With the Rolleiflex in Scotland – Part II – Dunure

Analog, landscapes, location, photo gear, travel

See here for part one – Glentrool.

Coming from Glentrool, and taking the ferry in Ardrossan late in the evening, I could spend a couple of hours at ease in Dunure, a very small fishermen’s town a couple of miles south-west from Ayr.

That is one of the main joys of travelling alone, not being influenced by companions, to make way, or to discover more things on the go, but just decide for yourself when and where to stop. I had driven past a small road sign along the A719 pointing to Dunure, and then another one, and I saw the rooftops of the houses just along the coast, from this main road, so I decided to turn around and check it out. It proved to be the ideal midday stop. What you see in the pictures is Dunure Castle and surroundings, in some images you will see an island in the distance, (Isle of Arran). Some images of the harbour area, and the facade of the Harbour View Coffee shop, where I had lunch that day. It is the first place that shows up on Google maps when you zoom in on Dunure, and very well documented by pictures as well. Little did I know šŸ™‚ They provided me with a fine meal, and a place to charge my cellphone. Lovely lady-owner, very friendly and servile.

Time wasĀ all overcast when I arrived, but with sun coming trough after noon. A very enjoyable time there. I shot one roll of Kodak TMax400 with the Rolleiflex 3.5 6×6 camera.Ā So here you see the entire film, I have not made a selection, you see what I’ve seen and what I’ve shot.Ā Lab developed, home scanned and digitally redeveloped in Adobe Lightroom. You’ll notice some scratches on the left side of the images. These are probably from the lab, that’s why I decided to start developing film again myself. Oooo, it’s been like 25 years, exciting šŸ˜€

 

Europe – Holland/Scotland/Corsica

exhibition, landscapes, location

It seems I have been shooting landscapes for ages, without really knowing what I looked for. I think now I have gotĀ a better understanding of the kind of landscapes I like, the kind of things I want to show. In my latest exhibit, next to a lot of sensual female portraits, I showed this triptych of landscape images:

Europe – Holland/Scotland/Corsica

 

I feel like in my beauty portraits, I can better express volume and light in black and white photography, hence the choice for converting them. In my landscape book, there are only three images in colour. TheĀ aboveĀ images are the result of both family travels and solitary motorcycle travels, and my love for photography.Ā Lucky me, to be able to do the things I love doing.

 

come again soon,

best,

Ludwig

Book Landscapes

landscapes, personal tips & tricks, Tips and Tricks

for the upcoming exhibit I composed a book with my landscape photography … and other things that jump into my camera

I’ve used no texts except for the book dustĀ cover, where you can read this, it might be inspirational to some of you out there, seeking their way into photography. It merely explains the title’s sub-line:

ā€¢ I have long felt the urge to do something particular with my landscape photography, something outstanding and eye-popping. This has never led to satisfactory results because it was too often based on imitating other photographers.

This urge has changed over the years into a less stringent and stressful attitude and I have become to a point that I no longer worry about what to photograph. If Iā€™m out in the field I much more enjoy being there, and photographs seem to come to me instead of me seeking them. This is a big leap forward for my own peace of mind and my photography has become a lot more enjoyable since. At least for me. I can only hope that the results are enjoyable to you too.

You will notice that I am not seeking the spectacular views or the exuberant colours in a landscape. For me it is about the sky, the mud, the trees shaken by the wind or standing strong. Solitude, lost memories, but also joy and tranquillity. ā€¢

Ludwig

 

 

With the Rolleiflex in Scotland – Part I – Glentrool

Analog, landscapes, photo gear

I have been on a motortrip to Scotland last summer, and I had quite some doubts for taking the Rolleiflex (analog camera from the late 50’s) with me, for sake of luggage space, camera safety, etcetera. I have to say that it gave me a lot of pleasure during my trip. It helped me to literally stay still from time to time, and to take the time to enjoy the landscape.

I have stopped in several places with the aim to shoot an entire roll of film in each place.

These images are from my first picture stop.

