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Scanning without a Scanner: Digitizing Your Film with a DSLR

Scanning without a Scanner: Digitizing Your Film with a DSLR By Bjorn Petersen There is no doubt that digital photography is here to stay, and film has certainly seen better days, in terms of availability and affordability. However, what if you’re a digital photographer who simply wants to shoot a roll of film every once in a while for fun? Film photography has a distinct look that, even with the latest and greatest 50MP cameras, cannot be duplicated by digital imaging. It’s subjective to say whether one look is better or worse, but there is no denying that there is a unique quality to film. Back in the halcyon days of film photography, you could easily drop your rolls off at the local lab or drug store, come back an hour or day later and have nice 4 x 6" prints along with a sleeve of negatives. Nowadays, this simple convenience is becoming harder and harder to acquire, and even if you’re able to find a professional lab to develop your film, you usually won’t want to pay the premium for all of those prints to be made. This is where being able to scan your negatives makes practical sense. A common process that photo labs have been using for years, as well as nearly any kind of printing production process, a scanner acts much like your regular camera; its job is to record an image. The difference is that the scanner is a very specific image-making device, designed only for reproduction. Scanners come in many sizes and are able to perform a range of functions, some of which are able to scan film. Split into two main categories for consumer use, there are flatbed scanners and film scanners. Flatbed scanners have a large glass surface and can record reflective materials, and some incorporate a transparency unit for scanning film and transparencies. Film scanners, on the other hand, are primarily dedicated to only scanning transparent originals, albeit usually at a higher quality than a flatbed scanner. "Luckily for most photographers, a truly sound tool for digitizing your film is something you likely already have: a digital camera." Scanning is a common process that most film shooters in the last 20 or so years have come to incorporate into their practice in some manner, whether it is for scanning film or your prints to share online or make digital prints. While a scanner is certainly a sound investment for those who shoot and need to scan large amounts of film, sometimes it is not the most practical investment. If you’re the type of photographer who will only shoot a handful of rolls a year, or if you’re the type of photographer who enjoys using medium and large format films, finding a suitable scanner can become a greater expense. Most dedicated film scanners seldom accept medium format film, let alone sheet film of any size. Luckily for most photographers, a truly sound tool for digitizing your film is something you likely already have: a digital camera. As previously mentioned, a scanner functions much like a regular picture-taking camera, and likewise a camera can be used to perform similar functions as a scanner. Chief among these is the ability to re-photograph or duplicate your film for digital use. And with DSLR and mirrorless cameras’ resolutions on the rise, you now have the ability to produce high-resolution digital files of your film for printing and simple online sharing. As someone who primarily shoots film, this was a technique I have wanted to try for quite some time. I’ve already become accustomed to working with both flatbed and dedicated film scanners for some time, but I had been hearing about a number of potential advantages for using a camera to digitize film. Chief among them was the possible dynamic range, and the ability to extract greater shadow and highlight detail from negatives than a scanner. Modern sensors are often touted to have a wide dynamic range, and you frequently hear claims such as, “this camera has a 12-stop dynamic range.” Assuming this is true, this range often exceeds the amount of detail in most film and, as such, should be a good match for gaining as much detail as possible from the film. Another advantage is the ability to shoot raw files for greater flexibility when processing images. Just like normal shooting, the greater range of information in a raw file even benefits working in controlled situations. One of the drawbacks I foresaw, however, was the resolution. Even though DSLR and mirrorless cameras are at an all-time peak in resolution, the highest native file sizes still produce images of around 24 x 30", at best. This is a number that is pretty easily matched with a scanner. However, this is a non-issue if simply digitizing your film for Web sharing or some smaller prints, which is the same practical limit of most flatbed scanners, in actuality. The Process With these ideas in mind, I set out to do a fairly non-scientific comparison between three classes of image-capturing devices to test the viable limits of each, as well as the strengths and weaknesses of one process versus another. For the camera setup, I worked with a Nikon D800 fitted with the AF-S VR Micro-NIKKOR 105mm f/2.8G IF-ED lens, and was backlighting my film with the Logan Electric 4 x 5" Slim Edge Light Pad. For the scanning portion of the test, I worked with both a flatbed and film scanner: an Epson Perfection 4870 flatbed scanner and the Imacon Flextight 646 virtual drum scanner. While it is possible to scan reflective material with the Imacon, it is primarily a film scanner by reputation. Black & White 4 x 5" and 6 x 7 negatives photographed with a Nikon D800 and AF-S VR Micro-NIKKOR 105mm f/2.8GIF-ED Lens Before delving into the comparison, I first wanted to give a breakdown of the process I used for photographing my film with the DSLR, along with the steps I took to convert my out-of-the-camera files to usable images. The basic premise of this method is to photograph your film against a backlit surface using a macro lens. The closer you are able to get to the film, the higher the magnification you can achieve, and the higher-resolution results you’ll have for your file. Without working with a copy stand, the next best method to ensure consistency and accuracy is to photograph atop a tripod and, in my case, I worked with the tripod pointed straight down at the film. I also decided to work with the film holders from the flatbed scanner for easier handling of the film and to slightly elevate the film above the light box to avoid picking up any texture from the Plexiglas surface. If I were planning on making this a more full-time, repeatable operation, I would likely look into something that would guarantee me consistent registration and a more taught film surface that the holders provide, but in a pinch this solution worked well. For the image settings in the camera, I wanted to record the absolute highest-resolution, most detailed files possible. I photographed at the full 36.3MP resolution, set the lens to its middle aperture to get the greatest combination of depth of field without diffraction, shot in raw+JPEG, in the Adobe RGB color space. I bracketed my exposures in ⅓ EV steps for a stop or two on each end, and also worked with the self-timer to lessen any chances of causing vibrations. From here, the process was very straightforward: with each negative, I would take the same precautions to eliminate dust as I would during scanning, which included a firm wipe between layers of an anti-static cloth, then position the film inside the film holder, give some final quick bursts of air to both sides, and place the film holder on top of the light box. With the negative in place, I would adjust the height of the camera on my tripod, using the center column, and would try to fill as much of the image frame as possible with the film. Finally, I would manually focus using the rear LCD of the camera when working in live view; I would magnify the image and usually pick a sharp edge within the film image or just focus on the text on the side of the roll of film. Next I would record my series of bracketed exposures and move on to the next piece of film. Post Production Armed with several versions of each negative I re-photographed, I imported my files into my computer and sorted them according to the corresponding negatives. Throughout the shooting process I photographed both color and black-and-white negatives, and I primarily photographed my medium format, 6 x 7 film. Besides these being my personal tastes when shooting film, they also seemed to be a prime area to investigate using this new technique—35mm film scanners are fairly prevalent and slides or positive film would not require the same scrutiny during post production, unlike negatives (especially color negatives, due to the orange mask). Medium format is a size of film that is more difficult or more expensive to digitize, just due to the more specialized equipment needed. When converting the negatives to positives, I chose to work in Adobe Camera Raw with the NEF files, prior to doing any fine-tuning in Adobe Photoshop. Beginning with the black-and-white film, I knew ahead of time this would be the easier of the two, since there would be no color cast to deal with. Here are the basic steps I used to convert the black-and-white negative to a positive grayscale image: 1. Since color casts aren’t going to affect black-and-white imagery as much as color images during post production, I moved straight to the curves in Camera Raw and inverted the curve. 2. I had a pretty flat image, mainly due to the overcast lighting conditions and the development process I use for my film. Much like when recording video or even shooting stills, a flat image is much easier to work with than an overly contrasty one. Here I just bumped the contrast some and tinkered with the other exposure controls before opening in Photoshop. 3. I still have an RGB image when I start working in Photoshop, so I use the black-and-white conversion tool to bring a bit more contrast out of any remaining color in the file prior to converting the image to a grayscale working space.   4. I use a curves adjustment layer to fine-tune the contrast and brightness of the image. Overall, this is a pretty simple process with nothing too special going on. The tonality is really nice and the photograph of the negative has contained the highlights and brought out the shadow details well. Nikon D800 Imacon Flextight 646 Epson Perfection 4870 Moving onto a color negative, I knew the process was going to be a bit trickier to deal with the orange mask of the film. Scanners are tuned to deal with this mask already, so the effect of it is pretty moot when using a film or flatbed scanner. When photographing the negative, however, it became my main concern. 1. The most effective way I found to negate the orange mask was to treat it almost like it was a strong color cast, so here I pull the color temperature slider down to 2000K to compensate for the overwhelming orange tone. 2. I then move over to the curves tab and invert the curve to give me some semblance of a positive image. 3. My first attempt to bring a bit of contrast to the image here—notice how much more dramatic the shape of the curve is compared to the black and white one. 4. Moving back to the exposure tools, I add a bit more contrast and tinker with the exposure, highlights, shadows, blacks, and whites sliders. Note that since you are now effectively working with a negative image, as in how Camera Raw sees it, the exposure controls are in reverse (i.e. moving the exposure slider to the left makes the image brighter). 5. Finally, I open the image in Photoshop, flip the image horizontally since I shot it backward, use a curves adjustment layer to fine-tune my contrast, and move on to working in the individual color channels to keep working at getting a neutral color balance. When comparing color balance between the three capture methods, it is noticeable how each process negotiates the orange mask of the color negative film in a different manner and requires a decent amount of fine-tuning to balance the highlights, mid-tones, and shadows across the spectrum. The variance in color casts is mainly present due to the comparative nature of seeing three different versions next to one another, but it should be pointed out that none of the images are unusable or show gross, uncorrectable false colors or irrecoverable details. Nikon D800 Imacon Flextight 646 Epson Perfection 4870 Comparison Now that I’ve produced some working examples of photographing my negatives with a DSLR, I wanted to see how they stacked up to both a flatbed and film scanner. With the flatbed scanner, the Epson 4870, I used a method where I chose the output size (16 x 20") when scanning, along with the printing resolution (360 dpi), rather than going for simply the highest dpi possible. I have had better experiences in the past using this method of choosing the output size and a smaller resolution, since there is less chance for the scanner to up-res or interpolate resolution. With the Imacon 646, I chose to scan at the highest resolution for my film format, which is 3200 dpi and, for comparison, gives you approximately a 20 x 24" file at 360 dpi. Looking at the 100% crops of the black-and-white image, my first impression is that I’m truly, pleasantly surprised with how well the DSLR’s detail holds up when resolving the finer details of the image. While the flatbed scan looks fairly muddy and none of the grain detail is really resolved, the DSLR was able to pick up some of the acutance of the film and separate similar tones more clearly. However, comparing the DSLR image to the scan from the Imacon is again a pretty dramatic difference, with the Imacon able to fully resolve grain detail to provide a much sharper, clearer appearing image. However, the DSLR certainly is no slouch in making out the minute details. In the end, the Imacon scan offers a lot more room to adjust the image before it degrades, and will hold up better to printing than either the DSLR or flatbed scans, but for Web and portfolio purposes, the DSLR is a definite contender. Nikon D800 Imacon Flextight 646 Epson Perfection 4870 Moving to the color image, some more differences between the various tools become more apparent. For one, it is difficult to achieve the same color balance between all three scans, which I feel can only be attributed to the handling of the orange mask, since all images were processed using the same screen. Beginning with the flatbed image again, the colors appear to be the dullest, and it has trouble holding onto detail in the highlights and shadows when trying to add a bit of contrast to the midtones. Conversely, the DSLR image of the negative shows a pretty tremendous dynamic range with detail in the shadows near the wheel, as well as some highlight detail. The Imacon scan loses a bit of detail in the deepest of shadows, but does show an extended range throughout the midtones, compared to the other two. The colors, to my eye, appear truer and the highlight detail is best. In regard to edge detail, the results are the same as the black-and-white scan, with the flatbed not being able to preserve the same edge detail as the DSLR, which is not able to produce the same sharpness as the Imacon. Nikon D800 Imacon Flextight 646 Epson Perfection 4870 Overall, I will admit that I was surprised with how well the DSLR held up when photographing the negatives. The detail was immense, and I feel like it could be pushed even further if you were to adopt a process where you make multiple images of the negative in smaller segments and stitch them together during post production. However, the process I used was very easy and fast, and the results certainly outperformed my flatbed in a number of ways. The two main drawbacks to photographing your negatives, to me, are the difficulty in achieving a truly neutral color balance and the limited ability in making larger prints; once you develop a system to overcome these challenges, or are just working for smaller output applications, a digital camera can certainly be the new unlikely addition to your bag of film tricks. Acknowledgement Written by Bjorn Petersen Newsletter Please subscribe to my newsletter which will inform you of any new workshops, activities, products and upcoming events. Subscribe Newsletter Please subscribe to my newsletter which will inform you of any new workshops, activities, products and upcoming events. Subscribe


