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Alan7140

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Alan7140 last won the day on 19 April

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3,529 of my posts have been liked

About Alan7140

  • Rank
    Grandmaster Member
  • Birthday 07/01/1953

Profile Information

  • Gender
    Male
  • Location
    Tasmania, Australia
  • Interests
    Photography, Guitar
  • Edit my pics?
    Ask Me
  • Fav. Camera
    Fuji X-T2
  • Fav. Lens
    23/1.4
  • Fav. Editor
    Photo Ninja
  1. Well, it's photography related, but from the hesitant start into adapting Cold War-era Russian and DDR lenses rather unimpressively to my Sigma sd Quattro-H, that has burgeoned into me virtually switching full-time back to film and related cameras, which has in turn necessitated learning how to fix the things, many of which haven't been used for a couple of decades or more. That in turn led to my reinstating my old Görlitzer Kamera Werke stand camera, which led to an old Thornton Pickard half-plate field camera joining the growing queue. Easter saw it turned from a dowdy, dirty, tarnished and sloppy thing which probably would have ended up at the tip, to a camera that I'll enjoy using for many years to come. While I couldn't fix the behind-lens shutter as the curtain was disintegrated, I did spruce up the external workings and refit them and the shutter housing to the camera as well as having refinished all the brasswork on the camera itself, and the lens is now focused at infinity when the camera is unfolded as it was designed to do originally. My next project is already lined up - I managed to find an unused, brand-new Pentacon Six assembled chassis, presumably left over from the bunch of such items that Exakta bought when Pentacon closed around 1990, and which they turned into the uber-expensive Exakta66. As I also have a dysfunctional but cosmetically excellent Pentacon Six body here, assembling a brand new, working Pentacon 66 from the two is the objective. This could end badly, but hopefully I've learned enough to succeed and thus become the owner of probably the last brand new, functional Pentacon Six ever. As a hobby, this camera restoration/resuscitation thing is proving to be addictive. That I managed to assemble the Thornton Pickard shutter externals into as good as operational state from just a plastic bag full disassembled bits and no instructions (if I had a new blind to fit it would work) gave me the sort of buzz that has us eager to pursue a hobby aside from regular work, I think.
  2. Alan7140

    Tasmanian Old Growth Forest

    Thanks, Akira and Mike. There's something deeply satisfying in driving 200km and walking several more, then returning with just two sheets of exposed material containing one carefully considered and taken photograph on each, instead of the hundreds or even thousands of digital files that is so common in this digital era. Using equipment and materials in common with an era where slow and steady was the norm makes operating at this level mandatory, and is one that I find far more intuitive and rewarding than simply being a vehicle for software and hardware manufacturers to get rich with their crazy obsolescence cycles and continuous pressure to update almost at every corner. The camera, lens and darkslides I use all date to somewhere around 1908, and the resin-coated printing paper I use is simply a resin-coated base-modified version (introduced in the mid-1970's) of the original bromide printing paper that's been in use from around that era as well. I still have a way to go before the results are to my complete satisfaction, but at least I feel I'm on the right track.
  3. Alan7140

    Tasmanian Old Growth Forest

    View last Tuesday of the Upper Florentine forest fronting the Sawback Range (left), The Thumbs (right) and onward to the Denison Range in the distance. The forest was the subject of a 7 year public campaign and blockade against the government's forestry company's intention to log the whole area, which ultimately resulted in a UNESCO decision to classify the sc ene as World Heritage Area and therefore secure it from logging forever. This forest also came under direct threat from the bushfires that ravaged over 200,000ha of buttongrass, tea-tree and alpine forest from Dec 28 2018-February 2019 (the fires burnt to within 5km of this forest). Taken with my old Thornton Pickard half-plate camera with original T.P Rapid Rectilinear 230mm f/8 uncoated lens, using Ifospeed MG IV glossy paper as negative material, reversed and digitised to a 175MP file with a Sigma sd Quattro-H camera copying the neg in 9 segments using a Hartblei P6 shift adapter, Carl Zeiss Jena Biotar 2,8/120 lens with appropriate extension tubes and stitched with PTGUI software. The UV-blue-green only sensitivity of the paper helps to accentuate the separation and distance of near and far objects.
  4. Alan7140

