Wrapping it Up in India

Welcome to Big Mountain Photography

(Dashan Sheying –大山摄影)

It’s been three years in Chennai and I’ve only seen the tip of the “Indian Iceberg” (Paradoxical to relate the coldness of an iceberg to the three-season scenario enjoyed in South India, i.e. Hot, Hotter and Hottest.) relative to what India has to offer, especially for photographers and travel enthusiasts.
Yet, over this time I’ve journeyed from the technical side of photography by fine tuning my techniques and now discovering the elusive craft and art beyond snapshots.
As you get older, you begin to have thoughts that would have never percolated in your youth, e.g. I know so little and now in the Fall of my Life, I have so much to learn.  This has been the driving factor in my photographic journey which has expanded my technical left brain with improved techniques and now challenges my artistic right brain.  A humongous challenge yet like learning Photoshop it’s one tool at a time, one step at a time…
Let me share my recent VSSR images of late in no particular order.
The good news is I have 4 rolls of exposed 120 film ready to head to the US for development and scanning.  It’s like an opening an X-mas present every time the scans arrive (~2-week turnaround).
PS Debating if I should attend the Holi Festival in Sowcarpet, Chennai on Monday 3/13 as the images can be very colorful.

Note: Value-Shape-Separate-Relate is the artistic image processing approach by John R. Tuttle.  I highly suggest you follow John on Instagram or Facebook to get an appreciation for his wonderful fine art images and available archival prints. VSSR is explained here in an earlier post which provides the thinking and image processing approach.

Patronage: Please “Follow” along as our adventure ends in India then over to China and later in the U.K.  Comments, Likes, Dislikes… always welcomed here.

Gallery – VSSR Applied

“Pink Ladies”  Shoot at the Georgetown Flower Market in Chennai, India

“Orange Welcome”   A Besant Nagar, Chennai Photowalk image.

“Red Fingers”   A Besant Nagar, Chennai Photowalk image.

“House of Colors”   A Besant Nagar, Chennai Photowalk image.

“Mellow Yellow”  A Besant Nagar, Chennai Photowalk image.

“Temple Guardian”   A Besant Nagar, Chennai Photowalk image.

“Rust Bucket”   A Besant Nagar, Chennai Photowalk image.

“Purple Morning Haze”   A Besant Nagar, Chennai Photowalk image.

“Temple Tank Float”   A walkabout at the Arulmigu Parthasarathyswamy Temple in Triplicane, Chennai.

“Look Away”  Photowalk at Georgetown, Chennai.

“Pointer-Outer”  Photowalk at Georgetown, Chennai.

“Opposites”  Photowalk at Georgetown, Chennai.

“Morning Read”  Photowalk at Georgetown, Chennai.

“Three Amigos”  Photowalk at Georgetown, Chennai.

“Just for Fun”  Photowalk at Georgetown, Chennai.

VSSR Image Processing Continues

Welcome to Big Mountain Photography (Dashan Sheying –大山摄影) and Happy  Chinese “Lunar” New Year  – Year of the Rooster.  

I continue down the VSSR journey with digital / film images from Varanasi, India and Xi’an, China today.  VSSR is explained here in an earlier post which provides the thinking and image processing approach.

Note: Value-Shape-Separate-Relate is the artistic image processing approach by John R. Tuttle.  I highly suggest you follow John on Instagram or Facebook to get an appreciation for his wonderful fine art images and available archival prints.

Disclaimer:  By no means do I claim to possess the mastery of an Artist Eye nor have highly skilled touch in Photoshop so I push myself to improve the images I create.

Patronage: Please “Follow” along as our adventure in India, later China and maybe UK continues.

Varanasi, India Gallery – Medium Format Film w/6×17 Pinhole and Fuji GF670

Varanasi, India Gallery – Fuji X-Pro2 Digital

Xi’an, China Gallery – Fuji X-Pro2 Digital

Pinhole Camera: RealitySoSubtle 6×17 Pano

Welcome to Big Mountain Photography!

Today, I present my first set of pinhole camera images using Kodak Porta 400 120-film.  If I had to guess, many people have not heard nor understand the use of pinhole cameras.

Here are four quick links to get up to speed: Pinhole Website Video Explanation Wikipedia Explanation Great Overview

Additionally, here are some images from four Pinhole Camera websites: Link 1    Link 2    Link 3     Link 4

Note: I’ve stopped posting individual images on Facebook as I’ve chosen to share not just an image, rather a story with a gallery of images.  We’d appreciate your patronage so please FOLLOW along.

