are a whole host of pieces of gear that can do that for me and my choice is purely one of personal preference.

So from now on its less gear and more photography. And you can't get more "old school" than that.

Pentax 645 Transparency film Nikon LS9000 scanner
Pentax 645 Transparency film Nikon LS9000 scanner

Pentax 645 Transparency film Nikon LS9000 scanner
Pentax 645 Transparency film Nikon LS9000 scanner

Pentax 645 Transparency film Nikon LS9000 scanner
Pentax 645 Transparency film Nikon LS9000 scanner

Pentax 645 Transparency film Nikon LS9000 scanner
Pentax 645 Transparency film Nikon LS9000 scanner

Pentax 645 Transparency film Nikon LS9000 scanner
Pentax 645 Transparency film Nikon LS9000 scanner

Pentax 645 Transparency film Nikon LS9000 scanner
Pentax 645 Transparency film Nikon LS9000 scanner

Pentax 645 Transparency film Nikon LS9000 scanner
Pentax 645 Transparency film Nikon LS9000 scanner

Pentax 645 Transparency film Nikon LS9000 scanner
Pentax 645 Transparency film Nikon LS9000 scanner

Pentax 645 Transparency film Nikon LS9000 scanner
Pentax 645 Transparency film Nikon LS9000 scanner

Pentax 645 Transparency film Nikon LS9000 scanner
Pentax 645 Transparency film Nikon LS9000 scanner

Sony NEX-7 18-55mm
Sony NEX-7 18-55mm

Sony NEX-7 18-55mm
Sony NEX-7 18-55mm



More scans

Pentax 645 Fujichrome 50 film Nikon LS9000 scanner
All images - Pentax 645 Fujichrome 50 film Nikon LS9000 scanner

One of the nice things about not spending a lot of time on photographic forums is that I get a lot more work done. Yesterday was spent scanning and editing more 1988 images from the Isle of Skye in Scotland, taken by Ann and myself. Many of the previous scanned images are starting to sell and its nice to see these images have a new lease of life.
Because of the nature of how scans look, they won't be able to be seen in all their large scale glory, but they are being used and seen again which is great.

Now if I could just get a digital camera that produces images that look like this.

Pentax 645 Fujichrome 50 film Nikon LS9000 scanner
Pentax 645 Fujichrome 50 film Nikon LS9000 scanner

Pentax 645 Fujichrome 50 film Nikon LS9000 scanner

Pentax 645 Fujichrome 50 film Nikon LS9000 scanner

Pentax 645 Fujichrome 50 film Nikon LS9000 scanner

Pentax 645 Fujichrome 50 film Nikon LS9000 scanner

Pentax 645 Fujichrome 50 film Nikon LS9000 scanner