About

My name is Steve O’Nions and I am a keen amateur photographer specialising in landscapes.  I live in North West England where I am fortunate to have the wonderful scenery of the Lake District and Snowdonia only an hour and a half away.

102 thoughts on “About

  • December 19, 2016 at 15:14
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    I have just come across your website via watching Robin Whalley in the Lake District.
    I think your Photography is sublime.I have always lusted after a BronIca SQA,but could never afford it,so it is so lovely to see your images of this wonderful country of ours.Thank you so much for sharing your work with us.

    Reply
    • December 19, 2016 at 23:13
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      Thanks Pete, the Bronica is a delight to work with and I hope you manage to get one someday.

      Steve

      Reply
  • January 24, 2017 at 13:14
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    Thank you Jonnie.

    Reply
  • June 7, 2017 at 22:38
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    Hi Steve,

    I have always had a thing about woodland photography and have recently ditched my digital set-up and dusted of a Horseman 45FA.

    Your videos and photography HAVE INSPIRED me.

    Thank You

    John

    Reply
    • June 8, 2017 at 11:16
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      Thank you John, that is very kind of you to say so. I used to struggle with shooting in he woods until I slowed down and started looking with fresh eyes. I think this is partly due to only shooting these locations with big film cameras that make shooting from the hip impossible.

      Best regards.

      Steve.

      Reply
  • July 11, 2017 at 01:24
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    Hi Steve you have opened my eyes, to the woodland photography I use 4X5 and also lucky enough to have a Bronica with two lenses. I live in Pebble beach in California the woods here are completely different to those in the UK, Probably because of the amount of rain in the UK, I travel the local woods looking for compositions but trying to make order from chaos is a real challenge, I find the keepers I see in the camera are usually not the ones I end up keeping when I look at them later, anyhow thank you for the excellent videos regards
    Kevin

    Reply
  • August 8, 2017 at 15:38
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    Hi Steve,

    I very much enjoy following you on Youtube (my favourite recently was the pier you photographed with the Panasonic) and Flickr. Nice to read your thoughts and stories behind the photos too.
    I have my Nikon F55 and Voigtlander Vito B loaded with black and white film but yet found the courage to leave the Fuji X-T10 at home. Worried I will mess up the film and miss an opportunity I would have captured on digital.
    Anyway, very much enjoy your work and watching/reading your adventures.

    Reply
  • November 3, 2017 at 19:58
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    Hello Steve,

    I really enjoy your photography and videos of your creative process. Your videos really inspired me to pick up landscape photography.

    I want to buy a Bronica SQ-A and I was wondering – which brand and what kind of graduated filter are you using. Is Cokin P size (100x100mm) big enough to cover the 50mm FOV on 6×6 frame?

    Radek

    Reply
    • November 4, 2017 at 15:06
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      Hi

      I’m glad you enjoy the videos and pictures and want to buy a Bronica film camera. I use the 85mm Cokin P series which is just big enough for the 50mm P lens providing you do not have any other filter attached. This lens uses a 67mm filter thread like the 80 and 150 but the later 50mm PS uses a 77mm thread and may well vignette. The 40mm PS lens is also a good option but uses a 95mm filter so I rarely take it out.

      Reply
    • November 4, 2017 at 15:06
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      Hi

      I’m glad you enjoy the videos and pictures and want to buy a Bronica film camera. I use the 85mm Cokin P series which is just big enough for the 50mm P lens providing you do not have any other filter attached. This lens uses a 67mm filter thread like the 80 and 150 but the later 50mm PS uses a 77mm thread and may well vignette. The 40mm PS lens is also a good option but uses a 95mm filter so I rarely take it out.

      Reply
  • November 21, 2017 at 20:37
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    Hi Steve, I have just watched you video on LIyn y Dywarchen and really enjoyed it. I feel inspired, thank you. Can you please send me the direction to this location.

    Reply
    • November 23, 2017 at 08:19
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      Hi Steve.

      The lake is quite easy to find, from Rhyd-Ddu take the small B4418 towards Llyn Nantlle and Penygroes and the parking area is a about a mile on the right. There are spaces for up to about 6 cars and the you can see the boathouse from the road. Hope you have a good trip.

      Steve

      Reply
  • January 20, 2018 at 00:32
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    Hi Steve,
    I found you on YouTube, and absolutely love your stuff!! I am very much an amateur and a beginner, curious, do you always shoot film, and do you ever shoot digital as well. I love B/W film, I think it opens up ones mind and makes you think deeper about an image. The areas you shoot in are gorgeous, I can’t imagine ever getting bored, nor running out of subject matter.

    Regards
    Andrew
    Texas, USA Amateur.

    Reply
  • February 28, 2018 at 20:18
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    Very much enjoying your YouTube post with a focus on film (including Pinhole) and locations within easy reach of the North West. Inspired to check out some of the locations soon and carry on my medium format use… Please keep posting and sharing.

    Reply
    • March 1, 2018 at 19:19
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      Thanks Glenn, I’m glad you like the video and keep using film so it will be there for future generations.

      Best regards

      Steve

      Reply
  • February 28, 2018 at 20:26
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    Sorry.. forgot to ask, do you present talks on your work, approach or posts to camera clubs? I’m a member of a photography community group in Oldham and always on the look out for new guest speakers.

    Reply
    • March 1, 2018 at 19:21
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      I’ve never given any talks Glenn but would like to one day when I get more time. My friend Robin Whalley is local to you and has given many excellent talks.

      All the best

      Steve

      Reply
  • March 6, 2018 at 21:58
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    Hi Steve, I have just found your work on Youtube and have really enjoyed looking at places that I know quite well – Capel Curig and Nant Gywnant – to name but two. I have a Yashica TLR that I rescued from a bric a brac shop on the Isle of Wight – worth a punt for £30 I thought. I have also just bought a Bronica SQ-A. For some reason I find myself drawn to monochrome square format photography. Your pictures have given me a lot of inspiration and I hope to be able to achieve similar success in time. I have a question for you: If you had to choose a particular B+W film and processing chemicals what would they be? Thank you for posting your work.
    Best wishes
    Matt

    Reply
    • March 7, 2018 at 08:15
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      Hi Matt.

