Dandelion Study 02 Cambo Actus DB II, Phase One IQ4 150MP, 150mm Schneider Symmar-S, f8 @ 1/4 second, ISO 50
Over the past month of incarceration, err, lock down, I've talked to quite a few photographers, many of whom have been diligently tackling little projects at home to keep themselves occupied. Photographs of flowers, ice, smoke, kitchen utensils. And I have some great articles being prepared for the next issue of Better Photography which will reveal some of these. But I digress...
Talking to these photographers reminded me of a long term project (one of many) and I no longer had any excuses: still life of flowers.
And if you wonder what a dandelion looks like when shot on 150MP, check out the end of this article where you can zoom in to 100% on four of the files.
A year or so ago, I bought a Cambo Actus DB II view camera with a long rail and bellows so I could use a 600mm Nikkor, but the rail and bellows would be equally useful for close-ups. And possibly 40 years ago, I bought a secondhand 150mm Symmar S large format lens which was remarkable sharp, even if its multi-coating is rather agricultural by today's standards. So, I was camera ready. (Another option was to pull out my Fujifilm X-T4 and use the 60mm macro lens I bought with the original Fujifilm X-Pro1 - like all good photographers, I hoard my gear!)
Next jigsaw piece: Surfing through Instagram a few years ago, I saw a little product cube with LED lights advertised for $30, so you could shoot high quality product shots, and that's been sitting on my bookcase shelf ever since, used but once. It was perfect for small flowers and, guess what, the lawn mower guys missed a couple of dandelions and I finally found myself in my home study, shooting close ups with some wonderfully even light.
Me, My Camera and Our Pandemic - Reader Project (1)
Pandemic Photograph by Ken Spence
Better Photography contributor Ken Spence had a great idea - why not get our readers involved in a little pandemic project?
Writes Ken, "No matter where you live, this pandemic has been a shared experience of isolation. There are the extremes – Melbourne’s lock down total of 250+ days and counting being at one end of the spectrum, with Western Australia’s isolation from the rest of the country at the other.
"More broadly, as Australians we have all shared the common experience of isolation through the ban on international travel. This has changed what we can do and what we can photograph. For the many photographers who define their preferred genre of photography as “travel”, pity about that."
However, as Ken suggests, limitations can be a fuel for creativity, so we have cooked up the idea of providing a stage for Better Photography Magazine subscribers to share their creativity in the context of the pandemic with a larger audience. This may well involve aspects of isolation, but not necessarily.
"See this as an opportunity to document and share your personal experiences of this worldwide catastrophe. Our State and Federal leaders assure us that we will be on the other side in a few months and so we are calling for your contributions before the end of November 2021. Then in our Autumn 2022 edition, we will publish a selection under the heading “Me, My Camera and Our Pandemic” , plus release a web gallery of 100 contributed images."
We are very excited to see what our creative subscribers will share with us - and Ken has started the ball rolling with the photo at the beginning of this post. We know that this will result in a very powerful article that will provide a historic reference to this unique time in all our lives.
So, how do you contribute?
Step 1: Prepare a photo for submission. The subject is up to you. It might be something you edited from a trip taken years ago, or something you photographed around the home - that's up to you. However, the size you send to us should measure no more than 3000 pixels on the longest edge and be saved as a JPG at a moderate setting (e.g. setting 8 or 80%). Name your photo with your own name and a number (so we know whose photo it is): e.g. PeterEastway-01.jpg. If you send more than one, give the next one a higher number (PeterEastway-02.jpg)!
Step 2: Write a caption of no more than 50 words. You can start the caption with the title of the photo if you like. You can write a few words of poetry, you can explain what the subject is, how you photographed it, or relate something of interest you experienced during the pandemic. But no more than 50 words!!!
Step 3: Send the photo and a caption in an email with the heading - Pandemic Project - <Your Name> - Photo 1 (or 2, 3 etc). Use a separate email for each photo you submit. Insert the caption into the body of the email (do not attach a separate file). Insert the photo as an attachment, not in the body of the email (Mac users beware).
That's it! You have until the end of November to respond, but you can start sending in your photos whenever you like.
Peter EastwayFAIPP HonFAIPP HonFNZIPP APPL GMPhotogII MNZIPP Editor and Publisher
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