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Nash Point, Wales – Lighthouse and Rock Beach

Welcome to Big Mountain Photography

(Dashan Sheying –大山摄影)

Last Sunday, I got up at 4a to ventured south 3 hours to Nash Point Lighthouse in south Wales. It was a “Bluebird Day”, i.e. Blue Skies, Puffy White Clouds and Sunny.  I wasn’t disappointed as the morning was full of images especially long exposures with the fast-moving clouds.

Kept my cameras busy yet shooting the 617 view camera is simply my favorite.  No stitching required for panoramics.

Foghorns(s)
Digital Gallery – Fuji X-Pro2
Digital Gallery – iPhone w/Hipstamatic
Film Gallery – Shenhao 6×17 View Camera

Welcome Hasselblad 500CM w/80mm CF Lens

Welcome to Big Mountain Photography

(Dashan Sheying –大山摄影)

I’m hooked on medium format film as it’s fun to shoot and the final images can range in size from 6×4.5, 6×6, 6×7, 6×9, 6×12 or 6×17.  I find the 6×6 format (aspect ratio, 1:1) as the most challenging for composition and most satisfying when you nail it.  Are you thinking about giving analog photography a try?  If so, consider medium format as the equipment is reasonable and readily available, i.e. on eBay.

For those unfamiliar with medium format film, let me bring it back to a full-frame perspective, i.e. 35mm (or 135).

There is not a lot I can say that hasn’t been said numerous times before by many passionate film photographers.  For some, the “Hassey” is an iconic camera of times gone by.  Not familiar with a Hasselblad, let me share Matt Day‘s video on the Hasselblad 500CM: Click Here

The Featured Image above is a Hasselblad 500 CM c.1985

Hasselblad 500CM w/80mm and pop-up waist level viewfinder.  I’ve added a prism viewfinder, a 50mm CF lens and an extra film back for B&W.

Film Gallery

All About the Light

Welcome to Big Mountain Photography

(Dashan Sheying –大山摄影)

As my photography journey continues and believe me it is continuing as I evolve my taste for “light”, I’ve taken fewer photos while attempting to stalk the “light”.   I believe this is a by-product from shifting back to film while staying 50-50 with digital.

With medium format 120 film, images per roll range from 4 to 12:

  • Fuji GF670: at 10 – 6×7 or 12 – 6×6 images per roll
  • Mamiya C330: 12 – 6×6 images per roll
  • Hasselblad 500CM: 12 – 6×6 images per roll
  • Shenhao 6×17 View Camera: 4 images per roll
  • RSS Pinhole Camera: 4 images per roll

Given the limited number of images, you need to think each and every composition through while stalking the light.  Often, I catch myself rushing for the next image and say it’s not a digital experience I’m seeking.  So this gallery is my “Light Stalker” of both digital and film where the focus is to capture and process for the light, always the light.

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Featured Image Above: “Ganesh Immersion at Foreshore Beach, Chennai“. I took this image from atop the hand-lashed platform.

Light Stalker Gallery: Mamiya C330 Medium Format Film and Fuji X-Pro2 Digital

 

Black and White Conversions – Your Choice

Welcome to Big Mountain Photography

(Dashan Sheying –大山摄影)

Over the last three years of image processing, I’ve settled on three main approaches after the “Basic”… adjustments in Lightroom for B&W conversions: Photoshop or ON1 Photo RAW.  I’ve inserted three videos that will take you thru the image processing, step by step.  Try one approach and expand your arsenal.  Good luck.

Note: I finish off each B&W conversion with two artistic effects, i.e. a subtle vignette plus dodging the highlights and burning the shadows at low flow rates.

1) Photoshop Using “Calculations” and “B&W Adjustments Layer

2) ON1 Photo RAW – Develop Filter – B&W

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Featured Image Above: Sir Winston Churchill statue near Westminster in London.