      Glad you are enjoying the videos and getting into 6×6 film. In terms of film and chemical choice there are a huge range of options but if I had to pick just one for all occasions it would probably be Kodak Tmax 400 developed in Xtol 1:1. This combination gives very fine grain and sharpness with the advantage that you can work handheld. This matters less on a tripod of course when I might favour FP4+ for the tonality and of course Rollei infrared that needs long exposure times.

      Apart from Xtol the other developer I use is Rodinal which really suits infrared and slower films.

      Hope this helps

      Steve

      Reply
      • March 7, 2018 at 16:07
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        Thank you Steve. It is early days yet and the medium format adventure is just beginning. I use Tmax 400 at the moment but will be trying other stuff soon. The great thing about film and doing my own processing is working slowly and be far more observant to make each frame count.
        Best wishes

        Matt

        Reply
        • December 10, 2018 at 18:42
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          Hi Steve, I’m slowly getting the hang of the Bronica but I find using a light meter really difficult and I never know if the exposure will be right. Do you think I might benefit from a metered prism? Quite an expense but might save a few rolls of film. As always, grateful for any advice.
          Best wishes
          Matt

          Reply
          • December 11, 2018 at 07:30
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            Hi Matt.
            Metered prisms are OK but the ones for medium format cameras lack a lot of the sophistication you will find on 35mm cameras of comparable age. They tend to be average or centre weighted and can easily be fooled by a bright sky.
            If you are shooting negative films you can easily make do with a simple light meter app on your phone, just exclude the sky when taking the reading.
            If you are using slide films you can take the same approach but will probably need a graduated ND filter for the sky.
            Although a handheld meter can be frustrating at first once you get the hang of it you will find it becomes much easier to use.

            All the best

            Steve

  • March 11, 2018 at 23:28
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    Hi Steve.
    I am a keen amateur landscape photographer and have been since around three years ago. I have done a lot of the traditional shoots, the usual stuff. I have watched all your vlogs with interest and I compliment you on your interesting and knowledgeable delivery. You have inspired me to go out and look at landscape in a different way. For that I thank you. I hope to see a few more vlogs from you in the near future. Keep up the great work.
    John

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    • March 12, 2018 at 07:23
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      I’m really pleased that you are enjoying the vlogs John and if they inspire you that’s fantastic. I just set out to capture the experience of being out in the wonderful landscapes we have in our country and if I manage to come back with decent images that is a bonus.

      All the best

      Steve

      Reply
  • May 1, 2018 at 09:25
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    Hi Steve

    Your video at Llyn Dywarchen inspired me to pop over there yesterday.

    I was wondering, could you tell me what the hill to the right of Snowdon is called – in your video over by the tree at 4mins 10 secs – on the skyline above and just left of the island. I was thinking it was Yr Aran, but if you know the right answer I’d be most grateful!

    Many Thanks and best regards

    Andy

    Reply
    • May 2, 2018 at 08:08
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      Hi Andy.

      I can’t be certain but I think it is Lliwedd. I’ll see if I can find out more this week.

      Best regards

      Steve

      Reply
      • May 2, 2018 at 16:58
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        Steve, I think you are spot on with that – Lliwedd has the right shape.

        Thanks for that

        Best Regards

        Andy

        PS. I’m only over in Sandbach, so perhaps we’ll bump into each other in Delamere one day! Stay well Steve.

        Reply
  • June 7, 2018 at 01:13
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    Your presence and calm manner speak volumes representing the best circles of photography.
    I admire the relaxed yet determined adventurousness with which you successfully create compositions imbued with deep meaning.
    Each dialogue with the viewer on the intentions of the shot is informative based partly on technique and respective of it’s emotional impact.
    There are a plethora of youtube photographers but your channel stands out the most and I admire your personage and professional manner.
    You are establishing a place for the reality of natural scenes while at the same time introducing the viewer to emotions stored in nature. This is rare, very rare.
    Far more than a “landscape photographer”‘ you bring the heart of nature through your visionary photography and give photographers, namely me, inspiration to continue the path of exploration of the senses.

    Gratefully Yours,
    Bob Le Moon
    Olympia, Washington USA
    Olympia, Washington. USA

    Reply
    • June 7, 2018 at 07:47
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      Thanks Bob, I really appreciate your kind comments.

      I do enjoy finding the sort of scenes that could exist anywhere and don’t need dramatic light to work well. There is so much to see if you keep your eyes open and are prepared to spend time exploring instead of shooting.

      All the best

      Steve

      Reply
  • June 12, 2018 at 17:48
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    Just watched your YouTube video on your first outing with the Intrepid 10×8…great stuff! I’ve had one for about 3 months and, so far, I’ve found it to be a very capable camera. I’m curious, though… What is with the black tape or whatever wrapped around the base of the front standard?

    Reply
    • June 13, 2018 at 09:46
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      Hi Alan, glad you are also enjoying your 8×10. The black tape is there simply to secure the front standard when clamped down as I found it had a tendency to twist when it’s just a wood to wood contact. I’ve done the same on the 4×5 and it works extremely well – the original idea came from Ben Horne some time last year.

      I wonder what the MkIII version of the 4×5 is going to offer?

      All the best

      Steve

      Reply
  • June 19, 2018 at 22:50
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    Hi Steve,
    Thanks for your interesting and landscape emotional large photo videos :-).

    I have the question. You said you have already got after very long time Intrepid 8×10 camera. (I am little jealous of it:-) ). I placed the order 13th March, it is more then 3 months. I asked Intrepid about it and they stoped the communication with me. They don’t answer e-mails..
    What do you think about it, do you know them? I becoming to be little nervous..

    Thanks for your answer

    All the best

    Lukas

    from Prague

    Reply
    • June 20, 2018 at 10:10
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      Hi Lucas.

      I had to wait almost a year for my 8×10 but I was one of the Kickstarter backers so expected a delay. I have no links to Intrepid but I know they can take a long time to respond to queries. They are definitely still in business and doing very well so I wouldn’t worry too much.

      I hope your camera arrives soon and you are able to get out shooting with it. It isn’t perfect but for the price it is difficult to beat.

      All the best.

      Steve

      Reply
  • June 20, 2018 at 13:12
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    Oh, Steve.

