A Roman Holiday

The negatives are back from Northern Artists, and I must admit that these look like the best quality images I have been able to accomplish so far. Before beginning to scan I installed my new scanning software, Silverfast Ai, the latest version of Photoshop CS5 and Lightroom 3, if only so these are the best quality scans I can get with my equipment. The files are huger than huge, but this is the first time that I have seen images with such depth and gradation through the entire dynamic range. I thought that I would start with the black and white images shot on Ilford Delta 100 film. I should mention that I only have one problem: I appear to have lost 4 frames per roll of the 220 colour film. I have no idea why the magazine back skipped these frames but acted like it took photos. I am not freaking out because the photos look like I have more keepers than expected – I did lose a few photos I wanted though.

The Colosseum in Rome is another thing that must be seen to be understood; I only wish that it had not felt like being inside a clay oven. This particular shot was taken at the end of the walkthrough. What appeals to me here is the geometric contrast and the absolute lack of people. It was also within a few steps of a most satisfying beer with this as the view.

In Paris I found an old silver mirror sign, so it was natural to take a companion shot of this sign in Firenze. As part of the Chasing Light series, this image should fit in quite well, as should the courtyard of the leather school in Florence pictured below.

On the way to the Colosseum, Manning and I came across this bridge/aquaduct ruin in the river. It was not easy to capture with only a 50mm lens, but I like the final angle. Which brings me to the question of whether it worked to only have one lens and no digital camera as a back up? Yes and no. Yes, it worked because I was forced to learn the equipment that I bought during the year with the profits from my commercial photography. Being forced to only have a 50mm f.4 lens as my perspective meant that I saw the world through that lens only. It also meant that I could not take many shots that would have been easy and fast with the Canon and the 135mm f.2. I appear to also have lost one roll of black and white film from my time in Munich and the 4 frames per roll of colour film. Still, these might be the best technical images I have captured, and it was all manual with a light meter in hand.

I am also learning to see the light in a way that was simply impossible before this trip. Given that my film was either ISO 100 or 160, I had to learn to see the exposures (bright light, for instance, was f.4.o at 1/500 usually) and accept that I was going to lose a lot of content for the sake of learning.

So these are the first of many images taken on the journey. I should note that the black and white images are all taken to fit within the idea of selling them as a small dimension series, so the colour images will be closer to my principal style of image. Keep tuning in as I will undoubtedly be posting a high number of blog entries over the next few days. Also, feel free to let me know what you think of the actual work.



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