… to break up monotony of everyday’s scheme …
Lilith Etch in Brussels,
Shot on my 1958 Rolleiflex TLR with Kodak TMax100
you are welcome to comment, see you again soon,
Could there be any greater resemblance? The curves of the female body and the smooth shaped hull of a glider. At least I sea beauty in both, I hope you too can appreciate these smooth curvatures.
Taken with the well appreciated approval of the gliders club director, and the willing club-handyman. Somewhere in the Netherlands.
• Smooth curves •
model: Michelle Alba
Canon 5Ds with Sigma 50mm f1.4 A DG
1/500s f/1.8 ISO 100
Travelling art-nude models mostly rent very small rooms, to make their travelling as cheap as possible. Shooting in their room is most often not an option. This one was different. Some other photographer booked her a spacious and very well lit room in the centre of Brussels, and for some reason he only booked the model for a very short period of time, so she had a couple of days available for other photographers. A bit of a last minute arrangement and I was of to Brussels. The room had a line of windows facing south/west, and every widow had its own curtains. A perfect spot for a shoot.
It’s a tedious process, developing, scanning, retouching the dust …
… but when the results are good, it’s all worthwhile. From a shoot I did in the beginning of june, taken with the Rolleiflex, on Ilford HP5 plus film (ISO400).
For the last day of the exhibit, i had posted an invitation on Facebook for a guided tour trough the exhibit. It was a cosy gathering, I gave visitors some inside, behind the scenes information, and people could ask questions about my work, my gear, the models, locations, etcetera.
The exhibit is now over, I have no idea about the number of visitors in total, as I was present only now and then. The reactions in the guestbook are mainly positive, some very positive, some very negative. It always shocks me to see how some people are still very narrow minded about nudity, even if it is brought with delicacy and taste. Fortunately I have my wife who is very supportive in getting me over this kind of comments. 🙂
Visitors have very different ‘favourites’, but in this exhibit, one image has received a lot of praise. It was an image not previously shown, and here it was shown in the massive size of 110x165cm (44″x66″), hard to miss. People praised it because it had a lot of ‘naturalness’, it seems not posed and very natural, at the same time intimate, and casual.
the model is Kate Ri, the image is titled • greenhouse flower • it was shot in the Royal Glasshouses in Meise, near Brussels, on a cold day in January.
The image is still for sale, as is all my personal work, if you are interested, send me an email on ludwig(at)ludwigdesmet(dot)com
thanks for reading, see you soon!
from a while ago,
I shot with Vita Goncharuk in a public park near Brussels earlier this year. I was a bit worried about not having a location with full and agreed access, so we shot outside. The park is open to the public, and you might wonder if there are no risks of being caught. There is actually not really a problem as long as you are not shooting porn or really shocking the eventual witnesses. If you get caught by the owner of the place, you might get expelled from the premises, but they can’t file a complaint unless they can prove you did harm to their person/business/property.
Some people have been asking about public wandering around. First of all, get this agreed upon with your model. Most professional models don’t care much, some don’t like it. Vita didn’t mind at all. When somebody shows more interest than normal, I just go to them an say hello. I do a little chit-chat and then I give them one of my business cards and mostly they disappear after that, or they take some more (comfortable) distance. Some even send me an email about my website or my work afterwards. I even had one person sending me some behind the scenes images. (with Erika in Brussels)
The weather was splendid, the camera did very well, All shot on Ilford film, with the Rolleiflex TLR camera. I love the look of film, it gives a soft, rich tonality and it has some imperfections that are creating a romantic atmosphere. It has a natural grain, that adds to the softness of the images. The medium format (6x6cm) camera has a great shallow depth of field, (hard to focus though) and enough detail in the negatives for really big enlargements. It can’t beat the current 50Mpx camera’s, but its very close. I also love the time-span between shooting the images and having the developed film ready for scanning. The fact that you do not see results is a benefit for working slowly. When shooting digital, I get a little overwhelmed by the immediate results, which stresses me to shoot more and more and more. When shooting analog, I thing about every image, about light, about framing, about what to leave out of the frame and what to get into it, about pose, about a possible story, … I feel that I do not take the same amount of time when shooting digital. You shoot far less images when shooting film, but you get as many good ones than when shooting hundreds of digital images. … I experience a great feeling of joy when seeing the images on the developed film for the first time. They are a physical result, they have a more ‘real’ presence in my opinion than digital files. Film is not dead, at least not for me, and I’m sure for a lot of people with me. 🙂
I have about ten more films that just have been developed, but need scanning and retouching … come back again soon,
the tomatoes need a lot of water in this warm weather don’t they?
second shooting location after • flight club • the garden of the AirBnB where we stayed. Michelle is ready to do some role playing, and gladly gives the gardener a hand.
• taking care of the vegetables •
thanks to Michelle Alba for being my model on this very hot day, in a very hot glasshouse.
thanks to Bas for lending me her garden as a shoot location and for the hospitality all over the weekend.
somewhere in the Netherlands, I could say, they have a very particular flight club, with nude hostesses and so on, … but alas, it was only for this single occasion that Michelle posed nude at the gliders hangaar.