    It looks like you are the magician!!! Just few minutes after your reply , I received the email that my order has been dispatched..
    Thanks for your fast answer, maybe it made some movement in the universe, which made the intrepidcamera comp. finish it.

    I will write my first experiences later.

    Best

    Lukas

    Reply
    • June 21, 2018 at 15:41
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      That’s quite a coincidence Lukas, let’s hope you get out with it soon and make the most of the summer light.

      Incidentally, what lenses do you plan on using with it?

      Steve

      Reply
  • June 21, 2018 at 17:51
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    Hi Steve.

    I already have Nikkor 300/9, Apo Ronar 480/11 in Prontor 3, it is really heavy 1100g in the board not nice for backpacking . Nikkor 450 could be better, but the price was too much for me in this tome, maybe later, and I have Geronar 210/6,3, it is just on the border of the image circle, but I think and hope it will cover 8×10 without long movements.

    Then I have Gundlach Corona 5×7 for it I have Apo Sironar 150/5,6 ( I have it from the nineties, I used Cambo 4×5 for the professional work) I am thinking about making the reduction for 5×7 for Intrepid… We will see..
    The main reason I have decided to go to 8×10 is the possibility of contact print. When I was teen age I met face to face Josef Sudek he was 80 and it was like miracle for me. I would like to come back, it is just the right time for me in my age. 🙂

    Nice to communicate about nice subject..

    LuK

    Reply
    • June 22, 2018 at 06:52
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      Hi Steve.

      I already have Nikkor 300/9, Apo Ronar 480/11 in Prontor 3, it is really heavy 1100g in the board not nice for backpacking . Nikkor 450 could be better, but the price was too much for me in this tome, maybe later, and I have Geronar 210/6,3, it is just on the border of the image circle, but I think and hope it will cover 8×10 without long movements.

      Then I have Gundlach Corona 5×7 for it I have Apo Sironar 150/5,6 ( I have it from the nineties, I used Cambo 4×5 for the professional work) I am thinking about making the reduction for 5×7 for Intrepid… We will see..
      The main reason I have decided to go to 8×10 is the possibility of contact print. When I was teen age I met face to face Josef Sudek he was 80 and it was like miracle for me. I would like to come back, it is just the right time for me in my age. 🙂

      Nice to communicate about nice subject..

      LuK

      Reply
      • June 22, 2018 at 08:25
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        I’ve also decided to use my Nikkor 300 f/9 as I prefer the angle of view over the 240. I wanted the Nikkor 450mm also but cannot justify the cost sadly.

        I would like to try 5×7 as it seems to be a happy medium between the two other formats and I could live with the fact there in no colour film in that format.

        Pretty cool that you met Mr Sudek, one of the all time greats.

        All the best

        Steve

        Reply
  • June 22, 2018 at 18:49
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    Hi Steve.

    What is the wight of 300/9 Nikkor in the Sinar lens board with the shutter? Could you weight it sometime ..

    thanks

    LuK

    Reply
  • June 23, 2018 at 07:32
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    Sorry I thought Nikkor 450/9 weight, do you know, what could be? Lighter then 1100g? LuK

    Reply
    • June 23, 2018 at 07:59
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      I think all the longer focal lengths are pretty heavy unless you go for a barrel lens which is not very convenient. I like the standard field of view from the 300mm and appreciate the light weight of the outfit which means I am happy to take it out more often. I’m also putting together a very light 4×5 setup with a couple of vintage lenses.

      Steve

      Reply
  • June 23, 2018 at 10:19
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    Yes I have the same opinion.. I have bought Apo_Ronar 480/11 ( for 600E It is my most expensive lens) for short tracks or close-ups in the garden. I like I can cut out the horizont or make compact composition and very impressive “bokeh” in the close-ups. But I have experiences only from 5×7 not with 8×10. I will see..
    Do you plan some trip Into the country?

    Nice weekend

    Lukas

    Reply
    • June 25, 2018 at 07:39
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      I’d like to take the 8×10 up a mountain just to see if it is manageable but I need to make myself a strong but light case for it first.

      Steve

      Reply
  • July 19, 2018 at 06:22
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    Hi Steve,

    I just saw your YouTube video about photographing with your Intrepid 8×10 camera (“An 8×10, Midges, and Patience”). In the video you mentioned that you are looking for a backpack to carry your 8×10 camera and gear. I use a f64 backpack for carrying my 8×10 camera and like it:

    https://www.amazon.com/F-64-BPX-Black-Professional-Photography/dp/B00CPS2DKK

    Regarding longer lenses, the Fuji FUJINON-C 450mm f12.5 lens is pretty small and light (270 grams), but not cheap. The FUJINON-C 600mm f11.5 is also relatively light (575 grams) but similarly expensive.

    Hope this helps.

    Daniel

    Reply
    • July 19, 2018 at 08:37
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      Hi Daniel.

      Thanks for the heads up on the f64, it looks like the best overall option and less of a compromise than other rucksack type solutions.

      On the subject of lenses I’d love one of those Fuji’s but price and scarcity is putting me off. I have considered the 450 Nikkor but it is quite hefty. The original idea is that I’d have the 240 Fujinon alongside a 450 and that’s still the ultimate goal. Two lenses would be enough for me.

      All the best

      Steve

      Reply
  • August 20, 2018 at 13:32
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    Dear Steve,

    Recently I came across your website and YouTube channel.

    I was researching in order to buy a used medium format film camera. An internet search with keywords “medium format”, “film”, and “landscape photography” linked me to one of your videos.

    I’m very glad it did. I have now watched a number of your videos and find them inspirational, informative, and with a healthy pinch of humour too.

    And your images … well … they are really, really wonderful.

    There is plenty of woodland and farmland on my doorstep. So far I have had limited success in capturing truly memorable images with 35mm film but, with a little perseverance, I’m sure I can do better.

    Looking forward to seeing some more of your stuff, as well as, hopefully, acquiring a medium format (probably 6 x 4.5) camera myself.

    Regards,
    Mark

    Reply
    • August 20, 2018 at 16:40
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      Glad you enjoyed the videos Mark and good luck with the film shooting. If you can stretch to medium format I think you will enjoy the results even more and working with the cameras is a lot easier thanks to the size of the controls and view finder.

