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MonthMay 2017

2nd Roll Kodak Etkar Film w/Shenhao 617 View Camera

Welcome to Big Mountain Photography

(Dashan Sheying –大山摄影)

Reference this original POST covering my first Shenhao exposures.

Just a quick follow-up note on my next 4 exposures on the Shenhao 617 view camera two weeks ago, always an enjoyment with the lag of getting the film in for development then tiff scans back, i.e. like opening an X-mas gift.

Four Exposure Summary: 2 Exposures focused and well exposed.  1 Exposure well exposed but people movement (walking) causing a blurred motion look as LF lenses are slow, <1/500sec – maybe okay.  1 Exposure blown-out – no clue.

Still acquiring my cadence for a view camera yet find the exposure setting (SS and Aperture) with the Pentax Spot Meter V using Ektar 100 somewhat simple when spotting on Zone 3 for shadow details and shifting 2 stops to Zone 5 with the EV number.  This will change as I get challenged next up with Fujifilm Velvia 50 at four stops of light, low contrast scenes.   I’m ready to get out for more exposures this long weekend.  It’s a 617 weekend.

Patronage: Please “Follow” along as our adventure continues in the UK and EU  Comments, Likes, … always welcomed here.
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Shenhao 6×17 Gallery (3) at the Base of Pen-Y-Fan Mountain in SW Wales

Long Exposure Workshop w/Craig Roberts of e6 YouTube

Welcome to Big Mountain Photography

(Dashan Sheying –大山摄影)

This is my second time with Craig for a “1:1 teaching moment”.  This time the subject is “Long Exposures” under various conditions from full sun to full rain and everything in between, i.e. this is Britan.
Raining kittens and dogs were the cards we were dealt for the day so one must have an umbrella to cover the filters as you can’t use your air bulb blower fast enough to remove the raindrops.  Take Note: Need a tripod attachment to hold an umbrella as Craig wouldn’t be there next time in the rain.
The focus of this workshop was the use of  Neutral Density (ND) Filters, i.e. Polarizer 2 Stops, Little Stopper – 6 Stops, Big Stopper – 10 Stops and Super Stopper – 15 Stops in conjunction with 0.6 / 0.9 Graduated Filters to balance the light from the sky and the ground.
Note: Interesting to see how long exposure photography brought to the surface various camera functions unseen before.  Need to study up.

Long Exposure Location – The City of Manchester (Recognize the Manchester United Stadium above?)

Given the architectural shapes, textures, leading lines… combined with the water and clouds, The Lowery area at Salford Quays was an ideal location.
Craig has great insight to understand what you should consider, no matter what your skill level.

Previous Post on Cityscapes in Birmingham          

Website: Craig Roberts Photography – e6

YouTube Channel: e6 Vlogs

Lee Filters Phone App

Experience

In short, we learn thru doing and regretfully experiencing errors, i.e. Things Gone Wrong.  We then turnaround with proper actions to mitigate errors in the future.  I look forward to my future w/o errors.

My Long Exposure Check List – Work in Progress  (Critical in Bold)

Tripod

  • Ensure the tripod is level
  • Mount your camera for the horizontal or vertical shot

Camera

  • Change to Manual focus.
  • Stay in AF in Aperture Priority for now
  • Turn off the Long Exposure Noise Reduction as it doubles your exposure time.  Can address noise later if an issue or get a better body/sensor.

Composition

  • Determine composition using a 1×1 Square format (RAW still at 3:2 and JPEG at 1:1)
  • Lock down the panning knob on tripod

Focus/Initial Exposure

  • Set lowest ISO allowed
  • Set Aperture Sweet Spot:  For me f/8, maybe f/11
  • Manually focus with Focus Peaking while zoomed in.
  • Focus 1/3 into the composition in the single point focusing mode
  • Take your base shot noting the SS, shutter speed
  • Check histogram for use of ND Grads
  • Write down the SS as you will forget once you add the ND Filter (6S-10S-15S)

ND Grads

  • Base Guideline:
    • Sun is behind you, 1 stop (polarizer is 2 stops)
    • Sun is to your left or right, 2 stops (0.6 Grad)
    • Sun is in front of you, 3 stops (0.9 Grad)
    • (Can always check exposure for SS on foreground to background (sky) to compare stops of difference)
  • Soft or Hard:  Plain unobstructed horizon = Hard, obstructed with vertical objects = Soft

