Results tagged “analogue”

Film V Digital

Thanks to Nettsu a contact on twitter, I was pointed to this article about the benefits of film. It is a good read and given my own background in film photography, made plenty of sense.

Way back in 2003 I wrote an article on the issue of film versus digital. Back then cameras, where prohibitively expensive, and digital storage was far more expensive than it is today. Photoshop of course, was the, mostly widely used application used to open and edit photographs on a computer, in some cases the only application. RAW files were yet to be part of the mainstream.

Raw files and new applications for sorting and editing photographs aside things haven't changed that much. Making a good image still requires a modicum of understanding about, lenses, light, at the minimum, making a print either digitally or via analogue requires it's own skill set, making a body of work, requires another skill-set, that has no bearing on technique or the ability to understand how your camera works. Making prints and using cameras are skills with a plethora of manuals [10,723 Results on Amazon today alone] available to anyone with enough interest in the medium to buy a handful of books and get access to the machinery to do this. Creating a body of work can often be done in isolation, or done in a more formal manner through training in a fine art degree program. Learning to 'pre-visualise in photography can be both learnt and taught, but is I feel the most difficult part of the process to really master.

Many of the points alluded to in the article above by Ken Rockwell, assume you have mastered the craft of photography, something that can be quite expensive to learn as a beginner in photography, and this is where digital shines over film, I feel. Making mistakes is the quickest and easiest way to learn the basics of exposure and composition. Making mistakes with film, on the other hand can cost a lot of time and wasted effort, if you haven't already mastered your camera craft. Finally the biggest issue I had with Mr Rockwell's article, was he seemed to sometimes refer to colour neg and other times colour slide, or positive film, two films with vastly different exposure latitudes, and some of his points were invalid if you used negative film as reading a colour neg over a light box, requires considerably more skill and knowledge than a slide film, which is simply a positive of the scene as taken.

So, here's a new table of the pros and cons of digital over film, based on my own experience of teaching camera craft, and using a variety of film cameras since the early 1980's, and digital cameras since the mid to late 1990's.

I do however agree that digitial has it's place in industries like catalogue photography fashion, and photo-journalism.

Pros and Cons of Digital and Analog Photography
Digital Pros Cons
  Speed. May mean practicioners, will shooot 'by the pound' and add to a future worload of sorting.
  Ease of Use Storage mediums can be a problem, as technologies upgrade
  Limitless copying. Manipulation Applications don't allow an under the hood approach to most users, compared to film developer and paper developers.
  Instant feedback. Can be distracting as it will draw your attention away from what is going on around you, meaning less possible opportunities, photographically.
  Storage space for images/files. Ease of deletion could mean a loss of cultural history, or just an overwhelming amount of bad photographs, anecdotally 3,000 images a minute are uploaded to flickr alone.
  Democratic process, can be easy to learn. Small to non existent history of published texts
  Only requires a desk and electricity, no special room. Storage types and Mediums change making large archives difficult to manage, you must have electricity.
  No ongoing film costs. Sorting and archiving of files requires all manner of software and tools to operate
  Camera Prices drop exceptionally every two years or so. Hardware and software requirements may mean constant upgrades.
    Location shooting requires hardware to process, archive and sort. Adding considerably overall weight of a camera/travel bag, and to time and cost involved in 'editing', batteries must allways be charged and ready, spare batteries for cameras a must, if you are a prolific shooter.
  Raw files allow more exposure options, thereby enabling richer fuller print. Raw formats at the date of writing are a moving target, some software, photoshop for example needs to be kept up to date to open and process these files, from recent cameras.
     
Analog Pros Cons
  Easy to learn Can be hard to master
  Comparatively cheap basic/starter equipment Mastering of technique often requires and 'apprenticeship' of sorts
  Processes can tinkered under the hood easily, long history of published texts Storage of film and prints requires physical space.
  Simple to control {once mastered} Unexposed materials require special handling, refrigeration/darkroom
  No loss if treated with the right approach to entire process Losse are uneditibale if too extreme.
  Film has better exposure latitude than CCD especially negative films Calibration maybe required to really understand what is going on.
  Older film Cameras, were made to last many years, many require no batteries thereby lowering the load of the photographer 'on location' Film needs to be stored correctly and may one day cease to be made.

Polaroid Is Not Dead

Polapremium, sends out a weekly e-mail. This week's really caught my eye. In particular, this line;

In order to shorten the waiting period until the premiere of our new Impossible film,

The impossible film project has been burbling along now quite nicely for some time, in an attempt to resurrect film for vintage Polaroid cameras, now we finally have a a timeframe to look forward to. Hurry up please Polaroid project , I know many many folks here in Oz, who are very keen to buy some film.