      All the best

      Steve

      Reply
      • August 23, 2018 at 14:12
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        Dear Steve,

        Thanks for your reply.

        Forgive the following ramblings, but I’d be pleased to hear your opinions – if you have time.

        Do you think there is a significant advantage of the 6 x 6 square format over 6 x 4.5?

        Being used to 35mm, I suppose I tend to favour a rectangular image – which 6 x 4.5 already is, of course. Does a square format open up more compositional possibilities? (I know I can crop a square image to a rectangle if it makes sense.)

        I am mainly photographing landscapes and nature (plants, not wildlife). I would also like to try some portraits (of family members).

        As I am starting in medium format, would you suggest that I begin with 6 x 4.5 or 6 x 6?

        If you have time I would be pleased to hear your thoughts.

        By the way … I’m into old cameras (mechanical ones – or with minimal electronics).

        So my preferred choice of camera has boiled down to either an old Mamiya 645 (6 x 4.5, obviously – the clue’s in the name), or an even older, and fully mechanical, Bronica S2 (which is 6 x 6).

        The Bronica has the advantage of interchangeable film back and 1/1000s shutter speed. I’m not sure if I will use interchangeable backs or not.

        The Mamiya has mirror lock up and, maybe, better chance of having it serviced if it needs it.

        Thanks and best regards,
        Mark

        Reply
        • August 23, 2018 at 14:53
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          Hi Mark.

          If you plan to shoot a lot of rectangular images then the 645 camera has many advantages, it is smaller and lighter and you can get faster lenses if necessary (there is an 80mm f1.9 for the Mamiya 645).

          On the other hand if you like square format like I do then the Bronica SQ range are ideal and they also do not need to be rotated as a 645 does for portrait format shots.

          I’ve owned 3 MAmiya 645’s over the years and many 6×6 cameras and prefer the latter.

          Recent Bronica SQA series are very reliable as are the Mamiya 645’s so you can’t really go wrong with either.

          All the best.

          Steve

          Reply
          • August 26, 2018 at 08:24
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            Hi Steve,

            Thank you for your reply and the helpful tips.

            Regards,
            Mark

          • August 29, 2018 at 08:15
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            Hi Steve,

            I just watched your video “Autumn Photography in the Forest” where you used the Zeiss Ercona.

            I’m impressed that you could capture such a nice image with a 60 year old folding camera.

            Fantastic!

            Regards,
            Mark

          • August 29, 2018 at 15:00
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            Thanks Mark, I really must get out with that camera again.

            All the best.

            Steve

          • March 12, 2019 at 09:54
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            Hi Steve,

            Well, it took a while but I did finally get my medium format film camera.

            It’s not what I was thinking of initially, but I am very happy to have obtained a Pentacon Six TL with 80mm f2.8 Carl Zeiss Jena lens in superb condition. The camera itself is a piece of art, and it produces fantastic images.

            You probably know this camera. It is fully mechanical – no electronics whatsoever, not even a light meter. I’m going to have it serviced to make sure it runs well for the next few years.

            It’s really fun to use … and certainly slows you down. Not exactly a point-and-shoot. 🙂

            I continue to enjoy your YouTube channel.
            Please keep the vlogs coming – they are very informative.

            Regards,
            Mark

          • March 21, 2019 at 14:33
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            Hi Mark.

            Sorry for the late reply, my website has not been informing me of new comments (it is going to get a full overhaul).

            You should have fun with the Pentacon, the lenses are reported to be very good and given a full CLA it should operate well for years to come.

            There will be more film vlogs on YouTube soon so I hope you enjoy watching.

            All the best

            Steve

  • August 23, 2018 at 11:03
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    Hi Steve,

    I recently discovered your channel and I definitely felt in love with it.

    I’m basically an amateur landscape digital photographer (I’m living in the Italian Dolomite region) but in the last couple of years I’m getting closer to film photography (becoming addicted to it). With a friend of mine we started to use a 35mm Nikon F3 and a 6×6 Zenza Bronika. We decided to use a hybrid workflow (as you do) trying to take the best both from the analogic and the digital world. Anyway, until now the main issue is the digital acquisition of the film negative (or slide film). So may I ask you which scanner do you use? Or in case do you have some suggestions to give us (considering that we are going to buy also an intrepid camera 4×5)?

    Thank you for your time.

    Best regards.

    Nicola

    Reply
    • August 23, 2018 at 15:00
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      Hi Nicola.

      Glad you are looking into a hybrid workflow, it can give great results with modem software and printers.

      I always use my Epson v700 for medium and large format and occasionally 35mm but it isn’t ideal for such small negatives. The v700 (or newer v800) will easily make high quality A2 prints from medium format film and from 4×5 you can make huge prints.

      If I scan 35mm then the Epson is OK for A3 with careful processing. I also have a Minolta 5400 Elite for 35mm and it gets me close to the quality of a drum scan.

      I’ve found that with film there is little point going beyond 4000dpi scans as there is very little detail after this. I scan medium and large format at 2400dpi and this also keeps the image files a manageable size.

      I plan to do a video on my workflow soon so hopefully that will explain things a bit more.

      All the best

      Steve

      Reply
  • August 24, 2018 at 13:00
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    Thank you a lot Steve for replying me and for your valuable advice. I will buy for sure the Epson V800. It costs even less than expected. It’s a pleasure for me to follow your adventures on YouTube and let me say that I would be really glad and curious to watch a dedicated video on your workflow. Thank you for the time you have given us.

    Best wishes

    Reply
    • August 25, 2018 at 07:20
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      Glad to be of help Nicola, I’ll be doing more videos explaining my workflow in the coming months.

      Steve

      Reply
  • September 14, 2018 at 13:41
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    Hi Steve,

    My name is Phil Griffiths and I am a Trustee of the Sandstone Ridge Trust, who along with my fellow Trustees are seeking to protect and enhance this wonderful part of Cheshire. We came across your work and it is obvious that you share our passion for this amazing landscape. We would therefore be very interested to chat to you about your experiences and work and also the Sand Stone Ridge Trust in more detail. Hope to hear from you.

