Fadzly's blog on his photography

Posts tagged “Fuji

Venturing the Medium Format world: The feeling of expansiveness, closeness and detail.

Seagull 4A TLR | 75mm ƒ3.5 | Fuji Pro 160S
Tok Jembal Beach, Terengganu, Malaysia (2008)

I’ve been craving for a medium format system and had done quite some research over the web for the said objective. Thus, over the last year or so I’ve tried (i.e. tested and borrowed) a few medium format bodies, namely RB67, Hasselblad 500 C/M and a Seagull 4A (TLR).

One thing that marks the medium format experience is the feeling of expansiveness, closeness and detail that is visible through the finder and the elegance of the shape relative to the angular, distant and cramped (my view) 35mm view. I get these things with 6×6 and 67.

Personally I don’t get this feeling with a 645 system results that I see on the web which I guess is another way of saying that it all looks too similar to 35mm for me. I hope I could have my hands on a 645 system so that I can really get a proper feel for the system.

That said there is certainly enough film size to produce great large prints. At the moment I am more inclined towards getting a camera with the largest negative that I could afford (i.e. 6X6 or 6X7)… Maybe a system with reputable lenses like Mamiya or Hassleblad. They are quite easily acquired from some good stores like KEH, some camera strores in Singapore or Evil Bay if my budget gets too tight.

Quoting Mr. Philip Partridge, Jan 09, 2006; 02:15 a.m. (Photo.net Forum)
I sometimes ponder why some people cannot see the ‘sharp edge/ poor tonal separation’ syndrome one encounters all over the place with digicam images. Maybe there is a kind of visual literacy at play?

In a word, better images, so typical of larger pieces of film real estate, exude *authenticity*. It’s a combination of clarity, fine detail rendition, lack of obvious grain, and tonality (or tonal separation) and even the range of tonal values. It’s not apparent sharpness (MTF) as such – many top MF lenses rate with the finest from Canon/Nikon; check out photodo.com.

Notice that most of these qualities do not lend themselves to ready quantification or measurement. Which explains the plethora of ‘6mp vs (pick a film camera)’ comparos on the web, that narrow it all down to *resolution*, which is perhaps the least significant metric of photographic image merit. Witness the rich heritage of the accumulated photographic record from the olden times down to the present. Not too many ‘L’ lenses in that lot…

IMNSHO, the jump from small format to medium format is a good leap, whereas the step from there to 4×5 is well, a good step. It’s a threshold in image quality you cross when jumping to MF. LF cameras also suffer all manner of drawbacks technical and practical – you miss plenty of shots that are eminently takeable with MF, esp. the more auto ones. Most LF guys use dumbed-down flatbeds; no good desktop film scanners are available for them..

The tonality smoothness is the biggest benefit of MF over 35mm. If you look at the LPM figures for assorted lenses, there are actually 35mm lenses that can resolve detail nearly as well or better than some common MF and LF rigs, but film grain and the need for greater enlargement prevents that resolution from ever approaching the clarity of even a relatively low grade MF or LF lens.

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The swampy lagoon in Kuala Marang

The swampy lagoon in Kuala Marang is probably at it’s most beautiful in the late evening just as the sun is setting and the creatures of the night begin to stir their shift.

Gears: Leica R6 and Leica Summicron 35mm F/2.0, on Fuji PRO 160S Location: Marang Fishing Village, Kuala Terengganu, Malaysia

Gears: Leica R6 | Summicron 35mm F/2.0 | Fuji PRO 160S Location: Marang Fishing Village, Kuala Terengganu, Malaysia

In this post I’ll tell you how I discovered a beautiful swamp in Kuala Marang, about the crystal clear water that was full of real beauty, but the kind of beauty that you look at but don’t see unless you open your eyes and your heart.

Gears: Leica R6 | Summicron-R 35/2.0 | Fuji Superia 100
Location: Marang swamp land, Terengganu, Malaysia

Much of the area is a mosaic of wetlands and mesic flatlands subject to seasonal flooding. Flood and small bushfires largely govern the composition and distribution of vegetation, creating a distinctive mosaic of natural communities. Flooding also limits intensive agriculture and large-scale development, resulting in one of Terengganu’s most significant natural areas.

