Film ‘scanning’ with the DSLR camera

Analog, Lightroom, personal tips & tricks, photo gear, Tips and Tricks

Ok, something I wanted to do for a long time:

On some fora, people have been asking how I scan my negatives, actually I’ve quit scanning, and digitise my 6×6 negatives with the Canon 5Ds high resolution camera, and a Canon 100mm Macro lens. For me it is quicker than scanning, I get a RAW negative file to work with, and I had all gear I needed for building a simple setup.

I have been looking for a new scanner for a while, genre Epson V800, but found them to be a little too expensive for my taste and limited use. I already had this Canon 5Ds camera, and I had a Macro lens, so I wanted to give it a try digitising with the camera in stead. I’ve built this setup to do so, (actually writing this blog post has inspired me to make it even better) …

see images below …

• I have two lamps (generic building LED lamps from a DIY store) that I point to the back, where I have a white foam board installed. I don’t care about the white balance because I work with black and white film, so I get rid of all colour anyway.

• At a relatively small distance (30cm – 1 foot) I have a cardboard box, fixed to a base board (same white foam board, cardboard box taped to it), with a hole in the back end, a little bigger than the negatives I am working with. On the inside of the box, I have put a black paper, with a square cut hole in it, to better fit the actual size of the negatives. The front side of the cardboard box is open, and takes the camera.

• I use a negative holder from an old scanner, but I cut the film frame a tad wider, to be able to see the negative’s edges all around. I kept the original diffusor window.

• On the base foam board, I fixed a sort of slot (foam board strip with double sided tape fixing) that holds the bottom of the film holder, between the slot and the cardboard box. On top of the cardboard box, I fixed a second slot, that holds the top edge lid of the film holder, and I slide the film holder in from left to right (right to left on the images)

• I put my camera to fit the film frame (with a little margin all around) and I have my settings to give best quality: ISO100, f8 1/6 sec … I vary shutter speeds based on the negatives I have (sometimes the negatives are a tad under- or overexposed, I try to have as much light as possible in my ‘scans’ without clipping the highlights). Low Iso for the least noise possible, f8 seems to be the limit aperture before diffraction sets in on this camera, shutter speed long enough to get rid of the flickering effect in the lamps. I work on a tripod and with a 2 second interval between mirror lock-up and opening the shutter. (standard available on the Canon 5Ds, to prevent camera shake due to the mirror flipping up)

• I import the images in LR and reverse them by using the tone curve panel. In this same panel I also manage the white and black point settings by moving in the left and right corner point to where the histogram starts/ends, and eventually a lightening or contrast tone curve.

• Then I further develop the image using the standard development panel and local adjustments (that takes the most ‘getting used to’ because all sliders work ‘negative’)

• I remove dust and scratches in photoshop.

 

the images should clarify a lot:

the complete setup:

 

a look over the camera’s shoulder:

the negative holder removed to change the film strip

the back end of the cardboard box, notice the black paper frame on the inside, and the (modified today) film holder slot for top and bottom edge of the film holder.

film holder sliding in place, notice the top ‘tab’ being held by the slot

film holder in place, looking on the diffusor

Lightroom, tone curve for negative-positive conversion

I manage to scan a film of 12 exposures in about 15 minutes, with a resolution of at least 5000×5000 pixels. That is perfectly fine with me, and gives me all film detail, up to the grain in the film.

tough decisions in life

Uncategorized

a little resume

I have studied to be a graphic designer, that led to a degree back in 1991. I have worked in several pre-press studio’s and a packaging design agency before starting my own company, not in graphic design but in 3D rendering services. I was rather successful, with clients such as product developing companies Barco, Melexis, SAS winches, Duco, Marketing agencies, artists such as Mark Manders, André Rieu, next to a lot of architects and project developers.

I loved being on the front edge of new products, developments, technologies, events, and being able to provide marketing material for these customers. I did this on my own, and home based. Very convenient, but in the end also very lonely as a job. Orders were sent by email, some explanation on the phone if necessary, and finished jobs were sent out by email as well, or by means of online data transfer sites like wetransfer. This meant that in the following years, I had no social contacts anymore. I went looking for a solution, and this showed up in photography. I had started a weekend class in photography when I had just left my studies, but never finished it. Honestly because I was a bit discontent about the chemicals being poured down the drain. (talking about film photography at that time)

But I never really quit photography, and with every job change, I looked for a job related to photography in some way. This has made me decide back in 2009-2010 that I wanted to pick up classes again to further build my photography skills.

I could do some exams to skip some classes, as I was familiar with photography basics (from the two years I did previously) and with retouching (from my graphics background) and I sped up the process by taking two classes at a time. Very soon I could enrol a job into teaching Adobe Lightroom in the same institution I was following my own finishing classes. A kind of a strange situation but it turned out well as most of the students I gave classes to didn’t even realise I hadn’t finished my studies yet.

At the same time I started following classes again I also started portraying women, which led to the portfolio you can see on this website. This started as being very occasionally, but I got more and more into it, and tried to use every free moment of time to get a shoot planned.

