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Why Do I Shoot Large Format Film?

Why Do I Shoot Large Format Film? Why do I shoot large format film? That question can be also rephrased to why shoot film at all? The problem with the world today is instant gratification. Instant coffee, online buying, instant 24-hour support etc. This also crept into the photographic arena during the time of film photography when people shot polaroid images. The next question that usually comes up is: “Is digital better than film?” The answer to either way of asking this question is… no. Just as one might prefer the crisp, clean sound of a digital song, another may prefer a classic vinyl record for its depth, tone and warmth. In the same way, digital photography gives way to predictable, clean and precise results, while film brings in a warm beautiful imperfection that often times speaks to the romance of a scene. Grain is not noise, grain is film and in the right composition ISO 3200 pushed to ISO 6400 can produce beautiful images. Ever wonder why there were so fewer professional photographers in the days before digital? Photography was a skill, an art and craft to master. Today, every cellphone has a camera, everyone is a photographer, and anyone can walk into a camera store, buy an entry-level camera and announce themselves as a professional! Do they really know their craft, have they acquired the necessary skill needed for the task at hand? With 14fps and high megapixel cameras, anyone can fire away and hope to land 3 perfect shots in that second. Spray and pray they say! With 35mm, 120 medium format and large format film - 4x5" and larger, there is no back of the camera peeping to see if you got it right the first time, every time! You need to wait until the film is processed to know if you got it right in camera! Film slows you down, you need to think about your composition, make sure everything is 100% before you press the shutter button. If you shooting 35mm, you will more than likely have 24 or 36 frames to complete. On medium format, that is 12 frames. Large format and ultra large format film, it is 1 sheet at a time, which are not cheap, more so if you going above 4x5''. There is no delete button and try again, once the shot is fired that is it! It has to count, it has been exposed and you cannot under that, there are no second chances, more so in critical moments.   Shen Hao HZX45-IIA When you shoot film, you are rewarded with images that stand out, knowing that you had to go back to basics to create that shot. You captured the moment on an old outdated camera, some nothing more than a wooden box with a ground glass, bellows, lens and no electronics! Large format is a totally manual shooting mode, no autofocus whatsoever the only external electronics is your lightmeter. Seeing the film image come to life in the darkroom before your eyes is something else to behold. Seeing the resolution in comparison to 35mm digital is astounding! This is why I shoot 35mm, medium and large format film, its the challenge of getting a 100% success rate for every roll or film sheet exposed, slowing down, thinking about what I am are doing, capturing images that I will actually print and most of all, to enjoy my photography. The rewards from large format for me is once you get it right in camera, the results are mind-blowing, get it wrong and they are amplified as much! Here are two images from a shoot recently shot in my studio. I had my friend Chris Hart fire the shot for me while I posed with my mom, the other I took of my makeup artist - Anne-Mart. Works like these get me so excited about film! Do look out for an upcoming blog regarding this studio shoot. Noleen & Craig Anne-Mart I began photography in 1998 on a Pentax MZ50 35mm camera after playing around with a few point and shoots. My foundation has been a solid one in film, and I am all the better for it. People with a discerning eye know that digital does not look like traditional film, even with the available film plugins or filters. Both can be beautiful in their own right. The artist needs to decide which method or combination of methods best produces the final work of art. What Different Formats Do We Get? The different size formats are as follows 35mm, medium format also called 120, 220 and 645, large format and ultra large format. 35mm or 135mm 35mm or 135 film, was introduced by Kodak in 1934. Individual rolls of 35mm film are enclosed in a single-spool, light-tight, metal case that allows it to be loaded into cameras in daylight. The standard image size on a 35mm film roll is 24 x 36mm with a perforation size of KS-1870. This standard ensures that the film properly advances eight perforations to allow a two-millimetre gap between frames and eliminate overlapping of images on the film. On my Nikon F5, I have an MF28 databack attached, which allows me to record various fields of information such as date, time, shutter speed, aperture and more between these frames. Nikon F5 Medium Format Medium format film is much larger than the 35mm counterpart and is usually preferred by many professional photographers - digital and film. Of course, due to the size of medium format film, a medium format camera will be needed to use it. Most often, medium format film is 6x6cm square or 6x4.5cm rectangular (commonly referred to as 645). In addition, there are also these following sizes - 6x7cm - 10 exposures and 6x9cm - 8 exposures; and longer if you doing panoramas. Each format creates an image with one side equal to 6cm. Today, medium format photography utilizes the 120 film format and, in some cases, the 220 film format. These formats are nearly identical except that 220 film is twice as long and allows twice the number of exposures. With 120 film, you can get either 12 or 16 exposures and double that amount with 220 film. So if you think that Instagram is a new thing, think again, these are generally square images. Why not give a try and upload these to your Instagram account? One Of My Two Yashica-Mat Cameras Large Format The most common large format is 4×5", which was the size most common cameras used in the 1930s-1950s. The 4×5" sheet film format was very convenient for press photography since it allowed for direct contact printing on the printing plate, hence it was widely used in press cameras. This was done well into the 1940s and 1950s. Less common formats include quarter-plate, 5×7", and 8×10" (20×25 cm). Large format film works a little different than both 35mm film and medium format film as there are no spools used. Instead, large format film is individual 4x5" sheets that are loaded into a special film holder that locks into the back of a large format camera. Film loading using sheet film holders must be loaded in complete darkness, or a dark space to load and unload the film, typically a changing bag or darkroom. The holders will hold two sheets of film on both sides. When loaded into the back of the camera, the light protective sheet or dark slide is removed and will allow you to expose the film, once the shutter is released. The protective sheet or dark slide is then returned to the holder before your film is removed. The film will remain in the holder until ready for development. In May 2017, I had seen a post circulating on social media where Paul Joshua was photographing Formula 1 with a 104yr old camera, a 1913 Graflex 4×5" View Camera, at the time he was on his 5th season of Formula 1. Here are the links to those articles and on PetaPixel, definitely well worth the read! If ever there was a sport that required rapid fire photography, Formula One racing is it. Which makes what photographer Joshua Paul does even more fascinating, because instead of using top-of-the-range cameras to capture the fast-paced sport, Paul chooses to take his shots using a 104-year-old Graflex 4×5 view camera. The photographer clearly has an incredible eye for detail, because unlike modern cameras, which can take as many as 20 frames per second, his 1913 Graflex can only take 20 pictures in total. Because of this, every shot he takes has to be carefully thought about first, and this is clearly evident in this beautiful series of photographs. Shen Hao HZX45-IIA Shen Hao HZX45-IIA Ultra Large Format Above 8×10", the formats are often referred to as Ultra Large Format (ULF) and may be 11×14", 16×20", or 20×24" or as large as film, plates, or cameras are available. These cameras are extremely heavy, and usually made of wood. There is an article on F-stoppers where an  8x10" large format photographer - Ben Horne captures an astounding 709-megapixel image! His 150mm lens is referred to as a wide angle lens! Ben ends up with a digital file that's almost 30 000 pixels on the long side and weighs in at an astounding 4 GB for the *.tiff file, but it appears the unwieldy size is worth it. This image was shot on Velvia 50. The YouTube video is worth watching. What Gear Do I Need? Camera I shoot a Shen Hao HZX45-IIA 4x5" format field camera as pictured below. These cameras new at the time of writing, retail for around $1000 or more depending on where you buy. The tripod in this set up was seriously expensive, more than the camera itself; together they do a very good job as the camera is by no means light. Although the camera is a Chinese make, the quality is very good and I am well satisfied with mine. Shen Hao HZX45-IIA at Nieuwoudtville Wildflower Reserve Specifications: • Made from Black Walnut and black stainless steel. • Format: 4X5" • Movement: Front Rise - 37mm Rear Rise - 45mm. • Fall 32mm • Right Shift rear - 40mm • Left Shift rear - 40mm • Swing 17° +17° • Front Swing 20° +20° • Rear Base Tilt: 90° • Front Base Tilt: 90° • Rear Center Tilt: 10° +10° • Rear Back Front 40° • Back Rear 20° • Forward Rear 70mm • Bellows extension from 50mm-360mm. • Dimensions: 17X17x10cm • Weight: 2.54kgs Tripod And Head The tripod that I am using is the Gitzo GT3542L Long series 3 Carbon Fiber Tripod which is designed to securely support professional cameras with 300mm lenses (up to a maximum of 400mm), and to reach eye-level when fully extended. This professional tripod features Carbon eXact tubing with larger leg tube diameters. Its top leg-section diameter of 32.9mm and high modulus carbon fibre lower leg sections make this tripod stronger, more rigid and more lightweight than its predecessors. The Gitzo GT3542L weighs just 1.95kgs, reaches a height of 178cm and folds down to 59cm. This tripod is the perfect choice for professional photographers who want highly resistant, reliable support that is light enough to carry for hours while exploring the great outdoors. Large format gear is far from light, and this is a great tripod for my digital long primes too. The tripod’s rapid centre column is easily removed, transforming it into a ground level set enabling photographers to capture the broadest range of perspectives. It also has a reversible column mechanism. The Gitzo GT3542L four-section legs are secured by G-lock Ultra twist locks, with a built-in O-ring that keeps dirt and dust out of the leg mechanism. The tripod’s top spider is newly designed for extra rigidity, and large leg angle selectors provide broader grip-area for leg-angle adjustment. The tripod features a stabilizer hook on its centre column to add weight and increase stability when required by terrain or equipment weight. Its removable feet enable it to adapt to any type of surface. A wide array of heads and other accessories can easily be added via the 1/4" and 3/8 attachment on the upper disc. It can support 21kgs. Gitzo Tripod Mountaineer Series 3 Long, 4 Sections The Gitzo GH5381SQD Systematic Series 5 Quick Release D Ball Head is a low-profile tripod head that fits into the upper casting of any Systematic Tripod or attaches to any tripod via its 3/8” thread, providing an ultra-stable platform. The D-profile head is supplied with an Arca-Swiss compatible plate, enabling the included Quick Release plate to be snapped into the head from above, which is faster and easier than sliding it in from the side. With the GH5381SQD, cameras can be mounted very close to the top of the tripod for optimal support. It tilts up to 28° in all directions and features a hydraulic locking system for fast control and smooth locking speed. A ring adaptor (GS5300S) is included and is required when using this head with a Series 5 Systematic Tripod. This tripod head model also features the new Systematic safety catch: when used together with the latest Systematic tripods equipped with the safety button, the head is held safely in place until the release button is pushed, so that it stays safe, along with any camera equipment attached to it, even if the tripod’s top casting is inadvertently left open. The tripod head is made of high-quality, resistant aluminium, weighs 930g and secures an impressive payload of 30kgs. It includes a built-in spirit level to facilitate flawless framing. Gitzo Systematic Ball Head Quick Release  - Series 5 Cable Release I am using the Nikon AR-3 Threaded Cable Release, this is a standard type cable release plug for cameras that have a threaded shutter. This screws into the Copal shutter that you using with your lenses. It can be tightened at the trigger end to facilitate long exposures beyond the lowest shutter speed supported before using B and T. There are no electronics on my Shen Hao.   Nikon AR-3 Threaded Cable Release Lenses Nikon Lenses All of the Nikkor large format lenses are multicoated. Nikon never made any single or non-coated large format lenses. Nikon SW Series The SW-series lenses feature wide covering power and a wide image circle. Maximum apertures of f/4 and f/4.5 assure fast and pin-point focusing and bright images, corner to corner. Covering power can be extended to 105° ~ 106° by stopping the lens down. SW series lenses deliver high contrast and resolution, reduced flare and excellent colour rendition, thanks to Nikon Super Integrated Coating and strict control of aberrations. SW-series lenses with a maximum aperture of f/8 are compact and well compensated for distortion. Nikkor-SW 65mm f/4S The Nikkor-SW 65mm f/4S can only be used from f/16 as the image circle is too small at f/4 on the 4x5 format at 110mm. At f/16 you will get an image circle of 170mm. The f/4 allows you to focus better under low light conditions. This is a wide angle lens which is the 35mm equivalent of a 20mm lens. The rule is to divide the focal length by three to arrive at the 35mm format approximate equivalent. The Nikkor-SW 65mm f/4S is excellent; it weighs in at 370g. The f/4S makes it easy to compose, focus and make camera movements. It has a 67mm front filter thread with 7 elements in 4 groups. The shutter is a Copal № 0 T, B, 1-1/500 which is also the sync speed in the studio. Of course, you don't actually shoot at f/4.5, where it's a little soft due to coma. This is the same as other f/5.6 lenses; stop down to f/8 or smaller for the best performance when you shoot. For landscapes, you generally shooting at f/22 and f/32. Nikkor-SW 65mm f/4S Nikkor-SW 65mm f/4S Nikkor-SW 65mm f/4S Nikkor-SW 75mm f/4.5S The Nikkor-SW 75mm f/4.5S can only be used from f/16 as the image circle is too small at f/4 on the 4x5 format at 126mm. At f/16 you will get an image circle of 200mm. The aperture of f/4 allows you to focus better under low light conditions. This is a wide angle lens which is the 35mm equivalent of a 25mm lens. The rule is to divide the focal length by three to arrive at the 35mm format approximate equivalent. The Nikkor-SW 75mm f/4.5S is excellent; it weighs in at 420g. The f/4.5S makes it easy to compose, focus and make camera movements. Like the Nikkor-SW 65mm f/4S, it has a 67mm front filter thread with 7 elements in 4 groups. The shutter is a Copal № 0 T, B, 1-1/500 which is also the sync speed in the studio. Of course, you don't actually shoot at f/4.5, where it's a little soft due to coma. This is the same as other f/5.6 lenses; stop down to f/8 or smaller for the best performance when you shoot. For landscapes, you generally shooting at f/22 and f/32. Nikkor-SW 75mm f/4.5S Nikkor-SW 75mm f/4.5S Nikkor-SW 90mm f/4.5S The Nikkor-SW 90mm f/4.5 is both huge and excellent; it weighs in at 600g. I had the opportunity to buy the f/8 version (which weighs 360g), but chose this faster lens instead, as the f/4.5 makes it easy to compose, focus and make camera movements. It has an 82mm front filter thread with 7 elements in 4 groups. The shutter is a Copal Copal № 0 T, B, 1-1/500 which is also the sync speed in the studio. The image circle is at f/4 on the 4x5" format at 154mm. At f/16 you will get an image circle of 235mm. The aperture of f/4 allows you to focus better under low light conditions. This is a wide angle lens which is the 35mm equivalent of a 28mm lens. The rule is to divide the focal length by three to arrive at the 35mm format approximate equivalent. Of course, you don't actually shoot at f/4.5, where it's a little soft due to coma. This is the same as other f/5.6 lenses; stop down to f/8 or smaller for the best performance when you shoot. For landscapes, you generally shooting at f/22 and f/32. Nikkor-SW 90mm f/4.5S Nikkor-SW 90mm f/4.5S Nikkor-SW 90mm f/4.5S Nikon W Series Covering power of the W series Nikkors is an ample 70° ~ 73° when stopped down. Lens construction of six elements in four groups in the series gives these lenses an outstanding degree of freedom from distortion, field curvature and chromatic aberration. And Nikon Super Integrated Coating applied to each lens assures high contrast and overall faithful colour rendition. The W series lenses are recommended for a variety of subjects, including landscapes, portraits, architecture, and table-top photography. I am in the process of acquiring these lenses in this series, to complete the large format lens range that suits my style of photography. Nikkor-W 135mm f/5.6S   Nikon NIKKOR-W 135mm f/5.6 S The Nikkor-W 135mm f/5.6S has an image circle of  156mm at f/5.6 and at f/22 it is 200mm. The aperture of f/4 allows you to focus better under low light conditions. This is a standard angle lens which is the 35mm