Digital – Fuji x-Pro2

Next Up – Mamiya C330 Pro F Medium Format Camera

Welcome to Big Mountain Photography

(Dashan Sheying –大山摄影)

Here are my first images developed, scanned and processed from my new/old Mamiya C330 Pro F using 55m, 80mm (std lens) and 180mm lenses.  The techniques for focusing and finding the correct exposure is the same as using the Shenhao 6×17 view camera, i.e. ground glass with magnification for finding focus and Pentax Spotmeter for finding exposure (aperture and shutter speed) at the film’s box ISO.

Still have a roll of Fuji Velvia 100 to complete developing, i.e. Palm Labs runs this e6 slide film processing on Fridays only so will see the results next week.  Another three rolls to go in from our London Weekend Trip.

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Featured Image Above: Canal Boat looking back at Birmingham’s Library.

Film – Mamiya 6×6 TTL Medium Format – Kodak Ektar 100
Digital – Fuji x-Pro2 with 16mm and 23mm lenses in Stratford upon Avon, Warwick Castle, and London

Catchin’ Up

Welcome to Big Mountain Photography

(Dashan Sheying –大山摄影)

As I’ve continued to share my images on Instagram, my photo blog postings have dropped off.  Well, I’m back with an array of film and digital images from our trips east to Barmouth, Wales, Snowdonia National Park Train Ride, then south to Exmoor National Park, next southeast to the City of Oxford and of course the University of Oxford with its many historical Colleges and wonderful architecture.  Future posts will be short in coming and subject specific with a focus on my analog journey.

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Featured Image Above: This is a Shenhao 6×17 view camera image atop Snowdonia Mountain.  Once the train stopped on top, we had 30 minutes to get out, setup and shoot – way too fast for a view camera.

Film – Shenhao 6×17 Medium Format – Kodak Tri-X 400
Setup the view camera on the mile long train bridge/walkway to capture an image looking back at Barmouth.  JDR was a gracious model holding her pose while I focused in, took a spot meter reading, adjusted the shutter speed/aperture… and finally took the exposure.
Film – Fuji GF670 Medium Format – Fuji Velvia 100
Digital – Fuji X-Pro2 APS-C Format

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.

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Note: Bold, Underlined Red highlighted text is an external link of interest.
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

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.

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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

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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

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.

Happy Pinhole Photography Day 2017-04-30

Welcome to Big Mountain Photography

(Dashan Sheying –大山摄影)

2017 Pinhole Photography Day

Today is that one day of the year for all Pinhole Photographers to get out and shoot their lensless camera.  Since I did yet could not get instant images given this is still an Analog World, let me post at least some images from my 6×17 RealitySoSubtle camera using Fuji 400H Pro medium format film taken in Xi’an, China.
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Xi’an City Wall: South-side looking East.
B&W: I knew these people may be stationary or in a fluid state given my Pinhole Assist App had the exposure targeted for 2 seconds.  This is the Drum Tower north of the Bell Tower (Center of Town) and the start to the left to the Muslim Quarter.
Color: The Same image which I like better for the people movement and those stationary for 2 seconds in their life.

Fuji GF670 Film Camera: 6×17 Fujifilm 400H Pro

Xi’an City Wall:  Facing North to the Bell Tower (Green Roof).  FYI: Got an immediate Like from my better-half on this image.  I’ve arrived as she provides my balance in photography.
Mylapore, Chennai:  A quick diversion to a local Car (Cart/Chariot) Festival.  Got that look again.
Xi’an City Wall:  Didn’t plan this but after two separate shoots 180 degrees apart showing the massive, protective nature of teh City Wall – I placed them in one image.
Xi’an City Wall:  Yes that Red Lantern is really red. That’s Fuji saturation.  I decided to leave it as it was.

