Friday, June 16, 2017

The time the end started or Ruminating on Black White Photography

Need a camera to tell the time?  No Problem.


How could you not like BW?  There is something about Black and White photography that I think either people really like it or just don't care.  If you belong to the latter group, I forgive you.

I am one of those who really like it.  There is a sense of timelessness about BW.  I think I can make a case out of this image.  At first glance, one could think that this was shot decades ago.  The truth is that the picture was taken not too long ago at Old Town Santa Barbara.

Metaphysical Alert:  This image kind of reminds me of that Chaplin movie Modern Times. In the movie, dehumanized humanity is depicted as passively going through the motion.  The powers-to-be have fooled the laboring people that this was the pursuit of happiness.  I think that it some ways we have been led to believe that this ought to be the way of life.  Our society becomes so obsessed with the mandate of time that ironically we become slaves to it.  I reject this rubric.

Techie Notes: Shot on medium format film using the vintage Mamiya-Six.  The last time I reported on this camera I was having problems with its sticking leaf shutter.   I decided to revive it - thinking that I was able to fix the sticking shutter.  As it turned out the shutter was still sticking.  I've gone through two rolls of medium format film.  After developing them, everything was all black, which meant the shutter never opened --  except for only two decent pictures.  This is one of them.  The other one is also on the same subject but with a slight difference in angle.  I chose to post this one as the composition is a bit more balanced.

This is definitely old school.  The camera did not have any light meter.  Fortunately, the sun was cooperating so I was able to use the Sunny f/16 Rule.  It's really easy.  Set the aperture at f16 and the speed at whatever film ISO you're using.  In this case, the film was rated  at ISO 400.  So I just have to set my shutter speed at 1/400.

But wait -- apparently my camera only goes to 1/250.  It suppose to go higher but it seemed to stop at 1/250.  Not to worry -- I should be able to extrapolate the setting to where I thought the right exposure would be.  Kind of hard when your brain froze a few days ago, so I'm guessing  f/22 at 1/250.  With 1/250 sec being slower than 1/400 sec, I needed a narrower aperture like f/22 so less light can get in.  Did I guess right?

As you can see, the exposure on this image is perfect.  Thank you very much!

But I can't take all the credit.  Apparently too, I didn't mention my other secret - film is very forgiving.  You can overexpose or underexpose your shot and still be able to push or pull the image during developing.  On this one I cut down my developing time to 5 minutes (usually it's 7-1/2 minutes) so the final cut comes out tasting like a juicy  medium rare.  Yeah!
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