equivalent of a 45mm lens. The rule is to divide the focal length by three to arrive at the 45mm format approximate equivalent. The Nikkor-SW 135mm f/5.6S weighs in at 200g. The f/5.6 makes it easy to compose, focus and make camera movements. It has a 52mm front filter thread with 6 elements in 4 groups. The shutter is a Copal № 0 T, B, 1-1/500 which is also the sync speed in the studio. Of course, you don't actually shoot at f/4.5, where it's a little soft due to coma. This is the same as other f/5.6 lenses; stopped down to f/8 or f/11 it is sharp from centre to corners. For landscapes, you generally shooting at f/22 and f/32. Nikkor-W 180mm f/5.6   Nikkor-W 180mm f/5.6 The Nikkor-W 180mm f/5.6 has an image circle of  208mm at f/5.6 and at f/22 it is 253mm for 5x7" cameras. The aperture of f/5.6 allows you to focus better under low light conditions. This is a standard angle lens which is the 35mm equivalent of a 60mm lens. The rule is to divide the focal length by three to arrive at the 60mm format approximate equivalent. The Nikkor-W 180mm f/5.6 weighs in at 380g. The f/5.6 makes it easy to compose, focus and make camera movements. It has a 67mm front filter thread with 6 elements in 4 groups. The shutter is a Copal № 1 T, B, 1-1/400 which is also the sync speed in the studio. Of course, you don't actually shoot at f/5.6, for landscapes, you generally shooting at f/22 and f/32. Nikkor-W 210mm f/5.6   Nikkor-W 210mm f/5.6 The Nikkor-W 210mm f5.6 243mm f/5.6 has an image circle of  208mm at f/5.6 and at f/22 it is 295mm for 6.5x8.5" cameras. The aperture of f/5.6 allows you to focus better under low light conditions. This is a telephoto angle lens which is the 35mm equivalent of a 60mm lens. The rule is to divide the focal length by three to arrive at the 60mm format approximate equivalent. The Nikkor lenses in the T-series are telephoto-type lenses which do not require long-length camera bellows. The Nikkor-W 210mm f/5.6 weighs in at 460g. The f/5.6S makes it easy to compose, focus and make camera movements. It has a 67mm front filter thread with 6 elements in 4 groups. The shutter is a Copal № 1 T, B, 1-1/400 which is also the sync speed in the studio. Of course, you don't actually shoot at f/5.6, for landscapes, you generally shooting at f/22 and f/32. Nikkor-W 240mm f/5.6   Nikkor-W 240mm f/5.6 The Nikkor-W 240mm f5.6 243mm f/5.6 has an image circle of  278mm at f/5.6 and at f/22 it is 336mm for 8x10" cameras. The aperture of f/5.6 allows you to focus better under low light conditions. This is a telephoto angle lens which is the 35mm equivalent of an 80mm lens. The rule is to divide the focal length by three to arrive at the 80mm format approximate equivalent. The Nikkor-W 240mm f/5.6 weighs in at 820g. The f/5.6 makes it easy to compose, focus and make camera movements. It has an 82mm front filter thread with 6 elements in 4 groups. The shutter is a Copal № 3 T, B, 1-1/125 which is also the sync speed in the studio. Of course, you don't actually shoot at f/5.6, for landscapes, you generally shooting at f/22 and f/32. This is a beautiful lens for portraiture for both the studio and outdoors. Schneider Lenses Schneider 150mm f/5.6 Apo-Symmar L Lens I do not own a Nikon 150mm lens. At the time of me purchasing my 4x5" system, the Schneider 150mm f/5.6 Apo-Symmar L Lens came part and parcel with the package. I do not see the need or purpose to purchase a Nikon 150mm lens as this lens does a fabulous job. This is a standard angle lens, all-purpose large format lens which gives the highest image reproduction quality possible in a broad range of applications, equivalent to a 50mm lens in 35mm format. The 75° angle of coverage permits generous shifts on the 4x5" format, which is very useful in architecture photography. The 150mm Apo-Symmar L uses 58mm filters and weighs 267g. It is an ideal everyday lens for users of 4x5" large format cameras. Compact, extremely sharp slightly wide lens for the 4x5 format Increased coverage (to 75°) for the classic 6-element, 4-group optical design Bright ideal working aperture range of f/11-22 for shorter exposures and sharper outdoor images Small and light for unobtrusive use Maximum image circle of 233mm allows ±35.5mm of rise/fall/shift (in both vertical/horizontal composition) for 4x5" format Accepts 58mm filters Standard-style Copal #0 shutter with calibrated aperture scale and maximum 1/500th speed The Apo-Symmar-"L" series of lenses replaces the well-proven original Apo-Symmar. As some glass types have been phased out for environmental reasons, new designs with substitute formations were necessary. Seizing the opportunity, Schneider-Kreuznach has now completely re-designed this successful, all-purpose lens to bring it up to the current state-of-the-art of lens design and fabrication. The covering power has been expanded in nearly all cases and the imaging performance further optimized. The current focal lengths and the principle technical specifications are shown in the table here. Used according to the maximum photo format, the focal lengths between 120 and 480mm offered by the new "L-Series" deliver normal perspective pictures without a wide angle or telephoto effects. This is a large format photographic lens for view camera photography with film formats up to 5x7", although it's most common use is for 4x5 inch photography. It has a 75° angle of coverage at f/22. This results in an image circle of 233mm at f/22, which allows a shift of up to 52mm vertically and 46mm horizontally with 4x5 inch film. Schneider 150mm f/5.6 Apo-Symmar L Lens This is a large format photographic lens for view camera photography with film formats up to 5x7", although it's most common use is for 4x5" photography. It has a 75° angle of coverage at f/22. This results in an image circle of 233mm at f/22, which allows shift of up to 52mm vertically and 46mm horizontally with 4x5" film. Shutters Copal Manufactured in Japan by the Copal Company LTD since 1946, Copal shutters are widely used on large-format photography lenses. Fully mechanical, very reliable lens shutters, they are quite repairable by many technicians all over the world. There are two types, self-cocking or press shutters and manual cocking. They are basically old-fashioned clockwork systems with leaf blades for the shutter. Copal Shutters Specifications   COPAL LENS SHUTTER № 0 № 1 № 3 № 3S Weight 115gr 160gr 372gr 340gr Outer diameter 61mm 73mm 102mm 102mm Lens mounting Front: M 29.5mm x 0.5 Rear: M 29.5mm x 0.5 Front: M 40mm x 0.75 Rear: M 36mm x 0.75 Front: M 58mm x 0.75 Rear: M 58mm x 0.75 Front: M 56mm x 0.75 Rear: M 56mm x 0.75 Cable release nipple M 3.2mm x 0.5 M 3.2mm x 0.5 M 3.2mm x 0.5 M 3.2mm x 0.5 Shutter speeds T, B, 1, 2, 4, 8, 15, 30, 60, 125, 250, 500 T, B, 1, 2, 4, 8, 15, 30,60, 125, 250, 400 T, B, 1, 2, 4, 8, 15, 30, 60, 125 T, B, 1, 2, 4, 8, 15, 30, 60, 125 Shutter speeds tolerance +- 30% +- 30% +- 30% +- 30% Maximum iris opening 24mm 30mm 45mm 45mm Minimum iris opening 1.5mm 2mm 2mm 2mm Number of iris blades 5 7 7 7 Synchronization all shutter speeds all shutter speeds all shutter speeds all shutter speeds Max. sync delay times before max. opening: 0.5ms after max. opening: 0.7ms before max. opening: 0.5ms after max. opening: 0.7ms before max. opening: 0.5ms after max. opening: 0.7ms before max. opening: 0.5ms after max. opening: 0.7ms Threaded mounting ring M 32.5mm x 0.5 M 39mm x 0.75 M 62mm x 0.75 M 61mm x 0.75 Lens board hole 34.6mm 41.6mm 65mm 64.1mm   Copal № 0 This is a Copal № 0 shutter. The shutter speeds are T, B, 1, 2, 4, 8, 15, 30, 60, 125, 250 and 500. It has an aperture scale range of f/5.6 to f/64. Copal № 0 Copal № 1 This is a Copal № 1 shutter. The shutter speeds are T, B, 1, 2, 4, 8, 15, 30, 60, 125, 250 and 400. It has an aperture scale range of f/5.6 to f/64.   