A Glossary of Nikon Lens Terms

Nikon Lenses - An Explanation of Terms If you're new to Nikon lenses, or perhaps even if you're not, the endless strings of seemingly random letters that Nikon attaches to the end of their lens names can seem confusing. Beyond the basic focal length and aperture designations, there's a lot you can learn from it. Nikon lens naming system can sometimes be rather confusing, because Nikon uses letters and abbreviations to identify different lens components. Knowing what each of those stands for can be valuable, especially during the process of evaluating and purchasing lenses. Since Nikon has been producing lenses for so many years and the technology has significantly changed overtime, some of the older abbreviations are no longer used on modern lenses and those are marked appropriately below. Most new lenses are autofocus, which Nikon thankfully designates as AF. That's an easy one, but when it comes to non-autofocus lenses it rapidly gets more complicated. The earliest manual focus lenses didn't need extra letters to designate them as such since no other kinds yet existed. Today however they are known as non-AI or pre-AI to distinguish them from the later AI lenses. If you have a lens with a funny metal forked prong (known commonly as "ears") sticking out from one side near the bayonet mount, it may well be a non-AI lens. These ears actually mated with a prong on early camera bodies. To tell for sure if it is non-AI, check the outer black rim around the lens mount. If it's continuous and smooth all the way around, you have a non-AI lens. Today, purchasing non-AI lenses is pretty much limited to lens collectors rather than photographers. In fact, such lenses aren't even compatible with current bodies and can in fact cause damage if used. The designation AI stands for auto-indexing. These lenses still have ears for backward compatibility but now have an AI ridge on the edge of the lens mount as described above. This made changing lenses far simpler since the camera and lens mated correctly pretty much on their own. AIS lenses are similar but have a scoop shaped groove machined into the bottom of the lens mount to improve the process. Nikon used to offer a service to modify a non-AI lens to add an AI ridge (referred to as being "AI'd"). There are still a few companies out there who can do this if you are in need - Google is your friend. Around about 1986 Nikon introduced AF lenses that featured a CPU chip built into the lens. Computer components are commonplace today, but this was indeed radical back then. Still, other companies were coming out with AF lenses too so Nikon had to compete. In addition to the mechanical couplings that earlier lenses had, AF lenses included a row of small metal bumps that served as electrical contacts on one side of the lens mount rim. Over the years Nikon has added additional electrical signals and it is quite common for new lenses to have more contacts than are utilized by current bodies so Nikon can build a path to the future. Early AF lenses were designated simply as AF but Nikon later came out with AF-D to pass a distance signal based on how the lens was focused. AF-D was mainly just hype, the signal consisted mainly of just "near" or "far." It wasn't an actual distance measurement in feet or meters or anything. Some macro situations did benefit from the added information though, primarily in terms of flash coverage. Then came AF-S which offered a huge advantage in that the lens contained a motor to focus much more quickly than earlier AF systems that made use of a mechanical linkage to a focusing motor in the body. The "S" stands for "silent wave" and compared to the earlier gear linage system, it was amazing. Quite a few lenses these days are AF-S but when they came out they were revolutionary. Being able to focus that quickly was cool indeed. There were and still are a few AI-P lenses that weren't auto-focus but still had CPUs in them. I currently own the 24 and 45mm macro tilt-shift AI-P. Having a CPU allows them to be compatible with all current Nikon bodies even if you do have to focus them yourself. Don't be confused by the letter "P" in the names of some non-AI lenses which stood for five ("penta"). For a number of years Nikon labeled lenses based on how many elements they contained. "Q" stood for "quadra" (4), "H" for "hexa" (6) and so on. If you are unsure, look for the row of metal bumps on the rim of the mount. These are the main types of lenses Nikon has produced thus far. Additionally, there are quite a few letters that have been used to describe various features. Here are some of the main ones: Nikon Lens Naming Explained Here is a detailed list of all Nikon lens abbreviations: AF – stands for Auto Focus, which means that the lens can automatically focus through the camera. AF-D – Auto Focus with Distance information. Same as AF, except it can report the distance between the subject and the lens and then reports that information to the camera. The distance information can be useful for metering. See “D” acronym below. No longer used on modern lenses. AF-I – Auto Focus with an integrated focus motor. No longer used on modern lenses. AI-P – Manual focus AI lenses with a built-in CPU that transfer data to camera for exposure metering. No longer used on modern lenses. AF-S – Auto Focus with Silent Wave Motor. The AF-S lenses have built-in motors inside the lens, which work great on all cameras without built-in motor such as Nikon D40/D40x, D60, D3x00 and D5x00 series. AI – Indicates “Automatic Indexing”. This abbreviation was used on very old manual focus lenses, so it is no longer used on modern lenses. AI-P – Manual focus AI lenses with a chip to send data to the camera. No longer used on modern lenses AI-S – Manual focus lenses that could be used with cameras that had Program and Shutter Priority camera modes. On AI-S lenses, aperture can be changed directly from the camera. No longer used on modern lenses. ASP – Lens contains at least one aspherical lens element, which is used for correcting coma and other lens aberrations. Sometimes goes by “AS”. CRC – Close Range Correction lenses that are optimized for close focusing distances. D – D-type lenses send camera to subject distance information to the camera. DC – Defocus Control lenses allow controlling the bokeh, which is great for portraits. ED – Extra-low Dispersion glass elements within the lens do not disperse the light as it enters the lens. Most modern top of the line Nikon lenses contain ED glass, which also delivers better sharpness and reduces chromatic aberration or color fringing in photographs. E – The new “E” type lenses feature electronic diaphragm control, similar to what we have previously seen on PC-E lenses (below). These lenses do not have the aperture lever on the back of the lens and are fully electronic, so there is no way to manually adjust the aperture anymore. “E” type lenses are more accurate than “G” type lenses, especially for shooting at high frame rates, because the lens can stop down to a desired aperture without the need to be engaged from the camera motor. FL – Newly introduced in 2013. Indicates that the lens has Fluorite Lens elements, which are optically superior and significantly lighter glass elements. A number of new lenses such as the Nikon 800mm f/5.6E FL ED VR, Nikon 600mm f/4E FL ED VR etc now feature fluorite elements. G – If you see a letter “G” after aperture in the lens, for example “Nikon 50mm AF-S f/1.4G”, it means that the lens does not have an aperture ring like the old lenses. All modern Nikon lenses are “G”, because the aperture ring is only needed for old manual focus camera bodies. IF – Internal Focusing allows the lens to quickly focus by moving some of the elements inside the lens barrel, without moving the front barrel or extending