 

Baggie City Center (Centre) in B&W

Welcome to Big Mountain Photography

(Dashan Sheying –大山摄影)

Birmingham City Center

The best way to get acquainted with your new surroundings is to walk it.  So I have around Birmingham’s City Center and enjoy the variation of architectural styles across the years. So with this post, I’m practicing my B&W image processing using the recipe below.  Like any recipe one salt and peppers to taste.
Recipe (Photographer’s Stuff)
  1. Lightroom: Import and cataloging
  2. (Iridient Developer: Used for the Fuji RAW files for Exposure, Color (Fuji Soft), Details)
  3. Lightroom: Basics for Highlights, Shadows, Whites, Blacks, Transform-Auto, Crop…
  4. ON1 Photo RAW 2017: Add Dynamic Contrast (30%), B&W w/Color Sliders adjusted to taste, Big Softy Vignette
  5. Photoshop: Framing and Distraction Removal.
  6. Lightroom: Watermark and Export
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B&W Gallery

Selfridges: “Touching the Sky”
Victoria Square: “Stand at Attention”
Birmingham Library: “See Me”
Bullring Mall: “Bull – It”
Grand Central Station: “Train Time”
Apple Store: “Apples Three”

Last Dance

Welcome to Big Mountain Photography

(Dashan Sheying –大山摄影)

Good-bye Chennai

I thought it appropriate to have my Last Dance (Photowalk) here in Chennai around Mylapore knowing that it’s a bustling city at sunrise.  We were surprised as we turned down Chitrakulam West Street to see the Sri Audikesava Perumal Peylar Temple (RED X) holding its local Car Festival, pulling the Temple Car (Chariot / Cart).
The Temple Car was being decorated for a 7:15am Pooja followed by a 7:30am towing around the block.  We waited through the hour of preparation capturing the daily lives of the locals, the way Street Photography should be.
 
The more prestigious Car Festival in Mylapore is this April 8th at the Arulmigu Kapaleeswarar Temple with 10s of 1000s of people in attendance.  I headed for the roof last year to witness the event from up high.
Patronage: Please “Follow” along as our adventure ends in India then over to Xi’an, China and later in April to the U.K.  Comments, Likes, … always welcomed here.
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Car Festival Gallery – VSSR Applied

“Three Idols on Parade”.  Here is one of the rare times during the year Idols are taken from their enclave and paraded around for all to see and worship.
“Up We Go”. The task now to load up the Idols upon the “Car”, i.e. Cart / Chariot…
“First a Pooja”.  Fire, Bells, Incense, Melons, Colors… the Priests Pray (Pooja) to their Hindu Idols.
“Loaded Up and Ready to Go”.  Everything is set, now waiting for the Auspicious Time to arrive.  Time for one last call.
“The Band Played On”.  Loud yet foot stomping music to the heart.
“Lone Trumpeter”.  South Indian Tamil Nadu people always have a smile in their hearts.  My job is to bring to the surface and document it.

Cannonball Tree – Update

Welcome to Big Mountain Photography

(Dashan Sheying –大山摄影)

My earlier post revealed one of the most beautiful, intricate flowers I’ve seen here in India from the Cannonball Tree, i.e. Couroupita guianensis.  I first ran across the beauty of the tree’s flower on a photowalk two years ago at a Shiva Temple. I’ve had my eyes out ever since without success.  Well after finding one last Sunday, today I found a great specimen only 100 m from my office on campus.  How did I miss this one under my nose?
I’ve shared images of the flower yet let me share images of the tree and it’s “Cannonballs“.
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Update from Last Post

Lefthand Image: RAW Image Without Processing

Upper-Right Image: VSSR Processed Image

Lower-Right Image: Fotopassion Cyprus (FB) Best Photographer Award

Cannonball Tree Gallery – VSSR Applied

The Cannonball Tree in all its glory
Cannonballs, lots of Cannonballs
Lingam Flower
Cannonballs
Lingam Flower

 

Cannonball

Welcome to Big Mountain Photography

(Dashan Sheying –大山摄影)

Happy Holi Everyone.  It’s colored-powder time with a splash of water – enjoy.

This post reveals one of the most beautiful, intricate flowers I’ve seen here in India.  It’s from the Couroupita guianensis, i.e. Cannonball Tree.
Get the Wikipedia rundown here
Often you see this tree in the temples as sometimes its striking flower is referred to as the Lingam Flower given its resemblance to the Snake of Shiva with its yellow teeth and Lingam as its tongue.
VSSR Applied.
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Gallery – VSSR AppliedDaShanSheYing-2756

 

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