Sunday, 26 March 2017

Remembering film.

An email arrived in my in box recently. It was from a company called Light who have produced a very interesting compact camera. Digital photography is fantastic for all sorts of reasons. However, I'm going to talk about my favourite film camera - the camera I considered the perfect all rounder - not just the perfect travel camera.

Near Quesada. Ilford Delta with heavy red filter, graduated ND filter and polarising filter. 2003

The first camera I bought (well, my Mum bought it really, but I cut out all the tokens from the cornflakes packets and handed them for safe keeping as a very subtle hint for my 6th Birthday) was a Kodak Instamatic. A camera so easy to use even a 6 year old could make it work. You hoped you made it work, but you could never be sure until the printed results came back from Boots a week later.

I was hooked for life at a very early age.

Light have started a prjoect named  #VantagePoint. They're looking for feedback. This is the start of my feedback. Check their website - a camera with 16, or 17 lenses and sensors!

Sierra de Baza. Ilford Delta 100 with red filter. 2003

Briefly, they mentioned questions about my favourite location to shoot in my hometown, or from 'my awesome travel adventures'. My travel adventures aren't always awesome :(  I consider Granada my hometown, but I am rarely there. I'm starting with a set from Andalucia - a place I love.

I travel very slowly most of the time. Walking from one town to the next. I also like to photograph very slowly. Sitting on a single viewpoint absorbing the environment. Waiting for that critical change in light

Cazorla Parque Natural. Agfa 50 ISO with graduated ND plus polarising filters. 2003

When I first started walking I carried a Contax Aria with a standard Carl Zeiss lens discretely hidden in my pocket. The perfect little travel camera. Relatively expensive, but representing good value secondhand. Contax owners were true enthusiasts who treasured their cameras. Everything bought on ebay (in the early days of the web) would arrive in 'as new' condition. I loved these little cameras. Full manual SLR control and functionality in a compact, robust pocket sized body with a very beautiful Carl Zeiss lens.

Embalse de Negratin. Agfa 50 ISO with polarising filter. 2003

Took me a long time to become as enthusiastic about digital photography. It has always been great for convenience and economics. It just lacked something I couldn't understand. Yet, I always dreamed of the day that 50MP+ capture would become affordable. Again, I was looking for something as close as possible to human visual perception. Those 50,000,000 pixels could imitate the 50,000,000 rod and cone receptors in the human eye. Would output technology ever match? Imagine that!

Castril. Agfa film with graduated ND, polarising and red filters. 2003

Access to this sort of quality is no longer an exclusive domain. We can all use it at a realistic price. We don't need to be professionals justifying an investment for financial return. We don't need deep pockets. We don't even need big pockets. Digital technology is finally delivering something I was only ever dreaming about. A pocket sized camera with lots of MegaPixel capture. The perfect travelling companion?


Lets' go to Berlin - a very photogenic city.

Agfa 50 ISO. Berlin. 2001

Why did I photograph a wall on a 2001 trip to Berlin? What are we going to do with all those megapixels? 

I am a lens snob. I am a visual information freak. I have some of the most critical eyes in the World (erm... ignore that). Photography is a love, because it represents my reality. A recording of a real thing in a real World. I want camera manufacturers to recognise what I like.

Agfa 50 ISO. Berlin. 2001

My eye from my mind is my vantage point wherever it may be. With film I used cameras I could trust. Learn about the limitations. Find out how to get the best from the optics, the film, the mechanics, the electronics. One reason I loved the Contax Aria so much was I trusted it. I could rely on the metering to be consistent. Set the aperture to the smallest possible opening and concentrate on what was happening in the view finder knowing that my knowledge and the camera would get the best possible results.

Agfa 50 ISO. Berlin. 2001

In many respects I used the Aria with a standard, fixed focus lens as a rangefinder! However, occasionally it was good to have the flexibility of a SLR, and use other lenses when appropriate. The shot above would be nothing without a shallow depth of field.

Agfa 50 ISO. Berlin. 2001
I love to work with low light. I travel walking by day and exploring at the end of the day. Twilight is my favourite time of day. Nature is going to bed whilst the manmade starts to glow with the promise of 24 hour eveything. Back in Adalucia...

Fujifilm Velvia 100.

I also like to work in very low light, and very bright light. In a small village in the mountains of Andalucia I met this bunch. It was siesta in August. A sleepy little whitewashed town with light bouncing all over the place.

The Kids from Pozo Alcon.  Ilford Delta 100. Red plus polarising filters. 2003

Heavily filtered. Just one chance. The best lens my money could buy. Years and years of knowledge. A dependable, trusted little, go anywhere camera.

The day has arrived when the digital equivalent is available. It still isn't cheap, but a certain manufacturer has hit the spot for me. haven't for me. As much as I love the innovation, the use of many lenses and sensors, the small size - I would still like to have a play. A serious play. But, I want a decent sized sensor in a reasonably compact body, with reliability, a proven lens (what is the point in having all those megapixels if you're using small lenses in an array?), RAW capture, totally manual control, or electronically assisted control. Somebody else is already doing this in a classically styled camera that will give much more pleasure than just taking photographs alone. need to look at that.

Saturday, 18 March 2017

Placa de Parc.

In all of Ibiza's efforts to attract the 'other tourists' they've created the World's prettiest concrete dump from the only character they had left to promote.

I understand that both Placa de Parc and Vara de Rey were dug up for drainage, gas and cable reasons. Surely this was a reason to improve, not destroy.

Tacky. Like, really, really wasted tacky.