Below are the specifications for the equipment and methods used historically during my phase as landscape photographer. I will leave this information live as a record of this process.
Ink Jet Digital
Original negatives and transparencies are drum scanned at high resolution and the digital files prepared for printing on a Power Mac G4. All images in the catalogue, both color and B+W, are suited to this form of reproduction. The resolution of these prints exceeds that of any darkroom print as there are no darkroom optics that inherently degrade the image. Of the paper surfaces available, prints are generally produced on either matt or deluxe semi-gloss paper. Black and white images are reproduced as sepia or black and white. This method of reproduction is the one I favor at the moment especially for the production of prints for framing. Prints are now available that have been shot on high resolution digital cameras also.
All unframed images for sale at present are wide color gamut, on pearl paper, all framed images are printed on cotton fibre paper. This ensures the most accurate color image with the best balance of cost, longevity, and visual impact. These specs will change from time to time as new technology becomes available. The paper and the physical quality of the image make the print easy to package for post without damage.
All new prints are now produced using EPSON’s Ultrachrome K3 ink
In order to give the best color result with the greatest light fastness all prints are now produced using an EPSON Stylus Pro 4800.
This printer and advanced new ink system produces an amazing print with a life on available media of over 100 years.
ETHICS related to digital imaging.
It has become apparent in the last few years that the various advances in photographic reproduction have not been met with unanimous approval by fellow photographers and other artists. Digital imaging, as it appears to the untrained or experienced, has been attacked as not adhering to the traditions of photography. The view is that digital means simply pressing a button, as opposed to production chemically in the darkroom with a traditional enlarger, is rife amongst the ignorant. I for one wish it were that easy. I think some clarity is required in relation to this discussion.
When I first started to sell photographs in Australia some 20 years ago the critics sounded much the same. How can it be art when all you do is push a button? Gladly, as more people had some contact with the processes of photography and some experience of it as a student, this reaction is now only rarely expressed. It became obvious to those with an opinion that work like the images displayed on this site, were far from the result of merely pressing a button. There is a great deal of subjective reasoning and artistic manipulation that goes into an expressive photograph.
The great change to the process that digital imaging brought about, was the ability to easily change any aspect of the original image using one step. That step is ADOBE™ Photoshop software. Photoshop produces any image manipulation previously available to the photographer in the darkroom and retouching bench, as well as everything else imaginable. For instance a photograph can now be made to look as it were painted in oil, in a matter of moments. This fact is very threatening to some and misunderstood by many. I believe that a cheap trick will always be spotted, however, creative integrity will stand out. The shear quantity of alternatives available to the photographer makes digital imaging anything but simply pushing a button.
For me at this stage Photoshop has allowed the same changes that were once made in the darkroom, as well as correct an image that may be well off the scale of being able to be altered in the darkroom. At times it is apparent that changes in color or tone in broad areas would give the desired result. This is carefully controlled with Photoshop. The image is also completely digitally cleaned of any unwanted defects resulting from dust and dirt or scratches on original film. This is done on a pixel scale to ensure image quality retention and is extremely time consuming. The more manipulative types of image processing available I have found at this stage do not suit my style. This could change however. Non photographic images, i.e. graphic or illustrative, are not added and for me probably never will.
All of this manipulation has prompted some to ask is a photograph real, i.e. Was that the real color? I have been known to say ” No it’s not real, the original was a huge three dimensional mountain of rock and vegetation, this is a two dimensional interpretation of it” Photographs are always a representation of what the photographer perceives as real or wishes others to see. That representation can be accurate or uncontrolled or manipulated, but only with the skill of a photographer in control. Every photographer has various levels of success in this regard. The colors and images I produce are real, in that they are what I intended them to be.
The big reason for change at this point is environmental. Silver process has always been responsible for the destruction of silver metal which is not an infinite resource. Color process, of which most are still silver based, are also responsible for some rather nasty chemical waste, some of which is routinely released into sewerage systems. Paper use with darkroom systems has also been high and more close scrutiny of images via the computer monitor will alleviate some of this waste.
In the end if we photographers had stuck with tradition we would not be using miniature cameras (35mm) and enlargers, silvers process papers, fixative, color transparencies,accurate light meters, lens coatings, or even glass lenses. Photography is the mechanical means of reproducing an image and always has been. The machine has just changed and will continue to do so.
12/01/06 Nikon plans to stop making cameras that use film.
TOKYO, Thursday, Jan. 12 – The Nikon Corporation, the Japanese camera maker, said Thursday that it would stop making most of its film cameras and lenses in order to focus on digital cameras.
The company, based in Tokyo, is the latest to join an industry wide shift toward digital photography, which has exploded in popularity. Rivals like Kodak and Canon have already shifted most of their camera production into digital products.
Nikon said it would halt production of all but two of its seven film cameras and would also stop making most lenses for those cameras. The company will halt production of the film camera models “one by one,” though it refused to specify when….
CAMERAS AND EQUIPMENT
For the vast majority of the work shown in the landscape catalogue I had used a HASSELBLAD camera which uses 120 film producing a 6×6 cm image. For most landscape work, a 50 mm Distagon lens (wide angle). Other lenses used are 80 mm Planar, 150 mm Sonnar, and 250 mm Sonnar. Where applicable I use Kodak gelatin filters, for effects and color correction, Cokin gradual glass filters, and Hasselblad polarizing and softar filters. Every shot is taken using a Manfrotto ART 058 tripod. The lightmeter used has been a Gossen Lunasix 3 combined with some guess-work and the odd bit of Polaroid shot on the Hasselblad’s NPC polaroid back. For some commercial work and most B+W landscape, I use a Plaubel which is a monorail view camera producing a 5″x4″ image on single sheets of film. It also has a Polaroid back for exposure and color checks. For landscape I use a 90 mm SuperAngulon lens, or 150 mm Symar lens. Both these cameras are both professional quality producing images of great detail, even on a fairly large print. The resolution of an Ink jet at 1440 dpi shows this detail like no other process before.
A recent inclusion to photographic equipment was a Canon 5D digital SLR full frame sensor body and even more recently the new 21 Magapixel version the 5D MK11. This equipment is used for all web related work and most commercial work. A studio flash system adds an expanded ability in commercial photography applications including portraiture.
With the rapid advancement of Digital cameras I now shoot exclusively Digital in all photographic work including landscape. The Canon 5D Mk11 produces a file as good or better than was available from most of the 6X6 transparencies I had scanned for reproduction. Also the ability to edit and manipulate images has improved dramatically with the introduction of RAW image editing applications like Apple’s new Aperture and Adobe’s Lightroom. The range of expressive ability of this type of processing gives me far greater control with less work done on-site when the pressure is on to capture.
Already there are a number of images shot this way that have made their way into the landscape catalogue.
A recent trial of HDR or High Dynamic Range imaging using Photomatix software has resulted in a series of images that contain all tones for any given setting. This process enables the digital photographer tonal control unprecedented with traditional film systems.