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r.e.
6-Mar-2007, 08:01
Sounds like an interesting trip, with some good pointers about how to travel (or rather not travel) with camera gear: http://luminous-landscape.com/whatsnew/

Surprising that at about $15K per person, none of the 50 participants took a large format camera, and only one took a film camera. For that kind of money and isolation, I expected to read that people not only took film cameras, but that some of them, at least, took film cameras that could be operated without a battery.

Terence McDonagh
6-Mar-2007, 09:05
And who would put film in checked luggage?

Sounds like a complete lack of planning for a once in a lifetime trip on all their parts.

roteague
6-Mar-2007, 10:24
From "LL"? You've got to be kidding. If there is any group more film unfriendly, I don't know where it is.

Jack Flesher
6-Mar-2007, 10:35
From "LL"? You've got to be kidding. If there is any group more film unfriendly, I don't know where it is.

Film unfriendly? On the LL forum there is an entire section dedicated to the wet darkroom... Are we to assume that because you print digitally, you feel the wet darkroom is not a valid "film" discussion topic?

Rakesh Malik
6-Mar-2007, 10:51
It's just that LL has posted several very poorly executed comparisons in an attempt to "prove" that digital has higher resolution than film, by using the best digital cameras they can find and the worst scanners they can find.

davidb
6-Mar-2007, 11:28
Be sure to read this part too...

http://www.luminous-landscape.com/essays/aa-07-worked.shtml

Gordon Moat
6-Mar-2007, 11:34
Reichmann runs workshops, which is the main emphasis of LL. Considering that many workshops today are tools oriented, and lots of people want to dissect various Adobe software products, it should be obvious why there is a digital equipment emphasis at LL.

Lots of the other people mentioned on that trip write technical books on software, or run their own workshops. These are the digital gurus many amateurs and enthusiasts look up to as experts. In many cases, for many enthusiasts, demistifying the tools gets more attention than trying to run workshops in composition or how to express a creative vision. Lucky for the people running these workshops, the tools change constantly, giving a continual stream of people wanting to learn more; this has created a sustainable photography education industry.

Maybe it is a little surprising that only one film camera made the trip. Electrical devices and cold weather don't always work well together, as evidenced by the brief casualty report at LL. However, I think if the goal was just to go to Antartica and take photos, and not get into software workshops, anyone could do it for less expense through a tour company.

Ciao!

Gordon Moat
A G Studio (http://www.allgstudio.com)

QT Luong
6-Mar-2007, 11:40
Maybe they knew that the pace of the trip would not be conductive of LF photography. Steve Johnson was on board and apparently used his LF camera and Better Light only once. I don't think the conditions were that extreme that you'd expect batteries to fail. Of course, you'd return to the boat all the time too.

Baxter Bradford
6-Mar-2007, 11:56
I think if the goal was just to go to Antartica and take photos,

And my oh my, so he did, as he says - "7024 frames.... 92 which I consider worth printing and and a dozen which are portfolio / exhibition grade. Three of these are among the best work which I feel that I have ever done."

So his return rate of 12 keepers is rather less than the one good shot a day which I hope to achieve with my 4x5. His annual insurance policy and depreciation must exceed the total cost of my Ebony outfit - still that's progress....

I know, apples and pears, I couldn't have got the wildlife stuff, nor hand-held. I was surprised that only one tripod/head went. This, like a lightmeter is a mission critical item for me.

Gordon Moat
6-Mar-2007, 12:09
Hello Baxter,

My point was that you didn't have to spend $US 15k to go to Antartica. In fact one could probably take workshops in the US, or attend PhotoShop World, then afterwards pay their own way to Antartica and still have a fair amount of cash left over from $US 15k.

I don't think taping down the shutter button and swinging the camera around counts as taking photos.:rolleyes:

Ciao!

Gordon Moat
A G Studio (http://www.allgstudio.com)

Marko
6-Mar-2007, 12:15
There are a few things I fail to understand:

1. What does someone's gear choice has to do with his organizational or professional qualities?

2. Why do self-declared film-only people show such a morbid interest in a digital-first photographer? Don't their interests diverge so much that there should be no intersection and therefore no interest at all?

3. What does it all have to do with LF discussion board? ;)

Baxter Bradford
6-Mar-2007, 12:19
Hello Gordon

Yes, sorry, I missed that point in your post. Another way of looking is $1250 per print with a bit of free tuition thrown in - it still doesn't sound like great value does it?

That many frames must almost constitute a movie! Certainly a misnomer of the buzz-word 'capture' - 92/7024 means 99% get away...

Vaughn
6-Mar-2007, 14:58
I can't imagine going all that way and spending all that money without taking my 8x10. But then, I can't image using the 8x10 on a Kodiak zooming around icebergs or in the wind and rain. I might make a fixed focus, hand-usuable 8x10 (Hobo-style, maybe with a 210 lens) just for the trip, though.

Vaughn

roteague
6-Mar-2007, 15:07
I can't imagine going all that way and spending all that money without taking my 8x10.

I'd be tempted to take the 4x5, but I probably would have taken the 35mm instead - the conditions are too extreme for LF.

David Karp
6-Mar-2007, 15:32
I'd be tempted to take the 4x5, but I probably would have taken the 35mm instead - the conditions are too extreme for LF.

Frank Hurley got some pretty good LF glass plate shots down there!

http://main.wgbh.org/imax/shackleton/sirernest-two.html

http://www.kodak.com/US/en/corp/features/endurance

I think if I had the chance I would give it a try, but I certainly would lug my 35mm and MF stuff too.

QT Luong
6-Mar-2007, 15:35
Antarctica isn't cheap. I think the digital instruction came for "free", which actually makes it a pretty good option for a photographer.

http://www.luminous-landscape.com/workshops/aa-quest-pre.shtml
"You can figure on between $11,500 and $16,000 per person depending on the type of accommodation. This is an all-inclusive cost"

Here is the tour operator's individual rate. Check Aboard Professor Multanovskiy, Februrary. http://www.quarkexpeditions.com/antarctica/vrates_aa08_2_3.shtml

About "keepers", it is difficult to draw any conclusion, since someone's keeper is another person's reject.

Jim collum
6-Mar-2007, 16:23
Hello Gordon

Yes, sorry, I missed that point in your post. Another way of looking is $1250 per print with a bit of free tuition thrown in - it still doesn't sound like great value does it?

That many frames must almost constitute a movie! Certainly a misnomer of the buzz-word 'capture' - 92/7024 means 99% get away...

that depends... if you can make tens of thousands of $ from that image, then $1250 is pretty cheap. Most of his limited edition portfolio's have sold out, so he is able to make money with his shots

Gordon Moat
6-Mar-2007, 18:46
I guess it depends upon what kind of Antarctic trip you wanted. There are 25 day expeditions for around $8500, and those include biologists and scientists who can tell you what you are seeing. These trips often have photography experts, sometimes people who have been published in National Geographic. Linblad Expeditions is one company with National Geographic connections, though there are many choices of other companies and trip packages. Anyone considering going should shop carefully.

I think there is a difference between people running a trip like this making money off their images, and some random enthusiast who coughs up the money to tag along. Surprisingly there are so many pictures in stock libraries already of artic and antarctic regions that I don't think the simple act of tagging along and pointing your camera is any guarantee of future sales. MR and the others running the show should be making money from this, but how many other of the 50 photographers present made a profit from their images?

There is a long history of photography in Antarctica, much of it large format in the earliest years. There are definitely issues with wind, cold, and lack of humidity. A handheld camera would be easier, if for no other reason than minimizing time in an environment. I think it would be fun to take a 4x5, though maybe a Fotoman, Gaoersi, or something like a Crown Graphic. Of course, I think I might also take a Nikon FM and a few lenses.

Ciao!

Gordon Moat
A G Studio (http://www.allgstudio.com)

r.e.
6-Mar-2007, 20:03
I've spent some time in the Arctic. As such, and realizing that this took place in the Falklands and Ushuaia and the Antarctic in their summer, I'd be interested in any comments that Tim Atherton might have.

Personally, if I had a chance to go to Cape Horn and the Falklands and Antarctica, I would not have photography uppermost in my mind. It would be well down the list of things that I would be spending time on. But I would take at least one camera, first and foremost a medium format rangefinder, after that maybe a 4x5. And if the trip was about wildlife, I suppose that I might chuck the other cameras in favour of a 35mm with a long lens.

As Mr. Luong suggests, maybe these people spent their time living on a comfy ship and just did daily, summer excursions to shore. In that case, it would be like hanging out in a hotel in Yellowknife or Alaska in summer, the only question being whether Antarctica, like the north, has swarms of tiny little flies known non-scientifically as noseeums :)

Curious to know what Mr. Atherton would take to a place like Grise Fiord (realizing, of course, that there is a pretty good chance that he has been there).

C. D. Keth
6-Mar-2007, 22:24
I'm disappointed nobody took a motion picture film camera. It would be a rare opportunity. If I went to antarctica, I would be taking my 4x5 and an SR3 mp film camera. I don't do things halfway.

