St Sulpice, Paris

Here are some snaps from my visit to St. Sulpice in Paris last weekend. The primary object of the visit, which co-incided with Paris Photo, was to see the organ, and especially to hear ‘Titulaire’ Daniel Roth in action. This pipe organ is one of the best in the world, and I was not disappointed!

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REAL PHOTOS

Here are some scans from negatives. My new film scanner arrived today, and this is a rough try-out, so don’t mind the odd bit of debris on the negative, etc. Its Plustek 8100ai. Photos all on Delta 100 or mostly Delta 400 processed in Ilfotec DD-X, which is a pain as it is fiddly, expensive and doesn’t fix very easily. Leica M6 with a Zeiss planar 50mm 2.0 lens…
Further post when I get the hang of the scanner!! These, (from 16bit tiffs) got a quick tweak in Capture one, but the shadows are all over the place, and a white border would be nice too…

Treat them like old records. Look at each one for a little while until your eyes re-calibrate to the world of grain. then after a minute or so, they begin to ‘pop’.

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Anyone got a 240Mp camera handy?

We recently had a big technical conference in town. I decided to get technical myself, by way of a really mad sized panoramic, the largest I’ve done to date. So, headed across to the other side of the river and set up the camera, nice and level, and waited for sunset. Luckily, conditions were good, so the shots came out well. Kept everything in 16 bit the whole way throught, and only did a final reduction to 8 bit TIFF for printing which was a 750 megabyte file (although the printer would have taken 16bit) The final print is currently hanging in the foyer of Wexford Opera House, where it will remain for another week or two. To give you some indication of quality online isn’t really possible, other than to show you a  slice, and that is reduced considerably as well.  To get it to it’s final 40,000 by 6,000 pixels, the original files were all upsized by almost 80%, which is pushing it as well…

A couple of interesting things included seeing the level of light fall off in the sky from south east, to south-west, caused by a combination of the position of sunset, and the time to get a series of frames from one side of the image to the other. If I had shot left to right, instead of the other way, it might have been better. Also, with a dynamic range probably in excess of 15 stops, squeezing as much detail as possible from the raw files, particularly the shadows did show the limitation of the 1D mkIV. The lens didn’t have too much trouble with it. We lost some DR detail here and there, but hey, I think looking into peoples living rooms at eight in the evening might not be such a good idea anyway! White balance is, of course the other one. Most night time shots like this are quite red, but I decided to daylight balance to some degree. This put even more stress on the conversions from raw, so more noise to watch out for, especially in the shadows and blues. Finally, despite my best attempts, some perspective correction was necessary as well before final printing. Dodging and burning is quite fun with files this size as well…..

Next time I’m going to try a daylight landscape panoramic with a very large depth of field, to push things even further! There are some very nice yellow oil-seed fields around at present…..

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Look at the scale of this in relation to the photo above with me in it:

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Promoting your business with photographs…..

James O’Connor’s excellent Greenacres emporium in Wexford requested an iconic photo of the building. I was more than happy to oblige.  And, no I didn’t paint in that sky.  It was there waiting for me….

The image is being used extensively online and in his marketing material.

If you’d like to see a print of it, there is one in Greenacres, downstairs, near the lift.

It might end up more famous than the images I took of the Opera House when it opened….

 

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Some recent commercial work

John Holden from Stena Line, Rosslare, Ireland.
Photographed in pouring rain and semi-darkness on December 21st.

I’ve been extremely busy lately with commercial assigments, from brochure photography, to corporate portraits. Clients expect things to be right, delivered quickly, and at a very favourable price point. One of the more challenging of these recent jobs has been a corporate portrait for Stena Line’s international staff magazine, ‘Connections’. With a circulation of over 6,000 internationally, and published in English and Swedish, the art director was very specific about the type of portrait he wanted. Sea based, plenty of blank space, and including the Stena brand. I could do my own creative interpretation within that brief. We got the ducks lined up in Rosslare, including working out the light, the ship in the background, in the right place (at sea under full steam) and the subject, ready to be photographed between shifts as the boat set sail for Fishguard. We had a three minute window to get the shot. Naturally, being Ireland, at 8.45 a.m. towards the end of December, it was almost dark, with sideways rain coming at us all the way from Wales. Got the shot though, and a commendation from Tidningskompaniet, the Gothenburg agency which handles their publications. Another satisfied customer, but with a very wet subject, and an even wetter photographer!

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Sony NEX update

I’m working away with the NEX-3 and getting to know it now. This post contains 2 series of photos, One lot from Holidays in Sicily, and the other from an event I attended in Cork, Ireland over the weekend. For a holiday camera, the screen vs viewfinder is an issue, especially in bright sunlight. Also its becoming apparent that the headroom on the raw files, or perhaps the DR is somewhat short for subjects with a long tonal scale.
Otherwise, its great value for money and well worth the cost so far. (Incidentally, I’m using PT lens to straighten out the fairly horrific distortion with the kit lens at certain apertures, and Capture one PRO version 6 for all the raw processing). The photo of the Gothic church interior is a HDR composite, bracketed over around 5 stops, but still shows a bit of shadow noise. The camera was on a step, propped up a bit on my credit card holder. Unlike the others, this one did have a lot of post production!

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Further adventures in NEX-3 Land

Tests with the new Sony NEX are continuing, and I must express myself very well pleased in general. The sensor is well up to the task, and the 18-55 lens, despite some fairly hairy distortion at some focal lengths (correctable) is holding its own against a lot of my Canon prime and zooms. This is something of a surprise, naturally. Of the third-party lenses I’ve tested on it, the Zeiss ZM 50 2.0 is pretty amazing, giving a nice 75mm equivalent, but no IS. Attached are a few more random photos. Unlike the previous posting, I’ve been a bit more careful with these, ensuring the camera is well stabilised, to see what it can do. I always shoot manual, with live histogram on and centre focus point enabled. All post processing in Capture on Pro 6.2, always RAW files. Only one of these made it as far as Photoshop. The two of the cemetery taken with the Zeiss, the remainder with the 18-55. The absolute beauty of this is, of course that it is easy to carry around, and not obtrusive. All in a package costing very little for the results obtained. Next step is to go to firmware 3 and see what that does.

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