Just a reminder we’re having the closing reception for our Silver Visions: Large Format Photography show at the River Road Unitarian Church on Saturday, May 3, from 3-5 pm. Please come out and see the work (and maybe even buy something??? Prices are very reasonable!).
The church is located at 6301 River Rd, Bethesda, MD 20817, but the entrance is on Whittier Boulevard (turn on to Whittier from River Road and make the second left into their driveway – the immediate left is the exit from their parking lot).
For more information about the exhibit or visiting hours or directions, see:
Just thought I’d do a re-visit of all my Glen Echo color work, to put them in one place. When I get a bit more organized, I’ll put my platinum/palladium Glen Echo photos together and do another mini-gallery. This has all been shot with a mixed bag of films and cameras. Mostly my Rolleiflex 2.8E, with one nod to my Canham 5×7 (the Glen Echo sign at night – it’s special enough it gets its own row). The films have been Kodak Portra 160NC, Kodak Ektar 100, Fuji NPS 160, and Fuji NPH 400. With the exception of the Ektar 100, most of the film used has been anywhere from a couple years out of date to almost a dozen years expired. Which says a lot about the quality of modern color film emulsions.
Part of the purpose of this exercise was in response to a discussion recently on an online photography forum I read where someone was complaining about how hard it was to take good photos in places you are familiar with. While I love travel photography (I’m getting ready to indulge in some serious travel photography early next year, probably one of those once-in-a-lifetime trips – I’ll keep you updated as the time approaches), I think it’s absolute baloney that you can’t take interesting photos of places you know and see every day. If anything, the opposite is true. But each type of photography requires a different mindset. Photographing on the road requires you to be able to filter out the extraneous detail because it’s ALL wondrous and new. Photographing at home requires you to turn off the detail filter so you start finding the interesting stuff you ignore because it’s what you see every day.
Photographing my own neighborhood is about recording and observing change – it’s like doing a series of portraits of the same person – this week in a suit, next week in a sundress, then later in an anorak, this year a little taller, next year a beard, the year after with a tan and a buzz cut. The Glen Echo photos are another form of portraiture, portraiture of a place. Places can have spirits and identities, and their face changes over time, just like a person’s.
Ok – frustration time rears its ugly head again. Got all my software updated and connected together, and I even went out yesterday and splurged (there goes the rest of the tax refund!) on an Epson 3880 printer. Now that everything is wired up, I tried doing some scans with the new SilverFast AI8. Reflective scans at medium and even high res (1200 dpi) worked great. Scans from negatives worked up to 2400 dpi. The software allows you to input resolutions beyond 2400 dpi – I wanted to see what would happen at 4800 dpi because I was scanning a large negative (5×7 inch) to have it reproduced at very large size (30×42-ish, maybe even bigger). Well…… SilverFast AI8 choked on the request. The scan completed in a reasonable amount of time (maybe 5 minutes- SOOO much faster than on my old computer), but then took 20+ minutes to “process”, at the end of which, it failed. Again at 3200 dpi – same thing. At 2400 dpi, it worked just fine, so I’ll live with that, as A: technically that’s the optical resolution maximum of the scanner (anything higher is software interpolation I believe), and B: it’s still big enough a file (about 600mb) for the custom lab to work with.
I LOVE Kodak Portra 160nc film after this exercise though – it is VERY easy to scan (with decent software – with craptastic software no film scans easily) and it handles chaotically mixed lighting conditions with ease and aplomb. In the shot I was scanning last night, I had rainbow-colored neon, sodium-vapor streetlights, and fluorescent and incandescent interior lighting, at night, all in the same scene. The only thing I had to color correct for was a minor overall tint caused by sloppy processing at the lab I used at the time. Pretty amazing stuff. Now if they’d only charge less than $350 for a 50 sheet box of the stuff, I’d shoot it more often!
I do have to give SilverFast its props – I tried scanning the same negative with the EpsonScan software that came with the scanner – I had to do MAJOR color correction and density correction with the EpsonScan file. The SilverFast scan was almost dead-on on the first try, and I’ll just need to tweak to my taste, along with some dust and hair removal via the Healing brush. Figuring out how to do this myself saves $80-90 per image in scanning fees at the custom lab every time I want to make a print. Now, to figure out which paper surface(s) and brand(s) I want to use. I got a pack of Epson’s top-of-the-line premium glossy, along with a pack of the Calumet heavy-weight glossy paper to compare; the Calumet paper is dramatically cheaper than the Epson.