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Sunday, 04 November 2012


I found the magic bullet once!
Agfa Rodinal developer.

A guy in the club showed some pics, and they had the most astounding acutance I'd ever seen (very high contrast in the small details). They were small prints (6x8 or something), but they had a great presence, they looked supernaturally sharp.

I tried with all my might to duplicate what he had done, used tripod even in good light, etc. All to naught. Until I learned his secret: Rodinal.

The downsides were two-fold: Even a 100 ISO was grainy when developed in Rodinal, and the shadow detail was often lost. But heck, the acutance was divine.

Good move on the rental (as I suggested). A week could indeed create pressure. A good friend has been waiting for the holidays so he can finally rent a Monochrom for a 3 week period. The cost is a learning investment, and fun too (without the self-imposed pressure).

My suggestion is to have a plan - for differing weather conditions and for workflow/evaluation - in advance.

You might consider renting a 5DIII after. I say this not based on any allegiance, having used Canon and Nikon, but only because I know how you feel about ergonomics and the viewing experience, not just the pics, which of course will determine in this case.

About that D800E, will renting it for 5 days let you decide if you can 'bond' with it?
...just wondering,

I don't see the expected (by Murphy) bad weather as being an impediment to getting good photos for the following reasons: Bad weather frequently presents dramatic views, the camera and lens are weather sealed, and they're rentals. Get out and shoot.

P.S. I'm wrestling with want for a new camera as well. IQ/QI-wise, I'm happy enough with my current camera, an Oly E-PL1 w/ 2 kit lenses and Panny 20. What drives me to greener pastures is the handling, specifically focus aquisition and shot-to-shot time. For me, any new camera has to substantially surpass in those areas and if I can stay in u43, so much the better. In short, I don't think any new camera will help me get better (as judged by me) pictures, but will help me get more pictures I like.

But first, I really should pay back the IRS the 20% of my annual salary I owe, and the nice folks at Visa who subsidized my month's-wage car servicing the other day (mechanic performing a scheduled maintenance noticed my left-side rims were dented on the inside and I had aneurysms developed on both tires).

Quote from linked article: "The latent game, if you will, has no save problems, no glitches in the online servers, no gameplay foibles, pacing problems, or unbeatable boss battles. "

But we all know that that latent image, though not yet made visible, probably already has defects made at the time of exposure: it is already overexposed or underexposed or badly composed or has camera shake or just missing the decisive moment.

We just don't know it yet so we suspend belief.

There is no Silver Bullet. Just keep saying it over and over.

Enjoyed the Latent Objects post. The lust often trumps the consummation, in hobbies. Research and a steep learning curve are usually more fun than a final draft. As someone once said, "or what's a heaven for?"
I'm with you on gaming. Most of the last paragraph, starting with "Game Cube" and ending with "imports," baffles me. And none of it inspired any lust.

You may find to your liking an intermediate approach that's now feasible with digital color: producing images that are full RGB spectrum images but have the ambiance of traditional B+W images due to choice of subject matter and lighting, rather than heavy desaturation or B+W conversion.

In such instances, the RGB aspect shows up mostly as subtle color washes, small colored objects embedded in a larger apparently grey tone matrix, etc. When used as one style in your arsenal rather than as a gimmick like developing with Amidol, this approach works well in the right circumstances. You might think of it as "not quite black and white".

I transitioned toward that style several years ago after tiring of the brightly saturated images then typical of almost all digital photography and the resulting images have been well-received. If anyone is interested in a compressed PDF that gives a sense of these sorts of intermediate digital images, just drop me an Email to kashi@alaska.net

"Bad weather makes good pictures." — Sam Abell's dad


Best photography quote ever:
"Any photographer will tell you that exposed film only contains perfect images. It’s only in development that you find out that you did it wrong."

I miss that feeling of perfection from the film days. Mind you the disappointment of reality sometimes sucked... especially if you forgot to load film....

Amidol.. so thats what i'm doing wrong.
gotta get me some of that....


"—and we'll probably have bad weather for precisely the duration, with my luck—"

Oh, Pshaw!

"Bad" weather just presents different opportunities for photography - and lots of opportunities to explore B&W tonalities.

Find something ordinary indoors that you've ignored before. Indoor light is often beautiful, often because it is dim. Isn't the D800 a master of low light? (Although this was taken with a camera you already have.)

Shoot through a torrential downpour - through a window will do fine.

Shoot just as the sun comes out as rain is ending.

No Excuses \;~)>


Wow. I'm tickled that you would share my humble link with the world. Anyway, Mario is from the Nintendo video game systems, and that other stuff is from the Sony... see ... oh never mind. I should have warned you about the video game angle I guess.

I know what you, and Ana Jones mean. Was shown a folio of technically great but truly uninteresting prints once by a dealer whose comment when I said I didn't like them at all was "But they are plat-in-um prints!" .....

And I am at the moment researching valve pre-amps for my stero set up .......

I'm waiting to hear what you think about the lens. It's technically very good, but I'm interested in how you feel about the handling and look it produces after using it.

After reading Harold M. Merklinger's essays, especially #2, I'd suggest that you do what he apparently did not - use Nikon's Capture NX2 for the RAW conversion and not Adobe's ACR (PS or LR4). As he documented, many issues he encountered occurred in the RAW conversion phase. It's well recognized that NX2, when you need that last bit of "juice" from a Nikon RAW file, is hard to beat.

One of the best investments I ever made was the rental of a Santa Crux Blur LT mountain bike. I hated it on the trail, and I probably wouldn't have figured the problems out with just a parking lot test-ride. So that saved me $3500.

Good luck with the D800, and don't forget to have fun with it, too. I find it all too easy to get weird about purchases perceived as 'significant'.

psu, I am by no means a "gamer", but ... how could you not mention Zelda? :D
And I suspect there must be a corollary to your theories ... something about the obsession with playing the best old games over and over again (something I have experienced)

Mo' money mo' problems. I was happiest with my gear when I didn't have the coin to shoot with anything else. Instead of dreaming about the next best thing I went out and shot with what I had. That bliss almost matched the brief time period when I had no idea people shot with anything besides Tri-X in a Canon AE-1 with a 50mm.

It took me years to sort out the difference between camera collecting and photography.

I don't want to get into a long discussion of video games in this forum .. suffice to say I just never bonded with Zelda. Also, this piece was written before I had explored a lot of the Nintendo catalog, sot here is that too. If you look elsewhere on that web site you will find occasional complaining about the Zelda games. :-)

How will you convert to B&w? Just curious. Maybe the Lightroom way?

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