Friday, October 28, 2011

...and it is all -ober!

The judging for projected images this month was fairly tough. A lady who was quite forthright that a good part of her assessment was subjective only awarded three Honours over the three grades and two of those to A Grade. I can not dispute her assessment of my two images, particularly given her starting point. The difference between depicting “Dance” as a topic and the depiction of “movement in dance” that came from at least three other entries, and my attempt to convey the “energy” involved became something of a theme for the evening. I think I was given “Merit” for both. That equates pretty much as “average”.

That was followed by a brief exposition on histograms, DR, and the difference between visual sensitivity and mechanical sensitivity. Interesting, especially since it explained something that I had not been able to work out. I generally shoot in RAW and have found that sometimes the extreme ends of the histogram contain unexpected detail. The reason you will see, no doubt, is that the JPEG version has sensitivity of just four stops. The RAW file is sensitive to about 1.5 stops either side of the JPEG range, giving a total of roughly 7 stops between total black and total white. Hence the DR of a RAW image can be expanded simply by wringing the two ends of the histogram out into the “middle” portions of the extremes on the JPEG scale.

The reshoot of the mask series has been redone. I have looked at the results briefly. There are issues that need to be resolved – and in the following order -

The quartz-iodide 500W tube I am using for lighting is completely OTT. Far too hot. I don’t want to have to get filters to correct so I am going shopping for eco-bulbs which I have discovered carry a K rating. The ones we use for lighting at home are generally 4500K, much less yellow than the QI tube but still well below sunlight. I know there is a 5500K range as I have seen it mentioned several times. I need go look.

I need to develop a means of stretching the backcloth over its width at tabletop height. It will work quite well as a backing but it is getting shade variations still – quite badly. At this stage I think a couple of loop tags sewed carefully to the edge on each side will suffice. CF or dowel stretchers to follow. Rolling the cloth onto a larger dowel works well. Happy with that I am.

The camera needs further “investigation”. I need to find the manual and read up on the multiple exposure function and whether it includes automatic compensation for the number of exposures. Being film and not digital I can not blame the camera for “averaging” if I am using it on Manual. I tried spot metering this time on the black. I seems to have made some difference, but not enough as the backcloth did not burn out as I wanted.

I just went took a look back over the last couple of months. One of the things in my head that might help with this whole problem of getting the multiple exposures how I want them is actually to backlight the backcloth – put lights behind the backcloth, effectively turning that part into a direct softbox..

The other thing that needs consideration is that of shadows. With only the one strong light, I get a fair shadow on the opposite side of the object. Absolutely not needed. So if I get the 5500K bulbs, I will need about 1500 watts worth – 1000w from the back, 250w each side. I also have in mind the construction of a softbox. That would not resolve the shadow problem but might help in the overall lighting scheme.

I am also trying to determine the actual difference between the various settings – rough eyeball judgement of the negs is not sufficiently accurate. I am going to use a borrowed Dimage scanner to get the film onto disc so I can play around with it.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Oct -

OK, so it is October already. The past weekend has been spent setting up for this month’s competition; set topic is “Dance”.

We (SWMBO and probligo) went to Atamira this year, it being 2 years since we last went. Atamira is a presentation showcase of Maori art, craft, culture, the whole kete and caboodle. We went on Sunday, as Saturday was too much of a panic to fit SWMBO’s pre-determined timetable. That was a pity because I wanted to be there for the final rounds of the hip-hop dance competition. We had looked in two years back and spent about 15 minutes in the theatre before being overcome by the sound level. Now that SWMBO is getting to join the hard-of-hearing brigade that should not have mattered quite so much. However it was not to be. We stopped by the theatre for a while to listen to Miss Black – Whirimako’s daughter – who is a good club singer but not in the same league as her mum. Yet.

So, that source of images went past without any result.

Back to the library.

Last year we went to the Diwali equivalent of Atamira; substitute Indian and you got it. That is the source for the photo I am putting in to club. It is far from perfect; there is a very large stagelight that gets in the way. Hence the cutout vignette rather than the dodge. I have learned the difference between PS “cookie-cutter” and “layer motif”.

The Taranaki portrait is from the library; this one is from 5 images, taken about 10 minutes prior to the stretch landscape I posted previously. This has not been shopped other than to stitch the image.

While at Atamira, I took a series of pictures of a young guy who was carving a tekoteko (stylised full figure). It bears a fair similarity to Pukaki, who was one of the centre taonga in the Te Maori exhibition that did the tour to New York and other cities in the States in 1984. I have to say that I was impressed by his work. This time I asked for permission to take photos; yes, there is a first time for everything!! He agreed and I am most disappointed with the result. The first three, where he was working face-to-face with the teko I did not realise that he had his chisel - sorry gouge – stuffed up a nostril. Edifying, NOT!! My attempts at flash photo were amazingly underexposed. Don’t know what went wrong there. I will have to look at the metadata to find out what I done. I suspect that I was using a pre-set aperture but don’t know for sure. They look as though the flash was missed. There was another chappie I stopped and spoke to – SWMBO was having a cup of coffee down at the kaumatua’s lounge. He was making tiny – I mean about 20-30mm wide – kete from very fine harakeke flax. Beautiful work. He did NOT want his photo taken. Given the standard of my other efforts I glad that I did not. I also came across a woman who was making taniko cloth – small samplers was all. That is something I have watched being done before but it is one of the “lesser” arts and does not get much publicity as a result. I am fortunate to have a taniko belt my mother made – it was her only attempt and she found it very frustrating to finish.

I have not yet re-shot the mask series. The mood in the camp has not been conducive. I might have yesterday but gardening got in the way. There is not a lot that is interesting in digging cooch out of a drying bed of freesias and granny-bonnets. My version looks like the pigs got in and turned the plot over.