Placing ND Grads in Filter Holder

  • With the filter holder off the camera, place the ND Grad on the front slot pushing 1//4 of the way down.
  • Go to the front of the camera to place the holder on the adapter.  Why to ensure proper placement and full engagement of both the fixed side and spring-loaded wedge.Will position using the live view in the camera.
  • Slide the Grad up/down watching the clouds and histogram change.  Tilt left or right for the proper horizon line
  • Carefully set aside

ND Filters (2-Stop, 6-Stop, 10-Stop and 15-Stop)

  • Base Guideline:
    • Little Stopper to blur people and movement at 1-3s
    • Big Stopper to blur water and/or clouds for 30s to 1min
    • Super Stopper to blur clouds w/o water for 2-4min
  • Use Lee Filters Little-Big-Super Stopper App setting the SS that you wrote down to determine what the long exposure time is against the 3 options.
  • Given what exposure time you desire, select the proper Stopper, i.e. 6S, 10S, or 15S.

Placing the ND & Stopper in the Filter Holder

  • First, check your composition and SS for the base exposure.  Still the same.
  • If not, will need to use the app for the long exposure time.
  • Slide the Stopper of choice in the front slot (usually a hard push) until the foam in centered for sealing against light

Placing the Holder with Filters on the Camera’s Adapter Ring

  • First, switch to the full-manual mode to avoid the Auto-Focus hunting.
  • Go to the front of the camera to place the holder on the adapter. with Grad & ND.  Why to ensure proper placement and full engagement of both the fixed side and spring-loaded wedge.
When the filter holder is partially engaged with the adapter as placed from the rear of the camera, you have a false sense of security.  When you tip the camera with the holder on, off it goes to the ground.  Not pretty.

Camera

  • Recall the base exposure SS.  Did you write it down?
  • The Lee Filters App provide the long exposure time vs. which Stopper.  What is the long exposure time?  (Note: Can be off +- 2/3 of a Stop)
  • Install your remote control cable or mechanical shutter release
  • Change to “Bulb – B” mode for your shutter speed
  • Did you switch to full manual to avoid AF hunting?
  • Press and hold (or slide up) the remote watching the time count up in seconds… to your chosen long exposure time.
  • Release when the long exposure targeted time is reached.
  • Look at the JPEG preview’s “Histogram,
    • Any right-hand clipping of the Highlights?  If yes, a shorter time is required.
    • Is histogram pushed to the edge of the Highlights (RD Side)?  If not, a longer time is required.
    • Experiment with various times as the Lee Filters App is directional in nature and you must flavor to taste.

Removing the ND & Stopper in the Filter Holder

  • Again, go to the front of the camera and remove filter holder / filter set.
  • Pull out the filters and replace in your holder one by one.
  • Fingerprints and/or rain drops – Need to address later with a proper cleaning.

END

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My First Long Exposure Gallery

First Shenhao 6×17 View Camera Exposures

Welcome to Big Mountain Photography

(Dashan Sheying –大山摄影)

Reference this original POST covering my first Shenhao exposures.
Film Holder Loaded with Focusing and Exposure Checks Done

Just a quick follow-up note on my first 4 exposures on the Shenhao 617 view camera two weeks ago.  As mentioned before I had a full list of Things Gone Wrong (TGW) requiring my attention.  I’ve taken actions to correct plus create a checklist to establish a cadence.

First and foremost I had blown out exposures.  The 3rd image of the boats in the bay was totally overexposure (stuck shutter on my part), so I get a pass.  The 2nd image of the bridge shifted to the left, was overexposed for reasons unknown after I reviewed my on-site film notes.  Maybe a shutter issue.

In Summary:  I’m learning from my mistakes and that’s the correct approach.  As my old football coach would say “Spit on it and rub it”, i.e. suck it up and get back into the game.  However, I do like the properly exposed scans as very little post-processing on my part was required – see the gallery below.

