Thursday, September 30, 2010
BJP talks with Scott DiSabato, US marketing manager for Professional film at Kodak, after the release of the new Portra 400 film where he is spruiking the resurgence of film. His view is that many, formally digital shooters, are finding film, enjoying the challenge and results and a new dawn of photographers will discover the benefits of film, leading to its growth and reclamation of at least part of its former glory.
I think, perhaps, that there is also another phenomenon going on based on my involvement in a number of groups. People like me that never got into photography because, frankly, it was a pain. Learning was slow, and frustrating, and oh so expensive. Sure some punched through that phase but many of us shrugged, found something else and moved off to a new past time.
But then digital came and we could learn quickly and easily (and cheaply). Instead of toiling away, taking notes, toiling laboriously through film, processing it and printing it(or waiting for the lab) we were able to zip through the lessons. Grasping concepts that previously took days, or weeks, or months in minutes. Because it was there, immediately, you got to see the result while you still remembered what you did.
And then we understood exposure and composition and lighting, we had confidence. And film wasnt so scary, wasnt so difficult, it was just like 'normal' photography without using the review screen much. And this photography has 'street cred' its smart, and cool and somehow more real. We keep shooting digital but we see film as a viable choice and something we will really work to master. We start thinking of medium format. We buy old bronica's or pentax's or contax's.
But here's the bad news. One day, when wee are picking up the prints and paying the man 20-30 dollars for processing a single roll of MF film and there isnt a single shot on the roll that we really, truly, in our heart of hearts actually like we stop shooting film.
Well thats my story anyway.
I dont doubt that film use is stabilising, there will always be a core of people that love it, that romanticise it that make the rest of us keen to try it. But film hasnt changed and the reasons not many were really into film havent really gone away. So film wont die, it will linger on, inspiring some and teasing many more, but I cant see it ever being more than that.
A tease that very few actually grow to love.
Saturday, September 25, 2010
I recently attended an Airshow at RAAF Williamtown in NSW. The airshow was excellent with a lot of cool displays on the ground and some really wonderful air displays. The Super Hornet was so loud, so tight, really really exciting but really the star of the show was the F-111 (better known as the Pig).
The Super Hornet is louder, more maneuverable, and generally more spectacular, except the F-111 has a party trick no other aircraft out there can match - the dump and burn. The dump and burn is pretty simple, fuel is expelled out a fuel dump valve at the rear of the aircraft between the two engines, the pilot then hits the afterburners, lighting up the trailing fuel in a huge rooster tail of flame. I got a few images of it but these are probably my best two.
So why was this a frustrating day?
Well for many years I've read horror stories of Sigma quality problems, and in particular problems with the Sigma's handling the high torque lens drive motor fitted to the Sony A700, 850 and 900 (some discussion here on DPreview). I have avoided all these problems, secure in the belief that while the 'lower' Sigmas might has a problem, the top of the line EX series was immune. Well I was proved wrong.
On the first pass of the F111 the less was tracking well, locked focus and I was shooting nicely then suddenly as I re-composed and the lens locked up and I was greeted with a horrible grinding noise as the now stripped focus gears just spun against each other without engaging. Bugger, one pass in and I'm at at airshow with no lens longer than a 50mm prime.
Well thats not entirely true, I had no auto focusing lens longer than 50mm, I did still have a Sigma 100-300 f4 now manual focus lens. Well, I hadnt read the article on Luminous Landscape article on the importance of persisting in the face of frustration (Photography, Rain or Shine) but I decided to press on and see what I could get. Well you know, I didn't get a lot, trying the manually focus on aircraft is nightmarishly difficult so my hit rate was minute. But it was still a day out and I got a few. I think the ones I were the shots of the Roulettes, the RAAF aerobatic display team.
But thats a story for the next blog entry.