in size. Many of the modern Nikon lenses such as Nikon 18-200mm f/3.5-5.6G VR II and Nikon 70-200mm f/2.8G VR II are IF lenses. Lenses with IF acquire focus faster than lenses without IF. Micro – Same thing as Macro, which is designated for macro lenses for close-up work. N – The letter “N” stands for Nano Crystal Coat and it is always displayed in a golden sticker on all top of the line Nikon lenses. Nano crystal coating, a high-tech coating used on some newer lenses to cut down on ghosting and flare. This can make a big difference on some lenses when shooting outdoors. Like P, N is also another one of those letters Nikon used in the early days for how many elements a lens had. Back then N stood for "nona" or 9 elements. Times change though, and letters get reused. It is a special type of glass coating that NOCT — Nocturnal. These lenses feature extremely wide maximum aperture and are designed for shooting in very low light. PC-E – Perspective Control with electronic diaphragm. Allows lenses to tilt and shift to create special effects. RF – Rear Focusing. The focusing is done by moving the rear element inside of the lens, which means the rear element moves while focusing. The latest Nikon 24mm f/1.4 lens, for example, is RF. Reflex-Nikkor - Refers to the mirror lens system Nikon used for example: Reflex-Nikkor 2000mm f/11. SIC – Lenses with Super Integrated Coating have better color performance and are generally deal better with ghosting and flare. SWM – Silent Wave Motor allows quiet autofocus with a quick switching between autofocus and manual operation. Overriding autofocus is very simple – you just turn the focus ring, instead of switching to manual mode first like you have to on AF-D lenses. VR – Vibration Reduction allows using lenses hand-held without the need for a tripod in low-light situations. Special motion sensors inside the lens detect hand motion and compensate for the motion by stabilizing the lens in the opposite direction. CX – Nikon has a mirrorless system called “Nikon 1”, with a sensor smaller than DX. Although the CX abbreviation is not included in the lens title, you might see it in descriptions and other marketing material. If a lens title starts with “1 NIKKOR”, it means that the lens is specifically designed for CX camera bodies such as Nikon 1 V1/V2/J1/J2. CX lenses do not work on any other Nikon mounts. DX – If a lens says “DX”, it means that it is specifically designed for APS-C DX camera bodies (see sensor size comparison below) such as Nikon D3000/D5000/D90/D300s. DX lenses do work on FX bodies (they will physically mount), but will operate at only half the resolution. FX – this abbreviation indicates “full-frame”, as in 35mm film equivalent. Abbreviations like FX, DX and CX indicate format size (size of the digital sensor). You will never see FX on descriptions of lenses, because unless indicated otherwise, all lenses are full-frame by default (see DX and CX below). IX - Physically about the same size as the DX digital format, there once was a film system known as APS or "Advanced Photographic System." Far from being advanced today, the system is completely obsolete. IX was Nikon's name for its APS lens line. Nikon also made lenses with the type of IX. These lenses were designed for the Pronea series of cameras, which used the Advanced Photo System format film. They cannot be used on 35mm film or digital bodies, so just ignore them unless you have a Nikon Pronea. Example Let's take a look at the following Nikon lens: Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 105mm f/1.4E ED Lens As you can see from the lens image, it says “AF-S Nikkor 105mm 1:1.4E ED” on the lens, which basically means that it is a fixed Nikon (Nikkor and Nikon are the same thing) 105mm lens with a maximum aperture of 1.4, has built-in auto focus with silent wave motor (AF-S), has an electronic diaphragm control (E) and contains extra-low dispersion glass (ED). The large letter “N” on the side indicates that the lens has Nano Crystal Coat. The Nano Crystal Coat provides an extremely high preventive effect against reflections over a wide wavelength range by reducing the reflection of light. Finally, even Nikon lens hoods have meaningful acronyms; the letters in the name of the hood specifies something about the hood itself: HB - Bayonet mount hood HE - Extension hood for long lenses that already have a hood HK - Slips onto the lens and then locks using a knob HN - Screw mount hood HR - Rubber hood, usually screw mount HS - Snaps onto lens like a lens cap Lens hoods can either be metal, plastic or carbon fibre. If you need to determine what other third party vendor's names are for the same Nikon lens attributes, here are the primary things you need to know:   Nikon Sigma Tamron Tokina Lens with motors AF-S or AF-I HSM USD IF-S Lens with stabilization VR or VR II OS VC not applicable Lens for Full Frame Cameras (FX) DG Di (FX) Lens for Cropped Frame Cameras DX DC Di II DX I hope this sheds some light on the subject and helps you make an informative decision on your next Nikon lens, whether you buy locally new or second hand on eBay or Amazon. Acknowledgements Information sourced from various websites and adapted for this blog, including: http://www.earthboundlight.com/phototips/nikon-lens-letter-codes.html https://support.nikonusa.com/app/answers/detail/a_id/9919/~/glossary-of-nikkor-lens-terms https://photographylife.com/ Newsletter Please subscribe to my newsletter which will inform you of any new workshops, activities, products and upcoming events. Subscribe


Professional Film vs Consumer Film – What’s The Difference

Professional Films vs Consumer Films By Jim McGee In general professional film have more saturated colors and finer grain than consumer film. But photographers are often surprised to learn that many professional films have consumer counterparts that have identical emulsions. The difference in name and price refers to the quality control of how that film is produced and handled before it gets to you. Kodak ColorPlus 200 Professional photographers need to know that a given emulsion will always produce the same results with no surprises. This can be particularly important for catalog and fashion photographers where accurate color reproduction is a must. Film ages. That can lead to subtle differences in shades and grain. Imagine a fashion photographer shooting for a magazine layout. Let's say he shoots fifteen rolls of film with a model in several locations. Now imagine if the model's dress is a different shade of blue from one roll to the next. You'll have an unhappy editor and a very unhappy photographer (because he'll have to re-shoot the layout). Fuji Natura 1600 Film also has a peak where the colors are the most vibrant and accurate. Refrigerating film dramatically slows the aging process and preserves the film at it's peak. Professional film is manufactured to tighter tolerances and is kept refrigerated from the time it is produced until it reaches the photographer. The idea is that by slowing the aging process and manufacturing to tight tolerances you are assured that every roll of brand X pro film will produce results exactly like every other roll of brand X pro film. Fuji Professional Films In reality today's films are much more accurate and temperature tolerant than the films of yore. They also age better with fewer noticeable shifts in color, contrast, and grain. Films like Fuji Superia and Press are identical emulsions. The difference is in the handling. The same is true of some slide films. Kodak Ektachrome 100 ExtraColor and Kodak 100VS for example, are the same emulsion. Whatever film you buy it's a good idea to throw it in the back of the fridge if you won't be using it for a while. This slows the aging process and assures that you'll get the best performance from your film.