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Shenhao 6×17 Gallery (2)

Wales: Pen-Y-Fan Mountain Day 2

Welcome to Big Mountain Photography

(Dashan Sheying –大山摄影)

Pen-Y-Fan Mountain

Day 1 Link HERE.
I went from Circle 1 up to the top Circle 3 in ~1.5 hours
A 3km ascent of 435 meters to the top.  You can see my start/stop frequency.  Used “Walk Meter” App to capture the trek.  Turned it off at the top, low battery.
2017-05-14 Sunday Day 2

The trek up was cold, wet, sunny, dry… everything yet my two coats (one for warmth, the other keeping out the wind/rain) made it bearable.  I had no idea how long the trek would last nor the degree of slope for the ascent.  I kept telling myself “never again to carry a 30 lb large format gear backpack with 4 lb Gitzo tripod/ball head”.  The Fuji X-Pro2 with one lens was fine.  Yet, as I arrived at the top; took a rest my thoughts of went elsewhere across and down the beautiful vistas.  Going down was actually harder on my knees.  Breathing, no issue.  Legs are tired – I’ll sleep well tonight.

I kept telling myself “never again to carry a 30 lb large format gear backpack with 4 lb Gitzo tripod/ball head”.  The Fuji X-Pro2 with one lens was fine.  Yet, as I arrived at the top; took a rest and my thoughts went elsewhere, i.e. across/down the beautiful vistas.  Going down was actually harder on my knees.  Breathing, no issue.  Legs are tired – I’ll sleep well tonight.

Patronage: Please “Follow” along as our adventure continues in the UK and EU  Comments, Likes, … always welcomed here.
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Hipstamatic App Gallery – Sunday 5/14

Pen-Y-Fan Gallery – Sunday 5/14

Wales: Pen-Y-Fan Mountain Day 1

Welcome to Big Mountain Photography

(Dashan Sheying –大山摄影)

Pen-Y-Fan Mountain

in the Brecon Beacons National Park

Here’s a slight diversion: Brecon Steam Engine Railway Ride

Wales: My Ancestry – Mother’s Side
Dead Center via Apple Maps – Easy Drive w/90% Divided Highway.  Birmingham is off to the Northeast

Visualize Your Walk Around the RED LINE

A moderate trek covering 4 miles in 2.5 hours, red line.

Hipstamatic iPhone App Images

Shenhao 617: Getting Set Up with Lens, Composition, Focus, and Image Exposure
Shenhao 617: Image Taken Looking Up the Path to the Top Covered in Clouds
2017-05-13 Saturday Day 1

I arrived at Pen-Y-Fan ~8a after leaving Birmingham at 6a, do the math.  The forecast was for rain at Pen-Y-Fan yet knowing the weather is an hour-by-hour thing here in the UK, I went for it.  It did rain but a slow drizzle which let up for awhile for me to get a few images.  The top of the mountain was blanketed in clouds so I came home to return Sunday.

2017-05-14 Sunday Day 2

Next Post – Wales: Pen-Y-Fan Mountain Day 2

Patronage: Please “Follow” along as our adventure continues in the UK and EU  Comments, Likes, … always welcomed here.
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Pen-Y-Fan Gallery – Saturday 5/13

Pen-Y-Fan Gallery – Sunday 5/14

Next Post: Wales: Pen-Y-Fan Mountain Day 1

Fujifilm GF670 Medium Format Camera

Welcome to Big Mountain Photography

(Dashan Sheying –大山摄影)

Fuji GF670 Camera with

Kodak Ektar 100 and Ilford HP5

Fujifilm GF670 Sold in Japan.  Discontinued Aug’14.  Mine is still alive and kicking.
Well, I’ve re-discovered film as a digital man wanting an analog past. (Joe Walsh would say, I’m an Analog Man in a Digital World).  Film is just plain fun from understanding which film stock, ISO… you need for the scene and slowing down in taking the image with the best possible composition in camera.  Tripods required.
On the Color side, I’ve tried Fujifilm 400H Pro, Kodak Porta 400 and now Ektar 100 negatives.  Ektar comes up on top.  Next, Velvia 50/100 to try as color transparency films, i.e. WYSIWYG.
On the B&W, I’ve tried Fuji ACROS 100 and Ilford HP5.  Neither one is a clear winner for my tastes and style.  Have Kodak Tri-X 400 to try, maybe it’s the one for me.
This is what I love about Analog – Film as it’s not the post processing that matters to “get the look”, it’s the film stock you use under varying conditions that drive your end product.  Note: I will have my first 6×17 images available next week using Kodak Etkar 100.  Yes, I’ll post the good, the bad and the ugly.
 Note: I will have my first 6×17 images available next week using Kodak Etkar 100.  Yes, I’ll post the good, the bad and the ugly.
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Kodak Etkar 100 Gallery – Titles Added