This place called Glentrool, and Loch Trool, and is located in Galloway forest park, Scotland. Here I shot a roll of Kodak Tmax400 film on a late sunny evening, I had pitched up my tent, cooked a simple but welcome meal after a day of riding (from York that day, over Barnard Castle, trough the North Pennines, along the Hadrian Wall into Dumfries and then Galloway forest park. The bike was filled up with gas for next day and I had some time left before the sun would set. First some images near the Glentrool Visitor Centre, just next to the river ‘Water of Minnoch’, where I met the first midges, then up on my motorbike again I followed a small andĀ bumpyĀ road up to Loch Trool. Despite literally a millionĀ midges by the lake, I kept going šŸ˜‰ . I had my mini tripod with me on the trip, and a wire shutter release, so I could shoot till late in the evening (the lake shots).

there’s more to come from this trip, stay tuned.

All images shot with Rolleiflex 3.5 on Kodak TMax-400 film. Shutter speeds and aperture settings vary.

thank you for watching,

Ludwig

part II – Dunure

Sirui mini tripod – my thoughts + a color image from Scotland, and a black and white from Corsica.

landscapes, photo gear

Hi there, for a change a gear review post.

For landscape work I have been a pleased owner of a Berlebach report tripod for many years now. I have had a little issue with it last year, which has been solved amazingly well by the Berlebach company, see my post about it here:Ā http://www.ludwigdesmet.com/2016/09/19/thumbs-up-for-excellent-customer-service-berlebach/

I have taken this tripod with me on my motorbike on many occasions, mostly when giving classes to adults, but it is not very practical because the tripod is big. When mounted it extends beyond the two big panniersĀ I have on my large bike! (BMW R1200GS).

So I have been looking for a smaller tripod for last summer’s trip to Scotland, and for lighter travelling to Corsica weeks after that. I bought the Sirui T-005X with C-10S ballhead, from the T05X SeriesĀ Traveler Ultralight

It is a lightweight, very compact package, weighs 0.8 kgs and has a maximum height of 137cm and a packing size of 33 cm. This makes it ideal for my motorcycle travels or when you are traveling light in any other way.

How did it fare?

I found it very well performingĀ in quiet weather conditions. The image below is a behind the scene’s shot on a trip out, rain pouring down all day, overcast and not much light, so a tripod was mandatory for I had pretty long shutter times. 0,6s at f11 and ISO100 for the below image.

Image taken in Strontian, Ariundle, Scotland.

as you can see the tripod legs have several spread angle’s, which comes in handy on uneven terrain. The feet are very tiny at approximately 18mm diameter, so some careĀ on where to put them is to be taken. Otherwise, the tripod gave me a perfectly sharp image.

When walking with the camera, the ball head clearly is too weak for a big DSLR (Canon 5Ds) even with a moderately light lens on it. (Canons 17-40 mm f4L, with a weight of 475g) The camera will start heading down soon, no matter how tight you fasten the head knob.

Otherwise, no complaints here.

In Corsica I stumbled upon a deserted hotel, that inspired me to do some long exposure shots. The weather was sunny with clouds, and a rather strong wind, with gusts up to 80km/h (45-50 miles), the building was partly surrounded by green area, with scattered trees. Still I chose to remove the center column of the tripod, for increased stability. (the center column only supported in a single point is the least stable element in all tripods) The removal of the center column is really easy, and the ballhead then screws directly on the tripod base, resultingĀ a much stabler unit. I have no behind the scenes image of this setup so I’ll grap a marketing image from Siriu:

I still had the tripod set up with the legs fully extended in most images, and made perfectly sharp images with shutter speeds over 2 minutes: 121s f13 ISO125 and detail below. I have no images that show camera movements, so I think this is very good proof of the stability of this setup.

