Discussion in 'Black And White' started by David M, Oct 7, 2018.
Intrepid. 240mm Sironar. f32 3 mins. Ilfotec HC, tray developed, N-1, Photoshop CS 6.
Lovely interior David, I think the contrast is a little weak making the overall picture look a little too bright and lacking a sense of depth, maybe bring the roof and beams down a touch (darker) and the bottom lower quarter, leaving the central area as is.
That out of focus beam kills it for me.
Martin, thank you.
You could well be right. I see what you mean and I'll try it, but in fact, the roof was even brighter than this, from the sunlight reflected off the freshly strewn, almost white and very shiny straw all over the floor. You can probably see how the under surfaces of the beams are brighter than the sides.
Looking again, I think that I have probably reclaimed the windows behind the altar a bit too much, because I liked the look of nature trying to get in. They were intensely bright in the original scene.
Another stop down might have helped the sharpness of the foremost beam, but with Foma, that would have turned into a very long exposure indeed. In the print, I don't mind the unsharpness as much as I expected.
It's sometimes a disadvantage to remember a scene too clearly. An interval might have helped.
A practical note: Setting up a tripod on foot-deep straw is very difficult. You have to winkle each leg downwards individually to the underlying earth floor, otherwise the whole thing bounces at the slightest touch.
The altar is supposed to be a re-purposed carpenter's bench.
I tend to agree with Ian G. If you crop to just below that out of focus beam I think it is a better image.
I completely understand the objections to the out-of-focus beam. I can't disagree, but I find it reproduces the feeling of being there, but then, I was there. Cropping just below the beam makes me want to crop off the left-hand window and perhaps shave a balancing morsel off the right.
A smaller aperture would have helped, but with Foma, one has to make compromises. (Three minutes was barely adequate.) I could have set up the camera using a smaller aperture and gone off for lunch. And why not? It's a private location. Well, the light would have moved and I didn't wholly trust the footing of the tripod...Tilting the front standard up would help the beam, but lose sharpness on the seats. A wider lens, perhaps, but I didn't have one. The same for a smaller format.
I'd be grateful for alternative solutions.
An autobiographical addendum. One of the things that drew me to large format was the nature of the out-of-focus parts of the image. I was loaned an MPP to do a particular job, and seemed to spend more time watching the plane of un-focus rippling through the image as I turned the knob, than I did taking the picture itself. Although we generally strive for pin-sharpness all over, blur is another resource in our tool-box.
Elsewhere on this forum we have been discussing out-of-focus backgrounds. Why not foregrounds, too? I am asking, rather than making a rhetorical point. I'd like to know.
I think the answer lays in the objective of did I want it OOF, if so then you achieved it, if not then it’s a fail
Oh yes, I knew it would be out of focus. Quite obvious on the screen. As I said above, I didn't object, partially because it's so well separated from the objects behind. I would not have liked seeing, shall we say. a wall, gradually going from sharp to out of focus along its length.
I have to respect the views of everybody else, of course. I know it's unusual.
I'm still open to advice on how to do it. Pinhole pictures seem to work, but they have their own characteristics. When I'm there next, probably next year, I'll have another go.
Here's another view of the interior, not wholly successful. You will see that the light has moved, but there's still that curious upward light, reflected from the straw. More OoF in the door and frame. I liked the patch of sunlight, bottom right, and moving forward would have lost it. I also wanted to preserve the arrangement of seats, which shows that the building is in regular use. That's why I included an open door. It's a rather moving place, even for atheists.
Other details as before.
David, here's my twopenneth, offered for what it'd worth (tuppence?) and not intended as criticism. Just my reaction to, and thought process when looking at the photograph.
1. I really like the right-hand wall, and find myself wanting to get a good look of the left-hand wall as well. But there is a door in the way...
2. I find the light patch of straw in the right foreground quite distracting. In fact I find all the foreground straw distracting as it is at odds with the strong structural content of the rest of the picture, and if I was doing a drawing of the subject would have the bottom of the drawing just below the bottom of the bench legs.
3. I'm not keen on the out of focus beam right at the top. In fact all the roof area is confusing to the eye as it isn't as visually clear and defined as the windows and seats. Maybe a slightly lower viewpoint would have brought more clarity to it by separating out the beams.
3. I don't mind the out of focus vertical wood post in the foreground. It adds an extra abstract element to what is already a strong abstract design.
4. The photograph is fascinating to look at, but my brain keeps wanting to re-arrange and rationalise things, in a way that almost certainly couldn't have been done with a camera. Hence my reference to drawing.