Sporting Event – Lipton Challenge Cup 2016

Sporting Event - Lipton Challenge Cup 2016 Welcome to the prestigious world of sailing! This is my first shoot of such an event, more so the Lipton Cup Challenge, held at the Royal Cape Yacht Club. The Lipton Cup Challenge The Lipton Challenge Cup was donated to the Royal Cape Yacht Club (previously the Table Bay Yacht Club) in 1909 by Sir Thomas Lipton, world-famous merchant and yachtsman. It has evolved into one of the most popular races among sailors of Southern Africa, and nowadays mainly is seen as providing a wonderful platform for young race teams to prove their skill and to establish themselves before moving on to campaign for international sailing races. The Lipton Challenge Cup is sailed annually on L 26 yachts offshore, and all Southern African Yacht Clubs (including teams as far north as Walvis Bay, Namibia and Beira, Mozambique) are invited to enrol one team per race, whereas the winning team qualifies to either host the Lipton Challenge Cup at home the following year, or else, to nominate the next hosting Yacht Club if their own Club is not situated on the coast. The precise conditions and rules for the race are stipulated in the “Deed of Gift”, a document accompanying the silver trophy presented by Sir Thomas. The opening paragraph reads as follows: “Know all men by those present that I, Sir Thomas Lipton, of London, England, for the purpose of encouraging yachting in South Africa, and especially in the way of friendly contests in sailing and seamanship in deep sea yacht racing, do hereby give to the Table Bay Yacht Club of Cape Town, Cape Colony, the silver cup delivered herewith.” It is known that Sir Thomas himself generously sponsored a team of young sailors to take part in the very first Lipton Challenge Cup of South Africa, which was competed in Cape Town in 1911. Today, the Lipton Cup is regarded as South Africa’s most prestigious sailing competition, and the trophy’s intrinsic value is currently estimated at R 2 million, making it the most valuable Cup of South African sailing. Marie Stinnes Race History Sir Thomas Lipton, world famous tea merchant and avid yachtsman in his day, donated the Lipton Challenge Cup, a beautiful sterling silver trophy crafted in England in 1908, to the Table Bay Yacht Club in 1909 – today the Royal Cape Yacht Club – with the purpose of “encouraging Yachting in South Africa, and especially in the way of friendly contests in sailing and seamanship in deep sea Yacht Racing”, as stipulated by Lipton in his “Deed of Gift”. The document, kept safely at the Royal Cape Yacht Club, accompanies the trophy and stipulates exactly the conditions for the race and the rules of the competition, still known today as the Lipton Challenge Cup, which is South Africa’s most prestigious sailing competition. Lipton Challenge Cups were donated to many Yacht Clubs around the globe where Sir Thomas had trade interests, where they are still raced for today. Well-known for having campaigned for the America’s Cup five times between 1899 and 1930, on yachts all named Shamrock, Sir Thomas Lipton was never to win the world’s most famous yacht race. Nevertheless, he remained cheerful throughout his endeavours, setting a wonderful example to everyone around him by highlighting the beneficial side-effects of participating in sailing races, such as good health and true friendship. He was eventually presented with a solid gold trophy and a donor’s book by the mayor of New York, who described Lipton as being “possibly the world's worst yacht builder but absolutely the world's most cheerful loser” (The King's Grocer: Life of Sir Thomas,Robert A.Crampsey, p.133). My Experiences At The Regatta This was a very interesting shoot for me, being my first regatta, I had to do much research as to what I would expect to do, what gear to carry, how to protect my gear etc. YouTube was very helpful in this regard. Sunday 10th was my first day of shooting, which was very calm, almost romantic in a way. Monday 11th saw a change in the weather and was more exciting in a sailing sense. Tuesday 12th, I wasnt able to attend the day's racing. Wednesday 13th, the weather closed in and did not allow for flying, I had hoped to capture some aerial shots of the days racing, the same applied for Thursday 14th. Friday 15th, this was touch and go due to the weather, racing began on time, however ATC (Air Traffic Control) would not allow us to lift off as there was too much fog. We finally got airbourne and was able to capture some really amazing shots which were rather challenging at 800-1500 ft ASL. The wind was strong on the day and my long lens became a rather large windsock! My Equipment Used I used Nikon 17-35mm f/2.8D, 28-300mm f/2.8, 500mm f/4 and Sigma 120-300mm f/2.8 lenses, Nikon Cameras: Nikon D600, D800e, D4, D5, F5 and F6 film bodies, and Pelican Storm case for secure waterproofing and in case my gear fell overboard, the case is designed to float. I also use ThinkTank raincovers for my bodies and lenses. For the aerial shots I made use of a helicopter. Thank You Thanks to Fanie Naudé of RCYC for this opportunity to be a part of the photographic team, Alexander my pilot and my wife Dominique for the longer than normal hours I had to travel to and from work, and extra hours work I had to put in for this awesome event. Information gathered from Mitchell Library of Glasgow: www.mitchellibrary.org Information from various websites including www.liptoncup.com Click on the images below to view an enlarged single image. All my images are available for purchase as prints. Digital images can be used under license agreement. Should you wish to purchase or license my images, please click here for more information, so I can assist you with your needs.


Family Portraiture Shoot – Parish Family

Family Portraiture Shoot - Parish Family My long standing friend Brett and his family had been putting off a family shoot for quite a while now. I approached him regarding a sport shoot, which went in a totally different direction to a family portraiture shoot. This was inspired after seeing a fantastic photo of his daughter on Facebook and suggested they come over to my studio and do a family shoot. Craig Fouché Photography Studio They a fun, spontaneous family to shoot and for me was so much fun! I have known Brett since 1994, as we used to cycle together. Family portraiture is fairly simple to do, those being photographed need to be themselves, relaxed and to simply have fun behind the camera. The Parish's were just that! We are capturing a moment in time that can’t be repeated, however, that moment can be returned to in the form of photographs and treasured forever. Brett's children are so easy to work with, active, excited and fun children to be around, that being said, kids should be kids and left to be who they are. I was able to capture some really special, natural moments that required no effort from my part to capture the very essence of who they are, that they can treasure for time to come. This is the part of photography that I really enjoy, when going to work is fun and not work! I REALLY enjoyed this shoot! His family are just such lovely people to photograph and to be around. Thanks for this opportunity Brett, the response to your sneak-peek images  on Facebook was fabulous! My gear I used for this shoot was a Nikon D800e which is great as a studio camera at 36.3mp, and my 1957 Yashica-Mat TLR which is great as a studio film camera at 6x6cm, the negative allows for massive enlargements and details. I also used a 185cm shoot through umbrella by Phottix, along with my Elinchrom D-Lite RX 2/4 studio kit with a 165cm grided strip box and a 150cm softbox by Phottix. There will be a follow up shoot to this soon, watch this space. Click on the images below to view an enlarged single image. All my images are available for purchase as prints. Digital images can be used under license agreement. Should you wish to purchase or license my images, please click here for more information, so I can assist you with your needs.