Very soon I had a larger amount of classes to teach, and I tried being more selective in my clients/jobs in my self owned business, but nevertheless I worked like 4/5 in teaching classes 3/5 in doing 3D rendering jobs and 1/5 self organised photography shoots.

Too much indeed, so last year in november I announced to all my clients for 3D rendering that I would finish this service, look for somebody interested in acquiring the client base, and only do photography jobs from 2017. I found nobody interested so I had to disappoint some of my customers for sure, some still are customers for photography services, one is hard to convince and stubborn in still giving me 3D rendering jobs. I announced yesterday that I will no longer be of service from 2018 on.

why tough decisions, well, 3D rendering services have long been a good source of income to me, and they still were in 2017, it has paid my photography investments in material, exhibition prints, workshop costs, … photography has grown slightly but not enough to compensate, since I have not enough time to really build up this service due to a lack of time.

This comes down to cutting one safety line before you have another one :/ … of course I have my classes that serve as a stable base income, but they are by far not ‘wealthy paid’ and getting noticed with my photography has proven to be a long and difficult process. I have had a good exhibit with some book sales and some large format print sales, just enough to compensate for the costs made (printing material, giving everybody a drink, making some new large format prints for the exhibit, …).

I would like to invest more time in artistic researches and getting further in analog photography. I am currently investigating the options for working on 4×5 inch format, requiring a large format camera and the need for development in house (till now I had my 120 roll film developed by a lab, but 4×5 film sheet lab development is out of budget)

A whole lot of words to explain why posting rate has dropped a little the last months.

Things should take up again when I finished my last 3D rendering job 🙂 if someone is interested in my earlier client base, just give me a call. The website is here: www.renderhouse.eu

Can’t post without an image, you will understand why photography is so much more pleasant than 3D, it is working with people rather than pixels :

 

 

Paradise lost – the Hotel

architecture, location

last month in Corsica we were looking for a model shoot location and we found out that just next to our vacation location there was an abandoned hotel. Flooded 7 years ago by the river running just next to it, it got deserted. Insurance companies still arguing about the responsibilities, the owners couldn’t afford to repair the damages and re-open the hotel.

It looked like an ideal location for a ‘stranded tourist story’ shoot, images will follow later.

This is how the building looked after 7 years of non-attention.

All images shot on Canon 5Ds with Canon 17-40mm f4L,  f13 ISO 125, shutter speeds vary between 66 and 184 seconds. (Big stopper filter for the movement in the trees and clouds)

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: 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 panniers 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 Series 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 performing 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 care 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, resulting 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, I can recommend! And at a very fair price of € 109, it won’t break the bank!

 

Ludwig

 

 

The last ray

Analog, beauty, erotic, location

• The last ray •

 

shot with Rolleiflex 3,5 on Ilford Delta Pro 100 film

model and make up: Eva Evian

thank you for watching, I scanned about 170 negatives this week, so there’s much more images coming (Scotland analog, and several beauty shoots analog)

see you soon,

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: (© 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

Lady Madonna – I think I made a new fine image

beauty, location, Nude

• Lady Madonna •

shot today in a remote castle in Tournai, Belgium,

lots of thanks to the owner of the place, and to my model of course.

sometimes all falls into place and beauty is the result of it.

 

Model and make up: Eva Evian

styling and photography: Ludwig Desmet

shot on Canon 5Ds with Canon 135mm f2 – ISO 200 f2.8 1/250s

thank you for watching,

Ludwig

New Publication – Goodlightmagazine

Nude, personal tips & tricks, Tips and Tricks

Goodlightmagazine, an online magazine specialised in photography lighting techniques has published an article by me about photographing nudes with available light. It contains a lot of examples, what to look for in a location, some basic rule explanations and very well crafted light diagrams.

make sure to check it out here:  http://www.goodlightmag.com/gift

just fill in your email address and you’ll be granted a free download of the current issue.

Personally I’m not very fond of the magazine layout, but the content is very good 😉

a sample of the first two pages of this 9 page editorial below:

best,

Ludwig

teddybear blues or … the story of self realisation

Analog, beauty, Behind the scenes Video, location, Tips and Tricks

I shot this series of images in February, it took me some time to scan and develop the negatives, but here they are at last. I hope you like the story, I loved making it.

A big thank you to Rachel, for being a very patient model, on this cold and dull day. To Nathalie, for being my assistant, model hairdresser, camera-crew and guide. To Home Providentia, for giving me another opportunity to shoot at this unique location.

All images taken on Rolleiflex 3.5 camera with Kodak TMax100 and TMax400 film. Reproduced with a Canon 5Ds and Canon 100mm F2.8L IS macro, developed in Lightroom and Photoshop.

 

• teddybear blues or … the story of self realisation •

 

behind the scenes video of this shoot here: Shooting with the Rolleiflex

thank you for watching

 

ludwig

 

Christian Coigny – Argentique

Analog, exhibition, Nude

It is becoming a bad habit of mine, visiting an exhibit at the very last moment.