 

The downsides:

I find the leg opening/closing grips rather soft, and some seem to show some wear already, curious to know how long they will last. Also the camera plate is very small, this is clearly not aimed at DSLR users, but more towards the high end compact, light system camera’s. Fortunately the system is Arca Swiss compatible, so I can use my Berlebach dovetail type plates in stead. The ball head, although said to hold 4kgs, will certainly not hold its position when on the move. 4 leg segments are a bit long to extend, especially compared to my Berlebach, that has only two segments.

The pro’s:

Very light, very compact, budget friendly, stable within limits, easy to convert to ‘without center column’, then it is even more stable. Not expensive, comes with a carrying bag.

Verdict.

I am very pleased with this little tripod, it fits my motorcycle panniers, it is very light, it extends high enough for my landscape needs and it is stable in light windy weather. I’m a bit afraid that heavy conditions will not be good friends with this tripod, but If you are looking for an easy to carry companion for night shots or occasional landscape work,Ā I can recommend! And at a very fair price of ā‚¬ 109, it won’t break the bank!

 

Ludwig

 

 

Scotland – Black and white

landscapes

A visual report of my 2017 Scotland motor trip.
As you know, I was originally much more involved with landscape photography than I do now, but I still enjoy being in wild open spaces, and I have a hard time forcing myself NOT to stop after every corner when on my motorcycle.
For those interested, this was my route: (Ā© Routeyou)

All images taken with Canon 5Ds and Canon 17-40mm f4L, converted to black and white in Lightroom.

 

for analog pictures from this trip, start here

thank you for watching, I used a small kit of extra gear on this trip, a mini tripod, next I’ll do a short review of it.

ludwig

dust in the wind …

landscapes, Lightroom, location, Personal Pictures, Tips and Tricks

…Ā nothing lasts forever but the earth and sky

 

Milky way over Fort Mahon (Ambleteuse France)

 

ludwigdesmet

the recipe:

  1. Find yourself a group of crazy photography students, willing to go out at night in freezing temperatures for yet another experiment. Cover up well. Provide yourself with a headlight.
  2. Look for a low light environment, some kind of deserted landscape, no cities around. (This only half worked out, the Fort is near the village of Ambleteuse, hence the brightly lit right side of the building)
  3. find yourself a nice location that can serve as a foreground: A Fort, pebbleĀ beach, some straying rocks will do. Use your headlight to find your way around. (things will be black out there)
  4. Locate the milky way in the sky (if you have fulfilled step 2. of the recipe it should beĀ visible to the naked eye), put up your sturdy tripod and compose. Fix your tripod well.
  5. Take some pictures (settings here: 10sec f1.4 ISO1600) I took a panorama of 5 images vertically. Taken on a Canon 5D mark II.
  6. Merge images in Lightroom (you’ll keep a RAW editable file). Post Process if needed. It probably will be needed, I played with exposure, contrast, blacks, white balance, …
  7. Sit back and start counting the stars.

grtz,

Ludwig

Silent sea

landscapes, Personal Pictures

Image taken on a trip with my ‘landscape photography’ class, a couple of weeks ago.

In between tuition moments, I get to snap an image here and there.

 

Silent Sea

Ludwig Desmet_capgriznez-01

135mm at f11 – 30sec.

Image taken with Canon 5D II and Canon 135mm f2.0 L

Taken with a ND1000 (10stops) filter from B+W and converted to black and white in Lightroom. I only haveĀ a 10stops screw filter for 77mm lens diameters (for my Canon 17-40mm f4), the 135mm hasĀ a 72mm diameter filter thread. I simplyĀ positionedĀ the filter in the back of the lens shade, worked fine, don’t tell anybody. šŸ˜‰

The image depicts old mussel growing poles. they get floated at high tides, become apparent at low tides. taken a little east from Cap-Griz-Nez

 

thank you for watching.

Post production explained

landscapes, Lightroom, Personal Pictures, personal tips & tricks

Another before and after short explanation.

A lot of people have liked this image on facebook, and this inspired me to repeat once again the importance of good development of your images.

