It's been a while since I last worked with some Acrylic, but with winter closing in and daylight at a premium for Photography it is time to restart things. This time a bit different though, not monoprinting but using larger sized wooden boards. The 3 images on here are just finished with one more to be completed tomorrow, board size is 53 x 38 cms and I'm working with multiple layers and collaging ( with my own work) and sanding , scraping , rebuilding...well all kinds of stuff. I need to put black edges on these pieces to finish them off and am a bit unsure as to either matt finish them or whack some gloss varnish over them, probably only one way of finding out.. So that's me sorted through the next lot of Yellow warnings from the Met Office, I'll leave you with these next 3.
...or how I came to terms with Capture One.
The transition from a Bayer based chip to that of a Fuji X Trans device has been more troublesome than I thought. 10 years of having a Nikon RAW to Lightroom workflow has been knocked on it's head by Adobes imaging products rendering Fuji files into a mushy unsharp mess that no matter how much faffology is employed, the final results just stink. I thought it was me, I thought it was the camera and so I invested yet another chunk of time investigating what could possibly be going wrong...well turns out things were more simpler than I thought.
I'd played with a demo version of Capture One but , because of my 22 years of Adobe based footling, found the interface non-intuitive and a learning exercise I could do without considering the time I had invested in Adobe products. So I downloaded Capture One for Fujifilm, a cut down freebie version for Fuji users and after a bit of online learning finally found how to unlock the quality of Image file that the little Fuji X100V produces. They are sharp, crisp and have an amazing range in them and another positive is that Capture One doesn't seem to clog up the CPU and RAM like the latest version of Lightroom does, so here are some shots from our Tier 3 trip to Largs, Viking territory on the Ayrshire coast.
Just to say, there is no sharpening or clarity applied to these either in camera or through the software. So off to try and automate the workflow from capture one to Photoshop and probably organise an ADIOS to Lightroom....probably....
I wrote a blog piece on my other (soon to be defunct) site about never giving in to your inner critic, power through it don't give in to it, just create images . Now this doesn't mean that you will be creating images that explode with a Tsunami of likes out there on interwebland but it does mean you will always be working towards seeing things your way and this, at the moment is how I see things my way. I'm still getting to grips with the FujiX100v as it really is so different to be hoicking a big Dslr kit around, but I'll get there.
Now on to these images which are a combination of ICM and straight images then brought together in Photoshop CC. Blending layers is a pretty straight forward thing using opacity or blend modes, knocking out pixels or just masking. The technical bits can be learnt quite easily , Youtube is a great source of learning but it takes time. The next is planning out what you want the final image to look like....yes the hard bit...and it all takes time to learn and also think about what image you want to create, it will be much harder if your driving force is a thumbs up. smiley face or a like. Now I read an article the other day which tried to define when photography becomes illustration and the use of Computer programmes in the post processing workflow. I think that if you capture any image using a digital device, any finished final image should be a product of the person who created it, and that is the important bit, well for me, not only the capture but how you want that final image to look like. So I'll leave it to Frank to serenade us out....
For what is a man, what has he got
If not himself then he has not
To say all the things he truly feels
And not the words of one who kneels
The record shows, I took the blows
But I did it my way
“We spend our life, it's ours, trying to bring together in the same instant a ray of sunshine and a free bench...” Samuel Beckett
All these benches have personal messages attached, some ask you to rest a while, most are for the loss of a loved one. The view itself is looking south down the Firth of Clyde towards Cumbrae and Bute and at times you will be hard pressed to find a Ray of Sunshine.
So if I shoot a Raw file with the settings on Monochrome, some curves in there, an image crop, maybe clarity and a film emulation mode, when they pop up in Lightroom I get a full colour Raw image file...DOH!!!!.....so how do I get Lightroom to download the camera settings so files appears as I shot them...the image below was shot in Black and White and appears in Lightroom as a Black and White but as it's a Raw file I still have full control over post processing.This is how it's done.
Okay moving into mildly nerdy territory on this one. Now in the past I've set the camera to shoot Black and Whites in Raw...uploaded to Lightroom and , as they are Raw files , found that they are full colour image files...doh...I know shoot Jpegs and be done with it...but Hello, newer versions have the ability to have the Preferences set to the mode in which your camera was shooting....be it film emulation, contrast, curves, clarity, cropping or monochrome.
In Lightroom go to Edit> Preferences and click on the preset tab....
Change from Adobe default to Camera settings and click the override box below, wait for lightroom to find your most used camera , choose it...and you are done, when you upload any Raw file from that camera it will carry with it whatever you've applied in your camera menu whilst still giving you the Raw file to adjust.
And Lo....in your Basics panel in Lightroom, the Profile will come up in the mode you have shot the image. In my case Fujifilm Acros with Red filter and with a 16 : 9 crop and a curves adjustment of +2 +2. Now these are still RAW files, you can take the crop off, return them to full colour or faff away as you would do with any RAW file you shoot so the possibilities do now become endless as you have all the raw image data to play with. Now I thought that all the sliders would move to their positions concerning the import profile and I could post all the Fujifilm emulations as presets you can load up into any version of lightroom you may be using...but I have a plan and will see if I can make it work. So there you have it. Making Lightroom access your Camera shooting modes... alchemy, magic or some very clever science.....
....... the process of making things uniform or similar.
Last night I photographed this sunset looking across the hills and trees and after viewing it on the Cameras LCD thought ..'That's quite unbelievable...' but it's a Panoramic mode image shot with -2 exposure compensation...as a jpeg..yes jpeg, given some black edges so it is more Instagram friendly format size in Photoshop and fired onto the interweb....but we live in changing times....