So unfortunately again, this exhibit is over (till april 30th 2017), but he will be on show again in Brussels, really soon

Last Saturday I had the immense pleasure of visiting the exhibit of Christian Coigny in Tournai, Belgium. The exhibit was hosted by Event Particulier (www.eventparticulier.com) in the wonderful location of ‘Domaine de Graux’, where the organisation runs an event and exhibit centre since about two years from now.

Although I knew the work of Christian since quite some time (to be seen at http://christiancoigny.com) It has been a very joyful experience to see his prints in real life. The size of the prints varies from I think about 30×45 cm, over some larger 40×60 cm prints to about 2 m in size. All except for the largest sizes are genuine analog prints. Some 80 works were on display, all but 2 were black and white. Editions vary from a number of 30 for the smalles works, to 10 for the largest prints.

Both his ‘nature morte’s’ and his nudes are fantastic in terms of context, composition and light, and show an absolute mastery in all aspects involved. I was very charmed with the seemingly simple contents of the artworks, and with the almost out of this world serenity they express.

I decided to buy the book, and as this was the last weekend of the exhibit and the artist was present, I had it signed by Mr. Coigny. We had a short but interesting and very enjoyable discussion about photography, about men photographing nude women, and our (especially my) doubts and motivations. Very inspiring and interesting. We laughed a lot.

One quote I will gladly share with you:

“No matter if you know where you are going or not, you will eventually get there!”

Christian Coigny.

a portrait of the master:

publication

Uncategorized

hi there,

just a short message to let you know that I have been published with a short interview and a series of images in ‘modellenlandmagazine’. The magazine offers a platform for models, photographers, stylists and make up artists to showcase their work.

you can read, and especially watch the issue here:

http://www.modellenlandmagazine.com/issue22-4

my interview starts on page 210

Charleston, for something a little different

beauty, location, personal tips & tricks, Tips and Tricks

 

it is always good to see that models bring their own ideas and clothing along on a shoot.

Next to being a source of variation and new ideas, it can also be a challenge do make something work that was not really in your mind-set when you started the shoot. We had shot early that afternoon in ‘the orphanage’, a huge former orphanage I guess, now rented as guesthouse for large groups. The weather was very dull and grey, and besides that it was raining and cold. Not really a nice environment to be in as a model. Rachel also brought some ‘Charleston inspired’ clothing and accessories, and we tried them out in my own home space. As there was very little light, and I wanted to create an evening atmosphere, I switched on the ambient lights in the hallway and staircase. These lights being very dim and not really at an ideal height for lighting a model. I rather not use flashes as they make the setup cumbersome and slow, but here I could not do otherwise, so I also installed two monobloc studioflashes. You clearly see the effect of one light (right of the model – 80cm octa) the other one is left of me, (60×60 softbox) in the room next to the hall way (there’s a triple entry door with glass inserts that filters the light softly into the hallway). The flashes are both at low power settings since I still wanted to use a rather wide aperture, for less depth of field. there’s a light setup at the bottom of this post.

 

the image is shot at 1/125s f2.0 ISO200. Canon 5Ds with Sigma 50mm Art. By using flashes I managed to dim the daylight even further, to an acceptable level that just keeps a small reminder of the structures in the window framework at the end of the hallway.

 

A big thank you to Rachel, for being my model on this day, and to Nathalie, my lovely assistant.

 

light setup:

 

 

… and then she started wondering …

beauty, location, Personal Pictures, personal tips & tricks, Tips and Tricks

… and then she started wondering, why she didn’t get these letters he promised to send her. Was he killed in battle? Had he forgotten about her, or probably he couldn’t find the time to write to her. These questions filled her with doubt and restlessness, even more because she was unable to reach to him …

Shot on a one-to-one workshop with Sacha Leyendecker in his available light studio.

Model and make up: Rubia Stri

Photography: me for sure.

shot on canon 5Ds with Sigma 50mm f1.4 DG A

settings for the main image: 1/80s f2.0 at ISO800

and then especially for Valentine’s day, complete series:

 

What I’ve learnt from the workshop:

Don’t be afraid to shoot at higher ISO settings if you need to to keep your shutter speeds safe. Play with light to create volume and atmosphere. Get some music into your studio to set a good mood. Create visual triangles in your images for dynamic compositions. Use props to create a setting and invite the viewer to imagine his/her way into the story.

What I didn’t agree on with Sacha (sorry Sacha, I think our styles are rather different, so the approach is different too): he told me to just have the model do whatever she likes to do, and what she feels comfortable with. I tend to interfere more with my model, and direct in certain ways (I also often work with non-professional models, maybe that’s why. Pro models are very much aware of what they look like, and how to move to get good shots).

I was very pleased with the results of the workshop. I was happy to meet Rubia, who is from Brussels by the way, and I had a very pleasant day for sure! Thank you Sacha, thank you Rubia!

thank you for watching.