Hallerbos before and after

What happened in post production? For those familiar to Lightroom, here we go: (to those not familiar to Lightroom – I enhanced the image šŸ˜‰ )

color temperature slightly warmer, tint unchanged

added a +0,18 stops exposure +40 contrast +97 highlights (to accentuate the sun ray’s/highlights)

HSL panel:

Added +8 in purple Hue settings

Added +35 and +23 in respectively Blue and Purple saturation

Added +25 in Blue luminance

Local adjustments:

Added 2 gradient filters:

1 to darken the tree trunks from top: exposure -0,94 – highlights +63 – shadows +24

1 to darken foreground from bottom: exposure -0,94 – highlights +62

Added 1 radial filter:

position: central, horizontally shaped, where I wanted the sun rays to be accentuated:

settings: exposure +0,99 – highlights +63 – shadows -71 – clarity +33 – Ā sharpness +20 (inverted mask to work on the central area, not on the outside area)

ludwigdesmet_hallerbos-0573

I sincerely hope this will inspire you to work a little on your images too. You don’t need Lightroom to enhance them, a lot of these things can be done in other RAW development applications too, some coming for free with your digital camera.

see you soon,
ludwig

Facebook challenge

beauty, landscapes, Personal Pictures, Uncategorized

I got challenged by my brother to post a ‘nature’ picture each day for 5 days in a row. I have been photographing quite some landscapes in the last years, but my focus gradually shifted towards feminine beauty, so I decided to look for combinations of earlier landscape photographs and pictures of women that suited them well. These are the five images that made the series.

Ludwigdesmet_LS04Ludwigdesmet_LS05Ludwigdesmet_LS02Ludwigdesmet_LS03Ludwigdesmet_LS01
I kinda liked the excercise. I hope you like the pairings too.

have a nice weekend everyone!

 

Ludwig

Sunny Morning

landscapes, Personal Pictures

I could have called this post: In Flanders Fields, or even in Flanders Mud, ā€¦ but let’s look on the bright side.

Just some snaps from a frisky but sunny sunday morning walk trough the ‘Flemish Ardennes’. Ā Oh, and I love square format more and more. These are not taken on film, just square cropped digital.

There’s something about the square format, for me the compositions are easier and more peaceful and ‘in balance’. Ā Please tell me if I’m talking rubbish, before I buy a 30.000 ā‚¬ digital medium format camera.Ā šŸ™‚

Bright light against the sun, keep the details in those highlights!!

 

 

IMG_3571 IMG_3573 IMG_3575 IMG_3577 IMG_3578

 

Come back again soon, I have some new pictures to show you with Pauline M. whom I worked with earlier here and here.

Happy shooting.

Ludwig

Beautiful Tuscany

landscapes, people, Personal Pictures

Well, vacation is long over, and almost forgotten (almost)

Luckily someone invented photography a couple of hundred years ago.

I don’t want to write a lot of words on this post, only this. The evening we wanted to pack the car for our trip to Italy (2 and a half weeks Tuscany), it broke down.

So no large wagon with rooftop luggage trunk, but only a small Toyota Yaris. This meant a total review of the luggage, which meant I had to leave half of my photo equipment at home. No tripod, that was the biggest drawback for me. But anyway, no other solution possible, and a big challenge for taking landscape images. Normally you want to use closed apertures, meaning long shutter speeds. Well, not possible this time. I had to crank up ISO settings from time to time, which you normally do not for landscape work. To give you an idea, first image: ISO 160 – 17mm – f11 – 1/8th of a second. Last image, ISO 800 – 50mm – f3.2 – 1/25th.

Hope you like the images, I could’n leave the dog out, having its daily portion of ‘gelato’ like everyone else.

happy viewing,

Charlemagne-art_Italy-1637

Charlemagne-art_Italy-1244

Charlemagne-art_Italy-1311

Charlemagne-art_Italy-1553

Charlemagne-art_Italy-1671

Charlemagne-art_Italy-1841

Charlemagne-art_Italy-1867

Charlemagne-art_Italy-1868

Charlemagne-art_Italy-1877

Charlemagne-art_Italy-1805

thank you for looking!

shooting the Verdon with the Canon Powershot S95

landscapes, Personal Pictures, photo gear

Hello there,

I was on a men-only weekend with my oldest son a couple of weeks ago.