Focal Length of 6×6 compared to 35mm Lenses

Focal Length of 6×6 compared to 35mm Lenses By Ken Williams Yashica Mat TLR How does the focal length of standard lenses for medium format cameras (75mm/80mm) compare with 40mm-58mm on 35mm cameras? When I was younger, I just accepted that the 75mm lens in my Rolleicord was equal to the 50mm lens in my Praktica. This is not so, nor is it clear cut. It depends on how you calculate it. The focal length of a ‘standard’ lens is calculated by measuring the diagonal of the film format. As every schoolboy knows that the square on the hypotenuse of a right-angled triangle is equal to the sum of the squares on the other two sides. From the diagonal of a film format can be easily calculated. For those who have forgotten: to calculate the diagonal of a 35mm negative use the following formula. (24 x 24) + (36 x 36) and find the square root of the answer. You can compare the focal lengths of 6 x 6 and 35mm by: Leaving the formats as they are. Making the 6 x 6 format the same proportions as 35mm format, Making the 35mm format the same proportions as the 645 format. Let’s look at leaving the formats as they are. 6 x 6 is actually 56 x 56 from which the diagonal is 79.20mm. This means that 80mm is about right or maybe 75mm.  But when it comes to 35mm the diagonal measures 43.2666153055mm – So a focal length of 45mm would be closer to the medium format standard  lens of 80mm. There are some cameras with a standard lens of 45mm – notably the Contax G series. The popular Rollei 35 series used a 40mm as did the Leica CL and Minolta CLE. But most 35mm cameras used the 50mm.But even this doesn’t work as the 6 x 6 format is really meant to be 645 which is 41.5mm x 56mm, unless of course you take pictures for calendars. I am assuming that Rolleiflexes/cords use a square format, as the right-way-around pentaprism had not been invented when the cameras were introduced . The TLR can be turned on its side to get a vertical format but it is scarcely convenient. From that, you think in 645 terms when taking the picture but can have either vertical or horizontal at the time of printing. So with that in mind, the diagonal of 645 is 69.70mm so a 70mm would be closer to the correct standard lens. Even this is not quite right as the 35mm format has a ratio of 1:1.5 whilst 645 is about 1:1.35. So now you could alter the 645 format to 35mm proportions which works out as 56mm x 37.33mm. The diagonal of which is 67.30mm making the standard lens as 65mm possibly 70mm. Now, for those who like the 35mm format in those proportions then this is a correct comparison. From that you can calculate other focal lengths. Medium Format TO 35mm Format Equivalent (Divide by 67.3 and multiply  by 43.26) 40mm 25.71mm 50mm 32.13mm 60mm 38.56mm 75mm 48.20mm 80mm 51.42mm 90mm 57.85mm 120mm 77.13mm 150mm 96.41mm 180mm 115.70mm 250mm 160.69mm 35mm Format TO Medium Format Equivalent (Divide by 43.26 and multiply by 67.3) 21mm 32.67mm 24mm 37.33mm 35mm 54.44mm 40mm 62.22mm 50mm 77.78mm 90mm 140.01mm 135mm 210.02mm 200mm 311.14mm From this you can see that 80mm is roughly equal to a touch over 50mm in 35mm terms, which is probably how the factory arrived at these focal lengths. IF YOU DO IT THAT WAY ! Now, I don’t like the proportions of 35mm. It is OK for landscapes but portraits look odd, as the picture is too tall. On top of that very few sizes of standard B&W printing papers are of the same proportions. None conform to 35mm format with the exception of the enprint size of 6 x 4 recently available for that very purpose. 8 x 10 needs only 30 x 24 as does 16 x 20. I have found that 24mm x 32mm would be better. It is interesting to note that the original Nikon cameras, made just after the war, were this very size. The USA forbade their import as it didn’t suit Kodachrome processing mounts of 24mm x 36mm. It is also interesting to note that 24mm x 32mm conforms to this 4/3rds format frequently mentioned in the photo magazines in relation to digital photography. It is also interesting to note that the 645 format is all but the same ! If you want to be awkward then 42mm x 56mm IS the same proportions rather than 41.5mm x 56mm. So the calculation now alters as the diagonal of a 32mm x 24mm is exactly 40mm. Perhaps that is why the famous Rollei 35 series had a 40mm lens ! Medium Format TO 35mm Format Equivalent (Divide by 69.7 and multiply by 40) 40mm 22.95mm 50mm 28.69mm 60mm 34.43mm 75mm 43.04mm 80mm 45.91mm 90mm 51.64mm 120mm 68.86mm 150mm 86.08mm 180mm 103.29mm 250mm 143.47mm 35mm Format TO Medium Format Equivalent (divide by 40 and multiply by 69.7) 21mm 36.59mm 24mm 41.82mm 28mm 48.79mm 35mm 60.98mm 40mm 68.70mm 50mm 87.12mm 90mm 156.82mm 135mm 235.23mm 200mm 348.50mm So there is not a lot of difference between the two. Making the 645 format the same proportions as 35mm is roughly in agreement with the manufacturers. 50mm being slightly less than 80mm and slightly more than 75mm in medium format terms using the first method. Using the second method which fits the paper better anyway changes the situation making 90mm the equivalent focal length of a 50mm lens on a 35mm camera. It is also interesting to note that a 50mm lens is based on a 2” lens which is a hint longer in focal length. The theoretical focal length of a Zeiss (Kyocera/Contax) 50mm f1.7 is actually 51.9mm making 51.64mm even closer to 90mm in medium format terms. It is interesting to note that a 42mm x 56mm format has a diagonal of exactly 70mm so calculating becomes easy to remember and easy to do. So it is up to you whichever format suits you best as to which are the correct equivalent focal lengths.


