Vanitas in my studio Yr 2020

A new project.

Started this in the “Lockdown” period and slowly making progress with the elements of it.

The props are the key element, and for those who are unfamiliar with “Vanitas” – here is a quick explanation:

Vanitas, (from Latin vanitas, “vanity”), in art, a genre of still-life painting that flourished in the Netherlands in the early 17th century. … The vanitas evolved from simple pictures of skulls and other symbols of death and transience frequently painted on the reverse sides of portraits during the late Renaissance.

Having acquired the props, I started and slowly it became obvious that lighting the set with a softbox did not do any justice to the topic.

Creating a painterly impression photographically was my goal. It had to look like a photo, depicting Vanitas.

Included are three images that are my starting point in this project.

Light painted with the hosemaster.
A slight change to create a different mood.
More painterly and or grungy.

So many possibilities, as I am developing this style I like to achieve an image that I feel very comfortable with. So far it is exploring how far I can push it, and of course comments are welcome.

Tech details: Light effex light gun with light modifier, Hosemaster without diffuser, and another light brush with focus snoot, all shot on individual layers highlighting each item. All layers processied in affinity photo or adobe photoshop.

Exposure times each layer 30 seconds, aperture F 22, Laewo Macro 2x, 100 mm lens.

There will be more images soon, this is an interesting project that has commercial possibilities for me.

Fleeting moments of brilliance

Light interference.

When film was king I made these refractions of light on a thin film of water, mixed with liquid soap.

The set up was tricky as my film of water was flat and I photographed it straight on. The light had to refract it to produce the colours, and the colour “scheme” depended on liquid density, temperature, air movement and light angle.

Enclosed are my scanned images of the films I shot.

A few were done on the 4×5 format, or 10x12cms, but because of the expense of sheetfilm I decided to use my Sinar Vario Zoom Roll Film Holder that uses 120 film to produce most shots.

At present scanning my archive, hence these images surfaced. It also posed an intriguing question – could I do this with my DSLR too? Working on that – see my next post to find out if I am succesful in a week or two.

Made a new set up with different parameters to suit my new studio. No more black walls floor and ceiling, it is all neutral light colours now.

The light is produced by a large flash light diffused by 3 mm translucent perspex; it reflects on the soapy film in front of it and behind the soapy film is a black background, but you can place out of focus reflections there too.undefined

This image above was solarised for fun in photoshop, but this is more what you can expect:

Placed something behind the film in front of the black background.
Introducing some air movement….
Colours are a little more intense after increasing hsl settings.
The possibilities are endless I used a gobo in the next shot:
Pity you can not project those colours…

But in photoshop you can project those colours….

Watch out for my next instalment….

Visual challenge

For those who follow me and my friends in photography, I have something different.

This dates from my time when I was tutoring photography and offered my students challenges to assist their solving, creating and thinking processes. Here is your challenge:

Nuts and bolts with “bokeh” (The bokeh is not the hero but setting the mood, the nuts and bolts are the feature)

Creative application or use of nuts and or bolts (This allows you to rock the boat and let go! Again the nut(s) and or bolt(s) are the feature.)

Conceptual nuts and bolts of life…. ( This is your change to make an editorial image or stock shot!)

Please post your submissions to this blog, or email me at Digiteyez@gmail.com

Your photos can be in any colour, B/W, manipulated, altered, any shape or form, as long as we have your “story” – Nuts and Bolts…

Wishing you succes!

Square Gin

A square bottle to pour it from…

This image was made with a blue red polarizer,the bottle was green and the background was yellow…..

The bottle was backlit and assisted with a little light from underneath through the yellow background.

It was a very simple setup, after all you only had one square bottle to contend with and to apply many different light sources or angles would only confuse the issue.
The exposure was measured at aperture F-16, and that included a two stop allowance for the blue red polariser.
These combined dual coloured polarisers are underrated (IMHO), you can create some really excellent effects when you select the colours appropriately to the situation.
The bottle by itself is not enough, so I created a photograph of a droplet inside the bottle as I wanted to bring some interest and a focal point into this image.

Most people only look at a photograph for a couple seconds and I think you would not have yet noticed that the bottle cap was still on the bottle so the drop could not have fallen through the top. A minor oversight, but this was just a little exercise for me.

I was hoping to create some interesting lights and angles on this bottle but in the end the droplet created enough interest so I did not pursue any other lightsources.

Refreshing

Started a new project on “Behance”, – Smelly Bottles.

A “normal” (means flash) exposure was created to correctly expose the bottle and content. On top of the flash exposure I hand painted with a very small light probe the lettering on the front of the bottle.

That way the name “Yachtman” became readable, before it quite dark as the bottle was totally back lit. Reflectors placed tightly and carefully angled gave some reasonable roundness and detail to the top.

The top lid in action is the one chosen, it has more dynamics, although the shapes are more confusing.

Photographed on a classy glassy background, the blues were repeated to enhance volume and the “watery theme” – “Yachtman”.

Another bottle, this one encased in metal had some interesting angles to work with, so this image was more about reflections than refractions.

A bit boring and static this image, but the content is far better, so I gave it a boost…

Explosive smelly bottle...riverhead studios makes images in a different way
This is more to my liking, could not resist to make it more explosive…

Glass, the art of transparency

Shape and texture were important, this old bottle of kirsch just caught my imagination

Hand painted with my lightgun, edited in affinity photo and adobe photoshop. A bit sloppy, you can just see the flash meter’s outline, but it gives an almost textured effect so I left it in. The cherries are a stock image added.