We had a lot of fun together, rafting, mountain hiking, drinking beer (at least me), etc. …

I didn’t want to focus on photography that weekend, because of the father and son thing so I only took my compact camera with me. The Canon Powershot S95.

I have used it on weekends out before, but never in a landscape environment. see my post Barcelona Highlights

It is a good compact, but probably not the best you can get.

I don’t want to go into details about this, just put the pros and cons next to each other, compared to my reflex camera.

Compared to the Canon 5D markII and some proper lenses, these are the most relevant cons:

the lens lacks sharpness in the entire zoom range

the sensor has a much smaller dynamic range (whites blowing out or blacks going dead)

it has a much slower reaction time (it’s not a reflex, so there’s a short time lag between pressing the shutter and the picture taken.

it has slower and not so performant AutoFocus (although the AF from the 5D mark II is not top either)

The colors tend to get over-saturated.

these are the pros:

its lightweight compared to any reflex camera 195g vs. 850g without lens for the 5D II

it fits in almost any pocket

it is almost stealth-like compared to a reflex camera, so it doesn’t bother people when it appears (not so important for landscape, but important for street photography)

its silent (except maybe from the lens ring clicks, which are quite noisy)

A pro for this compact, vs some other compacts:

it has all exposure modes, including full manual (P, AV, TV, M), so you can play with the settings as you would with a reflex camera, you can even choose to set the focus manually.

Enough talking, let me show you some pictures. For your info, I have done quite some editing in Lightroom. You won’t notice the lack of sharpness here, I worked a lot on the tonal range in the images, etcetera.

charlemagne-art-gorgesduverdon-1601

charlemagne-art-gorgesduverdon-1588

charlemagne-art-gorgesduverdon-1630

charlemagne-art-gorgesduverdon-1659

charlemagne-art-gorgesduverdon-1684

charlemagne-art-gorgesduverdon-1705

charlemagne-art-gorgesduverdon-1709

charlemagne-art-gorgesduverdon-1715

charlemagne-art-gorgesduverdon-pano

The last image is a photoshop stitched image from 6 shots.

So is it a worthy camera, yes sure it absolutely is a very good travel companion if you don’t wish to focus on photography, but it takes some more time to get good pictures out of it, and you’ll never be able to get really pro-quality pictures out of it.

After all I’m not really a material geek. Sure I love my camera and lenses, but for me a lot of photography is in the eye of the photographer. I’m sure a good photographer can make good pictures with a compact, a bad photographer will not manage taking good pictures with pro gear. I enjoyed being with my son, taking a picture from time to time for the memories, and that is a different mindset than going on a photography trip.

take care, and I hope you come again soon.

Ludwig

Winter in Belgium

landscapes, Personal Pictures

Hi all,

we are not so used to having cold winter in Belgium. We usually have a moderate climate, influenced by the warm gulf stream waters, coming from middle-America.

But, some two weeks ago, a package of snow arrived, about 5 inches thick, some extra snow fell a couple of days later, and we had cold winter temperatures, with -15Ā°C as a minimum.

Enjoy the pictures I took in the morning, two days ago. I’m not so fond of the Belgian landscape in general, but I enjoyed the marvels of snow and ice, and the misty morning added to it’s magic.

No more words, just images!

charlemagne-art-winter-2841 charlemagne-art-winter-2845 charlemagne-art-winter-2846 charlemagne-art-winter-2912 charlemagne-art-winter-2929 charlemagne-art-winter-2935 charlemagne-art-winter-2940 charlemagne-art-winter-2943 charlemagne-art-winter-2955 charlemagne-art-winter-2961 charlemagne-art-winter-2970 charlemagne-art-winter-2974

 

see you soon, I have two more beauty shoots to post!

Ch.