Sporting Event – Ice Hockey Grand West Casino

Sporting Event - Ice Hockey Grand West Casino Welcome to one of the fastest team sports on Earth! I had never been to an Ice Hockey event in my life before, and decide to look up some information on Ice Hockey on Google.  I had no idea that we as South-Africans even played Ice Hockey, as it is most commonly associated with North America and Canada, as well as Europe and Russia. I was very surprised to learn that South Africa has a team that competes internationally! The U/18 team's mascot is the white rhino called Rocket. They played against New Zealand and Hong Kong in Division III Group B in Cape Town in Feb 2016. MEET THE U/18 SOUTH AFRICAN TEAM Image from http://www.iihfworldchamps.capetown/ website Here is the link the Facebook page for this years event and their website. History of South-African Ice Hockey The South African National Team was created as the South African Ice Hockey Association gained its International Ice Hockey Federation membership on February 25 1937. Despite this early admission, it took almost 25 years before a South African squad took part in the World Championships. The team made its debuts at the 1961 World Championship on March 3rd 1961, as they were beaten 12-3 by the Yugoslav National Team. The South Africans finished 5th in the Group C, and 19th overall in the world. The team was absent from competition for five years before returning for the 1966 World Championship, where they once again finished 19th in the world, and this time, third in the Group C. South Africa would then pull out from competition until 1992, where they returned with a senior squad. Since 1992, South Africa has sent a contesting team every year in at least one of the three annual Men's World Championships competitions, and failed only twice, 1996 and 1997, to take part in the senior World Championship. South Africa has, so far, been able to earn promotion to a higher division of play on two distinct occasions. They first accessed Division II via promotion in 2006 after finishing second in the 2005 World Championship Division III. The journey in Division II lasted a single year, with the South Africans losing all five games and finishing sixth and last in the group stage. The second time the national team had a shot at Division II play was in 2009, following another second place finish at the 2008 World Championship Division III. There again, the adventure at the upper level only lasted one tournament before the team was back in Division III. The Ice Hockey Teams There are 3 provincial regions with their various teams belonging to the various associations: Western Province - Western Province Ice Hockey Association Gauteng - Gauteng Ice Hockey Association Kwa-Zulu Natal - Kwa-Zulu Natal Ice Hockey Association Western Province Under the Western Province banner there are 3 teams. These teams are listed below with details about their age divisions, players and features: Cape Town Penguins TEAM PHOTO The Penguins are a local hockey team made up of players from Cape Town. They have 3 teams that take part in the divisions ranging from peewee - U/20 / intermediate - premier league. The Premier League Penguins are majority an U/20 team with the mentoring and guidance of WPIHA coaches Marc Giot and Chris Reeves. This team is made up of various Western Province & South African U/18 and U/20 players that have represented their province or country recently. New up and comers are introduced to this team as development players and are mentored by various of the more skilled and veteran players. The two coaches lead their respective roles (forward and defence) and this setup seems to be working well for the development of hockey athletes in Cape Town. Click here to follow them on Facebook. Cape Storm   The Storm team hosts teams in the 3 divisions (peewee - U/20 / intermediate - premier league) and is lead by coaches Deen Magmoed and Klyde Stevens. Their Premier League team is made up of the senior players in Cape Town along with some internationals (Namibia, Russia, Canada, etc) and this team is lead by Deen Magmoed. Deen is a very accomplished player, plays on the National Team and is well respected by all the players and leads by his actions on the ice. This team offers a dynamic style of play and great work ethic, they play solid hockey and are a pleasure to watch. Click here to follow them on Facebook. Griffin Ladies TEAM PHOTO The Griffins are a ladies only team that was instigated early 2013 by Sandy McClurg, former goaltender, now defenceman. The Griffins take great pride in recruiting young and keen female athletes to join their team and learn the great game of ice hockey. This team hosts players from the ladies national team and they take part in the U/20 league, playing against the U/20 Penguins and U/20 Storm teams. Although they are still very much in a development stage, they are competitive in their league games. WPIHA is hosting at the Grand West Casino Complex and Entertainment World situated at 1 Vanguard Drive, Goodwood - Cape Town, home of the Old Goodwood Showgrounds. The arena is a state of the art Olympic-sized hockey rink (60m x 30m) furnished with 3 zambonis, skate sharpening facilities, hockey shop, rental skates, public sessions, figure skating, 1050 heat air conditioned seating... The arena has hosted various international competitions and shows such as Disney on Ice & IIHF World Championships. Click here to see their Facebook page. Gauteng GIHA hosts ice hockey at various rinks all over Gauteng, with multiple teams playing from the various rinks. The ice rinks are located in shopping malls and this creates great interest from the masses of traffic that are able to watch the ice and activities while shopping and walking by; these being Festival Mall - The Ice Rink (Kempton Park) and Grove Mall - The Ice Rink (Pretoria). The Gauteng Province consists of 11 teams: Ducks Forest Knights Forest Rats Grizzlies Ice Hawks Johannesburg Scorpions Pretoria Capitals Sabres Vipers Warriors Wild cats Ducks Ice Hockey Club The Ducks form part of ‘The Ice Hockey Initiative’ non-profit organization, but compete in the Gauteng provincial league. D.I.H.C is a new and exciting Ice Hockey Club based at Festival Mall in Kempton Park. The club offers coaching for players from Junior to Senior level. Founded by Farrell Foy and Andrew Rundle, Ducks Ice Hockey Club promises to offer the best coaching possible, create an environment for players to have fun but become skillful at the same time. Click here to see their Facebook page. Their website can be found here. Forest Knights Ice Hockey Club The Forest Knights Ice Hockey Club resides at the Forest Hill Ice rink, Centurion, South Africa. The ice hockey club is a development club with members ranging from 4 years to 54 years. The Forest Knights Ice Hockey club practices are on Thursday nights from 17:15 to 19:15 at Forest Hill Ice Rink. Click here to see their Facebook page. Their website can be found here. Forest Rats Ice Hockey Club The Forest Rats Ice Hockey Club are a fun, family oriented Ice Hockey Club, they play at Forest Hill Ice Rink. Click here to see their Facebook page. Their website can be found here. Grizzlies Ice Hockey Club The Grizzlies were previously known as the Northgate Hockey Academy Sweepers and have their home at the Northgate Shopping Centre Ice Rink. Click here to see their Facebook page. Their website can be found here. Ice Hawks Ice Hockey Club The Pretoria Ice Hawks Hockey Club is a family of Ice Hockey Players who enjoys the sport of Ice Hockey and wants to share their passion with others by developing new players to formally and informally participate in this exciting sport. Club membership is open to players of any age and any level of expertise. Training will depend on the skill level of the student and can include skating training, Learn To Play training and advanced training. They are affiliated to the Gauteng Ice Hockey Association (GIHA), South African Ice Hockey Association (SAIHA). Their home is the Grove Ice Arena. Click here to see their Facebook page. Their website can be found here. Johannesburg Scorpions Ice Hockey Club The Scorpions are one of the older surviving clubs in Gauteng, which was formed out of the Cr0ws, Can-Am and Blades clubs of the Carlton Sky Rink. Click here to see their Facebook page. Their website can be found here. Pretoria Capitals Ice Hockey Club Pretoria Capitals Ice Hockey club was founded in January of 2013.  A large number of our players trained at the Kolonnade Ice Rink in Pretoria for another club.  Unfortunately the ice was literary pulled out from under our skates with the announcement that the rink would be closing end January 2013. The nearest ice rinks would now be Forest Hill and Kempton Park. We can also now announce the opening of the new ice rink at the Grove Shopping Centre, home of the Pretoria Capitals Ice Hockey Club. Click here to see their Facebook page. Their website can be found here. Sabres Ice Hockey Club Sabres practices on a Tuesday at Festival Mall in Kempton Park. 1st Hour – U/14, U/16 and Development     06:15 pm – 07:15 pm. 2nd Hour – U/18 and 2nd Division     07:15 pm – 08:15 pm. 3rd Hour – 1st Division and PHL     08:15 pm – 09:15 pm. All ages welcome Click here to see their Facebook page. Their website can be found here. Vipers Ice Hockey Club The Vipers IHC has now been running for two years, a family affair that keeps old and young entertained. We are based at Festival Mall Ice Arena, Practice times are on Sundays from: 07h45 to 08h45am Snr and Jnr combined 08h45 to 09h45 Snr only Game times will be advised to members via Whatsapp, BBM, sms or e-mail. Looking forward to continued growth from our Junior teams with the fantastic management and coaching team. They are affiliated to South African Ice Hockey Association, Gauteng Ice Hockey Association, IIHF, SASCOC. Click here to see their Facebook page. Their website can be found here. Warriors Ice Hockey Club Previously known as the Pretoria North Stars. Our coaches are the best and have been involved the sport for several years and know what they are speaking about. Our head coach Alan has been involved with the sport for almost 40 years and has coached all levels including provincials and nationals. We cater for all ages boys and girls: U/12 U/14 U/16 U/18 Ladies Seniors Click here to see their Facebook page. Their website can be found here. Wildcats Ice Hockey Club Originally formed at the Krugersdorp Ice Rink. Kwa-Zulu Natal The KZN Province consists of 2 teams: Southern Storm Ice Hockey Club DurbaKnights Ice Hockey Club KZNIHA hosts 2 small scale ice rinks in malls across Durban. They are currently getting a full-sized rink. Southern Storm Ice Hockey Club Southern Storm Ice Hockey Club was founded on January 12th 2012 at the Galleria Ice Rink. The Southern Storm Ice Hockey Club is a close knit family of athletes, who love the sport of ice hockey and grow as individuals in an environment of positivity, enthusiasm and fun. Click here to see their Facebook page. Their website can be found here. DurbaKnights Ice Hockey Club DURBAKNIGHTS© is a registered ice-hockey club operating since 2012 at the Durban Ice Rink. DURBAKNIGHTS© is a registered member of KZNIHA and SAIHA and has been the ONLY ice hockey club in KZN that has consistently maintained it's affiliation to both KZNIHA and SAIHA. Click here to see their Facebook page. Their website can be found here. The Ice Ice hockey is both a non (juniors) and contact (seniors) team sport played on an ice rink, in which two teams of 6 skaters each use their sticks to shoot a vulcanized rubber puck into their opponent's net to score points. Ice hockey teams usually consist of four lines of three forwards, three pairs of defencemen, and two goaltenders. Each team has five players who skate up and down the ice trying to take the puck and score a goal against the opposing team. Teams have a goaltender as their sixth on-ice player, whose job is to prevent the puck from entering the goal. A fast-paced physical sport (leading to the nickname "The Fastest Game on Earth"), ice hockey is most popular in areas of Gauteng, Durban and Cape Town. The International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF) is the formal governing body for international ice hockey. The IIHF manages international tournaments and maintains the IIHF World Ranking. Worldwide, there are ice hockey federations in 73 countries that includes South Africa. The Shoot This was a fantastic evening for me to have been able to shoot this event, it is technically challenging from a photographic perspective. Although magazine images portray the arena as being brightly lit, they actually have poor lighting. One needs to shoot with fast lenses, ie f/2.8 using either a 14mm, 16mm, 14-24mm, 70-200mm, 300mm or a 400mm lens, depending on where you are positioned. If you are positioned behind the glass, black is a must as your reflection will be greatly reduced. The ISO needs to be in the range of 1600-3200, and you need to shoot in manual mode as well. Don't worry about noise, most pro camera bodies deal very well with it these days. Flash is not recommended from behind the glass, as it will bounce back a horrible glare. If at all possible, clean the glass on both sides where you will be shooting from, to remove marks and scuffs. This obviously will reduced post editing work or throw away shots and autofocus issues whilst shooting. Depending on the arena, one can use remote speedlights, with radio transmitters and receivers on either a 3 or 4 point holder (like Foursquare or McNally), mounted in strategic positions on the catwalks near the roof top lighting. It would necessary to come early to set this up, more so if it is a provincial or an international game. This allows one to shoot in high speed sync mode and to freeze the puck or any other action at high speeds, and not being limited to 1/250 or 1/320 sec, depending on your camera model. It is highly recommended to not only secure your flash units to the mounts, but also a steal wire safety line attachment to say a carabiner and the mount, which should be secured to the mounting beam of the catwalk. Considering the current price of my Nikon SB-910 units, I seriously don't want them falling from the rooftop getting destroyed or injuring players! The Photos Cape Storms vs Cape Town Penguins Ice Hockey, Grand West Ice Station, Cape Town, South-Africa I thoroughly enjoyed this experience! The lighting in the arena was quite challenging, yet I was still able to produce amazing images, and some unique angles too. Taking shots from within the goal box was quite something, that puck travels at quite a speed! Being my first ice hockey event, you dont realise just how quick time flies in a game, more so when you having fun whilst working! Information sourced from www.iskate.co.za and team respective websites and team Facebook pages. Click on the images below to view an enlarged single image. All my images are available for purchase as prints. Digital images can be used under license agreement. Should you wish to purchase or license my images, please click here for more information, so I can assist you with your needs.  


