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Monday, August 20, 2012

Group F/64

Besides the fact that I have been missing in action for what seems like forever, anyone that is closely following my blogs know that I blog on what I am shooting and feeling at the moment. Therefore, this blog is going to be very technical, but very easy to understand. I am traveling at the moment and with long flights to overseas destination, you generally find time to catch up on some things like reading or organizing stuff. I had stumbled across an article on Ansel Adams, a photographer known very well because of his landscape photography. The article was short but left me very curious about Adam's methods and photography theories. As soon as I reached my final destination I started researching from my notes I had scribbled. I had never heard of one particular organization which Ansel Adams had pioneered but had to abandon due to his unrelentless schedule. Adams and six other photographers from the San Francisco area had formed an organization that became known as the Group f/64. I want to talk about what the group accomplished more so than the group members. I also do not want to get too heavy into citations (which would be necssary if I am going to include any borrowed information in my blog) Therefore to make it simple I italicized words which you can click on and it will take you to a link that will better explain it if this blog intrigues you. During the time period a method known as pictorialist photographic style had dominated much of the earlier 20th century. Pictorialism is basically a lack of focus which was said to give a photograph "life" as if the image is moving" today we might refer to it as blur. Group F/64 started a modernism movement against. Group f/64 is primarily about visual asthetics and sharpness to detail. Group f/64 is about pure or straight photography. No post edit, no filters (even some of Adam's earlier work which he used a red filter could not be included in the group). Straight from the camera. I have read forums where the fact is argued that no photograph is used straight from the camera ever. Well, that fact is now dead. I have posted my attempt at f/64 and I will have to explain how I did it because I do not have a lens capable of closing down to f/64.
Equipment used:
Nikon D700
Nikon MC-30 shutter release
Tamron 28-75 f2.8 lens
How it was done:
 The most I could stop down on this lens was f/32 therefore I decreased my shutter open time by half of what I am assuming would be the normal amount time needed with a f/64 lens. I have no way of testing this theory to be true, so if anyone could prove me right or wrong, please do not hesitate to chime in. Aesthetically frame your shot, and use the mirror up option on your camera to eliminate any excessive vibrations during the recording time. Place your camera in bulb mode. Using the shutter release fire the shutter (this will bring the mirror up) and allow a few seconds for any movement/vibration to cease before firing the actual recording. Fire the shutter again to start recording the photograph and leave the shutter open for 1min 30 seconds. (the actual amount of time is going to depend on how much available ambient light there is, but remember you cannot use any ND filters or any other light modifiers or else you have technically eliminated the Group F 64 Process ). Perhaps my blog is all wrong in my calling this an Group f/64 and I can accept that. But the main objective is to enlighten those who argue that no photo is ever used without going through the Adobe/Leopard processes of today's highly retouched post edited photographs. The best part of it is the total relaxation and bounding with the environment you feel while you wait for what seems like an eternity for the shutter to close. That entire minute plus/minus of your life standing still.
Look at the photo closely and notice how much detail is included, even though this was shot at 1:00 a.m., and even with the boat load of party goers which technically would be a total blur at any smaller aperture seems to have detail enough to tell what is going on at that exact moment when the shutter closes. Alright so I will call this Group f/32 with a 64 SWAG. No photo manipulation whatsoever.