(from Charlemagne – my other name)

North Sea

landscapes, Personal Pictures, personal tips & tricks, Tips and Tricks

Hi,
long time since I posted some new images. I have been busy preparing the two exhibitions and that is now over, with the last exhibition opening this saturday evening. You are still very welcome to come visit the exhibition. (wednesday, saturday and sunday from 14:00 h till 18:00 h. in ‘de Oude Brouwerij’ Ronse.)

I have been to the North sea on april 22nd, and I wanted to show you some images I brought with me. I have further experimented with the ND Grey filters, I used them before in Calais/Cap-Griz-Nez too.
Here I used only the ND 1000 filter, which blocks about 8 stops of light, and let’s pass only 1/1000th of the light. This allows for long exposure times in plain daylight.

The technique is quite simple: you setup your tripod (best a good sturdy one, because when the sea surface is coming over the breakwater, you get some nasty winds blowing you almost out of your clothes.) and make your best composition possible. Verify your normal exposure. Now without further touching your camera, switch to manual focus if not already done, screw on your ND filter and calculate your new exposure time. In my situation, I had to lengthen the exposer time x1000. E.g. 1/100 sec without filter became 10 seconds with filter.
Then wait for the sea tide to come up. Get cold, try to protect your camera from waves splattering on the rocks, almost get blown over, get wet feet, get a rain shower on your head, and then decide you tried your best and try to find some shelter.

All images taken with 17-40 mm on Canon 5D mark II, exposure times of about 50-60 seconds. Aperture f1/16 up to f1/22. The first shot is composed out of 4 exposures, I converted the images to BW in Lightroom, then added a blue’isch color cast in Photoshop.

Hope you liked them, click for bigger version!

ludwig

Hallerbos shoot – BTS

landscapes, people, Personal Pictures, personal tips & tricks, Tips and Tricks

A 10 minutes behind the scenes video from our shoot in Hallerbos.
Some parts are english spoken, in-video conversations are mainly dutch, without subtitles, but nevertheless great to look at. šŸ˜‰

thanks to Martine and Raf for filming

Enjoy!

[vimeo http://www.vimeo.com/41156142 w=400&h=300]

Hallerbos part 1

landscapes, people, Personal Pictures

I did a shoot last Sunday in Hallerbos, with models Jessika and Sari. I’ll show you some of the images of the shoot with Jessika.
We had a great time, and we got some great pictures as a result. My first goal was making some composed panoramic images. I shot a lot of poses of Jessika, and then some images left and right of her. I picked out some nice poses to compose a wider final image. The largest pano’s are about 100 Mpix in size, large enough for a very wide print šŸ˜‰
It was quite a challenge to picture her in the middle of the flowers, because you are actually not allowed entering the flower beds. We worked at some path crossings to achieve these results.
I am currently making a BTS video that shows a little more of the day. Make sure to come and check this page again soon!

After the wedding dress shoot, Jessika tried to get warm again (12Ā°C outside), and then she changed for a nice ‘roman style’ blue dress, almost matching the colors of the Hyacinths -bluebells-. She also brought a kind of an antique bird cage. We shot for another 45 minutes, and at the very end of the shoot, we experimented a little with off camera flash. One single Canon flash, triggered with Cactus V5 transmitter. I had an assistant with me, and she handheld the flash. This allowed for quick changes in position and distance, and very much liked the results. I’m especially fond of the last image, I think it got a sense of drama in it.

Don’t forget to click them to view a larger version.
thank you for reading, come again soon!
Ludwig.

CĆ“te d’Opale

landscapes, Personal Pictures

Some pictures I took on our family trip to Calais – Cap Griz Nez and Cap Blanc Nez.
The use of an ND filter and long exposures make for foamy sea-surface. I loved experimenting with it an will surely go back there for some more of these. All three with the Canon 17-40 mm on 5D MarkII.
Don’t forget to click them to see a bigger version.

Remember, all of my images are available for sales. they are perfect for your modern home decoration. šŸ˜‰

Ludwig