Friday, 6 September 2013

Medium Format Photography: Dark Sky Practice

Hey look, another country church! I'm sure no one ever said to Ansel Adams 'Oh look, another mountain!'. One of the characteristics of self-teaching a skill is that you make a lot of mistakes, and you don't learn really important things until you keep making the same mistakes over and over again. For example, I always wondered how Ansel Adams or Sebastiao Salgado could get really atmospheric skies and amazing tonal range across a black and white image. For some reason my skies always appeared blown-out and uniteresting. No matter how dramatic the sky was when I took the shot. Of course, learning as I go, no one ever told me the massive difference colour filters make to black and white film. 

Anyway, the one below was shot with a circular polarising filter which finally gave me enough contrast in the sky so that I could give it a suitable burning without a huge amount of grain.  I did shoot an entire roll using a red filter which would've given me even darker skies and even less grain. Needless to say, I incorrectly loaded the film and ended up with blank negatives instead.  Live and learn I suppose.