    Fergie Tractor

    It's not print size so much as the image degradation caused by the paper fibres when exposing through the paper negative in order to make the print. Even as a direct contact print the image degradation in both acutance and contrast is very apparent even at arm's length viewing. Short of going back to mixing my own emulsion and coating glass plates with it to make glacially slow gelatin dry plates, or using faster collodion wet plates and all the hassles involved with them, there is no currently manufactured modern answer for the old blue/blue-green colour sensitivity of the original photographic emulsions as far as capture goes other than by using orange-safelight printing paper. Over winter it will undoubtedly become more than obvious as to why so many of the 19th Century exterior shots were taken during the brighter months of summer, even with me using modern printing paper as negatives.
  5. Alan7140

    Sunsets, penguins

    Great stuff. Another vote for the last one as being the pick of the bunch.
  6. Alan7140

    Fergie Tractor

    I'm still trying to fully retire, Chris (a few of my old clients refuse to let me complete the process), but after nearly 40 years of centring my business around old photographs, and more lately, after conventional photographic supplies became harder and more expensive to get as everyone got lazy, having switched to digital myself out of necessity rather than desire, now pleasing myself rather than nagging clients has become my main pursuit and I may finally have succumbed to the obvious realisation that in order to have one's photos look like late 19th Century/early 20th Century items (when arguably some of the best photographs ever were made), one has to use the same equipment, and duplicate the materials used as closely as possible in their behaviour, without getting stupid and more complicated than necessary by messing with the generally volatile and poisonous original processes themselves. This is as close as I have now come to doing that, only conceding that any printing will have to be via inkjet, which is the only thing that lets the idea down a bit, although with the right paper and ink tone the result can be convincing at normal viewing distance. The camera gear itself is extremely light given that it is just thin wood, leather, a small lens and a piece of ground glass; I only have two wooden double-dark slides so have to carry a changing bag and a couple of boxes for the paper negs, which is also no real weight penalty although as a whole it is all a bit bulky. The entire camera outfit only weighs about the same as the carbon fibre Gitzo tripod. Between doing this and teaching young people the joys of silver-based photography (and demonstrating the above method to them gives a better idea of the whole process as total darkness is never required and all sensitive material handling takes place under amber safelight, so they can actually see what's happening), my time is pretty much spoken for.
  7. Alan7140

    Fergie Tractor

    Massey Ferguson 165 tractor, '60's or early '70's vintage, currently used as a mobile anchor for a traveller irrigator, in a field of rape being used as fodder for livestock. Photographed with a circa 1908 Thornton Pickard "Imperial" Triple Extension camera with the original Thornton Pickard lens today, on the first still autumn day this year, finally enjoying some softening of the light after nearly six months of harsh Aussie summer sun. Exposures 15 secs @ f/64 and 6 secs a@ f/45 respectively. Paper negatives again, Ilfospeed Multigrade iV trimmed to half plate, digitised with a Sigma sd Quattro H camera using an adapted Hartblei shift adapter for P6 mount Carl Zeiss Jena 2,8/120 Biometar lens - 9 shots stitched for a 175 megapixel end result. I've also cobbled up an adapter plate made from MDF with three openings to allow screws to pass through the 6 original tripod leg eyelet mounts into the MDF, and an Arca plate attached to a central 3/8-1/4" tripod socket adapter screw glued and screwed into the centre of the circular MDF plate. This has enabled the camera to solidly mount onto my Gitzo CF tripod without altering the actual camera in any way, thus preserving its originality and value. The camera still folds up nicely, although the lens must now be removed before doing so whereas previously it protruded through the large circular hole cut in the base of the camera inside the brass tripod mounting ring. An idea of what used to be the "tripod" attachment - three flimsy, separate wooden legs with short pins passing through the eyelets of a brass ring mounted to the base of the camera and held in place only by pressure from a metal spreader bar forcing the two parts of each leg apart.
  8. Alan7140

    Back to the beginning

    The flash was positioned mostly from the side and spread by large softboxes it's actually quite bearable, even with the studio curtains closed to eliminate double imaging between opening the manual shutter and triggering the flash by remote in the other hand, then closing the shutter again. A 3 metre white reflector gave just enough fill from the other side to reveal enough detail to make out the relevant detail in the deep shadow areas.
  9. Alan7140