I find it hard to believe he could take 7 THOUSAND frames and come out with under a hundred keepers. Personally, unless I'm doing quick street photography where I'm not always looking and conposing, I don't take a picture unless I know it will be at least a very, very likely keeper. I guess that's what large format and cinematography have done to me.

roteague
6-Mar-2007, 22:30
I find it hard to believe he could take 7 THOUSAND frames and come out with under a hundred keepers. Personally, unless I'm doing quick street photography where I'm not always looking and conposing, I don't take a picture unless I know it will be at least a very, very likely keeper. I guess that's what large format and cinematography have done to me.

I spent two weeks in the Australian outback last year, and only shot 25 rolls of 35mm and 200 sheets of 4x5. I'm with you, I don't snap the shutter unless I'm sure; I don't subscribe to the shotgun approach to photography.

C. D. Keth
6-Mar-2007, 23:03
I spent two weeks in the Australian outback last year, and only shot 25 rolls of 35mm and 200 sheets of 4x5. I'm with you, I don't snap the shutter unless I'm sure; I don't subscribe to the shotgun approach to photography.

I really think it's a product of the equipment we like the most. I absolutely can't do this when shooting a film. I have to get evereything perfect otherwise I'd get fired so fast...

Just the same, you can't do this when you shoot LF. It just takes more time to do everything and then add the cost of each frame you shoot.

With the quality of modern auto focus and auto exposure systems, I'm pretty sure a monkey (trained or otherwise) could shoot sever thousand frames and come out with a hundred keepers.;)

tim atherton
6-Mar-2007, 23:11
I find it hard to believe he could take 7 THOUSAND frames and come out with under a hundred keepers. Personally, unless I'm doing quick street photography where I'm not always looking and conposing, I don't take a picture unless I know it will be at least a very, very likely keeper. I guess that's what large format and cinematography have done to me.

I've heard more than a couple of well known photographers (including one widely published reportage/street photographer) say in one way or another that they feel lucky if they get 10 -12 keepers a year - if that.

I guess I suppose it depends on what you mean by "keepers', but in these contexts it was generally photographs they felt would stand the test of time. As opposed to ones that were merely "good"

Oren Grad
6-Mar-2007, 23:34
Productivity can be measured in many different ways. Yield relative to the storage medium is important only to the extent that the storage medium is scarce or expensive. For all we know, measured per dollar spent or per hour spent, MR was every bit as productive on this trip as he was on past such trips when he took film cameras.

roteague
6-Mar-2007, 23:38
I've heard more than a couple of well known photographers (including one widely published reportage/street photographer) say in one way or another that they feel lucky if they get 10 -12 keepers a year - if that.

I guess I suppose it depends on what you mean by "keepers', but in these contexts it was generally photographs they felt would stand the test of time. As opposed to ones that were merely "good"


True, even Christopher Burkett says that he only has 250 really great images.

Struan Gray
7-Mar-2007, 00:20
Bottom line is: Reichmann has been there, and most of us haven't. Who cares what I would have done? I didn't.

Captains think tactics, Colonels think strategy, Generals think logistics. If they can get an IMAX camera to the top of Everest you can get an LF camera to the Antarctic Peninsula. It's not magic, just effort.

Most of the national antarctic research organisations have some sort of artist in residence program. With them you can get to some of the less touristy parts of the continent, and if you are dedicated and persuasive enough you can overwinter too.

I've posted this before, but here's Sweden's homegrown version of Friedlander with an 8x10 in Queen Maud's Land:

http://www.xpo.se/prints/scroll_photographer.asp?photoid=24

Marko
7-Mar-2007, 01:23
I really think it's a product of the equipment we like the most. I absolutely can't do this when shooting a film. I have to get evereything perfect otherwise I'd get fired so fast...

Just the same, you can't do this when you shoot LF. It just takes more time to do everything and then add the cost of each frame you shoot.

With the quality of modern auto focus and auto exposure systems, I'm pretty sure a monkey (trained or otherwise) could shoot sever thousand frames and come out with a hundred keepers.;)

Come now, Christopher et al, no need for snide little snipes, the guy actually earns the money he spends on his equipment, so he must be good for something, right? When you really think of it, he spends more on equipment in a given year than most of his critics earn altogether. So, I'd go easy on denigrating him on artistic side, unless I could outperform him on the business side too, otherwise it would all sound a little hollow.

Now, as for the number of shots he took and the equipment he selected for the trip:

If you find yourself in a situation when you have to (ac)count (for) your exposures, chances are you haven't picked the right equipment. The most expensive shot, especially on exotic trips like that, is the one not taken due to some constraint or the other.

There is something to be said about horses for courses.

The big advantage of digital is that, once bought, the cost per exposure is exactly zero and one can afford to shoot as many as possible and later discard 90%+ in order to reduce the number of missed oportunities and increase the quality of keepers if not their number. As a matter of fact, under such scenario, one can afford to be more rigorous deciding on what represents a keeper.

naturephoto1
7-Mar-2007, 06:10
I've heard more than a couple of well known photographers (including one widely published reportage/street photographer) say in one way or another that they feel lucky if they get 10 -12 keepers a year - if that.

I guess I suppose it depends on what you mean by "keepers', but in these contexts it was generally photographs they felt would stand the test of time. As opposed to ones that were merely "good"

Hi Tim,

As I recall, Ansel Adams said something about he would feel successful if he could take only around 10-12 really good photos a year or those that he really liked.

Rich

Frank Petronio
7-Mar-2007, 07:19
I didn't read his article but if I went to Antaractia I'd damn well go to shoot a bunch of pictures in any weather with whatever works. And IMHO anything with fast film and covered with a plastic bag will work just fine.

I think there is a minor cult around Michael, Luminous Landscape, and the Photoshop dignitaries and digitrati. I like reading some of his reviews and comments but am not a fan of his travel photos. He did cue me into Toronto's brickworks though.

Cults can be fun. The LF community seems to have a few itself: APUG, Polaroid 110 controversies, Point Lobos stalkers.

Vaughn
7-Mar-2007, 13:43
I spent two weeks in the Australian outback last year, and only shot 25 rolls of 35mm and 200 sheets of 4x5. I'm with you, I don't snap the shutter unless I'm sure; I don't subscribe to the shotgun approach to photography.

I spent 5 months biking in New Zealand with a 4x5 -- shot 75 negatives (and very pleased with the results). I guess one photographer's shotgun is another's Thomas Submachine gun...;)

Vaughn

Brian K
9-Mar-2007, 11:05
7024 frames???!!!!!! In 3 weeks??!!! That's 335 frames a day! That's almost an image every 2 minutes for 12 straight hours. He's shooting digitally so he's not bracketing much so are they all different images?? Geez, I've been on the road shooting film for 11 days already and I've only shot about 12 images, bracketed and with variations (changes in clouds, light and filters) maybe 180 frames. Boy I really need to shoot more.

I don't envy the hours he's going to need to spend converting from raw and editing. If he spends on average only 60 seconds an image editing and RAW converting he's going to spend 120 hours editing in front of the computer.

All in all this does not seem like a qualitative method but much more of a quantitative method. Well if it works for him, to each their own.

I am amazed by the sheer number of camera failures, all digital. It may be Antarctica but it is the summer there and they were on the coast which moderates the temperature so temps are not that extreme. Yet to have so many camera failures..... I was recently shooting in minus 5 degrees with a view camera, in which the camera sat on the tripod for more than an hour and had no problems.

Marko
9-Mar-2007, 11:33
7024 frames???!!!!!! In 3 weeks??!!! That's 335 frames a day! That's almost an image every 2 minutes for 12 straight hours. He's shooting digitally so he's not bracketing much so are they all different images??

As a matter of fact, he probably is bracketing, and heavily. You can set a DSLR to bracket automatically, say -1/2, 0, +1/2 f-stops, so you just fire a 3-shot burst and you have three brackets. Takes less than a second and it's automatic. Actually, assuming he is shooting RAW, and knowing that RAW lets one adjust/recover as much as 1.5 stop, he is probably using -1, 0, +1 sequence to guard against blowing the highlights and still expose as much to the right as possible.

I know I would be bracketing heavily on a trip like that, just in case. And then there are other uses for bracketing in digital, such as dynamic range compression, panoramics, etc. That's already approx. 110 frames a day just accounting for the bracketing right there.

Next, figure that considering that the cost of digital exposures (once one has aquired the equipment) is exactly zero, and that most of his exposures were likely handheld, it would be rather prudent to shoot as much as one can on a trip like that, both to elliminate the accidental movements and to catch alternate compositions. Say another 2-3 exposures per real shot, that's already down to 35-60 frames per day.

Figure a rate of about 5-10% of keepers (his stated rate), that would be between 2 and 6 keepers per day. Pretty much what one would end up with LF, only with a very different workflow.


I don't envy the hours he's going to need to spend converting from raw and editing. If he spends on average only 60 seconds an image editing and RAW converting he's going to spend 120 hours editing in front of the computer.

Again, it all depends on one's workflow, skills and practice. He can as well spend about an hour on the digital equivalent of light table and weed out the outright rejects (along with their brackets and variations) and select the most obvious keepers. If he's efficient at the editing process, he might well spend less time in the digital darkroom than he would've spent if he shot traditional LF at the rate of few shots per day.