Ilford HP5  Gallery – Titles Added

Day Tripper to Barmouth, Wales

Welcome to Big Mountain Photography

(Dashan Sheying –大山摄影)

Barmouth, Wales

A day trip to Barmouth, Wales from Birmingham. Says 2hr 29min yet I took my time, left 5:35a and arrived 8:15a. Very little traffic on the “Ms” and the “As”. Going back traffic found me. I’m headed back as JDR arrives and up into Snowdonia Nat’l Park.
Planned the trip last night from a selection of 5 options, got up and out at 5:30a.  It was the correct choice.  The drive was awe inspiring for a photographer as often I saw the shot, visualized the results and had to keep driving by with no place to park.  A common theme here in the UK, not enough parking spaces along the roads for us tourists.
I went seeking landscapes with my big gun, Shenhao 617 view camera with movements included.  However, I found interesting Peoplescapes – see gallery below.
I can’t provide the instant gratification we now enjoy with digital so let me explain my analog experience including TGW and TGR.  I made errors – okay stand up, brush off the dust and learn:

Things Gone Wrong (TGW)

  1. Forgot to close shutter after focusing
  2. Forgot to open the shutter at wide open, i.e. f/5.6
  3. Forgot to open the dark slide, 2x
  4. Couldn’t see F/45 on top the lens with tripod height – found the f numbers underneath
  5. Shutter cable malfunctioned due to my error and left stuck open – need to check it out.  More likely a personal problem.
  6. Exposure 3 will be interesting with a selfie given the effect of number 4.
  7. Need a lanyard to hold the Pentax Spot Meter V
  8. Need a bag to hold the film back from the tripod
  9. Get the Loupe on a retracting pull string
  10. Couldn’t see the exposure numbers to clearly set 2, 5, 8 and 11.  Bring my little spotlight next time to see the exposure number.
  11. Exposure #4 may be short of 17cm from number 10.
  12. Dark cloth (Red/Black w/velcro) works okay yet needs to be tighter up against the rear standard.

Things Gone Right (TGR)

  1. Buying the 300mm f/9 was a good choice to reach out.  May have exceeded the bellow factor as finally got focus with little to spare.  Need to check actual front to rear standard lengths next time.
  2. The 150mm f/5.6 is an all around lens.  Used the Viewfinder App with my 4 focal lengths loaded and in each case it was in the top 2 to select.
  3. The loupe was fine at 6x.
  4. Large Format bag w/gear worked fine.  No new bag needed
  5. Focusing was fun, nothing complicated this time.
  6. Exposures 1 and 2 should be okay – let’s see after the scans from the Palm Lab here in Birmingham, ~2 weeks out.
  7. Will need Lee Filters (Grads for sure to balance the light)
  8. Spot meter worked well as took the EV reading for Zone 3 to capture shadow detail with Etkar 100 then shifted the EV number from the “South” position to Zone 3 on the paper scale.  Felt though the SS of 1/15 and 1/30 were too quick.  Didn’t use the Reciprocity Timer App as it has a known bug which kicks one out when the camera icon is touched.  Developer working it.
From TGW, I need to create a brief “Pilot Take-Off Checklist” so to say for shooting large format style.  Next task.
Patronage: Please “Follow” along as our adventure continues in the UK and EU  Comments, Likes, … always welcomed here.
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Shenhao 617 Setup (iPhone w/o Post)

Peak District Walkabout Gallery

Cityscapes Workshop – 1:1 With Craig Roberts in Birmingham

Welcome to Big Mountain Photography

(Dashan Sheying –大山摄影)

My photography checklist of things to do had a “1:1 teaching moment with a Professional Photographer”.  The list is now checked, i.e. Craig Roberts.
The focus of this workshop for me was the use of graduated / polarizer filters given the constant on and off again gray cloudy skies to sunny skies. Grads help pull out the details and balance the light to avoid blowing out the highlights.  Next, Neutral Density (ND) filters for long exposures with some Polarizing effects thrown in for fun …
Craig has great insight to understand what you should consider, no matter what your skill level.