I have moved and now settled in…

The photography that will be of interest to me is light painting with the Hosemaster and related equipment. Of course my established commercial clients will be happy to know there is no change for them, other then the location…

The iconic New Balance model 624 is back!

The new studio space will reflect that.

It is located in Riverhead, my new website is now http://www.riverheadstudios.co.nz and contact details have changed, see details here:

https://www.facebook.com/riverheadstudios/

More curves….

Sabatier effect is not that easy to recreate..

Here are some more samples of my efforts in reviving the sabatier effect.

Discovered that blending modes and layers can add a profound effect to it.

However  I like to stay a bit more true to the real process as it happened in the old analogue darkroom, but I am tempted… So these images are still based on the effect of tone reversal after re exposing the film during development.

woman-camera-0-xxRecovered

Not the best example, only found a low res image and it shows in the definition of the lines around the tripod and model.

Colour transparencies  with a few different tonal values are more fun to play with. It is not easy where you keep the original tones preserved. On purpose I do not show the original image, these “effects” could amuse or intrigue you…

sabatier

Found Agfa Contour negatives, but the effect is in this digital age kind of old hat – not that captivating, I think I’ll try first to get Sabatier under my control.

Any feedback is appreciated.

Sabattier and friends, my old favourite darkroom effects brought to life!

Recently I was given a lot of old photos my deceased mother had collected over her long years. Some of my old photos were in that collection too.
Scanning them was the first step and since they were all old photos made on film and paper they displayed the old analogue darkroom effects, like overexposed, not properly fixed – that shiney blue black effect etc. Decided to look into some old developing techniques and did find the old darkroom had lots of “special effects” through developing and exposing.
Always liked to experiment, so most of the techniques in the darkroom I tried out and I was quite familiar with them. Nowadays, with digital development we have new fashion looks like HDR etc. So why not try to give the old scanned photos some old fashioned darkroom treatments?
The Sabattier effect was one of my old favourites. Thankfully  – photoshop has no such filter. It has a solarisation filter but that is totally different. I set out to create such an old film developing process to replicate in digital format.
The photograph I had scanned was in colour, I converted it into black-and-white, and then what? Myself I had no clue. I looked up on the Internet how other people created Sabbattier effects. Some of them were totally wrong, but I found some that were quite close to the original black-and-white effects that I could remember from my old darkroom days. I adapted some of their techniques or work methods and after a little bit of “playtime” it was very easy to replicate the effect.
Let me tell you how it works in reality, in the old darkroom. Once you had exposed your film, with the correct exposure to make a good black-and-white photograph you re-exposed your film to another light source during development. Timing of the “second exposure” was critical, you had to wait a little bit I would say about two thirds of your total film developing time, then expose it to another light source. The intensity of the other light source was also critical. Too bright and it would blacken the whole film. Too little and not much would happen. I would say that a 25 W light bulb a couple of metres away for a few seconds was sufficient.
Let me deviate, if you are developing a 35mm black-and-white film it has been wound on a spiral of plastic. So the outer edge, the first six exposures are on the outer side of the film reel. They get the brunt of the second exposure. The layers behind that closer to the centre receive very little light. A 120 film is shorter and therefore easier to give a second exposure because there are only a few layers on the spiral. If for any reason anything went wrong you would have lost either a whole 36 exposure 35mm film, or 10 shots on a 120 film.
Therefore I only used 10 x 12 cm sheet film. You could take that out of the tank, expose it to a second light source and the whole sheet would receive that exposure. If it went wrong you only lost one shot. Way to go!
The result of this second exposure was to partially reverse the tonal values on your negative. Certain areas would reverse, others would stay the same, and some tonal values would slightly change. See my photographs.
There was another problem if you continued your development after that second light exposure, you would normally agitate the film to create an even development.
And here is the trick, after the second exposure carefully slide the partially developed sheet film back into the film developing tray. You were not going to agitate the film or the developer at all, you just gave it the remaining time of the total development time.

The developing of the silver halides was now taking place again. But since there was no movement of the developer we got that interesting Mackie line effect. This is a black line that occurs where there are two areas of contrast- light and dark- meeting during development.
If you’ve never been in a dark room, you possibly have no idea what I am talking about. I’m not a chemist so I can’t tell you exactly why that happens. If you gave it the normal developing time with agitation after the second exposure you would possibly over develop the film.
After the developing time was over, you fixed the film, and since you were dying to see how it looked like – after all you spent about 25 minutes in the dark room fiddling around with that film, you switched the white light on and started to look at your film sheet see the effects of your “Sabatier” effect.
I used exclusively film for this process, it is possible to repeat this scenario for photographic paper that is in the developing tray. Unfortunately the contrast and crispness somehow lacks on photographic paper. After all there is quite a difference between a 20 x 25 cm photograph and a 10 x 12 negative. You can enlarge the negative and when printing the negative you can control the contrast on photographic paper.
This is in short a summary of how I used to make these photographs, but there are many little problems I have not covered like what kind of developer do you use, what film did you use -they all influence the end result.
I started to look through my old negative albums and found some more of my old experiments. I have solarised negatives and some old Agfa contour film. I will show you more later on.
I did find this an interesting process to replicate on existing material I have so I have now another project in mind to recreate some new photographs with the Sabatier effect.

Any questions, no problem: please contact me at Albanyphotostudios@outlook.com.