I had no clue as to where to shoot, just up to two days before we had our meeting. I started looking on Google Maps, just to get an idea of the surroundings, and to look for an eventually interesting spot. I could find three possible locations: 1. the place where we stayed (I accompanied my wife to The Netherlands since she wanted to take a weekend course there) had a big garden, with a very funny glasshouse (to be seen in the next image I will be posting) so that could become interesting. 2. There was a very beautiful garden and antique glasshouse at a event location just next doors. 3. I noticed a gliding plane terrain at about 5kms distance from where we stayed.
I didn’t really have to contact the first possible location, I would see it the next day, and could find out that in fact the glasshouse was particular, and interesting. The event location responded me within the hour that they had a marriage event the day I would meet Michelle, so this was a no-go. The flight club chairman responded me that he was ok with the idea, and that I could meet him the morning I had my appointment with the model, but that it would be difficult to shoot after midday because then they have a lot of flights going on. We met at 11:00 am and shot till about 1:00 pm, first clothed, on the runway with a parked plane (film photography, so not yet available) then nude at the hangaar. We had a willing assistant during the time of shooting and nobody else seemed to care. The assistant also figures in this image, together with two other club members. His daughter used to work as a striptease girl in theater shows. They are chatting about the club and I thought they might make an excellent backdrop. Michelle didn’t care either, as long as nobody started staring or taking pictures with cellphones … All went well, we said goodbye afterwards and went on shooting in the garden after that.
• flight club •
a huge thanks to the chairman and the assistant of the flight club, both requested not to mention the name of the club for privacy reasons.
It’s official, I’ll exhibit the entire summer vacation in the magnificent building of ‘het GODSHUIS’ in Sint-Laureins. Great architecture, great pictures, I hope you find the time to enjoy this exhibit, it is open from June 30th till September 2nd. Every day, from 10am till 5pm. (except when there are large events in the building, you can find their event calendar here: http://www.godshuis.be/nieuws/ )
I will show 21 images, some never exhibited, some bigger than ever before.
You can combine the exhibit with an overnight stay at the location, they offer excellent rooms, there’s a restaurant, wellness, (also bookable without room) tea-room etcetera. The village of Sint-Laureins is also very well situated for a bikers out, or a walk along the canal.
A couple of weeks ago I was with another group at Côte d’Opale in France, for teaching landscape photography to adults in the KISP.be photography program. I wanted to pack light on gear to be able to focus on helping out my students and still be able to take some pictures myself. This made me decide that for this weekend I would only take my small Fujifilm x100T, and my lightweight Sirui tripod, bought for motorcycle traveling. The camera has a 16Mp APS-c sensor and a fixed focal length lens of 23mm or 35mm equivalent if compared to full frame viewing angle. It has a relatively wide f/2.0 max. aperture, and closes down to f16. I have it equipped with the optional sunshade and an extra hand-grip. The hand grip features the same dovetail grooves for arca-swiss compatible tripods as the camera itself does. So the grip bottomplate becomes the tripod plate.
This post will not focus on pixel-peepers image quality, rather on user experience.
Images down below.
THE GEAR USED.
Fujifilm x100T with MHG-X100 grip and the additional sun shade from Fujifilm. I use a custom strap from an old light-meter if I remember well.
Sirui T005-KX, featured also in this article, where I commented on using it with my DSLR. As you can see the tripod has a two segment center column which I mostly do not use, for extra stability. I have not needed the extra reach on this trip, and by omitting it, the ballhead has greater stability.
PRO limited gear set:
First and most important difference with a complete bag full of landscape gear is of course weight. Taking with me a professional range full frame camera body and a couple of quality lenses + my Berlebach tripod is a physical challenge not to be underestimated. 5kgs of photo gear, 3kgs of tripod, a bag of at least 1.5kgs and some food and drink supplies easily brings 10-12 kgs on the scale. The x100T and the Sirui mini tripod together weigh about 1.5kgs. A light backpack with some water and food supplies and I’m off like a butterfly to the cliffs of Cap-Griz-Nez. So this was for me a huge benefit, I never felt tired physically caused by dragging around gear.
Second benefit, and directly linked to the first one of saved weight, is manoeuvrability on difficult terrain. When dealing with a heavy tripod, with an expensive camera + lens, with a backpack that has the remainder of your gear on the back, you are limited in movements, in places where you can get safely with all your gear, in where you want to drop your bag to get out your filters, or just another lens, … With my lightweight setup I could take camera and tripod in one hand, leaving my other hand free for climbing and rock balancing exercises without limitations.