I am amazed by the sheer number of camera failures, all digital. It may be Antarctica but it is the summer there and they were on the coast which moderates the temperature so temps are not that extreme. Yet to have so many camera failures..... I was recently shooting in minus 5 degrees with a view camera, in which the camera sat on the tripod for more than an hour and had no problems.

It's not just the temperature, it is the trip and all the motions, moving, bumping, tossing and such that comes with it. Any trip is much harder on equipment of any sort than regular use.

roteague
9-Mar-2007, 12:26
I'll have to agree with Marko. I could do the same shooting 35mm, although I probably wouldn't need to bracket as much. Software like, Adobe Lightroom, are so easy to make adjustments that you don't need to individually process as many images - only the truly bad shots would require a lot of processing work. I still would have shot 35mm though, I find it much more pleasing than what the DSLR would produce.

Brian K
9-Mar-2007, 16:17
Marko, why digital bracket for exposure when you have an instant result that even has a histogram you can check? Is he doing that HDR thing? One thing I've learned about being picky versus shooting everything you see is that while you are spending time on an image that may not turn out to be worthwhile you might be missing a much better shot somewhere else.

As for the wear and tear on equipment while travelling, I am somewhat familiar with this as I spend 4-5 months a year traveling to shoot. As we speak I am on a 6 week trip which will most likely go as far as Alaska, having driven out of NY. Last year I was in Norway for 6 weeks as far north as 400 miles north of the arctic circle, I had 38 days of rain out of 42, nothing malfunctioned. Last week I was shooting in minus 5 degrees, no problems. I actually make it a point to shoot during the worst weather because it is the most dramatic.

Most of my current trips are 6 weeks long, and consist of driving as much as 14,000 miles, or fly/drive with the driving being 8000 miles. In those trips I check into and out of as many as 20 hotels/motels and pack and unpack all my gear from the vehicle several times a day. I hike with that gear in environments ranging from hot deserts, frigid mountains and wet rainforests. In doing that kind of trip 2-3 times a year, for the last 4 years, not a single piece of equipment has broken or malfunctioned. Not one, and I bring a huge amount of gear. There is no reason why so many people should have catastrophic equipment failures unless this is inherently a problem with the digital camera technology.

QT Luong
9-Mar-2007, 16:54
You bracket with digital because it saves you time on location, and also by the time you've reviewed your histogram and applied to proper exposure compensation, your subject might be gone. Digital cameras are loaded with more electronics than film cameras, and are therefore more vulnerable to environmental problems. Canon advertises implicitly their series 1 as being weatherproof, while apparently they are not.

Jim collum
9-Mar-2007, 16:58
You bracket with digital because it saves you time on location, and also by the time you've reviewed your histogram and applied to proper exposure compensation, your subject might be gone. Digital cameras are loaded with more electronics than film cameras, and are therefore more vulnerable to environmental problems. Canon advertises implicitly their series 1 as being weatherproof, while apparently they are not.

so far, I've been lucky with mine (1D series). had mine out for about 3 weeks in Cambodia in both rain and about 99% humidity/90 Deg F. other than the obvious problem of leaving the hotel with the camera (instant fog).. it worked without a hitch (keeping my fingers crossed).

Marko
9-Mar-2007, 18:16
Brian,

While it is true that a DSLR gives you an instant feedback with a histogram, those are tiny screens, often not easily visible in strong light. It is very easy to overlook the tiny little blip on the far right and notice that you have actually blown your highlights only back at your computer. There is also a difference, sometimes significant, in the three channels, while the histogram on most cameras is usually a combined one, so it is even easier to blow out highlights in only one or two channels. Either way, a blown highlight is frequently not recoverable and bracketing is a sensible precaution.

Another reason why I often take multiple shots is in tricky handheld situations - I found out that when you are right on the verge, it helps if you simply press the shutter and do the 3-4 shot burst. That way, you increase your chances that at least one of those shots will be sharp enough. Usually, it's the first and the last one that are the blurriest because of finger movement.

Finally, there's the whole dynamic range thing, not necessarily HDR, but simply optimizing one shot for shadows and one for highlights, so as to reduce noise.

Unlike film, the cost per exposure using digital is zero (once the equipment is purchased), so why not take precautions or simply plain experiment?

Brian K
9-Mar-2007, 19:50
QT, granted that digital cameras are more loaded with electronics than film cameras, nevertheless many films cameras that I have used on my trips, Rollei 6008i and Fuji GX680III also have a fair amount of electronics and lots of precision moving parts such as motors, large shutters and mirrors that flip up at high speed and they didn't malfunction. A 25 percent catastrophic failure rate on location is pretty bad.

Marko, even with a 3 exposure bracket, it's still 2341 images. Granted there is little added cost to shooting such a huge volume, although you need to have the memory cards and hard drives to hold it all ( and batteries!!!) , the time you spend shooting useless shots keeps you from pursuing the really good ones and also increases the occurrence of equipment failure. Something that a 25 percent failure rate might be indicative of.

Bruce Watson
9-Mar-2007, 20:18
I'd be tempted to take the 4x5, but I probably would have taken the 35mm instead - the conditions are too extreme for LF.

Didn't Elliot Porter take his LF rig to Antarctica? When he was like 75 or something? I seem to remember that he published a book in the late 1970s called Antarctica. It may have been his last book, but I think he lived until about 1990 IIRC. So the trip to Antarctica didn't do him any lasting harm. ;)

roteague
9-Mar-2007, 21:24
Didn't Elliot Porter take his LF rig to Antarctica? When he was like 75 or something? I seem to remember that he published a book in the late 1970s called Antarctica. It may have been his last book, but I think he lived until about 1990 IIRC. So the trip to Antarctica didn't do him any lasting harm. ;)

I think you are right Bruce, I've never looked into going to Antartica, so I assumed the weather conditions would be too harsh.

roteague
9-Mar-2007, 21:28
the time you spend shooting useless shots keeps you from pursuing the really good ones and also increases the occurrence of equipment failure.

Yep, good photography starts in the mind, not in the viewfinder.

Mattg
9-Mar-2007, 21:30
The thing that interests me about these types of workshops isn't the gear but the idea of shooting with a bunch of other photographers. I like to talk with other photographers, exchange prints etc but shooting with so many other photographers would drive me mad.

I wonder how many others here are like me in not being able to concentrate on composition unless they are alone?

What are most workshops like, do they involve setting up cameras in a line and everyone taking a similar image?

The LL trip in question conjures up images of the penguin rookeries they visited, a beach full of waddling photographers.

P.S. Another big vote for Frank Hurley, his photographs of the Endurance stuck in the ice are superb. He published at least 10 books of his warmer photos and they are found in many large libraries here in Australia. They're mostly interesting for their historical value but are worth a look if you ever get the chance.

Marko
9-Mar-2007, 22:07
Marko, even with a 3 exposure bracket, it's still 2341 images. Granted there is little added cost to shooting such a huge volume, although you need to have the memory cards and hard drives to hold it all ( and batteries!!!) , the time you spend shooting useless shots keeps you from pursuing the really good ones and also increases the occurrence of equipment failure. Something that a 25 percent failure rate might be indicative of.

There isn't little added cost - there is NO added cost. Yes, when shooting digital, one has to have memory cards and storage, just like one has to have film holders for LF.

I don't understand what do you mean by "shooting useless shots". Comparing LF workflow directly to digital one is comparing apples and oranges. There is no wasted time because when shooting digital (assuming hand-held), there is no setup time, there is no movements, no loupe focusing, no closing the shutter, no inserting the folder, taking the dark slide, re-inserting the darkslide... All you do is aim the camera, compose, half-press the shutter to focus and measure light, press (if bracketting, three-shot burst), release the shutter, recompose, repeat the procedure... you get the idea.

By the time you set up your camera and before you even get to composing, he has already taken several shots (each bracketted) and checked the exposure on the LCD. And that's if he is working slow...

So, even if only one of those is a good shot, and half a dozen are discards, he still hasn't lost any time compared to working with LF. Not to mention action shots - there really would be no comparison whatsoever.

Mind you, I am NOT putting down LF here - I am shooting, or at least beginning to shoot LF myself - I am simply saying that these are two totally different toolsets and two equally different workflows. I really don't understand what all this criticism is all about - he took his trip, made his choices and brought back his photos.

roteague
9-Mar-2007, 22:13
I really don't understand what all this criticism is all about - he took his trip, made his choices and brought back his photos.

I haven't figured that one out either. Reichmann is irrelevant as far as I'm concerned; his work and his opinions.

Marko
9-Mar-2007, 22:21
I haven't figured that one out either. Reichmann is irrelevant as far as I'm concerned; his work and his opinions.

Well, this thread IS all about Reichmann and his Antarctica workshop. If you really consider him irrelevant, then how come you have contributed 8 (eight) posts to it? It is one shy of three fully bracketed digital shots.

That's an awful lot of wasted time, according to some of your earlier posts... ;)

roteague
9-Mar-2007, 22:24
Well, this thread IS all about Reichmann and his Antarctica workshop. If you really consider him irrelevant, then how come you have contributed 8 (eight) posts to it? It is one shy of three fully bracketed digital shots.