The Wonderful World of Rolleiflex TLR Photography: Loading Film

The Wonderful World Of Rolleiflex TLR Photography: Loading Film By Dan Wagner For many photographers, one of the most daunting tasks is loading a Rolleiflex TLR camera. While not very difficult, when approached haphazardly, one can feel a bit like the proverbial one-armed wallpaper hanger. Photos by John R. Harris My method is to simply turn the camera upside down while it’s still hanging from its neck strap, open the rear door so it falls away from me, and begin the loading process. The advantage of this approach is that it may be employed while walking, without the need to set the camera on a flat surface. If there’s an exposed roll of film in the camera, I use one hand to prevent the film from unrolling, and my other hand to pull out the spring-loaded spool release. I then remove the roll, lick the adhesive-backed band to seal the roll tight, and secure the roll in my camera bag. Although the sealed roll is light-tight, one must still take precautions because the only thing preventing light from reaching the top and bottom edges of the film are the overhanging plastic ends of the spool and the slight overlap of the paper wrapped around the film. That’s why always keeping the roll tight is so important. Preparing to Load a Rolleiflex TLR In a Rolleiflex TLR, 120 film, also referred to as 2¼-film, provides 12 square-format exposures. 220 film is roughly twice as long as 120 film and doubles the number of exposures to 24. Unless your camera is equipped with a 12/24 switch, it will only accept 120 film. Furthermore, owing to the digital age, most manufacturers have discontinued making 220. Additionally, if you process your own film, you would need 220-size reels, as well. Rolls of film are manufactured with a length of film and lightproof paper sandwiched around a plastic spool. The leading edge of the film is taped to the lightproof paper. The inside of the paper is black to prevent light from reaching the film, and also to prevent any light inside the camera from potentially fogging the film during exposure. Numbers are printed on the outside of the paper for use with cameras that feature a round window covered with a dark red filter. With these types of cameras, users look through the window and advance the film until they see the number corresponding to the next exposure. Fortunately, later model Rolleiflex cameras have a sensor underneath the first film roller to automatically signal the transport mechanism when film passes over it. After the film is advanced to the first frame with the crank on the right side of the camera, the counter will display the number 1, and the crank will no longer rotate forward. With the film advanced to 1, the crank is wound one revolution backward to cock the shutter. The process is to shoot, then wind forward to the next exposure, and wind backward to cock the shutter. Rolleiflex transport mechanisms have a little play; so don’t worry if the spacing between the exposures on your negatives is slightly uneven. How to Load a Rolleiflex TLR Before the film can be advanced to the first frame, it has to be carefully loaded. When loading a Rolleiflex camera, one needs both a fresh roll of film and an empty film spool. Unlike a 35mm roll of film that is rewound back into its canister, a 120 roll of film is wound forward from the full roll onto the empty take-up spool. So, with the camera suspended upside down and the exposed roll of film removed: 1. Move the empty spool to the take-up chamber where the exposed roll of film recently resided. Once this is done, remove the paper band securing your new roll of unexposed film. Be sure to grasp the roll firmly so it doesn’t unroll or loosen. The paper band must be removed entirely, or leftover pieces may find their way on the inner side of the lens or film surface and result in ruined shots. 2. Insert the roll into the empty film chamber. This chamber will have a silver piece of curved metal, referred to as the brake. The brake helps maintain even pressure on the film as it unrolls. Take the paper film leader and slip it under the first metal roller and insert the tip into the slot in the empty take-up spool. Throughout this process, use a finger to maintain tension on the roll of film so it doesn’t loosen. The first metal roller is the only roller that the film goes under. And as mentioned previously, this is the roller that has the film-sensing mechanism beneath it. 3. With the tip of the paper leader in the take-up spool, wind the crank slowly forward. The goal is to make sure the leader doesn’t slip out. Should it slip out, simply repeat the process. It’s only necessary to get a single revolution on the take-up spool. 4. Once this is achieved, close the film door and lock it shut with the sliding mechanism. 5. Use the crank to advance to the first frame, take one reverse crank to cock the shutter, and you’re ready to shoot. The term “cock the shutter” refers to tensioning the shutter’s spring mechanism so it’s ready to release and open when you trip the shutter. Some photographers may wonder whether or not it’s okay to leave the shutter cocked and under tension for long periods of time. While on some cameras this may not be recommended, I have not found it to be a problem with Rolleiflex TLRs. You can even change the shutter speed with no ill effect. Underneath the shutter release is a sliding lock to prevent the shutter from tripping if you inadvertently bump it. The downside is that one may forget they locked the shutter and wind up missing shots. This happens to me several times per month. As some photographers may take days, weeks, or even longer to finish a roll of film, it’s a good idea to set the film speed on the dial on the lower left side of the camera as a reminder. This has the added benefit of communicating the film speed to the coupled exposure meter. The film speed dial reads ASA instead of ISO because at the time the camera was manufactured, film speeds conformed to the American Standards Association and not the International Organization for Standardization. No matter—although the name changed, the numerical setting remains the same. To help remember what type of film is loaded, many photographers tape the film band or packaging, which has the film type written on it, to the camera. Selecting a Type of Film This brings us to choice of film. Rolleiflex TLRs render both color and black-and-white quite well, so it’s really a matter of personal preference and practical considerations. Personally, I like shooting Kodak T-Max 400 or Tri-X 400 and developing in T-Max developer. And for color, which I seldom shoot, I use Kodak Portra 400. I shoot mostly black-and-white because one of my goals is to build a body of work with an aesthetic consistency. The reason I shoot primarily 400-speed film is that it helps me get a usable negative at 1/30-second and f/2.8 in many low–light situations. It also gives me 1/125-second at f/8.0 in shade or overcast light. In sunny scenes with black-and-white, I use a 1.5 yellow filter (darkens the sky), for an exposure of 1/250-second at f/11.5, and with color I use a 2.0 neutral density filter at 1/250 and f/11.0. The great thing about a Rolleiflex TLR is that, at distances of 10 feet or closer, one can use smaller apertures such as f/11.5 and still achieve pleasing out-of-focus areas and subject-background separation. By using the same film speed, knowing the correct exposure is easier. With only 12 shots on a roll of 120, photographers are forced to not only economize, but to pre-edit by deciding if a shot is even worth taking. Before shooting an event, such as a race or wedding that can’t be repeated, it’s important to take note of how many shots are left on a roll. If the roll is almost finished, then a photographer needs to decide whether or not to blow through the remaining frames in order to have a fresh roll loaded for when the action begins. Film management and loading can be made more efficient by: • Saving time by removing foil film wrappers in advance. • Remembering to completely remove the paper band when loading a fresh roll of film, lest part of it becomes lodged between the lens and film and interferes with light reaching the film. • Keeping a bendable drinking straw in your camera bag in case part of the adhesive paper strip at the end of a roll breaks off and gets stuck behind the film pressure plate. Blowing through the straw will make it possible to retrieve the paper. • For fast and convenient film loading, the easiest method is to turn the camera upside down while it hangs from the neck strap; open the rear door away from one’s body; remove the exposed film; move the empty spool to the take-up side; and then reload. • Worth noting is that when using an Ever-Ready case, the neck strap is disconnected from the camera and attached to metal strap lugs on the case. The downside to this is that when removing the camera from the case, it won’t have the added security of being attached to a strap. “The Wonderful World of Rolleiflex TLR Photography” is a three-part series. Please click here for “Part I: Buying a Used Rolleiflex TLR” and “Part 3: Street Photography "


