Through a Scanner Darkly

One thing that I continue to love about shooting in medium format film is that I inevitably end up with half-used rolls of film that wait until my next adventure before getting processed by the lab. What this means is that I get a few surprises many months later when those negatives finally make their way to my scanner. The SilverScan software and the Epson V700 Scanner have really come into their own over the past few months; I am getting closer to my ideal scan formula and the time seems less of a problem since installing Photoshop CS5. Using the latest algorithms for scratches and healing have made it much easier to clean the scans from their debris, which saves me hours and my eyes.

Tonight, I am scanning an odd collection of negatives from Rome and New Orleans, and I am bemused by just how dark these particular images are from Rome. I seldom take a film camera into the night, but in Rome I had a monopod and wanted to capture some of the magic I found around the riverside. Using the Sekonic 758DR light meter really helps with this type of photography because I can use the spot meter to accurately set my camera to expose for the lights only. Normally, when using a modern digital slr we shoot to expose for the whole scene and end up with some noisy shots that blur. By using spot metering I was able to capture the real feel for what I was seeing while enveloping the edges of each print in pure blackness.

As a contrast, the New Orleans images are bright and airy as they were shot at the golden hour in Audubon Park. V. and I had a wonderful walk through the park [though it has become a golf course, for the most part], and we found the first pond to be magical in the birds and flora on its edges.

My final thought relates to the fact that quite a few relative strangers have commented on how they have found my work and my lifestyle inspirational, resonating with an interesting character and that they are living vicariously through my adventures. Wow. I cannot imagine hearing anything so positive three years ago about anything I was doing in my life. I guess hearing such compliments humble me and let me think that I must be doing something right in this world. It is such a rare privilege to hear unprompted praise in our super-saturated world today, that I feel blessed to have any affect on any person.

The final image is a fun experiment with a shot of the bayou. Processing it through various plug-ins I aimed toward making it appear like a tin-type photograph that might look good on fine-art paper. Seeing it on the screen I feel like darkening the central sky to match the edges and I might superimpose some grunge to antique the overall feel.

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One response to “Through a Scanner Darkly

  1. good stuff. gotta check u out more often.

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