    New Fuji user - X-T3

    I "cheat", Armando - in the shots you're probably referring to I stack focus each frame as I proceed through the sequence. It's always a tedious, calculated sequence using a proper multi-row, panoramic head, and rushing isn't an option. It was a real pain back in 2007 to 2015 when I was doing this almost routinely, but the exclusivity gained by doing something so tedious that most others avoided it was all but rendered obsolete when cameras started offering automated focus shifting and even in-camera stacking. In Fuji's case, their auto-focus shift doesn't offer a big enough choice of distance to shift the focus; it appears to be directed at macro photography, and for general scenes it results in too many unnecessary shots at longer distances, which tends to flatten the battery and may even need a battery change or two during the sequence. This is yet another reason why I'm shifting back to B&W film, which is something very few can be bothered with these days, and especially for those who dismantled their darkrooms with no viable second-hand market back then, and a lot of that stuff ended up at the rubbish tip. As yet there is no manufacturer reintroducing pro-quality enlarging equipment, and there is very little available on the second-hand market. Perhaps it was one of the better decisions I made, keeping all my top-shelf printing setup and a darkroom that required nothing more than filling the trays with fresh chemistry to resume printing after a 10-year dormancy. Some general information for all readers: As for panos, be wary of using wider lenses to increase DOF as well - they end up causing a somewhat extreme horizontal compression in a stitched panorama, which can lead to very distorted curving horizontal lines. When stitching multi-row panos in particular, the focal length of the lens is no longer an "equivalent" (if it ever was - "equivalent" is just Internet BS). All a smaller sensor means is that more shots have to be taken to cover the same scene - the perspective & DOF will appear exactly the same as the same scene taken with a 135 camera and same focal length lens in fewer shots, if, say, a 35mm lens is used. The "equivalent" nonsense will tell you that 35mm is a wide angle on 135, but "normal" on APS-C. As far as covering the same scene AOV, the only difference will be the number of shots needed, other than that the result will be identical. For panos I've only used wider lenses when I have been confined for space, and 23mm is the absolute widest I have used for this, but to be honest it was not successful as I had to do a lot of post stitching de-warping in Photoshop afterwards. In practical terms 35mm is the widest for successful multi-row stitched panos, and with that focal length and longer, stacking is almost mandatory to keep background and foreground sharp.
  10. Alan7140

    New Fuji user - X-T3

    I'm glad I seem to have had a hand in your choice, Armando. It's good that you won't have to go through the battles to get decent raw processing choices that us early adopters had to endure, either. There are several good raw processors available now - even Fuji seems to have nailed it now with their basic X Raw free processor, although the adjustment controls are somewhat limited. It is excellent if using Fuji's film simulations with raw files is of interest, though. In time you'll probably get some Fuji lenses which will definitely increase your appreciation for the system even further. The OIS in the tele lenses is particularly good as well, meaning the lack of in-body stabilisation is not such a big deal when using those Fujinon lenses. One of my pet likes with the X-T2 (and therefore X-T3) is the screw-in cable release socket as the 10-pin socket on my Nikon bodies was a source of several expensive repair jobs, and I never could understand why Nikon included a simple thing like tripping the shutter into that 10-pin nonsense instead of just supplying the tried and true, reliable mechanical connection. Fuji continues to add lenses to its lineup, but I'm happy with the earlier ones I have; the 50-140/2.8 is a very worthwhile replacement for the much loved 80-200/2.8 AF-D that I used for years with a series of film and digital Nikons until the D3, with which it suffered terminal back-focus that was beyond the menu compensation to fix, and which continued to not focus properly with the D3s, whereupon I sold that treasured AF-D lens. With far quicker focus and that superb OIS the 50-140 has the same allure as did that fantastic old 80-200 Nikkor, plus I'm still amazed as to the slow shutter speeds I can now use with the Fuji lens, even at 140mm. Other users will probably help you out with information on later compact lenses if they are of interest for you, but I'm still in love with the older 23/1.4, 56/1.2 and 90/2 lenses which take turns along with the 50-140 to be my lens of choice for the day. Other recommendations are for the 10-24/4 with OIS with which I've successfully hand held shots a 1/2 second, and of course the superb Zeiss Touit 2,8/50 Makro, which is head and shoulders above any other macro lens I've ever used, including my previous favourite 105/2.8 AI-s Micro-Nikkor. The 100-400 4.5-5.6 is a very handy lens with its OIS and WR features, although it isn't quite up to par when using the 1.4x tele extender - good for use for snapshots, but not if seriously good IQ is required. Without the 1.4x, however, it performs up to what I've come to expect with Fujinon glass.
  11. Alan7140

    Antarctic Sunset

    Spectacular shots.
  12. Alan7140

    Going way back....