Alan, almost exactly my own thoughts. Thank you. It's not a success, but I posted it to show the building.
Better luck next time, I suppose. If anyone has a Nikkor 150mm SW f8 that they'd like to donate...
You hadn't mentioned the format, now I'm realising it's 10x8, I've only just finished a conversion lens board for my Agfa Ansco Commercial and Universal 10x8 View cameras so I can use my Nikkor 240mm f5.6 W mounted on a Linhof/Wista lens board, also a Wollensak 159mm f12.5 EWA. I have a 165mm f8 Super Agulon but it's huge and heavy although superb, I guess the small light weight 159mm EWA is similar to the f6.8 Angulons although a bit slower, there was an f9 version as well.
I guess I'd have wanted to use a slightly wider lens in your situation, but we have to make do with what we've got which doesn't always work. I think the second shot works better but the first could be stronger, the question of the out of focus foreground might be explored perhaps it's actually too borderline sharp and a bit more out of focus would work a touch better. But that's experience through failures and success and there's no real short cuts/
I tried my 120mm f6.8 Angulon on my 10x8 Commercial View and was rather surprised that it illuminated the whole GG screen at f6.8, it'll vignettes the corners stopped down though. I'll now test my 159mm EWA although it's uncoated there's only two internal air/glass surfaces so like a Dagor or Angulon contrast is high, if it's not good enough I'm tempted to sell my 165mm f8 Super Angulon and replace it with a 165mm f6.8 Angulon, I'd have about £1000 left in my pocket
My fault about the format. 10x8 is a ridiculous extravagance for what I do, but I'm finding I greatly enjoy using it. All that huge image! And the enforced and forgiving slowness. To my surprise, I rather like the limitations of the Intrepid.
In fact I do have a 165mm lens, but it's a monster, very heavy and bulky, so it gets left behind. The shutter is built into the lens and uses the 1, 2, 5... series of speeds, which are engraved with tiny letters, silver on silver, difficult to read. I might have to hire a small donkey and take it our more often. I bought it unseen.
I think you're right about making the out-of-focus effect greater. It could be bolder – more manifestly intentional. As you will know, this is tricky to see on the stopped-down screen. A tiny touch of front tilt might have helped.
If we were absolutely certain of never failing, would we find LF so attractive?
Just out of curiosity, I discovered a 165mm F8 Super Angulon on eBay. £1,600! Not only weighs more than the camera, but costs more too. And that includes the tripod. Mine was very cheap.
Well checking the completed sales the most expensive went for £1,316, another for £856, the others went unsold. In comparison a coated 165mm Angulon went for £180.
I'm trying to remember. I think mine was something like £200. I must have hit the trough in LF prices. That was for a 10x8 that I'd built, but seldom used, although it worked quite well. Fear of dropping it and having to begin again, perhaps.
My 165mm f8 Super Angulon came as part of a package with my second Agfa Ansco camera so in real terms was about the same price as yours.
It was similar with my first 10x8 where the seller let me have the original 12" Dagor and a brand new Beattie Intenscreen. He'd never used the Dagor and said it had separation so was worthless, it was just decades of grime which took less than a minute to clean, and had in fact been coated.
I should start off by saying that I really like this image, and the OOF beam doesn't bother me too much. However, it is a little distracting. I think there IS a place for OOF foreground areas, although many object, but I prefer to use them as framing devices, which wouldn't apply in this case.
Thank you. I was pleased to find that I'd provided material for a discussion about picture making. Some of our other discussions have made counting angels on pinheads look almost normal.
Like Chris I think there is a case for objects in the foreground being out of focus. I've done some myself where odd foreground leaves and twigs were out of focus, and didn't seem to spoil anything. I see the same thing in Paul White's photos of ruined Welsh houses. Often he has foreground leaves etc blurred by movement as well as being out of focus. Things like this seem to lead your eye into the photograph and its main subject. But something significant in the foreground should, I think, be in focus.
I do think that my foreground beam doesn't really work as foreground detail. It's not really blurred enough to look intentional. I had found it acceptable.
If some blurred foreground object had been lower down, lets say the backs of some of the chairs, it might have looked less odd. Or perhaps if it had been an out-of-focus window-frame, completely surrounding the image...
Maybe the clue lies in Alan's phrase "lead your eye". I suspect that LF photographers' eyes are particularly led to blur, which is as it should be. Why else would we go to all that trouble?
Next time, I'll have another go at it. Not sure when that will be.
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