Scanning and Editing Colour Negative Film

Scanning and Editing Color Negative Film By Alex Burke A lot of people have come to me over the various online photo sharing sites - especially flickr - asking me how I get the colors the way I do on my scanning and editing colour negative film.  People have been most curious about my color negative film shots, particularly the ones taken on Kodak Ektar film. For an overview of the various film types I use, see my blog post here. I've been wanting to do this for a long time to help everyone out and here it finally is! There will be a lot of photos and a lot of text, and if everything goes right I will help a few people out. At the very end I will have a Photoshop file with all the layers for you to play around with and learn! Disclaimer: This is not necessarily the right or only way to do anything, this is just an outline of the general workflow I use. The photograph - This image was taken in rural Pennsylvania last month about an hour after sunrise.  The light filtering through the trees was still very warm and pleasant, and there was a hint of haze in the air making for a wonderful sense of atmosphere. The leaves had just sprouted on the trees and were very green in person. I planned on cropping the image to a panorama while framing it, but I don't crop an image until the very last step. All of these things are important to keep in mind as you scan and edit the film. The image was shot on Kodak Ektar 4x5" film, and the exposure was 1 second at f32. The film was developed at home with a C-41 press kit. Scanning - First off, I want to say that scanners don't really seem to care how your film looks. They don't know where you were, what you were photographing, or what your vision is. They just want to turn that sheet of film into data and they do it well enough. For those of you who don't know, I photograph primarily with a large format 4x5 inch camera that produces wonderfully large negatives with incredible detail. The film records all the details and rich colors, but it's up to us to pull those colors back out of the image after it is scanned. Epson Scan with no color corrections I use an Epson V700 flatbed scanner for all of my scans. Of course it is not as good as a high-end drum scanner, but it is a fairly popular home-use scanner among large format photographers and great results can be had from it. I start by using the Epson Scan software that comes with the scanner in "professional mode," which just means that you have more access to features and color correction options while scanning. I make a preview scan with the film type set to "Color Negative Film."  You will end up with some very cyan colored rough scans. This is more or less just an inverse view of the orange-brown colored sheet of film. Not very pretty to look at. I click the "Configuration" box (marked above with the red arrow) and then go to the color tab and click on the "Continuous Auto Exposure" checkbox, set the slider to low (see image below) and click "OK". All I want at this point is to get the image looking a little more color-correct without the scanner messing up my image by stealing precious details. Epson Scan with auto color correct Unfortunately, even with the slider set to low, it still manages to clip some of the highlights and shadows.  I still use the auto exposure feature because it typically does a good job of getting the colors somewhat right. Now we need to bring back those details that Epson Scan wants to take from us. Click on the levels adjustment button on the left of the screen (see below). Epson Scan Levels Adjustment Now you'll see the histogram and will be able to tell where Epson Scan has clipped the shadows and highlights. We're going to want to make some adjustments to this to make sure we aren't missing any details in the shot. A small adjustment goes a long way (see image below). As a warning, the histogram displayed in Epson Scan does not seem very accurate, and you may decide to not move the right marker all the way to the edge of the graph. If you do, the image will become incredibly dark, and the software will quite often really mess up the colors. For this reason I leave it a little bit away from the edge  but the highlights are still safe and not blown out. I move the shadows marker quite a ways past the end of the histogram, I want to be able to set the black point later on. See the image below to get an idea of the adjustments I made on this image. Epson Scan Levels Before and After This image had fairly accurate colors so I didn't mess with them in Epson Scan, but if you need to you can select the various color channels and move them around a bit. Quite often, Epson Scan will add a lot of red to the image when you mess around with the levels adjustment.  This can be fixed by sliding the right slider in the red channel just a couple of numbers to the right. No need to get anything perfect yet, we'll save that for Photoshop when we can see the image in full size. Right now we just want a flat, low contrast image with all the highlights and shadows still intact. Go ahead and scan as a *.tiff file. Editing - Now comes the part where we make the image look the way we want. You need to picture the scene as it was and remember how you wanted it to look. With color negative film, there really is no "correct" color. If you were to make an exact inversion of the film it would just be a cyan colored mess.  You need to choose the way you want the colors to look, just as someone would when making traditional darkroom prints. A few years ago, I borrowed a digital camera from someone and really enjoyed the easy adjustments that Adobe Camera Raw (ACR) has to offer, especially for simple global color correction. It got me to start opening up my scans in ACR by going to file>open as and selecting "Camera Raw" from the drop down list and then opening the tiff file. If you have Lightroom, it's probably a much better program than ACR. I just use ACR because it's what I have. Use whichever you prefer here. Adobe Camera Raw Before and After There isn't really much rocket science to what I do in ACR. I use the tint and color sliders to help get the colors close. The scene as I remember it was very warm and there was no need to have any blue in the road, so I moved the slider towards the warmer colors and the tint slightly towards the green. Other very handy features in ACR are the "recovery" slider to help with overly bright highlights, "fill light" to bring up the shadows, and the "Graduated filter" button up top. The graduated filter lets you easily adjust parts of an image that need extra contrast, more exposure, or maybe have a slight color cast. Play around with every button in this program. I also use the "vignette" slider in the lens correction tab to help get rid of the the vignette that happens on most wide large format lenses. This image was taken with a longer lens so it didn't really need it. As you can see above, the image is still not very contrasty and I haven't adjusted the saturation at all. Now it's time to open the image into Photoshop and make the final adjustments. Photoshop - The very first thing I do in Photoshop is make a copy of the background layer. I use this layer to remove any dust and scratches using the healing brush tool. After that is done, I move onto luminosity masks. You may or may not be familiar with luminosity masks, but they are a very handy feature in Photoshop. I will only explain them briefly for now, there are many other resources on the internet that can explain them in greater detail for you. Please let me know if I lose you here, I'd be glad to re-word or explain things for you. Luminosity Masks - an important tool for editing Luminosity Masks - By pressing Ctrl+Alt+2, Photoshop will create a selection similar to what you see above. Pixels will be selected based on their brightness, with a pure white pixel being selected 100% and a pure black pixel not being selected at all. Everything in between is selected proportionally based on its brightness. Once you have this selection, I like to start by making a curves layer with it by going to Layer>New adjustment Layer>Curves on the top menu. Now you have a curves layer that will mostly just adjust the highlights in the image. I then Ctrl+Click on the curves Layer to get the same selection again and inverse the selection by going to Select>Inverse on the menu at the top. I then make another curves layer just as I did before with this selection, only now it will mostly adjust the shadows. When you Alt+Click on the image for this new layer, you will see something that looks like the image above-right.  This is more or less a black-and-white negative of your image, where any curves adjustment you make will affect white areas the most and black areas the least. Red channel curves adjustment made to the shadows I find that a curves layer that adjusts the shadows is a great way to remove some of the unwanted shadow color casts that film scans tend to have. Ektar likes to have too much red in the shadows, while some of the slide films like Provia will quite often have way too much blue. This has been one of the main keys to getting the colors right on my scans. Once you get the hang of these selections, there are all sorts of things you can do with them. You can use the brush tool to cover part of the mask with black, or use a white brush to increase the area that will be affected by the adjustment layer. You can do a whole lot more that just curves adjustments, using the masks to apply contrast, levels, saturation, vibrance or whatever to a specific part of the image. I you want a particular patch of trees to be brighter, just mask it off and make your adjustment. Really feel free to bring the image back to the way you wanted it to look when you took the photo. Hue/Saturation Layer - I have found this to be a necessary adjustment for color negative films. This image didn't need it very badly because it didn't contain and blue sky but I have found that I typically need to remove a significant amount of cyan from skies to make them look natural. Color negative film really seems to have an excess of cyan, and to be honest it's not my favorite color. I will likely make another tutorial just about this with a different image just to show you what I'm talking about. It's not uncommon for me to adjust the cyan slightly towards blue with the hue slider, and then desaturate it as much as -50.  For now, just go to Layer>New Adjustment Layer>Hue/Saturation and play around with it.  It is really easy to go over the top with saturation so I like to keep it subtle. Sometimes I will walk away from the screen and come back later to let my eyes re-adjust. Here's the final image! Pennsylvania County Road For now, I think I will turn you all loose with the Photoshop file that has all the layers in it so you can see exactly what I did.  It might be the easiest way to illustrate my workflow. If you have any questions about what I did, feel free to ask me in the comments and I'll try to explain or add it to the tutorial. Click the button below to get the .psd file. Download Photoshop File Thanks for looking, I hope this helps some of you out there! Used with kind permission, check out Alex's website, click here. Since the time of writing, Adobe has updated Lightroom, Adobe Camera Raw and Photoshop, the sliders in ADC have changed.


Family Portraiture Shoot – Meloney

Family Portraiture Shoot - Meloney This was a fun impromptu family shoot of personal friends of mine. I have know Meloney and her family for many years and promised her a shoot. Family portraiture is fairly simple to do, those being photographed need to be themselves, relaxed and to simply have fun behind the camera. We are capturing a moment in time that can't be repeated, however, that moment can be returned to in the form of photographs and treasured forever. Meloney's children are very busy, active, excited and fun children to be around, that being said, kids should be kids and left to be who they are. I was able to capture some really special, natural moments that required no effort from my part to capture the very essence of who they are, that they can treasure for time to come. This is the part of photography that I really enjoy, when going to work is fun and not work! My gear I used for this shoot was a Nikon D800e which is great as a studio camera at 36.3mp, and my Nikon D4 which is a great action camera at 16mp, shot outdoors in natural light to achieve the results in the images below. There will be a follow up shoot to this soon, watch this space. Click on the images below to view an enlarged single image. All my images are available for purchase as prints. Digital images can be used under license agreement. Should you wish to purchase or license my images, please click here for more information, so I can assist you with your needs. Should you wish to book a Family Shoot, please click here.


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