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Monday, June 3

Forests of Yenice

By Omar Ozenir

We are a small group of three, hiking through the magnificent forests of Yenice* in the shadows of the early hours. A steep slope, thick with vegetation, rises beyond the hollow on the right hand side of our trail. Finally, the tip of the sun appears atop the ridge, rays first illuminating the wanderers and then gradually moving into the hollow, warming up the dew that fell during the cold night. Clouds of vapor now rise and drift about the imposing pines, pitch black in the contre-jour light, needles sparkling with millions of dew drops.

A less poetic sequel:
Although I was fascinated by the display of nature and desperately wanted the photograph, it was going to be a difficult exposure. Despite the lens hood, the sun was shining straight onto the front element of the taking lens on my Rolleiflex T.

From previous experience I knew that this would significantly degrade the image due to flare (probably the weakest point of the Tessar, a lovely lens in all other respects). Camera on tripod, cable release in one hand, I struggled to shade the taking lens with my other hand, aware of the danger that my hand could appear in the frame due to the very perpendicular angle of the sun.

Had the camera been an SLR I would directly see what's happening in the viewfinder, but with a TLR that's not possible, making judgement rather difficult. Back at home a few days later, my heart sunk in disappointment when I hung up the wet negative: part of my hand and jacket were nicely part of the picture.

Negative developed in ID-11

Nevertheless, I decided to see what I could do in the darkroom. Cropping from both sides improved matters a bit while still retaining a satisfactory composition, but I was still left with a darkish corner on the top right. Then, quite suddenly, I had a thought.

The early masters of photography, when raising the front standard of their view cameras, were often left with dark top corners because the cone of coverage of their lenses wasn't wide enough. As in this photo - which I find breathtaking - by one of my heros, Eugene Atget:

Inspired by the early "faults" of our medium, I decided to imitate this look and darkened both top corners for a similar effect.

Here is a selenium toned 30x40cm print on fiber based Forte paper in my high-tech archival washer:

And this is a pic of our happy but dishevelled selves during the hike by our 4 year old boy. Not bad use of light, I dare say :)

I hope you enjoyed the short read as much as I did when writing it. May you be blessed with non-flaring good light!

*by Kastamonu in central-north Turkey



Thanks, Omar. it's not enough that you're a great photographer and speak fluent English and German but you have to be a good looking guy as well! Say hi to your lovely family for me.

Jan Moren said...

An excellent read as always. The corners create an unexpectedly dramatic composition, as the looming effect adds a sense of foreboding. Interesting to hear it was a result of necessity rather than planning :)

Anonymous said...

Nice archival washer, Bruce, must have cost a packet!



This is one of Omar's posts, Mike, so I'll leave it to him to respond! I've got an ancient Paterson print washer which is good for up to 10x12. Beyond that size, my washer looks remarkably similar to Omar's...

Marty said...

Again another very good read. I like the idea of the symmetrical burning in the corner, besides masking the fault in the picture I find it adds kind of a "focus" to the composition. I have to keep in mind this little trick, as I often forget to pack the hood and find myself using my hand as a poor man replacement and invariably I end up with a finger or two in the picture... And indeed nice archival washer, it looks remarkably like mine... Thank you Omar for sharing your experience, and also thanks Bruce for hosting.

Cheers, M.

John Carter said...

I always enjoy your posts here. We went to Turkey a few years ago, what great place to photograph.