CONTRA limited gear set:
What I missed the most was the variation I have in focal lengths when travelling fully equipped with my DSLR setup. Although I mostly have fixed focal length lenses (24mm – 17-40mm Zoom – 50mm – 100mm – 135mm), they still allow me great variety in compositions, in bringing out distant landscape details or in compositing out disturbing elements. I can go much wider (17mm vs 35mm is a huge difference in viewing angle) or much narrower if I need to. I never missed a lens longer than 135mm in my landscape work. (This could be solved by adding the wide angle and the telephoto extender lenses you can buy for this camera, but they are rather expensive, and you loose some portability)
Next most missed was the Tilt-Shift lens I traditionally use on landscape trips. I often look for foreground elements in my compositions, to create depth in a wide angle view. The tilt-shift lens gives me the ability to get extreme depth of field in such cases, without the need for closing down the aperture too much. It also allows me to make stitched panoramic images with a horizontal viewing angle comparable to the 17mm lens. If I would need to limit my DSLR setup to one lens for landscape, it would be this lens: Canon TS-E 24mm f3.4 L II. (I’m afraid this cannot be solved with this setup)
Next thing I missed is the ability to do automatic bracketing, at least I couldn’t find it in the menu, I since have looked it up on the internet and it is perfectly possible to do AE bracketing in 3 exposures. Shame on me, I should have read-the-f*******g-manual. So I ended up doing manual bracketing for most of the time. (little tip, always use bracketing, even when not needed. the time needed for bracketing exposures is minimal compared to the time needed to find your composition, setting up your tripod, setting the focus correct, etc. … different exposures will give you more choice for development afterwards). (Solved issue, the bracketing function is under the ‘drive’ button. I looked trough the menu’s only.)
Another thing I missed (because I don’t have it) is the ability to use filters on the Fujifilm x100T. The camera has a built in ND filter (3 stops) but this is not enough for flatting out water surfaces or for streaking cloud movements over a long distance. It does help to lengthen your shutter speeds a little when shooting at dawn or at dusk, but it is not enough in most situations with broad daylight. This could be solved by investing in a filter system for this camera, there are several systems available on the market, like for instance the LEE seven 5 system. (there are two pictures below with the sea flattened out, they are taken late in the evening at a shutter speed of 30 seconds.
that’s about it, the rest was comfort 😉
Oh by the way, there’s a lot of ranting going around about these system camera’s and battery life. I had two batteries, did not finish the first one the first day, which lasted from 6:31:51 am. (first picture) till 22:31:58 pm. (last picture). Of course I did not take a massive amount of images (92) because my main task is teaching, but in landscape photography I never do.
some images of our trip, with the occasional student in the frame.
I cropped all images to the same 2×1 ratio, I kind of like them that way.
Thanks for viewing, if you have any questions about this article, please comment, and on a side-note, after seeing my images of this weekend, I might sell this camera to buy its successor, the x100F, so if you are interested in buying mine, drop me a line.
Ancient Egyptians worshipped Ra or Re as the Sun God, he was one of the most important gods in the Fifth Dynasty (25th-24th century BC).
• RA •
The obelisk depicted here is one of modern ages (1968-1969) and was built in two ‘size’ stages, because the landlord found that the first one at 27m was not high enough. So he did aks the builders to build a second concrete formwork over the existing one, and ordered it to be 36m in height, which makes it final size bigger than the Paris’ Luxor obelisk at the place de la Concorde!
The obelisk is situated near Brussels, and was erected because the landlord loved the sunrise, but since he had changed his main room to the west side of the castle, he no longer had the sunrise in his room. That’s why he also wanted a large sun disk on the obelisk.
The park was meant to have a large water surface in front of the surface, but the owner died before completion of the surroundings and the lake was never realised.
thank you for reading,
Let’s celebrate female beauty and the joy it brings us.
Let’s celebrate life and the good things it brings us.
My model of that hot summer day in april was named Vita, which stands for ‘Life‘ …
I have taken a lot of pictures with her, so more will follow, see it as a little preview.
Often I have to convince professional models not to pose, or in any way not to pose as a fashion model would do. I love it when they are not trying to seduce me or the camera, but in stead they manage to be just themselves, fierce, self confident, somehow unattainable women, living the life and enjoying their own bodies.
oh, and I have another thing to celebrate, I just saw today that in the last 365 days I had over 100.000 visitors on my site and blog. It was for the first time I noticed it. Thank you for being so present!
well yes, sometimes things don’t go as expected, certainly when shooting with an old camera and film, you are having no instant feedback and surprises occur 🙂
there is no automatic film advance stop, so you have to look for film frame numbers in the dark red window at the back of the camera. Clearly I saw something that wasn’t there.
shot with a Voightländer Bessa I 6×9 film camera, with Kodak TMax400 film, in a small roof flat in Leuven (Belgium)
Model Yana Mood, click for bigger version
with the lovely Yana Mood, shot in an attic room in Leuven,
All images f1.8 at ISO 125, shutter speeds vary (1/25-1/200s)
Canon 5Ds with Sigma 50mm f/1.4 DG A
thank you for watching, don’t hesitate to leave a comment,
As it is difficult in wintertimes (temperature!) to shoot in grand locations, exquisite gardens or castle halls, I have been working a little more on emotions and body-poses lately. Enjoy this wonderful image I made with Yana last thursday. This was shot in a small attic living room, we had to move a little furniture around to be able to capture the best light in the spot I wanted it, but I think this worked out quite well. An overhead roof window and some ‘available Swedish furniture’ was all that was needed to make this image look well. Remember to look at the light, and pose your model accordingly 😉
Thanks to Hanne for providing the last minute location, I hope you could still find your stuff after all the moving around with things.
Thanks to Yana for being my wonderful model.