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 🙂 They provided me with a fine meal, and a place to charge my cellphone. Lovely lady-owner, very friendly and servile.

Time was 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. So here you see the entire film, I have not made a selection, you see what I’ve seen and what I’ve shot. 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 😀

 

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.

Paradise lost – the series

erotic, location, Nude

after the preview of a couple of months ago already, here’s the complete selection.

All images taken on film – Kodak TMax400 and Ilford FP4 Plus125

All shot with the Rolleiflex 3.5 TLR

assistance: Nathalie, Model: Carlotta Kah

location, some abandoned hotel in Corsica

 

• Paradise Lost •

 

thank you for watching,

Ludwig

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 :

 

 

The birdkeeper

beauty, location, Nude

• The birdkeeper •

Summer is long gone it seems, but this shoot was taking place on one of those hot summer days, when models do not hesitate to pose in lingerie or nude, sun will keep them warm.

The image was taken in a little castle near my hometown, on a shady terrace. The owner had opened the door and then vanished. Eva was in a good mood, the birds were singing all around.

Shot with my old Rolleiflex TLR, on Kodak TMax 400 film. Shooting on film is a strange thing, it is slow, expensive, delicate, cumbersome … but I love it. It makes the experience more real, and the waiting for the negatives makes you take some distance from your own work. It is always exciting to see the images coming, 3, 4 weeks after you’ve shot them.

have a nice Sunday afternoon,

 

ludwig

 

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

 

 

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

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:

 

 

Rainforest girl

beauty, erotic, location, Nude

from the same series as ‘Cyperus Papyrus’ with Kate_Ri as a model.

• Rainforest Girl •

ludwigdesmet_kr-3

I started experimenting with painted edges, I think I like the result in combination with this image in a ‘wild’ environment. I posted this image to FB with the question to like it, in order to support a ‘natural behaviour towards simple nudity’, …  I’m still having a problem with the hypocrite attitude of ‘general society’ towards nudity, where facebook will not stand posting nudity of any kind, where I see that cases of abuse and incest are daily matter in the psychotherapist practise of my wife, where porn industry has never ceased to increase, but where a bare nipple is subject to scandal … I still don’t get it, at least I hope YOU like the image.

1/60s f2.0 ISO800 Canon 5Ds with Sigma 50m f1.4

thank you for watching, for following, for your support

ludwig

Hey Taxi ! …

Analog, beauty, Personal Pictures, street

I cannot prevent this happy feeling coming back when I start thinking about this session.

We were all in a great mood, the weather was excellent (remember, way too hot today) and Erika was more than happy playing the roles I gave her. I asked her to be the lazy tourist in our Brussels most upscale shopping lane, the Avenue Louise.

Nathalie managed to fix a taxi driver willing to cooperate for some nice shots too.

All images shot on Rolleiflex 3.5, Kodak T-Max100

Thanks to Erika Albonetti for being my model, her manager for carrying all the stuff she had, my wife Nathalie for being a splendid assistant and hairdresser …

Remember, all my images are available as a fine art print, so if you are still looking for a lasting present for Christmas or New Year, don’t look any further, scroll trough my blog, take a look at my portfolio pages and take your pick!

 

Hey Taxi ! …

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ludwigdesmet_ea-4 

 

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thank you for watching,

see you again soon,

 

ludwig

 

High Key made easy

beauty, Lightroom, Nude, Personal Pictures

hi there,

this below image had quite some succes on Facebook and different groups I published it onto. Actually people were asking about the way I did the high key development.

It was a rather straightforward and easy process, a little explanation below.

ludwigdesmet-3948

The lighting conditions where not good, NOT. 🙂

I needed an ISO setting of 2000 to be sure to have sharp images, that’s at least way over my usual limits. (I rather keep ISO settings below 800) You’ll see that the image has some noise in the shadow areas (like the throat area).

the original image looked like this: quite even light conditions, although the light was a little directional (from the left), there were no hard lights, no deep shadows.

ludwigdesmet-3948-2

I work in lightroom, my settings:

exposure: +2.10 / contrast: +40 / highlights: +67 / shadows: +36 / blacks: -42 / Clarity: -11 … that was about all I did. The image looks like this now:

ludwigdesmet-3948-3

next I added some light using a local brush with + exposure, to get rid of the remaining bed sheet shading. No big secrets, just add plenty of exposure to make things white.

At last I added some noise reduction to get rid of too much grainy noise in the shadow areas. …

I hope  you like the image, I certainly do.

The image was taken at a private tuition day with Sacha Leyendecker.(http://www.sacha-leyendecker.com) The model is Steffi Rubia Stringsi, from Brussels. The image was taken in an available light studio in Köln, Germany.

see you soon.

ludwig