It has been a long time between posts, which means that life is good and photography is afoot. I finally received the Nikon d800 last June and have been busy ever since. It is a truly remarkable camera and has given me a new way to view the world. I have been a devoted 4×5 photographer since 1997 and have accomplished a large format portfolio that not only was an adventure to produce, but gave me great satisfaction to show. What I enjoyed the most was the personal conviction to each and every picture, since only one negative is exposed at a time. Black and white film to me was a open page to be filled with light enhanced silver. I painted with light and saw what I wanted to photograph and how I was going to develop and print it even before I opened the shutter. Each image was a statement.
I have taken that same approach to the newer and smaller format of the full frame 35mm digital camera. I still paint with light and I still compose each shot on a singular level. I look before I shoot, think about what I can do with the light once it has been pixelized. My computer has become my darkroom (which unfortunately now only breeds spiders). An image created with the Nikon d800 once developed can be several hundred megabytes, the same as one of my scanned 4×5 negatives. The image is unforgiving in what it captures. If the lens was not set right, or if there is any vibration, the image will show it. I have to know the “sweet spot” of each lens. The detail that the camera offers is stunning, and unlike all film, I can manage the grain to almost nothing. It then becomes all about the shot, the intent, the emotive image.
I’ve had a ball. On a sailboat in Barkley Sound in early June, on the California Coast, on the Olympic Peninsula, at the foot of Mt. Hood, it’s all been a joy to see through the new camera. The backpack still weighs a bit, but not as much as the 40 pounds when I carried the 4×5.
This January Bainbridge Arts and Crafts has generously given me a large exhibition to show my latest work. I have been working toward this show ever since I received the new camera. I wanted to see where the new format would take me. I’ve worked with an assortment of exposure techniques, from long singular exposures using neutral density filters, to HDR images that combine up to nine images of different exposures for incredible dynamic ranges. I’ve handheld some shots to play with motion when the light is dancing off water at my feet. Now that is something you cannot do with the 4×5, which is a much more static format.
I have posted under the gallery tab in the main menu all the images from this show for you to peruse. It has been a wonderful six months of photography. Of course not all that I took and enjoy are posted, there is only so much wall space. I have left out the Coastal California Redwoods, which I find humbling but difficult to convey. There’s a project, just how do you give homage to a thousand year old stand whose community stands silently, towering above even the birds.
If you are on Bainbridge Island any time during the next month, stop by the Gallery and have a look. I think you’ll enjoy the journey that I’ve presented. A hopefully come away treasuring our Northwest Wild Lands. They are still there……