This is what the camera sees, so it has to be there, and it is! But often we don’t see the beauty because we are “beauty blind”. People are always in a rush, always rushing about, I guess that comes naturally when you live in big cities. I am just as guilty sometimes but not very often now my eyes are open.

Do you remember when they say, “see it through the eyes of a child”. Full of excitement and desire to explore. I truly feel that is how we should view the world around us.

Unfortunately often the case is the greed for land and money from the people of the past has endangered beautiful places like this. I often say “beauty is everywhere”, so try to see it and it will enhance your life like you would not believe. Just try it right now, look at something and try to see the details, the colors, the textures, the shapes see it differently than you did before.

Gears: Leica R6 | Summicron-R 2,0/35 | Kodak Gold 100
Location: Kuala Marang Fishing Village, Marang, Terengganu, Malaysia

The fools spent millions of dollars trying to built what they call progress and the damage they did may even now be irreversible. Thus beautiful swamps like this one we have here in Kuala Marang may be dying a slow death many and many species of plants, animals and birds are are on the endangered list they are disappearing at an alarming rate.

Gears: Leica R6 and Leica Summicron 35mm F/2.0, on Fuji Velvia 100 (RVP100F) Location: Marang Fishing Village, Kuala Terengganu, Malaysia

Gears: Leica R6 and Leica Summicron 35mm F/2.0, on Fuji Velvia 100 (RVP100F) Location: Marang Fishing Village, Kuala Terengganu, Malaysia

Interestingly, of course there are alligators in these swamps. I did not see any in the water but I was told by the old folks in Marang about the legend of the massive alligators. The alligators would certainly camouflaged very well and its hard to be see. The natural beauty of the area is beyond words.

If you get a chance to pass through Marang while you’re on your way to Kota Bharu to the North or going south to Kuala Lumpur, please take your time! Please go slow, please stop at overlooks, please take the time to hit a trail or two, it would be a real shame to drive by everything this awesome roadway has to offer.

Gears: Nikon D50 and Sigma 70-200mm f/2.8 EX DG HSM APO Location: Oyster farm, Marang Fishing Village, Terengganu, Malaysia

Gears: Nikon D50 and Sigma 70-200mm f/2.8 EX DG HSM APO Location: Oyster farm, Marang Fishing Village, Terengganu, Malaysia


Coming Home (36810027)

Do you ever think what orientation suits best for the subject you are trying to capture or do you just press the shutter release button and try your luck?

Orientation can greatly affect how and what image is presenting.

Most novices shoot everything horizontally – well it is much easier to hold and shoot in horizontal mode – especially the compact cameras, no?

Gears: Leica R6 and Leica Summicron 35mm F/2.0, on Kodak Colorplus 200 Negative
Location: Tok Jembal Beach, Kuala Terengganu, Malaysia


Not much of a shed (36850012)

Gears: Leica R6 with Summicron-R 35/2.0
Location: The beach in Ladang, Kuala Terengganu, Malaysia

Though not much of a shed if you consider the scale of the monsoons we get annually, however it serves more as a half-done-garage for fishermen to hang their fish nets. Despite the humbleness of things that you can find by the beach, let us not forget that it is the sea which gives the fishermen life. Likewise, the sea gives new life to some of our depressed spirits.


You’re talking to me? (36910039)

You're talking to me? (36910039)

Yeah it’s that De Niro’s tone of voice again. Who wouldn’t be amazed by such a character. Well such characters are quite a common scene when you’re at the fishing dock. It was a very fine morning by the jetty and these men has just finished uploading their catch for the week.

Gears: Leica R6 with Summicron-R 35mm F/2.0 on Fuji Superia 100
Location: Chendering Fisheries Complex, Kuala Terengganu, Terengganu, Malaysia


Tagging along the route of the photon particles (89800004)

We were special guests for Mr Tseng Lip the generous and hospitable resort owner of Laguna Redang Resort
in Redang Island of the shores off Terengganu


The photon differs from many other elementary particles, such as the electron and the quark, in that it has zero rest mass; therefore, it travels (in a vacuum) at the speed of light.

This guy (I mean Photon) is the elementary particle responsible for the electromagnetic phenomena. His scope of work is to carry electromagnetic radiation of all wavelengths, including in decreasing order of energy, gamma rays, X-rays, ultraviolet light, visible light, infrared light, microwaves, and radio waves. Oh yes, of course he also carries the visible light that we all use for photography.

