BIG Relief Time

BIG relief time

I have been working on a series of 5×4″ Littoral images since 2004, and made the penultimate negs during the equinox a few days ago. Reviewing the whole body of work since then I considered what sizes to make the prints

Ended up at 16 x 20 inches and 32 x 40 inches, twice the size, with a few at 24 x 32″ for some sales

This morning I went into the darkroom and wound the 10×8″ DeVere 5108E up into the roof turret and the baseboard down a couple of notches and made test prints for the large size. Only little 10×8″ sheets of Foma from bits of the image to make sure the prints will work. This is frustrating me as I want the big ones now. The 42″ wide Roll of Foma is here, but not as well packed as the 42″ wide roll of Agfa MCC that nearly flew out of the back of a friend’s car a few years ago

Only wait now is for a couple of days re-plumbing the print washing tank and some work on the darkroom itself first, but the pool noodles are ready


The negs for this portfolio were all made with Linhof STv and ancient Schneider lenses, hence some of my relief


A Mistake

Last Thursday’s (25th Sept 2014) mistake, well, one of them. While working last Wednesday I asked Rae to make photographs of me looking like a LF hero, like Nikki does for Clyde Butcher. Rae’s second word was “off”

On Thursday, Rae relented and after the first pic said the battery in her digicam was flat, so I said she could use her Contaflex, no Contaflex on this trip, so I said there was a screw Leica sitting next to the camera trolly. A few shouted instructions later I heard soft Leica sounds and then her voice gently saying “This is really nice, how many do you have? I was concentrating on not falling off a rock so was honest. “Oh good, I will sell the Contaflex and appropriate one of your Leicas”. Ah well . . .

For sale, Contaflex Super, plus 35 and 85mm Pro Tessars, close up lens set, and a few colour filters and fruit

Little Big

I had one of those 3.00am mind sessions a few days ago, the sort that remind me of F Scott Fitzgerald’s “In the midnight of the soul it is always three am”. (I wish I could remember where it sits)

Sort of about that stuff, or not

Anyway, listening to nothing, we were too far from the ocean and it was a very quiet night it re-occurred to me that all the stuff about large format being for meditation is crap. 10×8 and 5×4″ are not really meditative media as there is too much going on, to much mental and physical “stuff” to work with and consider. There is, or can be, a meditative space when looking for the angle and view, and once the camera is set up there is the quiet time until the moment of exposure. Even then there is the constant scanning of the subject area for the moment of light and un-noticed stuff that may need to be considered. Once the exposures are made there is the packing away and getting the thing back on my back, or the trolley if I am lucky with the location

LEICA screw, the old funky ones, are much more about presence and immediacy to an almost meditative level. With 35mm no one, least of all me, gives a shit about level horizons, depth of fjord, subject or camera movement and even plane of focus. The bright line viewfinders I use are immediate and present and I feel part of what is happening. Added benefits are the hundreds of feet of free film I have been given and the very cheap Hawkeye I have bought five cans of

It should be noted that M series Leicas and Nikon F/F2 don’t have this presence as they are too big and cumbersome. However, Rolleis have it, but they are different again

I have two few rolls of Leica snaps from the September 2014 equinox journey sitting on the V700, and the test sheets of 5×4″ are in the darkroom, but I am loathe to turn the scanner on in case I turn on the scanner. It is not really mine



About about equinoxes and solstices. Our culture goes on about the solstice festivals of mid summer and mid winter, but to me the equinoxes have far more energy. Solstices are about staying home, summer because we call it Christmas and there are too many idiots on the road and in any case the light is rotten. Winter solstice there is a fire, beer and bugger all light. Equinox light is fast changing, almost by the day as the sun it at the steepest bit of the sine curve. Also, in southern Australian latitudes the sun is at a fairly easy angle to work with, not in the overhead hammer light of summer position that drives me to drink

Equinoxes are for traveling, I have always traveled on an equinox apart from the last couple of years and always come back with “gift” images, images so special I don’t feel like I own them, but that I am shown them, give thanks and record them. Which reminds me of another quote, this by Minor White from Octave of Prayer “Spirit stands still long enough for the photographer she has chosen” all a bit old hippy, but equinoxes do that

No scans as the V700 will not make a 35mm scan wider than 21mm from the 24mm side of 35mm, so the scanner is now disconnected and waiting its fate

A Note on Bokeh


A topic of the Wise and Wonderful Web is the pseudo Japanese term bokeh, the scent of a lens. Bokeh is a function of the way spherical aberration is corrected and is one aspect of the overall quality of a lens, its drawing. These drawing qualities include sharpness, the beneficial affect of flare on shadow detail, field curvature, distortion and everything. What marks a great lens design is the balance of its corrections.

Bokeh, or boke-aji translates as “blur quality”, but literally means “flavour of haze”. I am told the Japanese have a habit of shortening whole phrases to single words particularly if there is a pun or double entendre to be had, so it collapsed in to just “boke”, which refers to the appearance of the parts of the image that are out of the depth of sharp focus

I use ancient screw mount Leicas for snapshots and recording ideas and events. I find the Cosina/Voigtlander 35mm f2.5 lens to be one of the very best in terms of the smoothness of the unfocused areas in front of as well as behind the plane of focus

In Photographic Lenses, Conrad Beck and Herbert Andrews, pub London circa 1905 I came across the first sensible description of bokeh (see pic)bokehGood boke-aji is represented by 160 B, where the brightness of an out of focus patch of light fades out at the edge