Copal № 1 Copal № 3 This is a Copal № 3 shutter. The shutter speeds are T, B, 1, 2, 4, 8, 15, 30, 60 and 125. It has an aperture scale range of f/4.5 to f/64. Copal № 3 Film   Various Film Formats Alex Burke of Alex Burke Photography a large format landscape photographer from Greeley, Colorado, in the USA has a fully comprehensive blog on various film types, both current and discontinued. Do have a look at his blog and consider buying his informative ebook on large format photography. My choice of colour film is Kodak Portra, I am not so wild about Kodak Ektar 100. My choice for slide or transparencies is Fuji Provia and Velvia. Bellini manufactures developing chemicals that allow you to process your negatives to positives or slides, so one is not necessarily limited to only Fuji for slide films, these can be purchased here. Black and white film, its a mix between Kodak and Ilford, there are other brands on the market like Adox, Bergger Pancro, Fomopan, Arista etc which I have not shot yet. I would like to shoot Rollei Infrared and would like to see how that performs, infrared produces amazing portraits with soft skin textures. Kodak Professional T-Max 100 Black and White Negative Film Film is best stored in the fridge to ensure an even, constant temperature and longevity. To prevent condensation from forming on the surfaces of film taken from a refrigerator or freezer, allow the package to warm up to room temperature before breaking the seal or opening the container. Warm-up times vary with the amount of material, the type of package, and the storage temperature. Typical warm-up times are given in the table below in hours to reach a room temperature of 21°C from a storage temperature of: FILM SIZE -18°C 02°C 13°C 120 01h00 00h45 ooh30 135 01h30 01h15 01h00 135 100' Roll 05h00 03h00 02h00 10 Sheet Box 01h30 01h00 01h00 50 Sheet Box           03h00       02h00      02h00   Film Holder Cases These are very handy, as 10 holders or 20 exposures become rather bulky in one's bag. The need for these to be either attached to your bag in a film holder or kept in your Pelican case helps keep things in order. If you are travelling light, I can strongly recommend these bags. 4x5"Film Holder Bag I have a system in place; all film that is not exposed is sealed in plastic packets, the holders are labelled with the type of film and kept in either my camera bag if I am not shooting a lot of film. The exposed frames are then put back into the opened plastic bags and those film holders placed in this bag which eliminates the mistake of double exposing my film. They are well padded and can protect and carry up to six 4x5" film holders. A mesh pocket on the front provides convenient storage for dark slides or small accessories. Film Holders These hold the same size film format as the camera size you shooting. It is basically a lightproof tray with a darkslide. Once the film holder is in place in the camera, the darkslide can be removed and the film is ready to be exposed. Once exposed the darkslide is returned and your image is safe, as long as the darkslide is not removed before development in the darkroom. I keep the white side of the darkslide facing outwards to show it has not been exposed and doesn't need the darkroom. Once exposed, I flip it around, black side outward.   4x5" Film Holder   Camera Bag The made in England, 550 Original Shoulder Bag from Billingham is designed to carry a medium-format, large-format or DSLR camera plus accessories. The case is khaki with tan leather trim. It is constructed from soft-weave fabric which helps eliminate abrasions, combined with Stormblocker dual-laminate waterproof canvas and a heavy-duty, closed-cell, foam-padded interior. It has Superflex 10-15 and 10-18 partitions for organizing gear. There is a large rain flap with buckle fastening. Billingham 550 - Khaki Canvas Tan Leather The 550 bag has two full-height zippered pockets inside the main compartment, double-bellowed front pockets with press-stud fastenings, two removable end pockets, and an external back pocket. It is carried by dual handles with an overlapping leather grip or an adjustable shoulder strap with an SP20 heavy-duty, neoprene-backed leather shoulder pad. This is a really expensive and good quality camera bag. How to shoot a 4x5 camera Here is a breakdown of roughly how one goes about shooting a frame on a large format camera: Choose the camera position, approximate orientation, focal length. Set up and level the tripod and camera. Attach the lens and open it to full aperture. Focus roughly using the focusing knob. Adjust precisely the composition while looking at the ground glass. Focus precisely with tilts/swings. Determine the optimal aperture. Close the lens, cock the shutter, rap and insert the film holder. Determine the shutter speed. Set the aperture and shutter speed. Remove the dark slide. Look at the subject. Fire the shutter with a cable release. Put the darkslide back in with the black side outwards to show it is exposed. Remove the film holder. Pack and move to the next spot. With today's technology, instead of using a traditional light meter to calculate the exposure time, you can simply use an app on your phone. There are plenty of mobile phone apps which are available from the various app stores where you in dial the aperture and ISO, and it calculates the time needed to properly expose your image. I use a Sekonic L-478DR light meter as well as a phone app. Acknowledgements Product information and images have been acquired from the relevant manufacturer websites.


Rogge Cloof Private Sutherland Estate Photography Workshop – August 2018

Rogge Cloof Private Sutherland Estate Photography August 2018 Workshop Craig Fouché Photography in proud association with Rogge Cloof Private Sutherland Estate, an upmarket, exceptional standards establishment reserve near Sutherland, presented their first astrophotography, landscape and wildlife workshop for 2018 at Rogge Cloof Private Sutherland Estate. Here we had the opportunity to photograph the night skies, landscapes and wildlife on the reserve. My photography workshop clients came from as far as Pretoria and Cape Town to learn Milky Way and night sky photography while exploring South Africa ’s finest and darkest skies in the Upper Karoo near Sutherland – South Africa’s premier night photography destination. The group ranged from absolute novice to professional. The main thrust of the workshop was astrophotography, with landscapes and wildlife as an added extra. The weather played the game with us, and in true style, Sutherland teamed up with Jack Frost and Ice Maiden and breathed their frigid, bone-chilling atmosphere upon us. It was bitterly cold and lenses frosted up at 01h30 in the morning whilst shooting crystal clear milky way compositions! A week prior to the workshop, Sutherland had been blanketed in a canvas of white, much to my delight, as I was hoping for Milky Way images over a snow-capped landscape. Since the workshop, we have since experienced three snowfalls in the region and surrounds! Cryogenic Reflections Day 1: Arriving at Rogge Cloof Private Sutherland Estate, it was frigid, to say the least, and there were clouds about. This is the last thing you need when shooting night skies. Clouds can, however, create interesting long exposure images during night sky photography. My experience with Sutherland weather is that it is always subject to change, one moment there may be clouds, a little while later it is bound to change. I was not troubled by this and shared that with my clients. As with anything, you can plan and prepare for all scenarios, but have no control over the weather. This is something you need to accept with and be creative with what's sent your way. At the reception, we had some coffee and snacks and a lovely large fire to warm us up; each client was given a branded Craig Fouché Photography beanie for the cold nights ahead. We were introduced and briefed for the evening shoot. André of Rogge Cloof Private Sutherland Estate enthusiastically and entertainingly shared information on their wines that they have on sale. A brief wine tasting was had, and guests each bought a few bottles of wine for the cold. We had to depart timeously for our accommodation in "The Village" on the reserve, to settle in and prepare for the sunset shoot and night sky photography that lay ahead of us. Locations were pointed out, camera settings discussed, and final preparations for the night shoot were put in place.  A few lovely sunsets were captured, after which we returned for some heartwarming farm style soup made in true Karoo fashion. Sunset Planning Milky Way Planning We later made ready to shoot the Milky Way where I was on hand to assist with either light painting or advice. Day 2: The following morning I was up early, and those that wanted to join, did so, and we captured some very interesting frosty images. The sun rose and it felt as if it was getting colder as it peeped over the mountains and Salpeterkop, a now extinct volcano in the distance. Jack Frost seemed to refuse to want to relinquish his icy grip over us, and Ice Maiden sighed deeply over the landscape! Crispy, crunching, cold snapping sounds resonated under the soles of our shoes as with each step we scouted out our photographic compositions. Ice Maiden's Breath Breakfast was at 08h30 at the Pear House. After breakfast, some editing was done, where I was on hand to assist or offer advice. Some of the guests opted to explore the reserve on a morning game drive. Editing (Cell Phone Shot) Lunch was served at around 13h00 and those that wanted an afternoon nap had one. For the evening, we prepared to have dinner at the Rogge Brood restaurant at reception. Our subject shoot was one of two windmills close to reception. This had to be an early shoot as the Milky Way was rather high in the sky. We shot from shortly into golden hour until after dark. Dominique Cook, an absolute novice, astounded me with an amazing panoramic shot shoot captured at that location. After helping her set up, she photographed the windmill and decided to look in the opposite direction towards the restaurant, and capture that scene before her. Die Burger - 17 August 2018 She ended up with a truly stellar image incorporating the Milky Way; the gegenschein (which is a faintly bright spot in the night