This is a picture of the wide expanse of Carbis Bay from St Ives in Cornwall. Way in the distance over on the left, you can see the little island that is home to Godrevy Lighthouse, seen a little closer up in my previous post. This was the view that greeted Poppy and I when we visited St Ives following our dawn shoot at the lighthouse. With a bacon, sausage and egg baguette, freshly baked of course, safely put away with a nice cup of tea to wash it down, a little sightseeing in this beautiful Cornish seaside town was in order.
The trip down to the harbour from the car park at the top of the town in my wheelchair was a little fraught given the steepness of the gradients and the lack of let downs at the kerbs. But, we managed it with Poppy providing the required anchorage on numerous occasions. Who needs a roller coaster when you can tour St Ives in a wheelchair? Great fun :-D
Artists have flocked to St Ives for many years to enjoy a very special light, quite unique to the town. St Ives is surrounded by beaches, beaches made up of fine grains of white sand that reflect the sunlight from all sides. The amount that this reflection raises the degree of ambient light above the norm is well documented and measurable. It was as I started to process my pictures I became very much aware of it.
Seeing this little chap down on the beach building sand castles with his Dad reminded me of my holidays in Cornwall when I was a similar age. Such wonderful memories I have and what lovely memories this little boy will also take with him throughout his life. How wonderful is that?! More from St Ives to come.. :-)
Not the camera that makes the photograph..
I couldn’t agree more with this statement but we can’t ignore the fact that we have cameras that cost less than £50 and cameras that will cost you the same as a mid range, brand new BMW? The Camera must be important on some level, mustn’t it?
Well yes, of course it must. Whilst it isn’t the camera that makes the picture, it’s the camera that reproduces the vision of the photographer and this is where things get interesting. A mobile phone can take a picture in the same way a £30,000 camera can, but when it comes to the quality of the image, the process of turning the artists vision into pixels on the screen or ultra fine droplets of ink on paper, there is no comparison. For some applications of course, the level of quality is not so critical while for others it certainly is.
A couple of weeks ago, thanks to Brian Tinsen, at DTek Systems UK , I had the opportunity to test drive the camera equivalent of the new BMW. A medium format Phase One 645 DF camera with a P45+ digital back along with a fabulous Schneider Kreuznach 28mm LS f/4.5 Aspherical Lens. As I’m principally a landscape photographer, I needed the SW150 filter system from Lee ,designed to fit lenses with fixed hoods to protect the convex nature of the super wide lenses. The P45+ digital back has a 49.1 x 36.8mm sensor giving 39.1 megapixels at a resolution of 7216 x 5412. What all this technical stuff amounts to is wonderfully sharp images with superb depth and range of colour.
Within ten minutes of the courier delivering the equipment, I had the camera unpacked and I was taking pictures. Using the menu system on the P45+ digital back, I was able to format my compact flash memory card and set the ISO. It was all very intuitive.
I took a half-dozen shots from my patio then came back inside, inserted the compact flash card into my card reader and uploaded the images to my PC. I already had Capture One Pro installed. This is the software created by Phase One to process the .IIQ RAW files that come from the camera. As soon as I put the images on the screen I knew I was dealing with images of superb quality. I could see immediately, even at 16%, that the photos were sharp with a fabulous depth of colour. It was when I looked at the image at 100%, though I knew I had to get me one of these cameras. :-)
I’ve posted one of those first pictures below in full resolution so you can judge for yourself. Click on the image and view at 100% and you’ll see what I mean.
We generally don’t go zooming into images to check the finer detail so does this level of quality matter? Well on a professional level it does and while the camera didn’t take this picture what it did with the data I gave it to process is on another level.
I went on a couple of dawn shoots to Trebarwith Strand and was really pleased with the way the kit performed and the results I got. The camera is big and heavy but packed away nicely in my Kata backpack and I use a tripod so I didn’t find this a particular problem. It’s not a camera I’d like to have around my neck all day long however. The Schneider lens is in a class of its own, the clarity and depth of field achievable with this lens just blew me away.