    Best regards

    Phil Griffiths

    Reply
  • October 6, 2018 at 20:18
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    Informative and inspiring videos and website Steve. Having recently acquired a Bronica ETRS, i am keen to get out into the Landscape and immerse myself in medium format film photography. I hope and look forward to seeing more of your workflow, perhaps an explanation on the merits, and how to with a lightmeter for those of us just starting with film?

    Best Regards

    Gary

    Reply
    • October 8, 2018 at 08:37
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      Hi Gary.

      Glad to see you setting out with the Bronica, I hope to do more instructional videos in the future covering all aspects of the film workflow.

      All the best

      Steve

      Reply
  • October 15, 2018 at 02:02
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    Steve,

    Thank you for all your work in making these videos.

    I am curious about the backpacks you use…they seem to hold a lot of things and still have attachments for all your various tripods and umbrellas among other things I am sure.

    Can you share or make a video about the ways you carry your 4X5, Bronica, Zero Image (I bought a 6X9 based upon your usage of the 6X6), etc. I have several bags and it all seems a mess to me when I set out to do something interesting with the gear.

    Thank you.

    Reply
    • October 15, 2018 at 13:28
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      Hi Matthew.

      I could certainly do a video in future, there are particular issues in carrying the bigger film cameras for sure. I’m currently trying bag inserts with real rucksacks in an attempt to distribute the weight a little better.

      All the best

      Steve

      Reply
  • October 24, 2018 at 04:28
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    Hello, Steve
    Learned of your channel from Ben Horne and became a subscriber. I really enjoy the content you publish. You seem very comfortable shooting with many different cameras and film formats. I enjoy shooting instant, medium format, and 4×5 film. However for me, try as I might, I can’t seem to settle on one camera system (Zone VI 4×5, Mamiya 645, Mamiya RB67). I am wanting to simplify and have one go-to camera system, and just when I think I have made a decision, something comes up and I change my mind. Frustrating for me these last several years. What are your thoughts of being a multi-format photographer?
    Best regards,
    Bryan

    Reply
    • October 24, 2018 at 13:42
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      Hi Bryan.

      I hate being a multi format photographer, it stops me being a better photographer, costs me too much and fills my cupboards and drawers. I have tried on numerous occasions to limit myself to one system with little success. The nearest I came was a two year period happily using Micro four thirds digital which to my mind is still the perfect balance of size, cost and performance.
      Sadly there is no equivalent in the film world. 35mm is just a little below par quality wise, 4×5 unwieldy and expensive with medium format the best compromise but still big and heavy for a full system.
      I used to shoot Mamiya 645 extensively and liked it but hated flipping the camera for vertical shots. 6×6 fixes the problem but is bigger and heavier.

      Sadly I think I’m stuck with flipping between systems based on use case and conditions. If only there was a camera of equivalent quality to 645 film with an SLR design and slow but compact (light) lenses I’d buy it tomorrow.
      All I can do at present it optimise carrying arrangements to lighten the load and maybe one day I’ll finally get rid of everything bar one camera and a couple of lenses. If that happens my output will improve dramatically and I’ll be happier, healthier and more content.

      I don’t know why I’m telling you this Bryan as you already know it, you are also stuck in the loop. The only consolation is so are most other photographers, a lucky few seem immune and I envy them.

      All the best, and if you come up with a solution let me know immediately then patent it.

      Steve

      Reply
      • October 29, 2018 at 01:51
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        Thanks for the thoughtful reply, Steve. It would seem that Ben has this rare immunity you mention above. But nice to know (I think?) that I am not the only one with this dilemma. You will be the first to know if I find a solution.

        Best regards,
        Bryan

        Reply
        • October 29, 2018 at 19:10
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          Thanks Bryan, I think I’m going to have another crack at the problem.

          BTW – if you had to chose just one of your current cameras and stick with it exclusively for say 3 years which would it be? (I’ve done this in the past and it was possibly my most productive period).

          Steve

          Reply
  • November 4, 2018 at 01:56
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    Hello, Steve

    That is a tough choice given our conversation about this topic. I keep going back and forth between the RB and the 4×5: the RB for relative ease of use and the 4×5 for complete control over each image. This might be the perfect New Year’s Resolution (not that I have to wait until then). But knowing that the option of returning to either format (or any of the others that I mentioned above) would still be available, my first thought would be dedicate to the RB. I recently made a change to the bag that I carry it in. Previously, all the camera parts had their own compartment: one body, several lenses, and each back (two spaces for two backs) so assembling it on the tripod was cumbersome and time-consuming. And part of the problem was that I bought too much gear; mainly the 140mm macro lens and two extension tubes that I have only used once or twice. Now the bag is setup where the camera, 127mm lens, and the back are all attached, ready to be pulled out and attached to the tripod in seconds with other lenses handy if needed. Not carrying the macro lens and tubes has helped to lighten the load. It’s much more enjoyable to use now; I don’t know why I didn’t do that sooner!

    I will definitely be giving your idea some more thought and will try this strategy. Thanks for the question!

    -Bryan

    Reply
    • November 5, 2018 at 07:49
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      I’ve also simplified the bag setup so I don’t need to spend an hour getting ready for each outing. I’m also going to try using one system for an extended period of time before picking up another. In terms of practicality, quality and ease of use the order will be 1) Bronica SQ 2) 4×5 3) 35mm.

      Steve

      Reply
      • January 1, 2019 at 00:21
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        Happy New Year, Steve!

        I decided to settle on the RB as my default and have the 645 as a lightweight alternative when necessary and the 4×5 when single frame control is needed. Nothing in stone but I think it’s a good starting point.

        -Bryan

        Reply
        • March 21, 2019 at 14:39
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          Hi Bryan – a late reply sadly as my website has not be well.

          The size difference between the RB and M645 makes sense as I used to carry the latter everywhere with no issues. I also limit my large format use to special locations that I already know quite well, preferably with specific compositions in mind.

          Steve

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          • May 1, 2019 at 02:23
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            Hello again, Steve!

            I very much enjoyed two of your recent episodes, “Soft and Noisy” and “Dark and Moody”. They continue to make me seriously consider printing digitally though it would be a steep learning curve for me because I do all my work in a wet darkroom and virtually have no experience with digital prints.

            Do you feel your digital prints rival the darkroom prints? Do you ever miss the wet darkroom?