sky, around the antisolar point. The backscatter of sunlight by interplanetary dust causes this optical phenomenon); Jupiter rising with the zodiacal light and a shooting star! She later went on to submit this 18 image stitched panorama in Die Burger; a South-African, Afrikaans national newspaper who was running a competition until the end of August 2018. We await the results of this submission and have wished her the very best. This just goes to show that anyone is capable of capturing amazing images under the right guidance and instruction and allowing the person to bring their own creativity into the mix. Dominique Cook has done just that! Zodiacal Light Over Rogge Cloof - Dominique Cook ©2018   We then returned to our accommodation, where I took my clients to another windmill which has great scope for capturing reflections in the water trough. Conditions had changed, and the wind had picked up. This did not afford anyone that opportunity to be able to capture that shot which I had previously captured during my preparation for the workshop. Clouds had started to roll in too. It's Raining Stars, Rogge Cloof, Sutherland, South-Africa I had a further look at Photopills, an exceptional app for all photographers, and one that you shouldn't be without, to see where the Milky Way would be positioned for the last subject of the night: The Shepherd's Hut. It was already cold, and some were feeling that and decided to call it a night around 22h00, satisfied with the images they captured. I was prepared for a final magical Milky Way and met Kim around midnight for the final night sky shoot. By this time it was already -6ºc, and later dropped to -10ºc, the clouds had all gone! We ended finding different compositions at this spot, varying from light painting to wide panoramas. Our lenses were icing up. Icicles on my moustache were melting and forming under each breath. It was still so bone-snapping cold, in spite of me wearing seven layers clothing!! The Milky Way and Mars Over The Shepherds Hut The rewards were so worthwhile as you can see from the image above. In the end, and I am so glad we persevered through that. I crawled into bed around 02h30, to wake up at 05h00 to meet with Nigel for a blue hour shoot. Day 3: The blue hour is a special time of the day. Most people are not even aware of the blue hour, yet focus on sunset and golden hour instead. Nigel and my wife Dominique joined me for this special time of the day. Just as well as the golden hour that followed was just as special. The previous morning was an appointment with Jack Frost and Ice Maiden; this morning they were nowhere to be found. Being at the right place and the right time, seizing the moment is what it is all about. You may not have that opportunity come your way again. Blue Hour Over The Dam Cottage After shooting this scene, we explored other subjects, and I was on hand to help both Dominique and Nigel with settings and advice. Golden hour was exceptional this morning. The glowing reds and oranges of the sunkissed trees and mountainside popped and painted a whole new scene before our eyes. This was truly a magical time. Golden Hour Over The Village As quickly as it came, quickly it went, and the morning transformed into day. We met again for breakfast at 08h30, and those that wanted to leave earlier did so. The workshop was a success as you can see from the images captured. It was very cold, and that adds to the experience and the quality of the images captured. Our next workshop is being held on 9-11 November 2018, seats are already been filled. There are still slots available, book now to avoid disappointment. I would like to thank everyone who participated in the workshop, my wife Dominique for her support and managing the unseen background essentials of the workshop and for assisting me. Everyone came away with something from the workshop. To Nikon South-Africa for the loan of the Nikon D850, what game changer and superb camera body! Thank you Rogge Cloof for such a superb venue!   Book Here For The Next Workshop The next workshop runs from 9-11 November 2018, you too can learn to photograph the night skies as above. You don't even need to own a camera, there is a 20% Outdoorphoto / ODP camera gear discount voucher available to those that book. There is also a further 30% discount on offer for the printing of your images on canvas from sizes A1-A3 at Kodak SuperFoto Worcester. T&C's apply. Click now on the button to book for this exciting workshop and for more information! BOOK NOW   Dominique Cook


Have You Tried YouPic for Photographers?

Have You Tried YouPic for Photographers? Have you tried YouPic for photographers? YouPic is a photo and video platform where anyone can upload their work. Photographers can rate each others work, down to specifics like composition, creativity, technical quality and content. YouPic is the place for photography enthusiasts around the world to be inspired, receive recognition and improve their photography. It is in my opinion, the best social platform for photographers out there right now. Whether you are an amateur or a professional, the YouPic platform provides anyone with useful courses, tips & tricks, and inspiration. YouPic is first and foremost a photo community, and it is based on a passion for photography and an engagement in the art form. There are currently over 1.5 million photographers from all around the world that have found YouPic and has become a part of its loving and active community. On YouPic, there are a number of ways for photographers to interact with each other and share their work with the rest of the community.  So What Is YouPic? Well, its not Instagram, it is not Facebook. Why I say that it’s not really like Instagram or Flickr etc, in which you could post anything off the cuff (although you could if you wanted to), is because it can best described as being a LinkedIn version of Instagram where professionals display their work, where they can be hired, their work reviewed or even sell their works. The photographic quality standards of works are very high, as is the level of photographers on this platform. It can be used on IOS, Android and Windows devices. For people like me it’s a great place to both find inspirational photos, discuss how they were taken, and to gain useful insight into which of your photos resonate with other photographers of similar styles, and what it was about the photo that they liked. This forces you to only post photos that you think are worthy of review, which in turn keeps the overall quality level high. There are awards and levels that you receive as you get more of the typical social factors like favorites, repics (like a retweet within the platform), and engagement (comments), as well as things like number of countries your photos were taken in and other less common items. The EXIF data, tagging and geotagged information is also displayed along with your image. Your work can be shared by you or others to any of the existing social networks. It also has a Lightroom plugin so you can upload directly from within the application which is quite handy. Who Will You Find On YouPic? There is a huge passionate community of photography enthusiasts from all of walks of life. Amateurs to super professional photographers, it looks to be the new hot spot for photographers. Photographers like Adam Hinton and David Harrow even have a profiles on YouPic, that says a lot to me! How Much Does It Cost?   Terms and Conditions Reading the About Page, Terms & Conditions, Privacy, YouPic seems to have their hearts in the right place. It is really encouraging to read in large letters, that photographers keeps all their rights to their works. How Does It Work? It did not take more than a few seconds after uploading my first work, that I started to receive positve responses and repics (which is like a re-tweet) and feedback based on composition, creativity, technical quality and content. Everybody is looking for something called Inspiration Stars on YouPic. When you acquire those, the human curators choose your image to be featured. You will also receive many more views and love on the special feed called Inspiration. There is also a shop feature which I havent set up yet, as I have been using YouPic for less than a week, but are planning to do so soon. The Shop is commission free, which means that I will get 100% of the revenue I make. My Take On Social Media Platforms Social media is an amazing vehicle to reach out to people instantly! Prior to the digital age, one had to work so much harder to get your name out there and to be noticed, now it's so much easier; and the competition bar can be raised even higher in the race to be the top dog in any game. In today's world, it is all about instant gratification, people dont have time to wait for a roll of film to be processed, they want the digital image today! It is good to have a presence online and a must. Personally, I do not have the time or desire to be feeding 20 different platforms and I have been very selective in what I have chosen to use for my photographic business. Facebook has the strongest social media following internationally since its inception in 2004. I use this as my main presence, followed by Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn. Twitter and Instagram are brilliant if you are shooting at a sporting event, capturing the moments now, and later competitors can see your snaps and tags and get in touch with you afterwards for images that you may have to sell. LinkedIn for me a great place to showcase my work as a business. I have now since discovered YouPic, and are very impressed with what I see and how it works! This is by no means a fully comprehensive review of the platform, I can say I am inspired by the works I have seen and are in this one for the long haul. Do give it a try and follow me here as well. Conclusion This is a fantastic platform to be discovered, seen and noticed by the photography community and by photographic consumers. Newsletter Please subscribe to my newsletter which will inform you of any new workshops, activities, products and upcoming events. Subscribe