RealitySoSubtle Pinhole 6×17 Pano Camera Link

Let me get the semi-technical questions out of the way.  Here’s the scoop:

RealitySoSubtle 6×17 Medium Format 120 Film Pinhole Camera

– The “Pinhole” is 300 microns (0.300mm) at f/233, 70mm focal length with a curved film plane to avoid corner vignetting and field of view 144deg x 41deg.
– I use an iPhone app, “Pinhole Assist” to Spot Meter (~20deg) plus includes film reciprocity considerations in the calculated exposure time in EVs.
– You get 4 Exposures per a roll of 120 MF film with the film numbers centered in the rear, red viewfinder at 2 ( 1 and 3 on the sides), then 5 (4 and 6 on the sides). 8 and lastly 11.

So how do you load the film, see video:  LOAD

So how do you take exposures, see video:  EXPOSE

So how do you process the scans:  TWO-OPTIONS

#1: Buy yourself a professional, home scanner, i.e. Epson v850 to scan the entire 6×17 negative either dry or wet.  This my medium term solution.

#2: Use a local lab with a Frontier or Noritsu by theFINDLab roll scanner yet there is a limit of 6×12 for a single image.  This is my current solution, not optimal given I must then stitch the images and correct for exposure difference in Photoshop.

Problems So Far Encountered


1) Loose fiber inside the camera resting on the negative.  Solution: Blowout the interior, thoroughly each time you change rolls of film.


2) Never get bumped my somebody at the time of exposure.  Solution: Check out your environment, 360 degrees to ensure you have up to a 120 sec. space without interruption.


3) Watch your fingers getting captured at the time of short exposures, this was ~3-second exposure.  Solution: Practice without film on a tripod proper opening and closing the sliding latch. The magnetic closing feature is tricky to open at first, again practice.  See EXPOSE

Photoshop Processing Approach with 2 Exposures


Here I’m not only stitching the two scanned images, the two different exposures have to be adjusted to match.  Plus, using a Photoshop Perspective Warp adjustment tool to get full, proper image halves to align.  Then a final crop to 16×7 aspect ratio.


Here I’m using the curves adjustment tool to adjust the LH image to match the RH image for exposure.


Lastly, after the exposure is adjusted and image transformed to align, an overall curves adjustment is applied to bring contrast to taste.

Eventually, I will secure an Epson flatbed scanner to do full 6×17 negative scans plus 6×6 / 6×7 negatives from my Fuji GF670 medium format camera.  The use of SilverFast and Digital ICE software to combat the removal of “dust” on color negatives is imperative.

Images from First Roll of Film


“Temple Tank Post-Typhoon”


“Sunset Upon Mylapore Temple Tank”


“Leela Palace”

Kasimedu Fishing Harbor – Diptych Instax Street Portraits Plus

Welcome to Big Mountain Photography (Dashan Sheying –大山摄影).

It’s my pleasure to submit to you, the viewer another photo blog post of the life and times here in India.  If you choose to keep updated (and we wish you would), please “FOLLOW” along.

Please feel free to like, share and/or comment on the Big Mountain Photography blog as feedback is always welcomed.

Thank you for stopping, y’all comeback – you hear?

Note: Red-Colored, Underlined words are hot links for you to gain further information on a particular topic, person, website, …


The twice a month Chennai Photowalk group held its 105th photowalk at of all place, Kasimedu Fishing Harbor / Fish Market.  I’m in this crowd somewhere holding up my Fuji GF670 Medium Format camera.

On this photowalk, I once again used my Fuji X-Pro2 to wirelessly transmit JPEG images to Fuji’s SP-2 Instax Printer as gifts to those deserving street portrait subjects.  Isn’t a print what we as photographers strive for and what a great way to say thanks.


X-Pro2 Manual showing how to transmit an image to the SP-2 Instax Printer


Instax SP-2 Printer: Film cartridge holds ten prints at ~50 cents each.

I choose to use Diptychs (Greek for “Two Fold”) to display the printed Instax image alongside the subject holding the Instax print.  Cool.

Diptych Instax Street Portraits


1) He was pleasantly surprised that as the 3rd person to photography him reading his morning paper in the warm morning sun that in return I gave him a print.  I need to stop by again to see where he hangs it.


2) Enjoying a morning smoke in the warming rays, he enjoyed being photographed and even better when I gave him his Instax print. Sweet.


3) Another morning scene with this gentleman enjoying his South Indian filter coffee under the morning sun. Look at that smile as he holds his Instax print.