That's an awful lot of wasted time, according to some of your earlier posts... ;)

Because I enjoy chatting with others.

Brian K
10-Mar-2007, 11:27
There isn't little added cost - there is NO added cost. Yes, when shooting digital, one has to have memory cards and storage, just like one has to have film holders for LF.

I don't understand what do you mean by "shooting useless shots". Comparing LF workflow directly to digital one is comparing apples and oranges. There is no wasted time because when shooting digital (assuming hand-held), there is no setup time, there is no movements, no loupe focusing, no closing the shutter, no inserting the folder, taking the dark slide, re-inserting the darkslide... All you do is aim the camera, compose, half-press the shutter to focus and measure light, press (if bracketting, three-shot burst), release the shutter, recompose, repeat the procedure... you get the idea.

By the time you set up your camera and before you even get to composing, he has already taken several shots (each bracketted) and checked the exposure on the LCD. And that's if he is working slow...

So, even if only one of those is a good shot, and half a dozen are discards, he still hasn't lost any time compared to working with LF. Not to mention action shots - there really would be no comparison whatsoever.

Mind you, I am NOT putting down LF here - I am shooting, or at least beginning to shoot LF myself - I am simply saying that these are two totally different toolsets and two equally different workflows. I really don't understand what all this criticism is all about - he took his trip, made his choices and brought back his photos.

Marko, it doesn't take me much time to set up, and while i'm setting up I'm thinking about the shot, it's giving me time to think. Photography is not a race, it's not about getting as many images as you can as quickly as you can, to me it's about getting images of merit. And at least I know that I have a near zero percent rate of malfunction, versus the 1 in 4 chance that my DSLR won't work as evidenced by this trip. Ask those people who paid $15k to go to Antarctica only to have their digital camera completely fail them if they were happy with their results from the trip.

Marko
10-Mar-2007, 15:07
Brian,

My point was that comparing handheld digital workflow to LF techniques makes no sense. No matter how fast you are with your setup, you simply cannot compare. Nor can you compare focusing either. Nor pretty much anything else. It's two different worlds.

My question to you is: how many pictures did you take in Antarctica?

Frank Petronio
10-Mar-2007, 15:41
I shoot at least 10x more digital frames than 4x5 frames. Getting to the final image takes about the same amount of time, since time spent scanning and dustbusting equals the time spend editing and selecting. I don't think film or digital is more or less valuable/better than the other, just different.

Shooting quantity is useful in some situations, I don't discount it as a technique. I do recognonize that I might shoot 4-10 shots of a gesture and it is often the first and the last frames that are the best, but I never would have gotten to that last 10th frame unless I shot the preceeding nine... especially with action, expressions, and gestures.

But, I might shoot 3-400 frames in a session but I quickly toss the losers and get it down to ~100 right away. Then I edit those hundred down to a handful but keep the select 100 in long-term storage.

roteague
10-Mar-2007, 19:51
My question to you is: how many pictures did you take in Antarctica?

Brian K has forgotten more about professional and commercial photography than you, me and Reichmann have ever learned.

Marko
10-Mar-2007, 20:16
Brian K has forgotten more about professional and commercial photography than you, me and Reichmann combined.

I never doubted it. I very rarely if ever make personal arguments, as a matter of principle.

What I am saying is this: there is no point in criticizing someone for the choices they make and the things they do, especially if they do it on their time and their dime, until one has gone through the same length and done better using different means and in different ways. And even then, I am not convinced criticism would make much sense, at least not in a case like this, as it is more a matter of personal preference then anything else.

Rory_5244
10-Mar-2007, 21:10
Hey guys, would it be possible to take 8x10 LF shots from the deck of the Zodiak? I'm talking tripod-mounted here using Velvia 50 and perhaps lenses in the 240-600 LF range. I know about the deck vibration and stuff, but I have seen pictures from tripod-mounted medium format gear taken on a ship's deck. I believe the photographer used foam on the tripod feet to absorb vibrations. A lot of Michael Reichmann's good shots seemed to have been taken from the ship. So, doable, or a dumb idea?

r.e.
10-Mar-2007, 21:13
Rory,

Have a look at this site: www.bekenofcowes.co.uk

Some of the older photographs (leaving aside the modern ones) were taken on deck, such as the one from the deck of the Bluenose, and unless the site has changed, there is a photograph of the camera that Frank Beken used to do this kind of work. They stopped using plate cameras in the early 70s.

Rory_5244
10-Mar-2007, 21:31
Thanks alot!

Brian K
11-Mar-2007, 05:38
Brian,

My point was that comparing handheld digital workflow to LF techniques makes no sense. No matter how fast you are with your setup, you simply cannot compare. Nor can you compare focusing either. Nor pretty much anything else. It's two different worlds.

My question to you is: how many pictures did you take in Antarctica?

Marko, as of yet I have not been to Antarctica, it's on my list, but I can use last years trip to Norway for comparison. In 6 weeks I shot 120 rolls of 120 (6x12), 6 exposures per roll and about 50 sheets of 4x5. Twelve images are likely to be going into my portfolio and will be made available to the galleries for sale. That's 770 exposures over a 6 week period. Those 770 exposures consist of exposure, filter variations and waiting out changing conditions on about 60-70 different images. on a weekly basis that's 128 exposures a week, 11 images a week.

Reichmann shot 7024 exposures in 20 days, or 351 exposures a day, 2458 a week. Nineteen times more exposures than I do a week. My point is not to criticize Reichmann, but I am truly dismayed at how photography has switched from a philosophy of quality to one of quantity. It's like photography has become fast food.

Greg Lockrey
11-Mar-2007, 07:24
A little OT: Brian, I was perusing your site and noticed that you like using a panoramic format. Are these cropped from larger negs (roll film back) or done with rotating lens type cameras? I'm beggining to delve into the this type of photography myself, that's why I'm asking. I really enjoy your images BTW.

Brian K
11-Mar-2007, 08:07
A little OT: Brian, I was perusing your site and noticed that you like using a panoramic format. Are these cropped from larger negs (roll film back) or done with rotating lens type cameras? I'm beggining to delve into the this type of photography myself, that's why I'm asking. I really enjoy your images BTW.

Greg, thanks for the kind words. Some of the early work was cropped from 6x6cm (Rolleiflex 6008i), 6x7cm (Mamiya 7II) and 6x8cm (Fuji GX680III). The majority of images were shot 6x12 film back on a 4x5 (Sinar F2, Canham DLC45, 6x17 (Fuji GX617) and 4x5 cropped. I've started using a Fotoman 612 system, none of the work on my website was done with the Fotoman, but you'll be seeing many of those images soon.

Marko
11-Mar-2007, 10:45
Marko, as of yet I have not been to Antarctica, it's on my list, but I can use last years trip to Norway for comparison. In 6 weeks I shot 120 rolls of 120 (6x12), 6 exposures per roll and about 50 sheets of 4x5. Twelve images are likely to be going into my portfolio and will be made available to the galleries for sale. That's 770 exposures over a 6 week period. Those 770 exposures consist of exposure, filter variations and waiting out changing conditions on about 60-70 different images. on a weekly basis that's 128 exposures a week, 11 images a week.

Reichmann shot 7024 exposures in 20 days, or 351 exposures a day, 2458 a week. Nineteen times more exposures than I do a week. My point is not to criticize Reichmann, but I am truly dismayed at how photography has switched from a philosophy of quality to one of quantity. It's like photography has become fast food.

Brian,

Let me state this first to avoid any further misunderstandings: I like your images, I think they are way above anything Mr. Reichmann ever produced that I have seen. I agree fully with Robert's assesment of your photography a few posts earlier.

What I am NOT doing here is comparing your photography with his, and neither am I criticizing yours.

My point is that criticizing others simply for their choice of equipment and workflow is pointless. It simply does not matter what medium a photographer is using nor what format nor how many shots he/she takes in the process. The only thing that matters is the final image.

QT Luong
11-Mar-2007, 11:30
Hey guys, would it be possible to take 8x10 LF shots from the deck of the Zodiak? I'm talking tripod-mounted here using Velvia 50 and perhaps lenses in the 240-600 LF range. I know about the deck vibration and stuff, but I have seen pictures from tripod-mounted medium format gear taken on a ship's deck. I believe the photographer used foam on the tripod feet to absorb vibrations. A lot of Michael Reichmann's good shots seemed to have been taken from the ship. So, doable, or a dumb idea?

If the boat is moving, it is difficult to get enough shutter speeds to avoid blur. When the boat is stationary, it tends to rotate, so unless you have an external viewfinder, it is hard to aim precisely.

The film, format, and lenses you mention are conductive of shutter speeds that would be too low.

The fact that a lot of the shooting was done on ship also explains the high number of frames taken. It's one thing to have the leisure to wander half a day around a rock to find the best angle, but when a ship is moving, it's get it now or never.

Brian K
11-Mar-2007, 13:00
Brian,

Let me state this first to avoid any further misunderstandings: I like your images, I think they are way above anything Mr. Reichmann ever produced that I have seen. I agree fully with Robert's assesment of your photography a few posts earlier.

What I am NOT doing here is comparing your photography with his, and neither am I criticizing yours.