Below is a gallery of images I took while I had the medium format kit. Second hand, the equipment I had costs around £16,000. I’m now in the process of trying to raise the cash so if there is anybody out there keen to sponsor the arts, this particular photographer could do with some help so please get in touch :|
My thanks once again to Brian for the loan of the equipment and for showing me what is possible. It’s a lot of money. My current kit costs around £3,500 and in many respects, the Nikon D800 holds its own against a medium format camera. I love my D800 and the images it produces. Is the medium format kit worth 5 times my current kit? Well yes, for me it is. Looking at the images in the gallery below, the style is the same, these are Chillbrook images for sure and there’s not a whole lot of difference to be seen at this level However, these images could take being printed at billboard size without any problem and from a quality point of view, would satisfy the critical eye of the most exacting magazine photo editor. As a professional photographer, this is where it counts.
My sincere and on going thanks to everybody who has clicked the links to my new website, www.cornwallphotographicsales.com The site is doing really well in the Google page rankings, thanks to you all, and in several fairly general searches I have done recently found Cornwall Photographic sales on the first page of results. This is fantastic so please keep clicking..
I was down on the beach at first light this morning and, unusually at this time, I was not alone. A fisherman was out in the surf casting for bass. He didn’t catch anything but as we were chatting, I suggested it wasn’t really about the fish though was it? To be out here at dawn surrounded by all this beauty, ‘No’ he agreed, it wasn’t about the fish. If he caught anything it was a bonus and I feel pretty much the same about my photography. If I get a picture it’s a bonus, as it was this morning, thanks in part to my new friend the fisherman and a rather impressive medium format Phase One 645 DF camera, a P45+ digital back and a Schneider Kreuznach LS 28mm f/4.5 Aspherical lens but more about all that another time. For now, I hope you enjoy the picture. I certainly enjoyed taking it. ;-)
28mm f/11 4 sec. ISO-1oo
By the way, my new site, cornwallphotographicsales.com is progressing nicely up the page rankings thanks to all your visits. Please keep visiting though, I’ve a little way to go yet. Just click on the logo and take a look around the site, you’d be most welcome. ;-)
This photograph was taken on a recent dawn visit that I made to Porth Nanven, with fellow blogger Poppy. Porth Nanven is a beach at the end of the Cot Valley that runs down to the sea at the very western tip of Cornwall. Porth Nanven is sometimes referred to as the dinosaur egg beach because of the giant pebbles to be found there. These pebbles are regularly dislodged from the cliff face where they were left 120,000 years ago when sea levels receded.
My new site is up and running and I’m working hard on my Google page rankings. It’s an uphill struggle in a very crowded marketplace so if you enjoy my photographs, it would really help me a lot if you could give this link a click and have a look around. Perhaps click on the gallery page, sit back and enjoy a collection of my most successful pictures. Thank you. ;-)
24mm f/11 1/13 sec. ISO-100
Chillbrook became a company director this week when Cornwall photographic became Cornwall Photographic Sales Ltd, incorporated on the 29th July. Fed up with sites like Photoshelter, Smug Mug and all the rest taking a disproportionately large share of my photographic sales, I bit the bullet, did a self-taught crash course in PHP and Java to build a commercial site of my own with shopping carts, credit card facilities, SSL certificate and all the other stuff that goes with .com commerce. It’s a scary but exciting step. A bit like letting go of the side for the first time when learning to swim. I should have my portfolio uploaded and product options finalised this week and then the site can go live.
I did take a few hours off yesterday however and set off for Godrevy lighthouse at dawn. I waited for the first light of dawn to illuminate the lighthouse as the sun rose above the cliff to my right. I used a Lee 10 stop ND and a 0.9 hard graduated neutral density filter and a 10 minute exposure to get this shot. This is pretty much how it came out of the camera. The only thing I’ve done is add 1% noise to deal with some slight banding. If you missed the tutorial I did on banding and how to remedy it, you can find that here..
Click on the picture for a clearer, sharper view.. ;-)