May 16, 2022

SOOC Kodachrome Simulation Tests

 

The Wood

The Meadow

The Path

The Vine

I bought into Fujifilm specifically for the straight out of camera jpgs. There is a time and a place to shoot RAW and I do when it's needed. But there is something quite limiting and yet liberating by shooting in jpg. And to be honest, in 2022, after over two decades of digital photography, we shouldn't have to shoot RAW. 

That might be an unpopular opinion, but I didn't get into photography to create an image that doesn't represent what I saw or how the camera saw it. Shooting RAW gives a photographer a massive amount of data to work with to create an image.

In complex lighting situations this can be a lifesaver. But it can also make you lazy. I spend enough time using computers to manipulate 3D rendered images professionally. I don't need (or want) to do that with my photography. 

I studied Architecture at a time when computers were just starting to be used for visualization and design by using computer generated forms and structures. A question often posed when presenting work was a simple, but loaded one; "did you do this because you wanted too or because the computer allowed you too?"

There was only once acceptable answer and it came down to "intent". What they wanted to know was if the design / form / structure was rooted in principle; the result of research and development. Or, if you just came up with something randomly that was only made possible by utilizing the technology.

I've started to ask myself this same question when it came to post processing my photos. Was I dropping the highlights and boosting the shadows because that is what was needed to (re)create the scene as I saw it? Or was I correcting the camera that didn't see it the way I saw it? Or, was it something else entirely? Was I exaggerating for effect? Or did I just know that pushing certain levels up and others down, simply because I could, would make a more striking image?

The answer was all of the above.

And it was made possible by the massive amount of data (freedom?) that shooting RAW allows. Freedom to not pay attention to the camera at the time of exposure. Freedom to not pay attention to the scene, because I knew, I could just fix it in post. But why fix it when you can make it better? After all, we have the technology.

So, I started playing around with shooting jpgs and seeing if I could get a good and accurate result. I couldn't, not really. And that's when I started to dive into Fuji. I've been playing around with the jpg settings, mostly trying to get two things. A consistent look. And a realistic look.

I'm interested in the film simulation aspect, not from a hipster aesthetic, but rather from a conscience effort to match a film simulation to its suited situation just as I did when I shot film. 

Many will say that this is still manipulation and they are correct, it is. But the difference is that answer to the initial question, "intent".  Choosing or matching a simulation happens BEFORE the shot is taken, not after. And shooting jpg only means it can't be undone or edited much after the fact. I didn't do it because the technology allowed me too, I did it because I chose too.

The images above are a stage in this process. They were created using the Kodachrome 64 recipe by Ritchie Roesch over at fujixweekly.com I've tweaked a couple things, primarily the white balance, so it's not quite his recipe, but based on it.
 
I will post my recipe here once I have it where I want it.





May 02, 2022

Last Night

 

This shot was of course not taken "Last Night" as the title would suggest. In fact, it was taken in the summer of 2019, on my cell phone and edited with an app on my phone called Snapseed.

It's funny how you can forget about photographs not long after you take them, even if they are pretty good. Because I didn't shoot this image with a fancy camera and import it into my Lightroom catalog for proper editing and backup, I completely forgot about it. 

It was only after going to a friend's house the other night that I was reminded of this shot. Walking into their living room I saw an image framed on the wall. At first glance, I thought it was a painting by Andrew Wyeth, but not one that I recognized. Then I realized that the art work was a photo, not a painting, but it had the same expression as a Wyeth painting, the same feeling. I was drawn to it in the same way I'm drawn to most of his work.

I really liked it and walked right over to get a better look; only to realize that I knew this image, it was my photo. The photo above. 

I had completely forgotten about this photo and about her really liking it, so much so, she asked for a print.

Now I don't think my work is in the same league as Andrew Wyeth and I'm not writing this to suggest that it is, but rather to point out that seeing your own work with fresh eyes can make you appreciate it more than you did even at the time you made it. 

As photographers in the digital age with new(er) technology always right around the corner, it's easy to get caught up in things like dynamic range, megapixel counts, and MTF charts. The tech side of things seems to often outweigh the art side.  We forget why we got into this in the first place; the same way I forgot taking this photo.

The process I used to make this image didn't fit my normal workflow. It didn't fit what most photographers would consider good. It wasn't until I saw it for what it was hanging on a wall, void of context, to really appreciate the image. 

Ever since I saw it on their wall, I kept thinking about it. The more I thought about it, the more I thought "I would buy that". I wondered, what did I even do with it? Where was it? I knew how and roughly when I shot it, but I hadn't seen it since I posted it on Instagram and promptly forgot about it. (A far too common effect of Instagram and the social media landscape). 

I began looking for the image in Lightroom and coming up with nothing. I searched my phone and it wasn't there. It was taken after all with an older phone that I had since replaced. Luckily, I save or try to save most of what is on my phones to my dropbox account. I couldn't locate the image I had made the print from, but I was able to find the original and reprocess it to try and replicate it as close as I could. The result is the image in this post. 

The original was a Jpeg, so there wasn't much that could be done to the image in terms of editing. And the result of my initial editing wasn't to create an epic image, it was to create the feeling and the mood of the scene when I shot it. I know this because I remember editing it on my phone while sitting on a bench, eating ice cream with my kids, still viewing the sunset. I don't think I've ever made a more honest image.

I've made this image available as a print in my shop: here and will pay more attention in the future for similar opportunities.



April 19, 2022

Wildwood New Jersey in Spring


 

Wildwood is usually a pretty busy place in the summer. But in the off-season, it's quite with little going on. The traffic lights all flash yellow and most of the stores are still closed for the winter. There was only a few places open on the boardwalk and most of the people on the beach were only there to walk their dogs. 

I spent the day with the dog and family on the beach and found some time to take a few pictures. I'm still playing around with film simulation recipes on the Fuji X-T30. These are all Jpegs straight out of camera with some very basic cropping and straightening adjustments in Lightroom.

Instead of just posting a single picture on Instagram, I've begun to put picture packages together. I'm trying to get three to five shots at least that work together in a set. Each of these shots can be found in the journal section of my website. The details of the shot, lens and exposure settings, can be found by selecting the images in my Flickr Album for Wildwood

The sunset images were created while waiting for our table to be ready at Two Mile Landing in Wildwood Crest, NJ. Great place to eat if you find yourself in the area. Bring your camera, especially at sunset.

March 13, 2022

Sunset Wind

winter wind blowing across a snow covered field at sunset
    
    It started with rain in the morning and as the day went on, the temperature dropped as the wind rose. Briefly, at sunset, the sun broke through the clouds. It only lased about a half hour, but for those few minutes in an otherwise miserable day, the sun sliced through the overcast sky and backlit clouds of wind driven snow. It almost made you forget how cold it was. Almost. 

Lumix G9 & Leica Nocticron 42.5mm F1.2
1/640 | ISO 200 | F8

March 01, 2022

Golden Hour Vibes

 

Lake Luxumbourg CoreCreek Bucks County



 
Morning light at the edge of Lake Luxumbourg in Core Creek Park, Bucks County Pennsylvania. 
 
Shot with Fujifilm X-T30 & XF 16mm F2.8
1/1000 | ISO 1000 | F11 
 
 

View the rest of this and past year's Journal galleries.

2022 | 2021 | 2020 | 2019

February 21, 2022

MEN

 

Heisler's Dairy Bar Restroom

Restroom at Heisler's Dairy Bar; Tamaqua, Pennsylvania.

Fujifilm X-T30 & XF23mmF2 R WR

1/320 | ISO 320 | F4