Social Media Banners – Your Billboard On The Internet Highway

Social Media Banners - Your Billboard On The Internet Highway By Craig Fouché Your social media banners are your billboards on the internet highway, no matter which channel you use! Nothing more nothing less! If you are wanting to put yourself out there, design something professional that will spark interest and let you stand out from the rest of the crowd! Sell your brand well, first time, every time! I had a lightbulb moment the other day after doing a shoot for a client that needed updated advertising content for their billboard in the city where I live. Far too often, including me, we post a "nice" image up on our banner on Facebook and it may stay there for quite some time. We endeavour to generate as much internet traffic through the social media channels we use, as it is ultimately advertising that we are doing to potential vendors out there to make use of our skills and services. That's when the penny dropped! It is no different to you driving down a busy highway and seeing a giant billboard advertising a brand, idea, product or service. Some billboards are punchy and eye-catching, others very quirky and punny, as well as funny, and others that are seriously bland. I recall about 15 years ago in Pretoria, seeing a large billboard advertising luxury cars and the slogan was "7>6" that is 7 is greater than 6 and that the BMW 7 series was greater than the Audi A6. Mathematically it is true, 7>6. Ultimately BMW was trying to say that their brand of luxury cars was better than Audi, albeit both are German manufacturers. Clever advertising like this stands out and makes you think, yes, seven IS greater than six and you don't forget it. In response to this, 500m down the same highway, Audi responded with "8 is better than 7"! They weren't taking this one lying down, they were saying their A8 was better than the 7-series BMW! How much different aren't we as photographers when it comes to selling our skills and brand when competing against a newbie who has just walked into a camera store, bought an entry level setup and is suddenly a professional? You have taken time to build a brand, a name for yourself, why shouldn't it show in every dimension of what you do and who you are. If you are professional, show that be noticed, stand out from the rest of the crowd! YouTube is a great source of information, use it if you stuck with a skill that you need to learn when designing in Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator or Indesign. Adobe has a great tutorial on How to amp up your Facebook profile, which is easy to follow and will help you to get your creative juices flowing. Follow seasonal trends as advertisers do when it comes to marketing. An example could be Valentines Day, change your banner to reflect that sale for that event and brand it accordingly. The first thing any visitor is going to see are your social media banners when they search for you on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram etc. Make an impact the first time so that your visitor likes, stays, uses your services and recommends you to someone else. Below are some examples of Facebook social media banners that I have designed for my client and my page: Manic Cyles Worcester Craig Fouché Photography Social Media Banners Craig Fouché Photography Social Media Banners Craig Fouché Photography Social Media Banners   Craig Fouché Photography Social Media Banners How to Design Social Media Banners The ideal designing size for Facebook is 1920 x 1080px. Yes is way deeper than the traditional letterbox size, it is however a 16:9 aspect ratio which is also the size for HD video. Well, what has this go to do with Facebook you may ask? We are now able to upload videos as an alternative to photos to the banner, and slideshows too. The OLD shallow letterbox size (which you’ll still see recommended by a lot of people) is: Groups: 820 x 250 (we recommend you create this in 1920 x 1080) Pages: 820 x 312 (we recommend you create this in 1920 x 1080) Personal Profile: 851 x 315 (we recommend you create this in 1920 x 1080) Universal recommended size for all all Facebook cover photos (Page, Group and Profile): 1920px x 1080px Aim for a high resolution, as there are users out there with retina displays, futureproof yourself by sticking with 1920 x 1080 px; 820 x 461 px still looks the sharpest on older screens. The upside is a lovely deep photo to play with that renders in all its depth on mobile. However, on desktop it gets cropped a little. These deep dimensions give the best view on mobile as it uses the entire photo and gives you the largest area possible for the photo on the native app. It also gives you a larger area for any text that Facebook itself places on top of the photo in some scenarios. As you don’t have an option to upload different variants for mobile vs desktop rendering you need to be concious of where your photo will get cropped on different devices. Keep text to the safe area and ensure that nothing else in the picture looks weird when savagely cropped. View sizes for Facebook Groups, Pages and Profiles This is how the different photos actually surface on different devices. Facebook Group cover photo dimensions: Overall –  820px x 461px Mobile – 640px x 360px Tablet – 820px x 303px Desktop – 820px x 332px (1640px x 664px Retina Display) For all the above create your image as 1920px x 1080px Facebook Page cover photo dimensions: Overall – 820px x 461px Mobile –  640px x 360px Tablet – 820px x 391px Desktop – 820px x 312px (1640px x 624px Retina Display) For all the above create your image as 1920px x 1080px Facebook Profile cover photo dimensions: Overall –  851px x 479px Mobile – 640px x 360px Tablet – 851px x 406px Desktop – 851px x 315px (1702px x 630px Retina Display) For all the above create your image as 1920px x 1080px Also be aware that what you see will also vary on which browser/app variants you are using. Facebook treats each of these three variants differently: Tablet browser and desktop web browser (eg Safari/Chrome) Mobile phone web browser and tablet native Facebook app Finally the native Facebook phone app This is where we really are with Alice down the rabbit hole) the photo is then cropped differently depending on where it surfaces – eg as a recommended Group vs on the Group’s home url. Saving And Optimising Your Photo For Facebook – Recommended Software It is important to optimise the photo correctly – a lot of  image problems are to do with poor optimisation. It is recommended using a .jpg for optimum resolution at the smallest file size. The best way to do this is using something like Adobe Photoshop and exporting the image with ‘save for web’ as this will optimise the image better and give you a smaller file size. If you don’t have Photoshop there are several free services online that you can use. Most of the photo libraries have photo editors on their sites now. Try https://www.shutterstock.com/editor which has plenty of social media templates and enables you to edit and resize your own images for free (i.e. they don’t have to be Shutterstock pictures). Another excellent tool to use is Adobe Spark, as a Creative Cloud user, this is part of your package. For a Photoshop Social Media Banners template for Google+, Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn click here to download. Disclaimer: Social media sizing dimensions and information found on various sources on the internet. Newsletter Please subscribe to my newsletter which will inform you of any new workshops, activities, products and upcoming events. Subscribe


Astrophotography – PhotoPills – Guide To Meteor Showers in 2018