            Best regards,
            Bryan

          • May 1, 2019 at 08:02
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            Hi Bryan and thanks for the particularly timely question.

            I quit the darkroom in 2012 and in the following years improved my hybrid workflow to the point where I can quickly and easily make images from my negatives that in many ways surpass those made on gelatin silver materials. There is simply no way I could make the vlogs I currently do without limiting myself to perhaps a dozen a year, the effort involved is more than enough with having to develop, scan and post process digitally. I can also manipulate images to a far greater degree and also rescue less than perfect negatives, something all but impossible with the wet process. I have so many tools available in the likes of Lightroom that the sky is truly the limit but I typically constrain myself to exposure, contrast and dodges/burns as I have no desire to make the end results look false. For most of the past 7 years I have been absolutely convinced that the hybrid workflow was the only way to go for someone who still enjoys shooting film cameras and wants the flexibility to output at any size with ease.

            From all I have said you would think that digital post processing is a no brainer and logically it is, the darkroom should be redundant . . . .but it’s not. Over the past couple of years as I have refined my digital processing I have noticed that something is missing, it is very hard to define and can only be seen when looking at real silver images, the inkjet versions are very impressive but lack something. It is partly the materials themselves, although I have tried baryta inkjet paper and use an excellent pigment ink printer, the Epson 3880, it just isn’t like looking at the likes of Ilford Warmtone FB glossy that has been air dried.
            Secondly there is the simple fact that the great flexibility of tools like Lightroom mean that you invariably add manipulations that are hard to achieve with the wet process and although this to many ‘improves’ the look of the final result it also moves it further from the reality of the scene. The best example here is shadow detail, one of the trickiest parts of any silver print in my experience, avoiding blocked up zone III areas requires some skill to balance alongside well defined highlights. In the digital version this is so easy, even thin negatives can be made to produce ample shadows at the push of a slider whilst retaining controlled highlights. This gives resultant images with a full range of tones but is more often than not overdone leading to the awful phenomena we see today where there are few images that display real blacks and whites in anything other than tiny areas of the picture – it seems to be frowned upon.

            The videos you mention, ‘dark and moody’ and ‘soft and noisy’ were fun to make and the images simple to process but I really missed the look I could have achieved with darkroom toning and more specifically lith printing. As I described the faux lith effect I had a set of real lith prints on the table and they stood head and shoulders above the limp efforts I had made for the video, there was simply no way I could reproduce the emotion of the Kentmere Fineprint Warmtone paper run through nearly exhausted LD20 after many hours of struggling in the darkroom to get a look that satisfied me. Following these videos I went back through my boxes of gelatin silver prints (and the odd bromoil) and thought to myself ‘what have I done?’, I may have progressed a long way technically but lost the essence of what I was trying to capture.

            Now all this is not to say that the hybrid workflow is somehow a bad one, it is not, it has allowed me to produce images from negatives that would have remained unprinted or poorly printed at best. I will certainly continue to work this way, it is the only way I can quickly (well relatively quickly) get images for vlogs and also make very large prints. What I am also doingnhowever is building a new darkroom which is now 90% complete and whilst not ideal will enable me to make wet prints from the best negatives. I intend to be far more selective on which images I print and also use digital prints as a guide to assist me, so very much the best of both worlds. Best of all I will be able to produce real lith prints again although the material choice is now more limited than ever.

            I can wholeheartedly recommend learning how to digitally edit and post process, it has helped me immensely, but I just wish I hadn’t thrown the baby out with the bathwater. From what I am seeing there is a resurgence in interest for darkroom work and given the sterility of most modern imagery, particularly monochrome, I am not surprised.

            All the best Bryan and thanks for the perfect timing of your question.

            Steve

  • December 3, 2018 at 07:55
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    I really enjoyed your 2 lens and a body video and the photos you made. I used to use a similar setup years ago, a mamiyaflex 220 with 65mm and 135mm lens. Very light and stable at slow shutter speeds (virtually vibration free). To work high up I simply turned the camera 90 degrees (square format etc) or on occasion 180 (not easy). I did not use the prism as it was too heavy.

    Reply
    • December 11, 2018 at 07:33
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      I really can’t get my head around a WLF held side on (literally) so I’ll be back to using the prism. The two lenses themselves worked well but I think I could save a lot of the extra weight by carrying an even lighter tripod.

      Steve

      Reply
  • January 21, 2019 at 14:17
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    Hi Steve
    I discovered your videos this weekend and am very much taken in by your vision and talent. I do shoot film (Velvia) with a Hasselblad. It’s a nice trade-off between size and photo quality. And more importantly, the lenses. That aside, I do have a question. What is the music that you use for your videos? It’s beautiful.

    Reply
    • March 21, 2019 at 14:37
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      Hi Jeff and sorry for such a late reply (Website issues).

      Glad you like the videos and good to hear from a Hasselblad owner, I used to have a 501CM. The music I use is licensed from epidemic sound, £10 a month for unlimited use.

      All the best

      Steve

      Reply
      • March 30, 2019 at 02:14
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        Hi Steve
        Thanks for the reply. I find that your photo sites, along with the music, evoke an ethereal sense of creativity. To quote a meme that i use when the creative soul wants to break out, “the artist is restless”. I work in a very left brain industry. My right side needs to break out and create. Currently I reside in Naples, Florida, which is bereft from visceral opportunities. I will be in the western United States in the last part of the year, so the dramatic opportunities should be vastly improved. Needless to say, I am inspired by your videos. Currently I have a number of Hasselblads (thank you eBay), a Canon D7, and recently a Canon G7X. I wish I had this camera last December in Portugal, The D7 was way too heavy and cumbersome. I needed something light with enough resolution to travel comfortably.

        I do like film, although I trend toward Velvia. I find that digital gives extraordinary sharpness and detail, yet I see many images that are over-saturated, over-sharpened, too much HDR to provide a satisfactory image.

        Many years ago, I had the privilege to spend a few hours with Ansel Adams. Within that short period of time. he taught me much. I later spent a weekend workshop with Charles Cramer and Bill Atkinson in Ansel Adams darkroom in Yosemite. There, I learned the importance of light, the subtlety. I will never forget it.