My point is that criticizing others simply for their choice of equipment and workflow is pointless. It simply does not matter what medium a photographer is using nor what format nor how many shots he/she takes in the process. The only thing that matters is the final image.

I'm not criticizing Reichmann per se but what I see as a growing trend. quantity v quality. I think it's a step backwards for photography. I think shooting 7024 images in 20 days devalues each image in your own mind and others. I think it defeats the inclusion of thought into the image capture. Images have become disposable. Shoot a lot then delete, shoot more then delete.

Marko
11-Mar-2007, 13:26
Brian,

Not everybody does it and not every time. Most of film shooters... well, ok, users :) are conditioned to save frames in order to reduce costs, which is not at all a bad thing from pre-planning point of view, but there are situations where quantity can be an insurance against missed opportunity.

With digital, cost does not matter any more and the speed of operation has greatly increased with automatic focusing and light metering, at least in the small format domain. It is more akin to the sports shooting than anything else. But the bottom line is, why not go for quantity, if that is what makes one comfortable? There's no harm in it that I can see.

And yes, the images have become disposable as a matter of cultural shift. We as a society tend to communicate visually more than we used to do in the past. Generations that grew up with film - and I am talking about non-photographers here - used to take snapshots as memories to their trips, vacations or family events. Previous generations used to go to the local photographers to have their pictures taken only for very special occassions, such as weddings, baptisms and such.

Young(er) generations which grew up with computers tend to take images using their cellphones as a matter of communication. To them, those images are as disposable as are the messages on their voicemail.

Are they wrong? Or, to put it in different perspective, are they more wrong then their parents? How about their grandparents?

r.e.
11-Mar-2007, 13:38
Rory,

I've read Mr. Luong's comments, and I would encourage you to try this with a faster film, a relatively short lens and preferably with a large format camera that can be operated without a tripod.

My views on this arise from the fact that I spend a fair amount of time on the Isle of Wight, and consequently am pretty familiar with Frank Beken's prints (indeed, I own one). Having also spent time sailing and racing in the immediate area, I am familiar with the places where his photographs were made and the conditions under which they were made. Beken's work goes back to the early 1900s, and while many of his photographs, especially the early ones, were taken firmly planted on the ground and captured fairly static scenes, he was soon making photographs of vessels under sail both from land and from sea. This part of the Beken web site talks a little about the history, and also has a photograph of Beken's camera, which I have had the opportunity to examine at in their office in Cowes: http://www.beken.co.uk/history.htm

There have been many times that I have been on vessels in that area and elsewhere, including the Caribbean, where you are based, when it has seemed fairly evident to me that a large format camera could be used. I certainly think that this is true of a hand-held camera, and it just might work with a tripod. You need calm water and a boat that (a) has momentum or (b) is anchored in a tidal stream that is strong enough, relative to the wind, to hold the boat in place or (c) is well secured. By well secured, I mean an anchor from the bow and a line to another vessel, anchored or pulling under light power, from the port, starboard or stern. I won't say anything about anchoring from both the bow and stern, because it is bad seamanship.

To take one example, drawing on your referrence to a RIB/Zodiac: on a powerboat of that kind, assuming that we are talking about a good sized RIB of the kind used for things like search and rescue, it is easy enough to get some speed up and then cut the engine. On a calm day, or calm time of day, such as early morning, you will then have a moving, but quite stable platform. You could do the same on a catamaran on calm seas in light wind. Also, I don't know what you have in the way of tidal streams in Trinidad (probably not much), but it is possible in a reasonable tidal stream to run a boat under power in a way that keeps it essentially stationary.

There are other ways to do this, but they are expensive. On motion picture films, the usual way is to use a gyroscope arrangement. These can be rented, but I don't know what the cost would be or whether one of these rigs could be adapted to your purpose.

One thing I am quite sure of, there are owners who would love to buy photographs of their boats taken with a large format camera - such as during the annual regatta that your country hosts in May. As I understand it, the winds during that regatta can be pretty brisk, but you could always do some nice shots in the harbour. You wouldn't even have to get the camera out on the water. And no doubt, one could take some interesting photographs of Trinidad from the perspective of the water.

If you want some inspiration, buy or rent Wind, a 1992 fictionalized account about the first US loss of the America's Cup and the subsequent rematch. Beautifully photograhed by John Toll, the on-board cinematography under racing conditions was done hand-held with 35mm motion picture cameras. There is a discussion about how Toll did it in the June 2005 issue of American Cinematographer magazine.

The fact that you are talking about using a full size 8x10 on a tripod is the biggest problem. I think that it would be easier with a handholdable 4x5 or maybe with something like a Hobo 8x10. With a handheld camera, you could also operate from the cockpit or deck of a monohull under sail, because the vessel would not have to be level. My only point is that if you want to try using a large format camera from the water, I think that with a little planning and ingenuity, it is worth a try. If Frank Beken could do it in the 1920s with a plate camera, it ought to be possible to do it today. One just has to get into the mindset "How can I do this" instead of the mindset "There are problems, it probably won't work". There are always problems. The fact is, you won't know whether it can be done until you try, and either way, I'd love to know the outcome. I expect to acquire a handholdable 4x5 or 5x7 in the near future, and you can rest assured that I'll be taking it on-board the next time that I have a chance to attend Cowes Race Week.

Good luck.

Gordon Moat
11-Mar-2007, 14:04
Brian,

Not everybody does it and not every time. . . . . , but there are situations where quantity can be an insurance against missed opportunity.

With digital, cost does not matter any more and the speed of operation has greatly increased with automatic focusing and light metering, at least in the small format domain. It is more akin to the sports shooting than anything else. . . . . .

Hello Marko,

There has been a rising trend to replace stills digital cameras with HD camcorders for photojournalists. Still frames suitable for newsprint can be pulled from the motion footage. It also provides a chance to deliver moving images for broadcast or internet usage. Those who want to get really crazy with this might be interested in the upcoming RedOne HD video camera (http://red.com/).

However, anyone who has shot motion cameras (film or video) knows that shots get planned on scenes, usually conceptually planned as static storyboard images. It is one thing to be continuous with photojournalism, but really memorable work still involves some planning and shot selection. The idea that one can do it all in editing is true, but like the Blair Witch Project, you could run into a situation of digging through huge volumes of images to piece together something resembling a story. It can work, but I doubt many people will claim it is the best choice.

Even in film usage, there have been National Geographic photographers who sketched with the camera, basically using a blanketing and bracketing approach to scenes. Then the tough part was editing all those frames, and finding something that worked as a story. This probably worked better at National Geographic than at other magazines, just because the editors there are quite good. I have met very few photographers who were such good editors that they could do this on their own; editing is a skill that should not be considered lightly.

There is also an issue of being overwhelmed by volume. At what point does the photographer become so visually and creatively tired by the vastness of images that they miss some great shots? Productivity can suffer; maybe there are many images, and some potential, though the danger is missing things.

If you happened to see that film about Penguins recently (not the animated one), then this might make some sense. While the entire film involves motion, and is the result of editing, the main visual impact is from controlled scene framing. If you get a chance (or anyone else) to see it again, pay attention to when a scene stays with the same framing, and see how often scenes change from one scene to another (usually jumps instead of fades/wipes). This is relavent to stills shooting, because the idea of scenes (or storyboarding) can be applied to still photography shot planning.

Ciao!

Gordon Moat
A G Studio (http://www.allgstudio.com)

Marko
11-Mar-2007, 15:00
Gordon, I am certainly not arguing against planning and even less for mindless machine-gun approach. What I am saying is that different people see and think differently, hence different workflows and techniques. I am also not defending Reichmann, and I do think that his number of exposure sounds a bit excessive. I maintain that there is no harm in it for the rest of us and that there is simply no point in people berating each other for those differences.

Rory_5244
11-Mar-2007, 22:21
Thank you very much for the advice QT/r.e. The Hobo did indeed spring to mind. I'm stunned that you know a bit about my neck of the woods r.e.! I noticed that Beken used a mouth activated cable-release; and no tripod. I'll probably take a closer look at the Hobo - after the Cricket World Cup, that is. Thank you again!

Frank Petronio
12-Mar-2007, 05:15
People shooting rapid-fire digital hi-res is going to continue to happen no matter what.

It's a situation akin to that of typography in the late 1980s-early 1990s. Fine traditional typographists went out of business and we saw a lot of bad type. But it also led to an era of very expressive type and design work. And now the only people making a living from type ( a few dozen, tops) are designing new letterforms, not simpily setting it.

A similar situation is happening with photography right now. Amateurs -- like many of you on this forum -- are often making better pictures than the "professionals". And digital cameras, stock photoraphy, and a You Tube mentality are simply going to erode the professional photography market further and faster than most people expect.

IMHO, all that will be left are the ends of the bell curve -- the low end baby and real estate photographers and the highest-end fine artists and high-production ad shooters. Maybe portrait photography will continue but already the franchised studios are gobbling up the middle market.

Brian K
12-Mar-2007, 05:38
IMHO, all that will be left are the ends of the bell curve -- the low end baby and real estate photographers and the highest-end fine artists and high-production ad shooters. Maybe portrait photography will continue but already the franchised studios are gobbling up the middle market.