A Guide to the Best Meteor Showers in 2018: When, Where and How to Shoot Them By Rafael Pons Here is a very informative guide by the guys at PhotoPills, who, as far as I am concerned are the industry standard for astrophotography apps. All credits in this blog belong to the authors, none of these works are mine. Their guides are very helpful,so  be sure to enter your valid email address to receive one. You’re about to learn all you need to enjoy watching and shooting one of the best late-night shows served by nature: Meteor Showers. Meteors are caused by streams of cosmic debris entering the Earth's atmosphere at extremely high speeds. Smaller fragments burn in the atmosphere producing a “shooting star”, but the bigger ones can really produce an amazing big fireball. And when the space rocks (meteoroids) of the Perseids, the Geminids or any other powerful meteor shower enter Earth’s atmosphere, you’d better be ready for a great night of shooting stars. My goal with this article, using the same words that the night photography Master Lance Keimig uses in his most famous book, Night Photography and Light Painting, is to help you: "Find your way in the dark" Get the whole Meteor Showers ebook for FREE now!     Content Meteor shower calendar for 2018 Where to look or frame: the radiant? The Meteor Showers’ key information How to shoot a meteor shower Inspiring meteor shower images We’re rewarding creativity 1 Meteor shower calendar for 2018 The following table gives you all the key information about the most important and active meteor showers in 2018: Pay attention to the Moon phase percentage during the peak night. The more phase the worst conditions for the watching and shooting. As you see on the table, moonlight will be blocking the Quadrantids, Eta Aquariids, Delta Aquariids and Orionids. While, the conditions will be great for the Lyrids, Perseids, Leonids and Geminids. Finally, the table also provides both the Radiant and constellation of origin of each meteor shower to help you know where to look or frame your camera. 2 Where to look or frame: the radiant? During the meteor shower, you’ll observe that meteors radiate from one point in the night sky. This spot is called the radiant. Each radiant (the point of origin from where the meteors appear to converge) is located within or near the constellation that give the name to the meteor shower. For example, the radiant of the Geminids meteor shower is located in the constellation of Gemini, near the Castor star, one of the brightest stars in the night sky. But you don’t have to look in the direction of the meteor shower's radiant point to see the most meteors. Meteors can appear in all parts of the sky. If you decide to introduce the radiant point in your frame and trace the path of the meteors backwards, you’ll realize that all meteors appear to converge to one single spot in the sky. In this case, if you're lucky enough to capture many meteors, you can create a stunning effect by using the technique described in this video by David Kingham for image post-processing. By using David’s technique, Antoni Cladera (aka, the Photographer) could built the awesome cover image of this article. I love this effect. How can you locate the radiant? The position of the radiant in the sky is defined by two coordinates: Right Ascension and Declination. Declination is the vertical angular distance between the center of a celestial body and the celestial equator. A declination of +20º means that the celestial body is located 20º north of the celestial equator. The south polar cap is at a declination of –90º, the equator is at declination 0º, and the north polar cap is at a declination of +90º. Declination is to a celestial globe as latitude is to a terrestrial globe, a vertical positioning of an object. Right Ascension is the angular distance measured eastward along the celestial equator between the vernal equinox and the celestial body. Together with Declination, it defines a position of a celestial body in the sky. It is measured in hours (1h equals to 15º), minutes and seconds. Yes, I know, both coordinates have horrible names and even worse definitions. The good news is that you don’t need to understand the theory to use PhotoPills’ Night Augmented Reality tool to locate the exact position of the radiant in the sky given by Right Ascension and Declination. Take a look at the following video to learn how to do it. We help you locate the radiant of the Perseids (Right ascension 3h 4m, Declination +58º). It’s easier that it seems, I promise ;) Once you’ve located the radiant in the sky for both the beginning and the end of the shooting, you’ll know exactly the path the radiant will follow. Then, you'll be able to frame at the right area of the sky to create an image with the same effect than David Kingham's. 3 The Meteor Showers’ key information The Quadrantids, January 1-6 The Quadrantids, well known for their bright fireball meteors, which produce larger explosions of light and color, are also known to be tricky. With a Zenithal Hourly Rate (ZHR) reaching 120 meteors per hour, the Quadrantids could be the most powerful shower of the year. But it turns out that the peak only lasts a few hours, which makes it difficult to catch. The shower runs from January 1 to 6. The best night for the watching is the one between the 3 and 4. The Peak has been predicted for January 3 at 20h UTC. This is not a good year for the Quadrantids, the Moon, with a phase of 98%, will block the stars. Unfortunately, this meteor shower is only visible from the northern hemisphere. These meteors are not visible from the southern hemisphere. Highlights: When: January 1-6 2018 Best night: January 3-4 Peak: January 3 at 20h UTC Moon Phase: 98% (poor viewing conditions) Number (ZHR): 120 Meteors/hour Meteors velocity: 42 km/s Origin (radiant): constellation Boötes Radiant coordinates: Right Ascension 15h 28m, Declination +49.5º Associated Asteroid: 2003 EH1 Northern Hemisphere: Medium rate Southern Hemisphere: Not visible The Lyrids, April 16-25 With a Zenithal Hourly Rate (ZHR) of just 20 meteors per hour, the Lyrids is an average shower. It runs from April 16 to 25. The best night for the watching is the one between the 22 and 23. The Peak has been predicted for April 22 at 18h UTC. This year, the crescent Moon will allow us to enjoy the show. This meteor shower is visible from both hemispheres. Although it’s weaker in the southern hemisphere. Highlights: When: April 16-25  2018 Best night: April 22-23 Peak: April 22 at 18h UTC Moon Phase: 38% (good viewing conditions) Number (ZHR): +20 Meteors/hour Meteors velocity: 48 km/s Origin (radiant): constellation Lyra Radiant coordinates: Right Ascension 18h 08m, Declination +32º Associated Comet: C/1861 G1 Thatcher (comet discovered in 1861) Northern Hemisphere: Medium rate Southern Hemisphere: Low rate Eta Aquariids, April 19 to May 28 The Eta Aquariids is known for its high percentage of persistent trains, but few fireballs. It’s usually a very active meteor shower when viewed from the southern tropics. Its Zenithal Hourly Rate (ZHR) is 55 meteors per hour, but it gets down to 10-30 from the equator northward. It runs from April 19 to May 25. The best night for the watching is the one between May 6 and 7. The Peak has been predicted for May 6 at 8h UTC. Trying the night before and after is also a great idea. The Moon, with a phase of 61%, will be an issue this year. It might block part of the meteors. So, use PhotoPills to check the time the moon will set in your location and get ready for the show. You never know what can happen! The meteor shower is best visible from the southern hemisphere. It’s also visible from the northern hemisphere but at a lower rate. Highlights: When: April 19 to May 28  2018 Best night: May 6-7 Peak: May 6 at 8h UTC Moon Phase: 61% (poor viewing conditions) Number (ZHR): +55 Meteors/hour Meteors velocity: 66 km/s Origin (radiant): constellation Aquarius Radiant coordinates: Right Ascension 22h 32m, Declination -1º Associated Comet: 1P Halley Northern Hemisphere: Medium rate Southern Hemisphere: Good rate Delta Aquariids. July 12 to August 23 As it happens with the Eta Aquariids, it’s better to watch this shower from the southern tropics. With a Zenithal Hourly Rate (ZHR) of 20 meteors per hour, do not expect to see many meteors. It runs from July 12 to August 23. The best night for the watching is the one between July 29 and 30. The Peak has been predicted for July 30 at 11h UTC. This is not a good ear for the Eta Aquariids, the Moon, with a phase of 96%, will block the stars. The meteor shower is best visible from the southern hemisphere. But it’s also also visible from the northern hemisphere but at a lower rate. Highlights: When: July 12 to August 23 2018 Best night: July 29-30 Peak: July 30 at 11h UTC Moon Phase: 96% (poor viewing conditions) Number (ZHR): +20 Meteors/hour Meteors velocity: 42 km/s Origin (radiant): constellation Aquarius Radiant coordinates: Right Ascension 22h 40m, Declination -16.4º Associated Comet: Unknown, 96P Machholz suspected Northern Hemisphere: Medium rate Southern Hemisphere: Good rate The Perseids, July 17 to August 24 The Perseids is considered to be the best meteor shower of the year. With a Zenithal Hourly Rate (ZHR) of above 100 meteors per hour, the night of the peak is usually epic. It runs from July 17 to