Thursday, January 20, 2011

New Tricks for an Old dog

Or is it "You can't teach an old dog new tricks?" It all started a few months ago when I decided to frequent some photography forums. I had been lurking for years but decided to start posting and perhaps start shooting with some of my film cameras. I had purchased a good scanner a few years ago but I couldn't figure out how to use it so it just sat gathering dust. It came with all the negative holders all the way up to 4x5. I find out that the new Epson scanner uses the same engine as my older model so I buckled down to try to figure out how to use it. Eventually I had to purchase Silverfast new scanning software to work with my Windows 7. I did a few scans and all seemed well. I have never been a 35mm shooter as I have nearly always used MF (medium format 120) cameras and I love to shoot panoramic format. I have a few of these specialized rotating lens cameras and I recently had my Noblex 6/150F repaired. This camera shoots 6x12 format. I just love the larger negative of 6x12 and it is also more cost effective than using 4x5 sheet film, so before Christmas I looked into securing a 6x12 roll film back for my 4x5 Toyo 45a field camera. Since I was in an upgrading mood I gave away my old Canon Pixma i9100 wide carriage printer and replaced it with the new Canon Pro 9000 Mark II which can produce stunning 13x19 prints. My intention was to use fine art paper so now I was buried in learning about ICC paper profiles. I have never really been a PS (Photoshop) user, until now as in order to produce good prints your files have to be PP (Post processed)

In some ways digital has ruined photography for me. I was brought up using film and chemicals. I still have my wet darkroom and used to process my own B&W. I still have two colour processors and three enlargers. I was also a former camera collector so I have lots of equipment to choose from. I was one of those last converts to digital. On our vacations I used to bring my Mamiya 7 kit for my "good" photos and use digital for my snapshots. Since digital is more cost effective than film, and also for the fact that you can obtain your results instantly I started to purchase dSLRs but I find that they only have a life cycle of perhaps 3 years before you have to upgrade, vs 5 or more years for the older film cameras. Recently I read an article where they tested film based MF cameras vs the new generation of dSLRs and in very case the dSLR wins. So now the resolution of dSLRs now outresolve scanned MF film

Now one thing I did not know that digital cameras do not produce sharp images by the nature of the digital sensor and the anti-aliasing filter in front. I had always believed that PP produced an image which was not real Most cameras produce jpegs which are sharpened within the camera as well as other parameters such as white balance etc. If you shoot RAW then PP is a must as your camera does not do any processing 'in camera'. I find that I am now more inclined to shoot RAW + L instead of just Jpg fine.

Lately I have been busy reading tutorials trying to become more proficient using PS. Too bad Chuck lives in Seattle, otherwise I could go over and peek over his shoulder.

As I was looking for photos to practice on I came across these which I don't think you have seen before.


This was taken last July, 2010 in Bend, Oregon. Mr Conchscooter, Michael (from Key West, Florida) on the left shaking hands with RichardM from Fairbanks, Alaska. Trobairitz's Suzuki TU250, in the foreground.

See Richard, I told you I had a photo of you in shorts and CROCS, not quite pink . . . but still okay


Do you recognize who is under that helmet ? Perhaps the Kawasaki GREEN Ninja is the giveaway. If you guessed BlueKat (from Corvallis, OR) you may be right

I am thankful that digital images gives us a way to share our photos and memories of good times past


  1. My only darkroom experience was a class in high school. I get the feeling the wet darkroom for you is what my artist tools and papers are to me. It's tactile, something you can touch, smell and hear. It's an element that is missing from digital.

    Raw + jpg is my setting of choice. JPG for snapshots, raw for the fun stuff. I'm still learning raw processing. I have a tendency to over sharpen and over saturate, so I'm trying to learn to back off a bit on that.

    Gotta say the convenience and instant gratification of digital is hard to beat.

  2. Bob, I can relate to everything you've said here. I still shoot some film, and shooting with the Hasselblad brings out the pro in me. Even though digital has come a long way, I still believe that it does not look like film, no matter how many filters and effects one can use to make it look like film. I'm using an Epson V500 scanner and it is incredible, scanning up to 6X12, which I need for my Holga 6X12 pinhole. One more thing ... I'm just a little envious of that Noblex you have. I want one.

  3. Bob:
    Nice to see some other regular bloggers in the flesh as it were!

    I couldn't possibly comment on your undoubted photographic knowledge and expertise as any knowledge pretensions I might have had disappeared with the introduction of digital cameras. simply a "point and squirt" these days!

  4. Dear Bobskoot:

    Your memory is amazing. You've remembered everything I taught you about photography. On the other hand, I can't imagine why Richard M. has Micheal B's shoes.

    Fondest regsrds,
    Jack • reep • Toad
    Twisted Roads

  5. I haven't used film in a while having sold my 35mm SLR about 30 years ago and replaced it with a tiny Olympus XA. That little camera survived numerous bike tours, hiking trips, x-country ski trips. I stopped taking pictures when I was a starving graduate student. I still am having a difficult time getting rid of the darkroom equipment even though it hasn't been used in years.

    I haven't even been tempted to go back to film and haven't been as ambitious as you to scan all my old slides and negatives. Now, most of my pictures are taken either with my iPhone or an entry level Nikon DSLR.


  6. So tell found these previously unpublished images, but what did you do for post processing? Before/after pictures would be helpful to show the skill and finesse.

    You have two color processors sitting collecting dust? I dearly wanted one, but didn't have the money or space when I was still heavily into film. I still don't have the space. Gave away my enlarger when I couldn't set up the dark room in this house. :(

    Have fun and happy learning!


  7. I love my Canon SX100 pocket wizard.I've had it for years and it refuses to die. I am not a real photographer but digital helps me to fake it.

  8. You definitely have the technical knowledge on photography. Not me, I just point and shoot. I did a fair amount of wet darkroom stuff but digital is the way to go now.