I have to agree with Frank here, I reallhy saw this trend in the last few years I shot advertising, 2000-2002 (then again 9/11 didn't exactly help the economy of NYC). It used to be that there was a wide range of photography experience or talent available in ad photography. Someone starting out could get work because they were very affordable, experienced journeyman with a good reputation made substantial livings, and a few of the famous ones,mostly in fashion, made huge sums of money.

Things changed with digital, it used to require great skill to get it right in the camera, that is get it right without expensive retouching. (high end retouching used to consist of dye transfer prints, very $$$$ and an very skilled air brush artist, also $$$$). When digital retouching came out, it was far cheaper to do so it became less important to hire a very skilled photographer for general purpose photographs. Another change was that more and more images became silhouette shots in which the subject was shot on white and a background would be put in digitally. This further reduced the need for skilled photographers. Also there was a change in the art directors themselves, they went from being people in their late 20's to early 40's with very wide ranging skills, from knowledge of photography, to printing, to illustration, and with serious training in design to kids who knew computers and all of the photoshop shortcuts but did not have the other design tools. These younger art directors who replaced the far more highly paid and expereinced art directors, were much more comfortable doing things digitally.

What has basically happened, as Frank mentions, is a squeezing of the photographers in the middle. Now either you are very high end,and there's very few of those, or you are swimming in a vast sea of people charging much lower fees. I'm very glad I'm out of that business.

Marko
12-Mar-2007, 07:37
Brian,

The trend you are describing is not exclusive to photography - it happens all across the board. It is a general trend toward the cheaper and away from quality. Digital and computers in general are not causing this, they are simply enabling it.

Everything is moving toward mediocrity these days and quality is rapidly becoming an increasingly expensive niche for those few still interested in it.

Terence McDonagh
12-Mar-2007, 10:52
Regarding shooting LF from a moving boat, check out:
http://www.ken-lab.com/stabilizers.html

And do a search for David Frieder in NYC. He was using a Hassie with a gyro stabilizer handheld to shoot on NYC's suspension bridges. He used a medium sized one, but Kenyon makes bigger.

I've always been impressed by the early sailoboat racing photography. I've seen several 5x7 glass negatives made on-board boats during an exhibit at Mystic Seaport years ago. Very impressive.

Gordon Moat
12-Mar-2007, 11:06
Simply enabling people can be empowering, though it provides no guarantee of creativity, nor even a better ability to express a creative vision. The emphasis has shifted to a mastery of the tools, currently PhotoShop and whatever camera-of-the-month is top of the list. I feel that already the job descriptions including knowledge of PhotoShop are too many, to the point where that is now meanlingless in many job descriptions. I have met far too many self-proclaimed experts who thought they knew PhotoShop, and they could probably recite every tool and filter off the top of their heads without starting a computer. The results are the important aspect, though it is all too easy to miss that in the quest for tools mastery.

Marko is right in that mediocrity is rising. This is a by-product of a fast food culture, and an indication of prevailing attitudes. However, I don't subscribe to the doom and gloom view of creative professions. There are too many graduates, and too many self-taught hacks, which has been the situation for over ten years. If one only looked at small business clients, I doubt any of them understood the importance of good design, nor that of good and effective advertising. That old phrase of: It's not creative unless it sells, might be one consideration to apply to this. Problems arrise when companies hire creative people and then dictate exactly what they want, rather than let the creative professional actually be creative . . . don't hire someone simply because they own PhotoShop, or InDesign, or some D-SLR that you don't; tools don't make someone a professional.

Sure, there are clients doing it themselves, and even corporations handing off a D-SLR to a temp worker just to get an image. Those clients and companies that understand that creative professionals are partners in the creative process will usually get good results. Those who consider creative professionals as suppliers will get what they pay, which will increasingly be less and less.

Ciao!

Gordon Moat
A G Studio (http://www.allgstudio.com)

r.e.
13-Mar-2007, 07:51
Thank you very much for the advice QT/r.e. The Hobo did indeed spring to mind. I'm stunned that you know a bit about my neck of the woods r.e.! I noticed that Beken used a mouth activated cable-release; and no tripod. I'll probably take a closer look at the Hobo - after the Cricket World Cup, that is. Thank you again!

A House for Mr. Biswas is one of my favourite novels ):

Let me elaborate on my comment that yacht owners would be interested in large format photographs. The digital SLRs used to make the vast majority of yacht photographs are great for action racing and on the rail shots. But for yacht "portraits", on deck or from a distance, the prints just aren't in the same league as the kind of thing that Beken did. This is nowhere more evident than in the Beken shop itself, where one can compare photographs made today with photographs made in the days when they were using plate cameras (up until the early 70s) and Hasselblads (until the digital revolution). I think that a lot of owners would be blown away with large format prints.

Terence,

Great links. The Mystic museum does wonderful work. For those who are not familiar with it: http://www.mysticseaport.org/

Rakesh Malik
13-Mar-2007, 08:48
I'm not criticizing Reichmann per se but what I see as a growing trend. quantity v quality. I think it's a step backwards for photography. I think shooting 7024 images in 20 days devalues each image in your own mind and others. I think it defeats the inclusion of thought into the image capture. Images have become disposable. Shoot a lot then delete, shoot more then delete.

When you're shooting that many images, you're more editor than photographer, IMO.

Marko
13-Mar-2007, 09:05
Like I said before, I do think it is excessive, but I also think the criticisms leveled his way are so too, because apparently very few of his critics, if any, apear to be using handheld digital as their primary tool, which turns the arugment into apples vs. oranges sort of discussion.

Even so, the number being thrown around with such an abandon is a false one, as stated before. One has to assume that he was heavily bracketing on a tirp like that, at least 3 shots per image, to be conservative. That is slightly over 2300 shots right there. One also has to assume that he was shooting alternates in many situtations. Let's also assume only one alternate per shot. That brings it down to say 1150-1200 shots. 1200 shots in 20 days comes down to 60 real shots per day.

I don't think 60 real shots per day is overly excessive for small format, digital workflow on an exotic trip whose main purpose was taking photos.

But it does seem that many of his apparent critics are simply using an opportunity to have a more or less cheap shot at digital (pun intended) and at someone who represents it, so the numbers do not really matter, do they?

:confused:

QT Luong
13-Mar-2007, 15:17
Those numbers were fairly frequent in the realm of professional photography in the film days. Ever heard of the National Geographic photographers, err.. editors ? Did they get derided for returning hundreds of rolls from an assignment for an article that will use a dozen images ?

Marko
13-Mar-2007, 16:01
His gross total of 7024 shots comes down to the equvalent of 200 35mm rolls. That's 10 rolls per day with no bracketing and no alternates. With bracketing, that would make 3.3 rolls per day.

As for NGEO , there were attempts to deride them when they switched to digital... But they still remain one of the symbols of quality photography, IMHO.

Rory_5244
13-Mar-2007, 22:18
A House for Mr. Biswas is one of my favourite novels ):



Well well, I'm stunned again! My favourite novel also by our Nobel Laureate Naipaul who sadly shuns everything remotely related to that which made him great to begin with. He's now more Imperial than the Queen Herself.

Brian K
14-Mar-2007, 14:52
As for NGEO , there were attempts to deride them when they switched to digital... But they still remain one of the symbols of quality photography, IMHO.

Many of the shooters working for NG may be using digital, but they started as film shooters and have the more tradititional training and background, It'll be interesting to see how the next generation of photographers who have never used film, only used digital do.

Marko
14-Mar-2007, 15:00
Many of the shooters working for NG may be using digital, but they started as film shooters and have the more tradititional training and background, It'll be interesting to see how the next generation of photographers who have never used film, only used digital do.

That's what the old generations have been saying all along about most any form of human activity for the past... what? two thousand years or so... and look where we are now. :)

Somehow, I don't think that photography as a skill or as an art is going to die along with the film guys. These kids are not stupid - most of my kids' peers look and act smarter and more mature than many from their parents' generation. I'd give them more credit than to think they'll ruin the entire field. In fact, I'd much sooner bet on them improving it than ruining it.

<edit>

Oh, and if they do ruin it after all, it will only mean that the old guys did not teach them properly.

</edit>

r.e.
14-Mar-2007, 19:55
Well well, I'm stunned again! My favourite novel also by our Nobel Laureate Naipaul who sadly shuns everything remotely related to that which made him great to begin with. He's now more Imperial than the Queen Herself.

As you know, you are not alone in that assessment. I'm less sure, but we seem to be in agreement that it is a truly great novel.

Anyway, have a look at this discussion from today: http://www.photo.net/bboard/q-and-a-fetch-msg?msg_id=00KL1N&tag= I had forgotten about the Fotoman cameras, which is peculiar, because I am considering buying one (athough in a smaller format than 8x10).

I'd say best of luck to Brian Lara, but it looks like he doesn't need it :)

Kirmo Wilen
24-Mar-2007, 12:26
Hi,

nice to see that the issue comes up also here.
I was on the trip and was the only person having a film camera.
This was not my first trip and hopefully not the last trip to abroad.

Maybe I can clear some issues.

