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Friday, August 22

Singular Image: Delta Sky



Sorry for the pretentious title. It could have been worse: Signpost to God, anyone? I'm absolutely hopeless at coming up with titles for photographs. I've got a desktop littered with stairs1, stairs2, sky3, etc. I tend to make them purely descriptive so I can identify them from their names.

The only one I've been entirely happy with was this one:

The Road to Bleak House

I've done it again - started a Singular Image post and included more than a single image. So on with the story.

When driving around the countryside on a stormy day, quite often there is a really good sky just calling out for something interesting in the foreground. I love moody skies and try to make the most of them but sometimes there will be an interesting building or trees on a distant horizon and I only have wide angle and standard lenses with me which would make them too small to be a feature.

The photograph here is a perfect example of what I'm on about. I'd driven around for about 20 minutes and couldn't find any good foregrounds and then I passed the junctionTo cut a long story short, I've started looking out for road markings as potential foreground interest.

There's one particular junction in the countryside about five miles north of where I live where there is a confluence of painted road signs. They point north, west and south so there's a good chance that I can work something into the scene. The delta-shaped road sign wasn't as big as it looks in the photograph but I got in close with the 24mm lens on the OM2 and filled the foreground, as we were always taught to do with a wide angle. An interesting foreground and a boiling sky. Works for me.

This is a scan of a Silvermax negative. I've used a fair amount of that Adox film and it's excellent but I still have a preference for CHS 100 II because of its tonal qualities in HRX. I'm getting to the point now of having to restock as far as film goes. I've got four rolls of Silvermax, two of CHS 100 II, no 120 at all and about 25-30 5x4 sheets.

At the rate I've been exposing 5x4 that wee stash could last me a couple of years (!) but I really want to change that situation and put the Speed Graphic to more use. I might even lock everything bar the 5x4 away and give the key to Cath so I can't get access to it. I'm not sure what I'll buy now other than some Tri X in 120 for use in the Rolleiflex SL66. It's maybe time to give the 35mm cameras a rest as I've been using them almost exclusively this year.

Fomapan 5x7 is tempting me as well as it's available for a good price just now. You've got to bring your A game (as Tiger Woods might say) with you when using 5x7 as each cock-up is expensive. The only saving grace is that I tend to photograph where there are no people so if I fog a sheet or forget to remove the dark slide there is at least the opportunity for some cathartic cursing.

2 comments :

Folker said...

Bruce, I really love that photo and its contrast. Simple and minimalistic! Great mood, too!
Well done and seen!
I wish I could have done that ;-)

David M said...

Two excellent shots. One of the things about them is that they make you think that, if you'd been there, you'd certainly have taken the shot. A moment's thought leads to the opposite conclusion; a dreary, muddy lane and quite ordinary road markings at an ordinary and deserted junction. Who'd ever think of snapping that?
I do share your discomfort with titles. Once upon a time, I claimed that "...my pictures (Oops! Images! Beware of the Artist!) Speak For Themselves" but "Untitled No 237" makes you acutely aware of your own posing and pretension.
Portraits solve the problem internally, as it were; John Smith, Mary Brown, First Minister and so on. Landscapes can use their position; Junction of B12 and B34, for instance or Half Dome or Loch Lomond from the East, or LL at Sunset. It's when we want a bit of interactivity, or synergy that the problems arise and we have to tread the razor blade between cuteness and Pseud's Corner.
Do you find that in practice, the literal is more mysterious?
I did encounter one title that I admired. The image was of a branch of Boots the Chemist in Kingston-upon-Thames. Nicely exposed and printed, but Ho-hum or what? The logo of "Boots" was repeated four times across the long facade and the title was "Marching up and down again." You might have to say Boots four times aloud if this doesn't click.