Photon particles travelled through the: Nikon Nikkor 50mm f/1.4 AI lens, into a Nikon FM2 film SLR body and finally it arrives on the Fujichrome Velvia 100 (RVP100F)
And all this took place at the: Redang Island, South China Sea, Terengganu, Malaysia
And I: Did not mess with what the photons did to the film emulsion afterwards


Exploring the tropical highlands (499570022)

Exploring the tropical highlands (499570022)
Gears: Leica R6, Summicron-R 35/2.0
Location: Berincang, Cameron Highlands, Pahang, Malaysia

Off in the distance I could hear a calming rumble of thunder. The rain patters softly on the roof of our hut while the occasional cricket can be heard just outside my door.

Do you realise the peaceful, calm feeling most people get when walking through, or living next to, a large group of trees belonging to a forest.

Well, this calm, peaceful feeling is not felt by people walking through or living near other areas where trees exist, such as large cities with treed boulevards, paths leading to haunted mansions, and edges of cliffs.

I truly believe that these “feelings are real… and DO matter”. Therefore, the happy feelings that people experience while walking through, or living near, a large group of trees belonging to a forest are not felt when walking through busy cities, heading toward a haunted house, or perched on the edge of a tree-lined cliff. This provides clear evidence that these large gatherings of trees encompass an unseen mystical force that can only be described as a forest.. Oh! How I miss the forest…


Waiting for the right light

Gears: Leica R6 and Leitz Leica Summicron-R 35/2.0, on Fujichrome Velvia 50 (RVP50F) Location: Terengganu State Museum, Losong, Kuala Terengganu, Malaysia

Gears: Leica R6 and Leitz Leica Summicron-R 35/2.0, on Fujichrome Velvia 50 (RVP50F) Location: Terengganu State Museum, Losong, Kuala Terengganu, Malaysia

With practice and patience, one can anticipate when the conditions will be favorable. After a while my senses are more attuned to things like clouds, weather, and distractions. Rather than relying on luck and serendipity, I usually plan, research, and study the scene for long periods of time before I find “the right light”.

Sure, one can manufacture it, and we’ve all seen the wonder shots in the galleries of others – but if you think about the time and energy that goes into capturing that perfect scene, imagine all the “almost” shots, and the time and energy that went into them.

I would suspect that many photographers would say there is value in every shot. Because, even if they didn’t get the light just right in their location, someone – somewhere – when the sun set, nailed it perfectly!

However primitive or sophisticated your photography equipment, from a home-made pinhole camera to the most modern, totally-digital wonder, you, as photographer are striving to control, manipulate and exploit light.

Photography depends on light. Therefore, an understanding of light, what it is, how it behaves and how you can learn to use it, is essential to creating superlative photos.

Because the character and quality of a photograph can be altered by the character and quality of light, even the most-seasoned photographers puzzle over how a scene should be lit, what lighting angles to use for good results, and what exposure settings will bring out the best detail and tonal shading. When you are armed with the basic facts about light, you will find that such elementary questions become more easily-answered.


Everyone is talking about the Kodachrome 64, oh well…

Nikon FM2 with Sigma 70-200/2.8 on Fuji Velvia 100 (RVP100F), Location: Long Beach, Redang Island, Terengganu, Malaysia

Gears: Nikon FM2 and Sigma 70-200/2.8 lens on Fuji Velvia 100 (RVP100F) Location: Long Beach, Redang Island, Terengganu, Malaysia

June 22nd, 2009, 7 AM Eastern Standard time: Today, Eastman Kodak Corporation has officially announced the retirement of Kodachrome 64, the last remaining variation of legendary Kodachrome Color Film… bla, bla, bla..

Well I’m okay with it to be honest and if they (i.e. Kodak Inc.) are really serious about the development of film photography (as what Figital Revolution says), I therefore truly trust them with such a decision, it’s all for the best of the industry. For the time being I still have other Fuji and Kodak slides standing loyally.


Decadence

Gears: Leica R6 and Summicron-R 35/2.0 Location: Pulau Ketam, Kuala Terengganu, Malaysia


It was a very fine morning, the river was so calm, soothing to my heart, so I decided have another shot at the Crystal Mosque coupled with the main landmark of the “city”, the Bukit Besar. The ruling government have been trying so hard to justify building such a monument for the people, well I guess this presentation wont help much.