The rules for air travelling is, that one can't carry everything into the plane.
I currently had to decide which to take:
- Canon 1Ds mkII (yes)
- Canon 1 D mkIIN (yes for backup)
- Mamiya RB 67 (No, too heavy!)
- Mamiya 7 II (Yes)
- Ebony 8x10 (No)

For lenses I took for Canon 300 2.8, 70-200, 24-105 and 16-35 leaving many which
I adid take the 1.4 and 2.0 extenders. I would have wanted back home. For Mamiya I took 43, 65 and 150.

Packed my tripod with me but left my flashes home.

Next to choose what to carry and what to check in. I started to collect the things that I would carry: my medicine for 4 weeks (5 different tablets a day), all cameras and lenses. The extenders. My laptop (small Mac 12").

This means that I decided to put the battery charger for Canon into checked luggage (it's so big and I knew that even without I could find somebody with the same sort of) I had to put the tripod as checkin luggage. Also all extra cloths. Even with these I had two bags, I was carrying in my hands the 300 lens. If I want to take the film as carryon - then what to put in as checked luggage? From previous trips around the world and having film as carryon and checked and not ever seen any difference after developing I decided to put the film into check inluggage. My route was Helsinki - Madrid - Buenos Aires. Only one stop with 4 hours changing time (in business class). I had about 3 days before our cruise started. Of course the luggage never reached me in time, it was maybe some 7-10 days somewhere? After this experience I still don't see that I would pack my things differently. To be more safe would be to send the luggage via TNT or other carriers well before the trip.

Why so many frames per day? I was on a trip around Svalbad some years ago and also there most of the shooting was done on the moving ship. It's so different to photograph landscape from moving platform. I normally don't take so make frames, but very quickly realized that you just can't wait and check the frame, wait and check, ... it's a moving target everything is moving all the time. It's a bit like using LF in a fast action sports event like a football game and trying to find the right moment when everything in the frame is in the right place. At least I found my self being a fraction of a second too late in most cases. Also you basicly have to handheld and have short exposure times. I had the Mamiya 7II in Svalbad and found it not usefull when ship was moving.

We did go on the shores and land on most days. But we normally didn't stay for a long time and there's a limit on how much equipment one can take with when going onto the zodiacs. The sea is not always calm, steep steps, we normally had wet landings ,... Yes Stephen Johnson had he's 4x5 and used it on one place. I think he set his tripod on two places and made some 8 different shots.

I've been twice in Galapagos Islands, first time with Mamiya 7 II and a few months ago with my digital cameras. If I ever go there I'll take my 8x10. But there you have more time on land.

Weather, I was going from winter Finland to summer Antartic. We had very cold february (-20-30C) to Antartic +5 - +15C. So no problem for me.

Camera failures. Too many happened and we where all really suprised that so many Canon 1 series failed. The weather wasn't so bad. I have been in much worse weather, being cold, windy and more heavier rain. Don't know the reasons - but it wasn't so bad.

My plan was to shoot film and get some slides worth showing. I have 2 slide projectors and medium format slides still are hard to beat when shown on large screens. So this part failed on my plans. But I did manage to get enough shots with digital to make my promises for some presentations later this year. It's another kind of journey if shooting LF. More time on land. Most of the people using LF and choosing different locations.

Kirmo WilÚn

Finland, Parikkala

GPS
24-Mar-2007, 12:47
Thanks Kirmo, for your input! One of the reasons why "so many of the Canon 1 cameras" failed can be the heat (not in degrees) they were taking with all the quick shooting you describe. Some cameras can serve nicely when used moderately. As soon as you take them on a wild drive, they don't like it. It's enough if only one of their elements is not up to the wild shooting task and they leave you. I know it from my own expeditions - quick shooting is like driving a car quickly - everything is more strained and the machine that could serve you still long time gives up immediately.

Kirmo Wilen
24-Mar-2007, 23:54
The problems with Canon 1Ds happened in the situation when we had landed, temperature was maybe like +5 to +10 C, it was raining a little bit and the air was humid (dizzle). The shore was full of penguins - some 100 000 and we slowly walked on the shore. I took shots with a rate of maybe 4 in a minute. After about 15 minutes the camera stopped working. I did not change lens or memory card or battery. I had put my 70-200 lens in my cabin to the camera. This was our second landing that day. I'm sure most of the people behaved the same way. The shooting on bord, example when photographying jumping penguins or whales swinmmining and diving was rapid shooting and we didn't have any problems with cameras. Maybe somebody no and then dropped a lens on deck but then you know the who/what to blame.

Before I got the 1 D IImkN I used the 1Ds MK II for photographing birds as fast as it allows. No other problems than too slow and the buffers get filled too quickly - the camera works as the specs says.

This was the first time I've had problems with this camera - I've had for three years.

Three questions for those planning on taking 8x10 far abroad

1) Will/Can you carry everything into the airoplane?
2) If not, what would you check in
3) What other ways for shipping the equipment would you use


Shit seems to happen and maybe after a few years I'll have better memories of this trip.

Kirmo

Terry Hull
6-Apr-2007, 11:14
Having made the trip last January, I assure you large format is nearly impossible, unless you are going stay for a prolonged time at one of the research stations. Even then smaller format is better.

QT Luong
6-Apr-2007, 12:29
Kirmo, I routinely check my 5x7 in its Lowepro Super-Trekker with no ill effects so far, but I would never check film as you did. I suppose your home airport doesn't use the new InVision scanners, and so far you were lucky that your destination airport didn't use them, but they *will* ruin your film. A film crew for PBS I travelled with last summer told me they always ship all their film through Fedex, since they don't even want to have it X-rayed.

Ben R
12-Apr-2007, 10:27
Interesting how many people are willing to slam the shot counts on principle not knowing what the situation was and only really to drive their anti digital agenda.

I understand that many people shoot a 2nd shot of each important shot in LF. I do this too with digital, bracketing sharpness and to try and get the minimum amount of foliage movement. Then I bracket 3 times so that I have the information needed for both the highlights and shadows. So for me each composition is 6 shots. With LF it would be 2 shots but then I'd be shooting neg film with far more latitude and using filtration if needed though you still have far more control combining bracketed exposures in PS than using grads.

Of course HDR works optimally with a 7 shot bracket for the maximum quality, times that by two and it really starts adding up.

If you're working with a moving subject where you can see a better or different composition then you keep seeing compositions you have never seen before. It isn't LF where you have time to look around, you can't turn a ship around to go back to the optimal spot or go back the next day looking for better light.

I know this well from my profession which is wedding photography. When a moment happens you take the shot, almost a safety shot because you don't know how long it will last. If the moment lasts long enough then you have time to 'work' it. Waiting for it to get better will almost certainly ensure that you miss more moments than you get.

Everyone loves to hate M.Reichmann but the fact remains that you cannot compare that trip or any other where you are presented with so many fleeting compositions, to the contemplative approach to LF.

Doug Dolde
6-May-2007, 17:52
Have you seen his (Reichmann's) Amazon portfolio? http://tinyurl.com/2dba8g

I made a post on his forum saying if that was all I had to show for all that travelling I would consider it a failed trip. He he booted me out then emailed me saying I was an asshole for posting that.

Now who is the asshole here? Am I being one for stating the truth? Guess he didn't want any $20K per head prospective forum participants seeing that kind of critique.

This guy is more of a photographic gadfly and tour guide than he is a serious photographer.

roteague
6-May-2007, 19:26
This guy is more of a photographic gadfly and tour guide than he is a serious photographer.

That pretty well sums up my opinion as well. I guess you are going to remove the link to his website now? :cool:

Eirik Berger
7-May-2007, 03:38
I have used several camera systems (Contax G1, several Canon DSLRs, Mamiya 645, Toyo 45CF, Toyo 45GII and Calumet C-1 8x10") in the high arctic, and the "cheap" Toyo 45CF has actually been the one I have used most, for several reasons. Of course I hate the non-moveable back, but the camera is light, easy to handle with gloves and non-metal which is a good thing when operated in temperatures below -30C.

I can fit this camera along with a selection of lenses, film holders (QL when travelling lightly) and tripod - in the same volume, or less, as a DSLR-system.

There are mainly five reasons why I use LF and film in my low-temperature-photography.

1. General image quality and control over image geometry and focal plane. I find many of my subjects to involve both a near foreground element along with subjucts in the horizon. Movements are used in 98&#37; af my images. I have tried those Tilt/shift lenses but without a big groundglass I dont feel that I have 100% control. It cannot compare to LF movements anyway.

2. To preserve delicate hues and detail in ice and snow. Snow is not white. I find modern films superior when it comes to bring out nuances and hues in snow and ice. Specially in low light. Of course modern DSLRs is great, but I have tried and failed when it comes to achiveve the same results. I guess I need more training. But then again I am not very keen on spending much time adjusting images from raw-files.

3. Few batteries. Have you been in the field for weeks in -30C with no access to electrical power? I have, and the one thing I learned is that you must ALWAYS
have a backup that does not depend on batteries. The EOS 5D was left in the camp after three days in the field. With LF I only need to be sure that my light meter has power. And with time I have learned pretty much what the settings should be in different light conditions, so I would manage to make well exposed images even with no light meter.