Organising My Archives

archive lablels

Getting organised for the collection of Broadcast Media, using my eyeTV, and g5, I decided my archived CDs needed re-organising, it turns out I've been using a digital camera of some shape or form since 1999, 10 years folks, 10 years! I've been scanning longer of course, but as negatives, they need not be archived via CD. If you count 1998 as my start year in serious photography, this means over half of my time making images have been spent using a digital camera!

Of course 1/2 way though 2008, I got my 'DET leased' laptop that actually has a DVD burner, so that'll slow things down.

Not sure where external drives are going to fit into the equation, nor 'the cloud'.

Photoshop Layers 2

Yesterday, I talked about 4 kinds of layers. The first in my list was just a Layer, an empty one. As an artist with a training in wet darkroom processes and the production of photographic prints as objects, I actually have little use for many of photoshop's features, this layer does however have a fantastic use. If I fill it with 50% grey, and change it's blending mode to soft-light, this enables me to burn & dodge an image in a NON-DESTRUCTIVE manner as I would in a wet darkroom.

I've never quite understood HOW¶ this works, but it's power, simplicity elegance, and infinite un-doability makes it a must have trick in my bag of photographic darkroom tricks.

Then using either a) a paintbrush and black or white at low opacities, or the burning & dodging tools again at low opacities, in photoshop you can totally re-map the tonality of your image shifting emphasis on areas in a way that painters have understood for 100's of years.

The real beauty of this is if applied subtly there will be no obvious artefacts creeping into your image and even if they do, they can be wound back by using the opposite colour to change, not to mention that no pixels are edited directly in the image thereby non are destroyed and no issues such as banding creep into you prints†.

colour picker 50%
¶Many of the blending modes remain a mystery to me, and as photographic tools there are only really a couple that I would use regularly, this being one of them.
† All of these articles will be written from a paper output approach, as when producing screen based work I rarely make modifications to my images, due to the great unknown which is monitor calibration, and monitor colour spaces.

Processing Matrix

Here's a Downloadable pdf of the processing matrix, that may be easier to read.

Photographic Processing Matrix

Sometime back, I mentioned, I was thinking about a processing matrix of sorts, well here it is, now I need to make a better looking pdf version

Photographic Workflow Matrix

Shoot Process Proof Print/Output  
Task/Digital Exposure, be accurate, avoid under exposing shadows. Download from camera. Process to format suitable for future reference. Colour correct. Add colour Profile. Archive to CD/DVD. Add/Import to catalogue program. Print out hardcopy if needed.‡ Send to Print bureau for output as either Lambda or Pegasus print, or inkjet or print in-house using inkjet printer, or publish to the web. Infinte control available in digital tools such as Photoshop
Task/Analogue Neg film expose for the shadows, usually over. Positive Film expose for the highlights.¶ B&W Neg Film, process for the highlights.†
Colour Neg process. Positive film Process.
B&W make proof sheet colour neg, get machine proofs. Positive, view on light box. File negatives and proofs away for future reference. B&W, make work print. †Colour neg, make print, some local burning and dodging possible. Finished B&W prints can take as long to produce as the skills of the printer allow.
           
Software/Digital Raw Files
jpeg files
5 megapixels plus
Download from camera.
Process to format suitable for future reference. Colour correct. Add colour Profile.
Archive to CD/DVD. Add/Import to catalogue program. Print out hardcopy if needed. Send to Print bureau for output as either Lambda or Pegasus print, or inkjet or print in-house using inkjet printer, or publish to the web.  
Software/Analogue Choose a format and film type to suit the task at hand, eg 35mm for street photography, 5x4 and larger for landscape or product photography and so on. Choice of film developer, determines time temperature and agitation method, which in turn affect reults like contrast and grain. B&W requires minimum time maximum black. Labs produce colour proofs, using machinery with associated costs, and time. Expose for the highlights change filters for the shadows, then make local adjustments in darkroom, B&W only. No global contrast control, local contrast control in Type C is not impossible but technically difficult Finished B&W prints can take as long to produce as the skills of the printer allow.
  ¶ Remember the trade offs.    
    †The choices here, are exhaustive, it is even possible to make your own papers, and chemicals.
      ‡To an extent many packages will do this task sufficiently, such as Adobe Bridge, but iView Media Pro, frees up choices in terms of physical media and it’s location.

Bureaucratic Overload

It's that time of year where contemplating photography takes a back seat over other issues, like results and forward planning. I have however been thinking about, a matrix of sorts that shows the similarities between Digital photography processing and Analogue Photography processing.

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