Fish Market Plus Gallery


4) One of my favorites for the soft colors and glowing reflection.  Used for all these image the Zone System Express Panel for Photoshop by Blake Rudis f.64 Academy


5) Up high on a pile of 2m by 2m concrete blocks (4 layers high) was an excellent observation platform to witness the crowds of buyers, sellers and fishermen during a hectic Sunday morning frenzy.


6)  An odd numbers of things work well to capture the viewer’s attention with an image.


7) Just look at all the stories being told in a single slice of time.


8) Melissa up high capturing her next winning image.


9) There is an sense of order in this visual chaos that in the end prevails.

Sunrise at Kasemidu Fishing Harbor

Glad you stopped by.  Let me share with you another sunrise photowalk around Kasemidu Fishing Harbor.  Blue Hour started at 5:38a with Golden Hour ending at 6:38a.  I overslept (first time) and we arrived at 5:55a with plenty of time to get the early morning light.

Given other commitments, we didn’t have time to walk south towards the Fish Market which is another story altogether.  Next time on 11/7.


You can see the six piers on the LH side going left to right.  We walked the 2nd and 3rd piers with plenty of action to witness as ships were readying themselves to leave (ice and diesel placed onboard).   While other boat crews were counting their hard earned money from a day’s catch including a small portion of fish to take home to the family.

On G+, FB… please click on the link to my photoblog to view the rest of the story.  If you like what you see, feel free to share on the social media of your choice.

Note: You can right-click to “open the image in another tab” to view in a larger size / resolution, right-click to download if you heart desires…  your call.

Note: Red-colored text is a link for more information, i.e. Wikipedia, YouTube, Map…

Icemen Gallery


Here he’s unloading ~25 ice blocks which are broken down into 4 pieces each then loaded by hand into the hull of the boat, cost Rs250/big block.  The tire caught each block’s impact in avoiding the generation of ice cubes.


A three-man operation loading the boat with the ice for the next catch of fish.


If you have the money, the ice is placed in a pulverizer then taken to the boat’s hull hole by a conveyor and drop tube.


Pulverizing the ice.  Added a painting-like look to the image.

Boatmen Gallery


These two made a great diagonal image as they took a rest for the next haul out to sea.


Time to repair the fishing net.  Apparently, ~10 boats go out together with one big boat which anchors after laying the net and the other 9 boats later pull-in net for the day’s catch.  Wonder if I could go out for an all-day excursion to see it first hand.


After repairing the net, it’s pulled onto the boat and positioned for the next time at sea.


Portrait of a young fisherman.


An utility three-wheel cart for miscellaneous hauls.  Love the bright red and yellows colors.


There he was resting on a pier post like a seagull.  His stare was interesting yet later turned to a smile.


The Crew.


Just a mixture of color and trash.


Another Fisherman Portrait up close.  He never changed his pose from the first I saw him.


Of course, I shared Instax prints with 6 people this time.  Fun to do.

PSM Photowalk at Sunset in Mylapore 2016-10-09

Back again (and again) to Mylapore as it’s a happening place during festival time with lots of people, colors and the morning/evening lighting as icing on the cake.  The stand out attraction was Navarathri Golu Dolls.

On G+, FB… please click on the link to my photoblog to view the rest of the story.  If you like what you see, feel free to share on the social media of your choice.

Note: You can right-click to “open the image in another tab” to view in a larger size / resolution, right-click to download if you heart desires…  your call.

Note: Red-colored text is a link for more information, i.e. Wikipedia, YouTube, Map…

Photowalk Gallery


1)  Light and Color are two ingredients for any image (B&W too).  Here he appears to be floating.


2) Looking up at the temple main gate as the setting sun spreads its rays across the various idols at work.


3) One of my favorites in capturing the essence of light’s tonality at sunset.


4) Street Kid at play in Mylapore


5)  I assume these two are waiting anxiously for the return of someone special after a brief shopping spree.


6) If it’s not on this two-wheeler I’d be surprised.


7) Temple in B&W.  The flagpole was empty today.


8) Paths inside the temple and getting the uplifted hand from passerbys.


9)  Where’s my customers?  All these Golu Dolls to sell and no takers.


10)  Looking up again at the main temple gate as the sun sets.


11)  I take the big one in the back.


12)  Sunset on Mylapore Temple


13)  Coming thru, make way as I have places to go, things to sell.


14)  Added a film look here (FujiColor 400H) with Medium Format grain.


15)  Hanging out waiting for customers


16) Shared an Instax Film Picture


17) Together as one.