Website: Craig Roberts Photography – e6

YouTube Channel: e6 Vlogs

My Personal Take-Aways  (Top Three in Bold)

– Get it right in-camera first, minimize the processing.

Shoot 1:1 Square aspect ratio for improved composition.  PS No need to turn the camera for those vertical compositions – right?

– One camera, one lens – get it right.

– Landscapes: Use the Fuji GF670 for 6×7 (almost 4×5 AR) to master manual exposure with metering the scene ahead of bringing out the big guns, i.e. Shenhao 6×17 view camera.

– Velvia 50:  Meter the highlights (VII) and let the shadows fall for high contrast range.

Cityscapes: As with Landscapes look for the foreground, mid-ground and background, i.e. not just a landscape thing.

– Look for the abstract with minimalist application

– Look up and back

Lee Filters Seven5 SystemGrads (Hard or Soft) : Back -1 Stop, Sides – 2 Stops and Front – 3 Stops, i.e. 0.9, 0.6. and 0.3

– Avoid G.A.S. (Gear Acquisition Syndrome) and don’t get hooked on Olympus’ 5-axis stabilization…

– Tripods: Spikes needed for landscape, Carbon Fiber too light for the UK winds – agree…

– Zoom-In to fill the frame for 100-300mm focal lengths shooting in color and B&W

– Rules of the Road: Photography on a Public Footprint is Okay, Private Footprint is Not Okay.  Got asked at the Grand Central not to shoot on 2nd floor as considered private.  That’s okay as today I went by and got a written okay to photography on the 2nd floor.  No questions asked and nobody bothered me given me little pass.

– Watch the histogram even though it’s tiny in the Fuji during in-camera composition.  Use for placing the Grad to see the highlights drop in balancing the light.

– Sell on eBay my fun lenses: Lensbaby, Fisheye

– A G.A.S. Thought: 18-55mm Fuji lens vs changing primes

– Get my ONA sling bag from China to the UK

– Craig likes two cubes of sugar or 12 tiny sleeves of sugar in his white coffee.  No tea allowed.

– The Selfridges structure has endless compositions, that’s okay – go for it.

– Later, I dropped into the City of Birmingham’s Library.  Decided to join the Library (largest in EU so they say) and asked about what’s up with the construction area in front.  The Library Desk Man said it will be trees, fountains, lights….  An elderly lady (probably my age) let us know her take was a conspiracy theory, i.e.the City Council is reducing the large areas to avoid future protests…  hmmm.

Patronage: Please “Follow” along as our adventure continues in the UK and EU  Comments, Likes, … always welcomed here.
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e6 Photowalk Gallery

(Place cursor over the image to get its Title and/or double click to view images.)

Peak District – Part I

Welcome to Big Mountain Photography

(Dashan Sheying –大山摄影)

Peak District National Park

x
After my first visit to the PeakDistrict, it became blatantly obvious that this is not a one-time visit.  In fact, like YouTuber Ben Horne who does 90% of travels to only Zion National Park for his Large Format Photography, I need to do the same with the Lake District – stick to it and deep dive it with my full arsenal of skills and gear.  Besides, the walks are great exercise.
Helpful Terms  in the Peak (and Lake) District to Know: “Fell” (hill, mountain, or high common land), “Mere” (lake), “holme” (island), “Beck” (stream), “Force” (waterfall) and “Tarn” (small mountain lake)… the list goes on from Celtic, Norse and Saxon times.
Terms: Excerpt From Jules Brown & David Leffman. “The Rough Guide to the Lake District.” iBooks. https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/the-rough-guide-to-the-lake-district/id1196557080?mt=11
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Peak District Walkabout Gallery

Titles added, don’t ask me the name or location as I’m definitely in a steep learning curve here.

The Distillery is OPEN

Welcome to Big Mountain Photography

(Dashan Sheying –大山摄影)

The Distillery

From my times in Australia and the US, it nice was to find a local Pub close to home where one can meet up with Friends…  Well, we got lucky as not only is The Distillery a few blocks away; Gin & Tonic is my favorite mixed drink.  Go figure.  Tried one bar meal upstairs and it was fine.  Next to try the lower restaurant and outside canal-side ambiance.
Patronage: Please “Follow” along as our adventure continues in the UK and EU  Comments, Likes, … always welcomed here.
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The front side with eye-catching lightning late at night.
The Canal-Side atmosphere.
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