        I applaud what you are doing, and look forward to many more inspiring videos. Please keep up the good work!

        Jeff

        Reply
        • March 30, 2019 at 18:15
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          Hi Jeff.

          I am glad you like the videos, they are fun to make and act as a visual diary of my trips.

          I would have loved to meet Ansel Adams and have a chance to discuss his approach to photography, you are very lucky indeed.

          I like shooting film and digital but always prefer the look of analogue images, just something more natural about them, so few people handle digital images with restraint.

          My real love is black and white and I will be doing more with this in 2019.

          All the best

          Steve

          Reply
          • April 10, 2019 at 13:49
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            Hi Steve
            I just want to thank you again for the reference to Epidemic Sound. As a public accountant here in the US during tax time, the music provides a sense of calmness to keep me from going absolutely crazy.

            It also reminds me of your videos and my connection with landscape photography. I, for one, prefer small, intimate visions, rather than broad, sweeping panoramas. I do have a wide angle for the Hassy, but rarely use it. This season I might look to see what the 150mm might do.

            The other day, Charly asked me who my mentors were, while dealing with the pending death of her doctoral mentor. Certainly Ansel Adams was one of them, especially due to the fact that I had a very brief time to spend with him. As a side note, I once heard a museum curator note that the reason for AA’s success was that he photographed weather.

            Another is Charles Cramer (www.charlescramer.com). He too is what I would call an intimate landscape photographer. There is Kerik Kouklas, who taught me platinum printing. There are others, including my forebearers. I hope you are not embarrassed, but I also include you on the list, in the sense that you are recording the world around us, showing that the same locations can change, and that nature presents cycles that can keep us curious. Perhaps it’s the small impressions of creativity that I enjoy and respect.

            Keep up the good work. I am looking forward to the next one.

            Jeff

          • April 16, 2019 at 15:04
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            Thanks Jeff, it is very kind of you to include me in such illustrious company. I am finding the smaller scenes to be a lot more personal and have long favoured the tighter crop of short telephoto lenses over wide angles.
            I am also working on a new darkroom project as I miss the natural look you get through optical enlargements.

            All the best

            Steve

  • January 28, 2019 at 17:13
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    Hello Steve,

    I’ve been watching some of your videos on youtube. I have to say I was very taken aback by the colour landscape 35mm. Goes to show its is the eye not the kit that makes the image. So we don’t need to get old talking about resolution and mega pixels.

    I wanted to reach out and tell you I am starting a small lab in London. Currently I’m testing b.w reversal process (b.w slide).

    I’m hoping to offer 4×5 in the near future.

    For more information about the lab please visit my website.
    giantsquidproductions.co.uk

    Best wishes,
    Daya.

    Reply
    • March 21, 2019 at 14:35
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      Hi Daya.

      I’m a bit late on my posts I’m afraid but good luck with your new venture.

      Steve

      Reply
  • April 13, 2019 at 17:59
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    Hi Steve
    I just watched your video on Micro 4/3. I’m convinced. Having just spent time in Portugal and Spain carrying a Canon D7 plus one additional lens totaling 4.5 pounds, it’s time to shed some weight! The G9 has the same number of pixels as the D7. All in all, I think it is the way I will go digitally. Still keeping the Hasselblads…..
    Jeff

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    • April 16, 2019 at 15:47
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      Pretty much my conclusion too, a micro 4/3 for digital and film for the other occasions, usually in B&W.

      Steve

      Reply
  • April 15, 2019 at 15:43
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    Hi Steve
    Have you done a video about taking Ektar from scan through Lightroom? From what I have seen on the internet, it looks pretty complicated.
    Thanks
    Jeff

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    • April 16, 2019 at 15:46
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      I’ve not done anything like this yet Jeff but to be honest I have no issues as I just use Epson scan and it gives great results. I have tried more convoluted processes and whilst they have given good results they were somewhat clumsy.

      Steve

      Reply
  • May 6, 2019 at 01:05
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    Hi Steve, I live in the South Eastern USA and have a Mamiya RB67 that I am learning to use. just wanted to share some good news. Went to the Blue Ridge Parkway and mountains in western North Carolina last week. Shot 4 rolls through the RB67. All shots turned out well. A big first for me. Camera was in shop a couple months ago with a focus problem but now seems to focus OK, and exposures were good. I bought a prism finder for the 67, with a meter (which also was in the shop to adjust). And I bought an older used Soligor Spot Sensor-II spotmeter which I am learning to use. I had a local lab develop rolls and low res scan them to google drive. I am pleased with the results. I should pick up actual negs this week. Can’t wait to see them.

    Still enjoying your YouTubes immensely. Keep it up.

    Two questions for you:

    1) the spotmeter reading is in EV, which I convert on the scale to f/ and shutter. Is the EV value the real value I should use, or is it 18% gray and I need to adjust?

    2) I usually set f/ higher for larger depth of field (f/22, f/32). Does this sound about right? Is f/32 OK for the RB67?

    Thanks for reading, and thanks for your YouTubes.

    Duke

    Reply
    • May 7, 2019 at 15:18
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      Glad you are enjoying the Mamiya Duke and I hope the negs look good when you get them back.

      The spotmeter reading assumes the target is 18% grey so if you metered a midtone that would be approximately the right exposure. I prefer to look for a Zone III which is an area with significant shadow detail and base my exposure on this. I adjust my settings by reading the shadows then opening up two stops Eg. If I read 1/2 sec@f/16 I would set the camera to 1/8 sec@f/16. This is for negative materials, slides are more fussy and I look for an average reading.

      The more you stop a lens down the greater the chance of diffraction spoiling a shot but it varies from lens to lens. I have tested my lenses and some are poor at f/22 whilst others are quite good. As a general rule telephotos suffer less than. Wide-angles.

      Hope this helps

      Steve

      Reply
  • May 7, 2019 at 02:55
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    Hello, Steve

    Thank you for your very thought-provoking reply…to say the the least. I’m glad to hear that you are reviving your wet darkroom after being away from it for a long time (by the way, my darkroom has been almost done for the last several, several years!)