5. And finaly the way that LF forces me to slow down and see. I tend to work pretty fast in general, so it is a good thing. Spending time behind the ground glass is far better than spending it in front of a computer screen, agree? After I started with LF I my images in general has improved in many ways, but better compositions as the most important.

If I went to antarctica I would bring a 4x5" camera system for serious work and a DSLR for experimenting, "proofing" and for images in my family photo album.

Frank Hurley is also one of my all time favorites. I have a print of one of his images in my living room ordered from Atlas Gallery. Along with a few other great photographers he is responsible for kicking me into the LF-world.

Ben R
7-May-2007, 05:13
Have you seen his (Reichmann's) Amazon portfolio? http://tinyurl.com/2dba8g

I made a post on his forum saying if that was all I had to show for all that travelling I would consider it a failed trip. He he booted me out then emailed me saying I was an asshole for posting that.

Now who is the asshole here? Am I being one for stating the truth? Guess he didn't want any $20K per head prospective forum participants seeing that kind of critique.

This guy is more of a photographic gadfly and tour guide than he is a serious photographer.

Well, he is known internationally, makes his living of his photography and can pull 20K clients, who are you exactly?

roteague
7-May-2007, 11:24
Well, he is known internationally, makes his living of his photography and can pull 20K clients, who are you exactly?

No one is questioning his marketing skills. But, that doesn't change anything.

Pete Watkins
7-May-2007, 11:57
The "Digi Freaks" are not photographers, they are "Snappers". They seem to have adopted the same attitude that the "Motordrive Loonies" adopted in the '70's, if I take hundreds of frames I'm gonna get a good one eventually.
Frank Hurley did not have the "digies" advantages and needed to know how to use a field camera and achieve perfection by using the cameras movements and lenses to achieve some of the greatest images ever captured in the Antartic. The work of photographers as Hurley, J.M.Cameron, Louis Levey, Frank Meadow Sutcliff and so many of the pioneers and the later perfectionists (Adams, Link and a massive band of commercial photographers in the 50's, 60's & 70's) displays the advantage of using a view camera to capture the image as it is, in reality, through a lens, onto film. Not a second rate image that needs 5 hours of manipulation to "cosmetically improve it" in an overpriced digital manipulation programme that was initally written for the Graphic Arts Industry.
Just an opinion,
Pete.

Ben R
7-May-2007, 12:12
Not a second rate image that needs 5 hours of manipulation to "cosmetically improve it" in an overpriced digital manipulation programme that was initally written for the Graphic Arts Industry.
Just an opinion,
Pete.

I'm sorry, and darkroom work doesn't take hours? Ansel Adams was famous for making his images in the darkroom, some of his negs are reportedly very thin. Cartier Bresson said that he shot 2 rolls of film a day before breakfast, assuming he shot at other times of the day would you call him a snapper given the percentage of his known and iconic images relative to how much he must have shot to get there? Don't confuse your hate of digital with blindness to the realities...

Doug Dolde
7-May-2007, 12:23
Ben did you look at the images on his Amazon page? He took a Leice M8, a H2 with a Phase One P45 back, and a Canon 1Ds on his trip. I find it amazing what paltry shots he brought back for all that gear...or maybe he isn't showing his best work on his website...but then why wouldn't he?

Ben R
7-May-2007, 12:34
I did like Adrew Rodney's shots a lot better I have to admit! I've also thought for a while that his earlier stuff, before he started the mega bucks trips, is a lot better, perhaps more innocent, not trying so hard. I've felt that he's been going downhill for the past couple of years (with the exception of Bangladesh which was mainly documentary) but that is probably because he isn't concentrating on his own photography and is working to strict schedules, etc. His first trip to Iceland gave some incredible photos, the subsequent trips when he was taking groups, not so. Ditto Antartica (though I loved the penguin pool shot) and ditto China, Amazon, etc.

I just think that he's trying too hard and showing stuff that would be better buried. I have a lot of respect for the guy, he's possibly the most hated individual in the photographic world, but some of his 'personal' work from 5 years ago thrashes his more recent and 'modern' style photography. Not to say that he isn't getting some incredible shots on these trips, but I only get 1 or so which catches my eye per trip. Maybe that is all he should be showcasing...

Have you had a look at the recent work from Alain Briot who writes for the site? I can tell every single digital image on his page. They just look like they are trying too hard, using too much of the technology when they should be deleting half the layers used and just leaving it there! Since I got my 5D I found that the vast majority of images only needed some 3 layers from a RAW file to printable image. Doing much more than that is just overkill, starts looking unnatural. HDR looks horrific in almost every case, not like a 2D photograph. That said my B&W film scans need a hell of a lot of layers for all the dodging and burning, etc just as the negs need a lot of time in the darkroom...

Doug Dolde
7-May-2007, 13:14
Ben,

Exactly. I could not have said it better myself. I have seen a few other photographers who post on the NPN forums who have also switched from medium format or 4x5 film to digital, most of them to a Canon 5D. There are a few that have made the switch with good results...and some whose film work was definately better.

I'm not sure why this is. Digital is theoretically a better tool. I still use 4x5 tranny film because a) I get much better resolution than anything short of a P45, b) I can't afford a P45, and c) I really like the view camera process. My 4x5 and lenses are paid for and I get Imacon 949 scans done professionally for $14 each. But my volume is low. Getting 20 scans done a month means I have done a lot of shooting to have 20 portfolio grade shots.

Yes Michael and Alain are both terrific at marketing. Alain is even selling his master files with all the layers...I think that's nuts but maybe it works for him. I also have seen the degradation of their work in moving to digital, more with Michael's than Alain's but both to be sure.

Ben R
7-May-2007, 13:30
Not sure that I agree that it is digital that has done it, MR's work now is shot in a far more 'modern' style, more trying to be arty than photography which is why I think that his work has been going downhill, Alains digital work is exactly the same compostion wise, just over post processed. I did wonder at the master file nonsense, he shouldn't have to 'prove' himself to anyone, it's the resulting image that counts not proving that how he got there was kosher, who is he trying to prove himself to anyway, it isn't snobby film only photographers that are buying his stuff...

Maybe it's just that we are used to a photograph looking a certain way and the new style is jarring just because it's not what we grew up with, or maybe some photographers should be making digital images that look like photographs not computer art, don't think most people could tell which are the 35mm, medium format and digital images among my collection (www.bphotography.co.uk/fineart/fineart.htm sorry about the site, it's about to be majorly revamped) could they?

Marko
7-May-2007, 14:20
I have seen a few other photographers who post on the NPN forums who have also switched from medium format or 4x5 film to digital, most of them to a Canon 5D. There are a few that have made the switch with good results...and some whose film work was definately better.

I'm not sure why this is.

It's most likely because they have not yet accomplished the same level of proficiency with their new tools (computer and software) as they had with their old tools (darkroom and chemistry). Which, when you think of it, should not be surprising at all, since most of them have invested at least a decade into mastering traditional darkroom vs. a year or two trying to learn how to do it on a computer.

The fact that some people's computer skills suck, to put it charitably, does not mean that certain tasks cannot be done (better and more efficiently) on a computer, it simply means that they can't do it.


Digital is theoretically a better tool.

Again, better for what? Blanket statements make little sense, no matter which way you aim them... Which technology is better for whom and for what can only be determined by each individual photographer, his level of skills, his needs and his means.


I still use 4x5 tranny film because a) I get much better resolution than anything short of a P45, b) I can't afford a P45, and c) I really like the view camera process. My 4x5 and lenses are paid for and I get Imacon 949 scans done professionally for $14 each. But my volume is low. Getting 20 scans done a month means I have done a lot of shooting to have 20 portfolio grade shots.

Your reasoning makes perfect sense - for you. Any single reason of the three you cited is good enough. If you are happy with what you have why would you want something else, especially if you can't afford it.

But for someone who can afford the digital back, who likes digital workflow and results better and who shoots high volume, going digital would make equally perfect sense.

I really fail to understand why would someone else's choices and workstyle upset you so much that you would want to go out of their way simply to spit on their floor, so to speak. What's in it for you to feel so strongly and negatively about Reichmann's business?

Is it because he is using digital or because he can afford it or is it because he is successful at it?

Ben R
7-May-2007, 16:19
I think Doug may be saying that the mindset when shooting with digital is different for some reason which makes the digital work of some photographers inferior to their film work.

I could be wrong...

Rory_5244
7-May-2007, 18:16
I've been giving Michael R. the benefit of the doubt with regards to his pictures on his recent trips: maybe some locations don't lend themselves too well for photography, although I don't exactly believe that tenet myself. However, after seeing Andrew Rodney's pictures of the same place, and on the same trip (including an identical shot of dead trees on the river), um, well, they just make Michael's pictures seem awful by comparison (to me). I think it may be Michael's proclivity to look for abstracts, and how he manipulates his images, which always seem flat. In any case, Michael thinks highly of his own images, which is what matters most, I guess!

Oh, I suppose it'll be polite to add a link to Mr. Andrew Rodney's pictures for those of you interested:

http://digitaldog.net/ARsAmazonPicks

Duane Polcou
10-May-2007, 00:45
The TSA X-Ray inspectors in Antarctica are very rude.