Friday expressions

2009, Photography

I went out today with my Ricoh GX200. And while I shot both RAW and jpegs I ended up using the B&W jpegs for posting. Just added some local contrast, noise texture, and little sharpening in Photoshop and resized them for posting. That is it, no cropping, no cloning, nothing else.
Friday expression by Wouter Brandsma
But when does editing becomes too much Photoshop? See this article about Danish press photographer Klavs Bo Christensen.
Friday expression by Wouter Brandsma
Three photographers, including Klavs Bo Christensen, were told to deliver their raw files of their submitted photographs to the judges of the Danish Picture of The Year contest.
Friday expression by Wouter Brandsma
According to the judges his photographs went beyond the excepted form of post processing like cropping, burning, dodging, converting to black and white, and exposure and color correction. In particular the three photographs in the article invoked the judges’ anger.
Friday expression by Wouter Brandsma
The photographs of Klavs Bo Christensen almost looked like some kind of HDR photography. Now, some may like that. But I am personally no fan of HDR photography and I think it is absolutely unacceptable for press photography which should be as close as possible to the reality. Even when the reality is a subjective and personal vision of the photographer.
Friday expression by Wouter Brandsma
All photographs by Wouter Brandsma

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Pincher Creek and some more

2009, Photography

I have visited Canada twice. The first time just for two days as a break of a tour through Montana in 1994. The second time in 1999 on a trip from Calgary to Vancouver. And since the first time I created a kind of week spot for the small town of Pincher Creek in southern Alberta near the Rocky Mountains and the US border. Just an half hour north of Waterton Lakes National Park and two hours south of Calgary.
Pincher Creek by Wouter Brandsma
But why? The town is nothing special. A population of 3,625. The country side is wide open with the plains to the east and the Rockies to the west. Often the strong Chinook winds blow off the mountains, so it can be very windy there. But I loved it. Simple, uncomplicated and pure. The vistas are gorgeous, the sky is clear.
Pincher Creek by Wouter Brandsma
The photographs here originate from some of my slides from 1999 with my Ricoh GR1. And I have to admit that I used a very simple technique to digitize these slides. I cut an empty roll of toilet paper into half and used it as extension tube in front of my camera. I kept the framed slide closely against the end of the roll and used a white background on my computer screen as light source. I used the macro mode to focus on the slide, as a result of the diameter of the roll this will work best with compact cameras, slower shutter speed and an aperture around f4.4 to make sure enough would get sharp. Of course you won’t be able to make huge prints from these photographs, but it works fine for smaller prints and web purposes. Sometimes though it can look like photos from a Holga.
Pincher Creek by Wouter Brandsma
All photographs by Wouter Brandsma

And on another photography related note. My friend Amin Sabet restarted his forum project Camera Work since last Tuesday. See here for more information.

Can it be done?

2009, Photography

Small sensor cameras have huge depth of field, even at the widest aperture. Many think these cameras aren’t suitable for portraits, but that those trigger me. Can it still be done? I think you can. Get close, use the macro mode, and use the light. Now, these photos won’t be so clean as with a larger sensor camera, but that is not what I want to achieve. And you don’t need RAW either. These photographs are just jpegs.
Waiting patiently by Wouter Brandsma
In the previous post I mentioned that I started using Photoshop again for my post processing. Why? Lightroom is a very capable application, but I miss the ability to do accurate masking. I miss the possibility to soften an image (I don’t like the negative clarity) or to change the blending mode. I like to use the unsharp mask filter in Photoshop to add local contrast. I can do this all much easier in Photoshop and I don’t need something like Nik Silver Efex Pro to get the same results.
Lindsay by Wouter Brandsma
All photographs by Wouter Brandsma

Changes

2009, Photography

Some might already have noticed a shift in the subjects of my photography. Less landscape, less street, more personal matters. Why, maybe my landscape photographs where an escape for me. In fact, I believe it was an escape. But there is no reason to escape for me. The worries for my son are real and will always be there. Coping with the situation and learning to express myself is maybe more important for me, certainly now.

As a result I am trying new things to process my photographs. Deeper and darker shadows, less tonalities and subtleties. A bit harsher and rougher. For me Lightroom was not really suitable for that job so I returned to Photoshop, my previous workhorse and darkroom.

It all feels like a journey for me and I don’t try to think about where it will lead me in photography. Despite the burden and emotional difficulties I am proud of my kids and wife.
The Burden by Wouter Brandsma
9: 06 AM.
9:06 by Wouter Brandsma
A shadow tries to get out of my frame. And I loved the fact that fellow blogger, Cristian Sorega, was inspired by my shadow photographs.
Out of frame by Wouter Brandsma
My hand tries to capture the light, I try to capture my hand capturing light. A recent photograph from my friend James Tolbert jr inspired me to convert his photo to a B&W version. He posted about it on his blog. Thanks man!
Capture light by Wouter Brandsma
Lindsay, my daughter.
Our little girl by Wouter Brandsma
My family had great fun while my daughter hugged and tickled her bigger brother.
Family fun by Wouter Brandsma
Family fun and our dog claims his attention too.
My family by Wouter Brandsma
All photographs by Wouter Brandsma

Weekend entry

2009, Photography

This Eastern weekend entry is filled with photographs mostly taken at the resort where my son gets therapeutic horseback riding. My son is diagnozed with autism and ADHD. Structuring his life is our number one priority, but is also, to be realistic, a huge stress factor for our lives. And while he ride the horse Lancelot we were able to spent some good time with our little daugter. And get some time to relax.

Leaving work I saw this sign. An ought place though.
Weekend entry by Wouter Brandsma
Did I ever mention I like shadows?
Weekend entry by Wouter Brandsma
Getting texture without adding texture.
Weekend entry by Wouter Brandsma
We arrived at the stable.
Weekend entry by Wouter Brandsma
While my son waited for his ride.
Weekend entry by Wouter Brandsma
It was pretty warm, but my daughter didn’t want to leave without her boots.
Weekend entry by Wouter Brandsma
Real life shadows, I just love shadows at bright sunny days.
Weekend entry by Wouter Brandsma
And more shadows from my son on the horse Lancelot.
Weekend entry by Wouter Brandsma
Being captivated by the light and the burst of the spring season.
Weekend entry by Wouter Brandsma
My son on the back of Lancelot, such a beautiful and comfortable horse.
Weekend entry by Wouter Brandsma
Finally my son was relaxed, tired, and wanted to go home.
Weekend entry by Wouter Brandsma
My daughter was intrigued by her own shadow, although unconsiously it reminded me of Eastern when I reviewed this photograph.
Weekend entry by Wouter Brandsma
We’re going home again.
Weekend entry by Wouter Brandsma
All photographs by Wouter Brandsma