    Then there's the added fun of the paper emulsion not only being insensitive to red light, but also having limited sensitivity to yellow and even some greens. Ergo, a still life takes some tomatoes, a jar of tomato relish and one of beetroot and gives them both the appearance and tone of onyx. And just to prove these dark, stoney looking things are tomatoes, here's the setup: A lot of light was needed - 2x 1000w/s monos pushed through softboxes, 6 flash actuations required at full power @f/11. Primary side-light flash tube about 4.5 feet from subject, front fill tube about 6' away.
  13. Alan7140

    Going way back....

    Speaking of which, he "tripod" that came with the camera was basically a collection of sticks each with its separate attachment points, and how the camera wasn't smashed years ago when being dropped as the photographer juggled the legs and camera while trying to get everything attached and the camera stood upright is beyond me. At the moment I'm working to modify one of the rails of a disused Nodal Ninja 3 pano head to attach to one of the original leg's two attachment loops so the rail will sit along the right underside of the baseboard, and then have an Arca plate fitted to the rail's 1/4" tripod screw thread, after which the camera should sit comfortably and securely with the RRS ballhead at the right rear corner of the baseboard (when looked at from the rear of the camera). If I get things right this will have the added benefit of the rail's spirit level protruding behind the camera just below the ground glass, and should cure the other near impossible thing to do with the camera in its current configuration with separate legs and no level indicator - and that's simply getting the horizon straight! Doing things this way will leave the original large central hole in the baseboard so the camera can still be collapsed into its folded-up travelling state with lens attached, something that solid adapters with a central mounting screw prevent altogether without taking the lens off altogether. This might be OK for an as-new camera, but this one is well worn and I'm loathe to be adding more wear to the lens mounting thread and/or camera mount for the lens panel by continually removing and replacing the lens. So yes, the Gitzo tripod will be well off centre, but the camera isn't heavy and should pose no problem for the RRS ballhead and Gizo tripod to keep the thing rock steady, which as the moment is a real cross-your-fingers-and-hope-for-the-best thing - one gust of wind during the exposure and you may as well throw the neg away with the current wobbly tripod legs and precarious mounting system. The hat - well, yes, with Tasmania's overhead ozone hole, and my virtually hairless bald head, the hat has played an important part in my life for a couple of decades now, and not just for photographic ad-lib purposes!
  14. Alan7140

    Going way back....

    - actually that would be physically impossible to do, unless you had an arm with the best OIS ever invented surgically fitted (8 sec exposure, 240mm focal length), and an uncanny ability to imagine what the camera was framing without any form of viewfinder while taking the shot. Then there's the lack of a shutter and having to manipulate a lens cap as the shutter instead. As well there is no facility to hand hold the camera whatsoever.
  15. Alan7140

    Going way back....

    No batteries either, Mike. Oh, and not to mention a requirement that you know and understand what you are doing, as there is no cpu/processor/programmer's code to have the camera help you out in even the smallest possible way. If only I could post something that actually looks like the paper neg does under magnification, but the technology doesn't exist to do that, as any monitor is woefully inadequate compared to the resolution of that paper's emulsion, never mind the inadequacies of the digital capture device. Given the impracticality of contact printing the paper neg (which shows both the paper fibres and has the resin-coated matte backing spread the illuminating light), the only way I could make a hard print of this appearance and resolution these days would be to get involved with the collodion wet plate process, and I really couldn't be bothered taking things to that extreme. I'm thinking that this will end up being more than just a passing experiment, though, as having spent 37 years of my career involved with dealing with the copy and restoration of original photos from earlier eras I',m finding that this has been the nearest I've got to duplicating the look and feel of those images, something I've previously failed to achieve with more modern processes and cameras.
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