    It is true about digital manipulations where most everything is at your fingertips, sometimes to the detriment of the final image. There are some images where manipulation works and others where it has definitely failed. It is hard to put a fine point on it, but I think most photographers know the difference. Personally I do not mind images that depart from reality which is in stark contrast to my aesthetic many years ago. Whether this is achieved in a digital darkroom or traditional darkroom is up to the photographer. But it also makes me wonder how many photographers today that use digital processes have no knowledge of what a wet darkroom can do.

    This makes me think about the old argument of straight photography versus pictorialism that was debated in the early 20th century. Pictorialism, from what I recall, was concerned with the print itself as an artifact whereas straight photography was concerned about the subject. If I myself choose to depart from reality in my images is that considered pictorialism even though I am concerned about the subject at the same time? Maybe I am confusing the boundaries that are somewhat blurred in the middle. Or maybe I still do not understand the argument.

    All this comes back to my original question to you about the wet darkroom and your response. The images that you presented in those two videos that I mentioned could go either way: digital or traditional processing. While the final results would be different, they both could stand by themselves as well executed images. But then I look at two other photographers whose work I also like: Nathan Wirth and Eddie Ephraums. I know of Nathan’s work through his website and Eddie’s work only through the two of his books (Creative Elements: Darkroom Techniques, 1993 and 2000 edition (both have the same images)). Simply put, Nathan’s images seem only achievable in a digital workflow and Eddie’s images obviously only in a traditional wet darkroom. Images from these photographers are not what I consider to be straight photography. But is it pictorialism? I probably shouldn’t even care; if I like the image that’s all that should matter. My concern is producing a certain look only for the sake of the look itself. But if I like that look and it fits the subject is there anything wrong with that? Is there anything wrong with photographing subjects with a certain outcome already predetermined?

    As you so well put it, learning the digital workflow can be another very useful tool in producing images. And just as obvious is learning to control it with respect to the image.

    Best regards,
    Bryan

    Reply
    • May 15, 2019 at 08:24
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      I agree that the process should not matter Bryan, the end result is what the viewer sees and I don’t believe the majority of people care how you got there.
      I am quite a fan of the early 20th century photographers of the photo secession movement with the emphasis being on images that resembled other art forms. The later move towards straight photography and the f/64 group appeared in stark contrast to this and I find it a little too clinical, the cooler tones don’t move me as much.

      I have been inspired by the likes of Eddie Ephraums for many years after purchasing Creative Elements (and getting hold of another copy recently). It could be considered akin to pictorialism and it certainly deviates from reality even more than digital work does but it seems to capture the emotion of the landscape better than anything else I’ve seen.
      I can create inkjet images (from film or digital) with relative ease but my favourite prints are still those made in the darkroom. I’ll be trying to achieve the look once again but materials have come and gone in the 7 years since I last worked this way so I’ll need some time to get it right. Having access to both workflows means I will no longer try to make a bad negative work in the darkroom, digital is far superior for that.

      All the best.

      Steve

      Reply
  • May 14, 2019 at 17:26
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    Thank you Steve for the metering explanation. It seems easy once somebody shows you how to do it. I just finished up two rolls (one of Ektar 100, one of Ilford 400) using this and I am very happy with the results, thanks to you. Some of them are on Flickr under ‘wegosail’ if you have time to take a look. Anxious now to go shoot more through the RB67. Also, your last YouTube I watched you had a Nikon N80 (I believe). It prompted me to get out my old Nikon N60 which I had shelved many years ago. It should be exciting. Again, thanks for the help and keep up the videos. We really enjoy them.

    Reply
    • May 15, 2019 at 07:56
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      Glad to see the shooting is going well Duke, I especially like the abandoned building in B&W.
      I find the more basic Nikon bodies to be very capable, the FG is ideal for manual lenses with the N80 perfect for modern autofocus ones.

      All the best

      Steve

      Reply
  • July 29, 2019 at 01:13
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    Hello, Steve

    Still enjoying all your videos.

    After watching “Make Big Prints From 35mm Film”, it made me think about your wet darkroom. How’s it coming along? It would have been interesting to see how a wet darkroom print would look printed at that size, or near that size depending on what size paper you would have used. Maybe a future video?

    Best regards,
    Bryan

    Reply
  • August 1, 2019 at 10:48
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    Hi Bryan.

    I have a functional space now setup in the garage and whilst it isn’t as good as my old darkroom it is adequate for my needs. I’ve made a few prints and am gradually reacquiring some lost skills which is proving expensive in paper.

    I would struggle to make such a large print though, I did make a couple of 36″ panoramics once but it was very time consuming and the results couldn’t match the inkjet print sadly. About the biggest practical size for me was 16″x20″ after which the trays and available space were a challenge. I’m content to make 8×10’s at present but have a 4 slot Nova 16″x12″ which will be about as large as I go.

    All the best

    Steve

    Reply
  • August 4, 2019 at 19:21
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    Great to hear that your darkroom is coming along! I’m printing 8×10 as well; sort of a que from Michael Kenna. For me they are large enough for viewing/displaying while easily managed in the darkroom. I probably have enough room for 11×14, but will save that for another day. Currently reading up on different methods of toning (something I’ve never done in the darkroom).

    -Bryan

    Reply
    • August 8, 2019 at 16:47
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      I used to make a lot of 16”x12” prints but the cost of paper has shot up in the last 10 years so 8×10 is almost the only option given my poor skill level at present. I also find storage and transportation of the smaller size a lot easier.

      All the best

      Steve

      Reply
  • August 6, 2019 at 15:07
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    Hello Steve
    Admire your YouTube output greatly
    Thank you for taking the time and trouble
    One question
    What tripod/head do you use with your intrepid 4×5?
    Thanks
    Ben Shaw
    Ullswater

    Reply
    • August 8, 2019 at 16:54
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      Hi Ben and thanks for the feedback.

      Up until recently I’ve used a Velbon Rexi L for all my photography right up to 8×10 but recently I bought a set of carbon fibre legs, also from Velbon.

      The head is one of the following Manfrotto models:
      MG460 – very light and compact
      XPro-3 – easier to operate

      With such a light camera as the Intrepid you don’t need a strong tripod and keeping the whole outfit light makes long walks a lot easier. My 4×5 equipment is lighter than an equivalent Bronica medium format setup.

      All the best

      Steve

      Reply

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