The images below are from this same stock image above, the difference being that they have been churned through the Photoshop Edit> Sky replacement mangle...AI is with us, in the case of Luminar and other Programmes for some time already. Now I can see how this will help 'rescue' images and increase that all important 'like' when social mediarised but with most Digital equipment these days you have the opportunity to not only bracket exposures with ISO, but aperture, shutter speed and if you want to, colour balance...or even 'dare to dream' and go for 2 exposures , one for the foreground and one the highlights and mash them together...at least it will give you an image that appears to be an honest representation of what was there. So here are some sky replaced images from the one above.
Now I have to say the fully automatic masking is quite something else and I'll dig around and see if you can add your own skies to this process but maybe this will change landscape photography, knowing that you can 'rescue' something even though your technique or equipment let you down in the capture process, but as I was reminded recently, my old Printing lecturer at college always used to say 'Get it right in camera'...... he might have added now...'or there's always AI to bail you out'.
Still waiting for the Metal lens hood and weather sealant filter...I reckon it's on it's way from China not Austria....we live and learn. Still having a hoot of a time trying to get to grips with everything that is possible with the FujiX100V
Why wouldn't you want to shoot Jpeg ISO bracketed exposures in low light conditions... with a bit of time you can get crazy multi images if you move about during the 3 exposures...see, I can't help myself- shoot high speed flash against the Sun and then realise that having the camera in Acros Black and White film simulation mode with inbuilt Red filter and a nice 'S' shape in curves.( yes, you can alter curves in camera) dial down the exposure compensation to hook up with the highlights and blacken the shadows could transport you back to the days of Ilford FP3 and Pan F, ...I think I've drifted off into Photo bollocks there but hey, why not chuck some Photoshop Bollocks into the mix as well.
The image above is a in camera multi exposure with 2 layers of Acros film simulation images blobbed on, wafted about with in blend modes then fired out of the Photoshop canon onto here.
Regular viewers will realise it's belting down with rain outside and that I am amusing myself if not anyone else in Adobes world of wafty wonder. So I probably need to show you my workings sans paper and pencil...here are the 3 images.
First image is an in camera multi image of a wall hanging and some dried honesty leaves...next up some of the mighty branches from the back garden and third, straight into the sun through my yet to be cleaned greenhouse...all you need is 2 layers of Exposure/contrast in the mix , knowledge of blend modes and the ability to edit with 2 of your fingers crossed.
With all these type of images I produce there is an element of the unknown, sort of like your SatNav telling you 'Well, it's around here somewhere' and at that point you have to lick your finger, hold it into the wind, check what side of the trees moss is growing on and strike out. Photography is not just about Photos, it's about finding images that no one else has yet seen, and in a lot of cases,being able to fail gracefully without fear.
....begin again. This is now home to all my images, acrylics, monoprints and photography.
Mankymaxblack, maxblack and maxblackphotos are now things of the past, 15 years in total and in these digital times...well that's a very long. I had become increasingly distraught at my efforts in Stock imagery, the switch from Rights managed to Royalty Free and the subsequent law of diminishing returns, the disappearance of one site altogether and video clips having to conform to specific container types that meant another investment in software which lets face it, at my age was a bit of a non starter. So after some head scratching and a lot of 'Hmmmmmmms' I decided that hoicking bagfuls of camera bodies and lenses about should really come to an end and be replaced with something far simpler if not, more creative.
So I got a very impressive quote from MPB , boxed up all the gear and with some of the credit plumped for the newish FujiX100V .
It's man bagged size portability, endless list of useful menu configurations and point and shoot ability with the heft of a Depleted Uranium shell in a very compact body. The fact that it is silent (if you want it to be) will shoot HDR Jpegs in any film profile off Fuji's list of all time greats, multi exposure with editing in camera, 120 FPS video and flash sync beyond 1/3200...well these are just some of it's attributes.
The image above was taken on a quick wander around the house, yes , it's raining...mind you, the front filter turns up today which will render this camera weatherproof...in Scotland that is a bonus. So no blithering that it's raining so we can't go out...
...Then I forgot to mention Panorama mode which can be shot in different sizes/quality portrait or landscape add to that a touch screen that you can customize on the fly. I am still learning, which is good, setting Aperture, ISO and shutter to 'A' then looking at what the menus offer has been a good way of finding out it's capabilities, here are some shot in Toy Camera mode in a 1:1 ratio...yes you can change the image ratios, well these are in camera 1;1 ratio, Toy camera in Eterna film mode straight out of the camera
...and to finish off some in camera multi image shots given a tweak in Camera Raw..I will have a chat about software in the next posting...So thanks for popping in and having a look
Just a few images that I've worked on in May, I know how lockdown can have a draining effect and it all can seem a bit groundhoggish (not sure if that is a real word) but aims and targets are a good thing to have and sometimes just some bullheadedness (not sure about that one either)! So back trying linocuts, these are the things that started me on this Art Journey way back when in....October 2018..ha, it really does seem like yesterday, yes it nearly was. Anyway stay safe and stay indoors.
Well you may have read the last blog post and followed the links and realised that if you switch off the inner critic, well it will allow your creativity to blossom. Creating art doesn't need canvases, oils, big studio spaces and lots of kit...as you are about to see...
So this is really a self explanatory tutorial, have some empty crisp packets, butter wrappers or wax wrap, some bubble wrap, acrylic or kids paint ,crayons or oil pastels...a cocktail stick and your hands...and off we go.
So why not give it a try ????? If you do manage to drag yourself away from your boxed set bingeing why not send me the image on messenger and we can have a gallery Take Hart' style...beats staring out of the window. So, if you organise yourself you quite possibly will have created your very own work of art.
In these dark times let this be your fireside cup of cocoa with added digestive biscuits. It may skirt the edges of real art but I'll get there but who knows when???? Art from the edge of the Galloway Forest in downtown Ayrshire.