August 24. This year, the best night for the watching is the one between the 12 and 13 of August. The Peak has been predicted for August 13 at 01h UTC. It’s a good idea to give it a try also the nights between the 11-12 and 13-14. The moon, with a phase of 3%, will give us the opportunity to enjoy a big show. The meteor shower is visible and intense in both hemispheres. Highlights: When: July 17 to August 24 2018 Best night: August 12-13 Peak: August 13 at 01h UTC Moon Phase: 3% (good viewing conditions) Number (ZHR): +100 Meteors/hour Meteors velocity: 60 km/s Origin (radiant): constellation Perseus Radiant coordinates: Right Ascension 03h 04m, Declination +58º Associated Comet: 109P/Swift-Tuttle (comet discovered in 1862) Northern Hemisphere: High rate Southern Hemisphere: High rate The Orionids, October 4 to November 14 The Orionids are associated to the comet 1P/Halley, the same that’s associated to the Eta Aquariids in May. It’s an average shower with a Zenithal Hourly Rate (ZHR) of just 20 meteors per hour. It runs from October 4 to November 14. The best night for the watching is the one between the 21 and 22 of October. The Peak has been predicted for October 22 at 03h UTC. Unfortunately, the moon, with a phase of 91%, will block the stars. The meteor shower is visible in both hemispheres. Highlights: When: October 4 to November 14 2018 Best night: October 21-22 Peak: October 28 at 03h UTC Moon Phase: 91% (poor viewing conditions) Number (ZHR): +20 Meteors/hour Meteors velocity: 66 km/s Origin (radiant): constellation Orion Radiant coordinates: Right Ascension 06h 20m, Declination +15.5º Associated Comet: 1P/Halley Northern Hemisphere: Low rate Southern Hemisphere: Low rate The Leonids, November 5 to 30 The Leonids has a peak above 100 meteors/hour every 33 years. The last great peak occurred in 2001, so we’ll have to wait until 2034! Usually, It’s an average shower with a Zenithal Hourly Rate (ZHR) of just 15 meteors per hour. It runs from November 5 to 30. The best night for the watching is the one between the 17 and 18 of November. The Peak has been predicted for November 17 at 23h UTC. The Moon, with a phase of 62%, will be an issue this year. It might block part of the meteors. So, use PhotoPills to check the time the Moon will set in your location and get ready for the show. The meteor shower should be visible in both hemispheres. Highlights: When: November 5 to 30 2018 Best night: November 17-18 Peak: November 17 at 23h UTC Moon Phase: 62% (good viewing conditions) Number (ZHR): +15 Meteors/hour Meteors velocity: 71 km/s Origin (radiant): constellation Leo Radiant coordinates: Right Ascension 10h 08m, Declination +21.6º Associated Comet: 55P/Tempel-Tuttle Northern Hemisphere: Low rate Southern Hemisphere: Low rate The Geminids, December 4 to 16 For many astronomers, the Geminids is considered to be the queen of the meteor showers. The comet 3200 Phaethon is the cause of this meteor shower. With a Zenithal Hourly Rate (ZHR) of +120 meteors per hour, you can expect to see a good number of bright meteors. It runs from December 4 to 16. The best night for the watching is the one between the 13 and 14. The Peak has been predicted for December 14 at 13h UTC. This year, the waxing crescent Moon will not be a problem for the watching. Use PhotoPills to check the rise and set times, and choose the best time for the shooting. It’s visible from both hemispheres. Although it’s weaker in the southern hemisphere. Highlights: When: December 4 to 16 2018 Best night: December 13-14 Peak: December 14 at 13h UTC Moon Phase: 35% (good viewing conditions) Number (ZHR): +120 Meteors/hour Meteors velocity: 35 km/s Origin (radiant): constellation Gemini Radiant coordinates: Right Ascension 07h 28m, Declination +32.2º Associated Asteroid: 3200 Phaethon (discovered in 1982) Northern Hemisphere: High rate Southern Hemisphere: Medium rate 4 How to shoot a meteor shower In case you plan a night scape to shoot one of the meteor showers, the following recommendations will help you get started with the shooting: Location: Go into an area with little light pollution. Framing: Make sure you’re framing the right area in the sky. You can use PhotoPills’ Night Augmented Reality tool to locate the radiant of the meteor shower. Focal length: Use the widest angle lens possible (at least 14mm) to capture the most area of the sky. Aperture: Use a fast lens to collect as much light as possible. An aperture of f/2.8 is great. Focusing: Focus at the hyperfocal distance. Make sure you’re not focusing at a shorter distance, because you’ll get stars completely blurred, even if you miss it by one inch (2.5cm). It’s much better to make focus exceeding the hyperfocal distance by 2 feet rather than falling short. You can calculate the hyperfocal distance with our on-line Depth of Field calculator. Also, learn all you need to know about hyperfocal distance and depth of field with our extremely detailed DoF Guide. ISO: Set the ISO to the maximum level that your camera allows without getting excessive noise (ISO 1600 or higher is recommended). Exposure time: Use PhotoPills' on-line Spot Stars calculator to calculate the maximum exposure time to get stars as bright spots. Usually, you’ll get a value between 20 and 35 seconds, depending on the camera and lens used. White Balance: With no light pollution, I recommend you to use a WB between 3,400K and 4,000K. Interval: Use a shooting interval between 2 and 5 seconds to try to capture the maximum amount of meteors.    Regarding the equipment, in Step 7 of our tutorial “How to Shoot Truly Contagious Milky Way Pictures”, you’ll find all you need no matter your level of expertise or budget. Make sure to take a look at it. But, knowing the camera, lens and tripod you’ll need is only the beginning. I recommend you to also bring with you at least one heater strip to fight dew back! One of the most annoying aspects of night photography is dealing with dew. Moisture in the air can condense on the cold front surface of your lens, and ruin the photos. Getting a heater strip is a great way to save the night. The good news is that heater strips are very cheap (see again “Equipment against moisture” in step 7). Perhaps, the two most popular heater strip brands are Dew-Not and Kendrick. I use a Dew-Not 3" DN004, which perfectly fits my Nikon 14-24mm f/2.8. This model has a length of 13" (33cm), enough for the diameter of the lens. Make sure you buy a strip that can go around the entire circumference of the lens. You’ll also need a portable battery and a cable connector.   Dew heater Dew-Not 3" DN004 connected to a portable battery. Need more help? Take a look at our articles How To Shoot Truly Contagious Milky Way Pictures and The Definitve Guide to Shooting Hipnotic Star Trails. You'll learn everything you need to imagine, plan and shoot stunning photos of the stars. And if you wish to learn face to face with us, the whole PhotoPills Team, along with a selected group of photography masters, don't miss the PhotoPills Camp! 5 Inspiring meteor shower images From stacking a great number of photos to create David Kingham’s effect or a powerful star trails image, to putting together a timelapse video, spending the whole night shooting a meteor shower can be very productive from the creative side. The following images and videos are the outcome of the Geminids Meteor shower in 2015. It was on Monday, December 14 2015, around 10pm local time, when the clouds disappeared from above our heads, leaving us face to face with one of the most active meteor showers we remember. We spent the next 5 hours shooting and enjoying the show. What an epic time! Timelapse The timelapse is the result of playing 647 still images at 24fps. Nikon D4s | 14mm | f2.8 | 30s | 5000 ISO Star trails   Staking of 647 photos. Nikon D4s | 14mm | f2.8 | 30s | 5000 ISO You can create stunning star trails by merging a series of short exposure photos into a single image using softwares like StarStaX (Mac, Windows, Linux) or Startrails (Windows). Meteor Exploding Who has seen the explosion of a meteor in the sky? We did! And with a smoky tail :) You never know what your camera will capture during the night. Each night scape is a different adventure. Converging Meteors   Nikon D4s | 14mm | f2.8 | 30s | 5000 ISO The image is the result of stacking 120 photos using David Kingham’s technique. To create this stunning effect, every photo has been rotated around Polaris to keep the radiant point of the meteor shower in the same place. This proves that all meteors appear to converge from one single point in the sky: the radiant.   Happy Showers! All photos in this articles have been taken by Antoni Cladera.  Newsletter Please subscribe me to your newsletter informing me of all new workshops, activities, products and upcoming events. Subscribe


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


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 "


Craig Fouché Photography | Experience A Celebratory Photographic Journey Of My Works
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