Monday, July 31, 2006


Finally some pans from Alsace 2 weeks ago. Follow the "Deutsche Weinstrasse" southwards and cross the border near Lauterbourg and find the town Wissembourg. You will find a laidback french small town which is not as tourist packed as Strassbourg. My recommendation in general: Go there during the week !
Just realized there is no color pan in the XPan blog yet, so lets put in some color.

Thursday, July 27, 2006

The Photographic Journey

My life and way of seeing changed when I started photography once. It is a continous stream of experiences, impressions and challenges. You find new areas, as well you are thrown back sometimes. I worked in color and black&white, with rangefinder, medium format, digital equipment, 6x6 and panorama cameras, experienced from basic press work, wedding photography to artistic works. I enjoyed each step and always find back to my favourite - panorama photography and classic black and white. It is like my hometown where I always return to, but always starting expeditions to venture into the other areas.

Starting with film, moving to digital and now after many years returning to film, allow me to revisit places and topics again. Find new angles in interpretation and view points.

The biggest satisfaction and happiness I find in a mounted and framed print, the next step is starting a book project (prices for printing getting more reasonable nowadays).

I met many photographer and people around the world, I dont want to miss the chats and exchange of expierences and ideas.

Hope there is much more on the way ! Keep the eyes open and the mind free !

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Some old US Pans

Whilst waiting for the latest films to get developped.
This panoramas I shot with ETRS and a panoback 4 years ago driving around California and Nevada, US.

Photographic Gear

Did you realize that the equipment that you bring along and use influences the way you see and work, as well the people see you and interact with you ?

With the DSLR equipment with big lenses I tend to shoot more, make 2..3 images sometimes of a certain subject always in mind "there is plenty of memory that I brought along!". Using zoom lenses I am used to select a viewpoint but then do the rest with the zoom.
People tend to consider you as professional, you get chased of faster by security guards. In some places people seem to hope to make a dollar out of your shooting, always thinking it is for commercial purpose.

The old fashioned way of photographing makes me think twice, also trying to look ahead. Appreciating the value of film and not snapping away. It puts more passion into my work and people seem to sense this when you work on the street. I get more out of the rangefinder working with people than with the DSLR which makes you look like a press photographer.

The serious stuff to use when doing stills, studio portraits or landscapes. You cant snap, but you select, prepare, measure, check before making one of 12 (to 15) images on a 120 roll.

Bringing the tiny digicam along, I am rather in the snapshot mode, making shots of my familiy or anything that crosses my way. Knowing with the results I will extend our huge photo wallpaper at home but not do any large format prints for the agencies.

I have a selection of panorama cameras including a mirror extension which requires shooting upwards into a mirror that looks a bit like gigantic soup spoon. The same applies to a full spheric camera which slowly turns around itself mounted on a tripod. This is a very scientific way of working, not very artistic. People think you are nuts looking in the sky for extraterrestial life or doing some spy stuff.

I always enjoy working with my equipment,hardly go anywhere without at least the tiny cam or the rangefinder. The more stuff you bring along, the less flexible you get. Normally I bring a big selection of camera stuff to an overseas trip, but on a day to day base on location I try to select and dont bring everything. It is distracting and it takes much too long to fiddle around with the truckload of lenses and cameras.

Sunday, July 23, 2006

Mini Excursion to France

Made a trip (1 day) to Alsace in France, driving through the countryside between the german-french border and Strassbourg. My recommendation: Wissembourg, only few people/tourist there, a wonderful old town with beautiful renovated houses mixed with some rundown looking buildings.
Will share some pans next week.

Heading back now from germany to Singapore with 10 rolls to develop and my new AGFA stock. After comparing the prices here, it seems color slides are much cheaper in Singapore. Only the remaining stock of AGFA film is really cheap here. In future I will completely focus on FUJI Velvia and PROVIA for color and Ilford Delta for bw.

Sunday, July 16, 2006


What am I doing ? I take photographs.
Why ? It is more than the pleasure I have to work with projects, themes and subjects. It means something to me, it is a way for me to make a creative footstep. After getting so digital we tend to loose the significance in our work. Restricted only by the number of gigabyte of memory that we carry around, we are snapping away and with some luck, there should be a good one ?

Get yourself a simple film camera or at least take a 128MB card (max and shoot raw) (no other storage) with you, get out there and start seeing again !It is a controversial statement, I know. I dont ask a professional press photographer to do that, but everyone who want to go through a creative process !
Why photographers shoot and immediately look at the screen to verify if they were lucky enough and made a good one ? A test shot - ok - like a pola. But observe photographers that you see everywhere: Snap, hold ,look,snap again without changing anythingfor each shot they do.

I recently read the announcement of an exhibition: "After returning from his one week trip to xyz he returned with 20.000 images and now he share with us his best shots."
Crap ! Even a chimp will have some 20 good shots when you give him a camera and let him snap away.

There is so much to see and explore wherever you are ! Explore it on the spot, not on your harddisk after returning.

My 2 cents for today.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Renaissance of film ?!

I wonder how far in the future film might disappear completely ? Will it ? Maybe there is a small renaissance, I definetively have one. I didnt touch any film for the last 2 years, but in the last 4 weeks I shot about 20 rolls 35mm and 2 rolls 120. If you check ebay there are still plenty of cameras and film offers, and it is not easy to get your fingers on good stuff for little money. Just checkout the Leica, Hasselblad, Mamyia section !
What are the major players in the film manufacturing industry ? Fuji, Kodak, Ilford and some minor producers like FORTEPAN.
AGFA is gone. I loved their films and especially their paper. Its gone, can't change it. One of the most famous (film-market founding) companies disappeared. AGFA as company is still there, just not producing any film stuff anymore. Maybe they missed the point in time to jump on the digital bandwagon like Ilford (producing inkjet paper as well).
Anyway, I will travel home next week and bring back a big box with 150x APX100 + 100x RSX200 for my 6x17 project on 120 rollfilm, that should be enough supply for a while.
I hope I will not see the day when there is no more film at all and we are forced to manually create silverhalide stuff ?!
Lets see what the future gonna bring us....

Monday, July 10, 2006

The full frame

Making the final composition on the spot, means what you see in the viewfinder is what you gonna print later, no cropping no cutting. Some fineart printers use the negative frame as part of their printed work.
Xpan image you recognize with the cutout at the right top corner.

Capitol Theatre Singapore

Direct in the city centre waiting for his uncertain future. Seems they not gonna tear it down but maybe convert into some pinky blinky artscentre or museum ?
Al least could get a pano showing its current charme !

Friday, July 07, 2006

Bali in black&white

A collection of bw panos from Bali.

Remark: I think we will return to Bali, try to see the place from a different prospective. Seems after 2002 and 2003 the tourism went down pretty bad.

Back from Bali Excursion

After coming back I rushed to send the films for development. Great, normally used to return and just starting to check megabytes of raw images.
Anyway most of the bw negatives and slides are good. Interesting that shooting people in bw got more punch !
Some remarks about Bali: The main business on Bali is tourism, so be prepared of the standard tourist stuff everywhere. Try to get off the beaten track ! There is much more to discover than Kintamani, Ubud and Tana Lot.

Thursday, July 06, 2006

More thoughts about darkroom

Somehow I miss the darkroom sessions. Setting up the enlarger, preparing the developer and fixer, doing test stripes until the result is pleasing, making a final fibrebased paper print, press it, mount it.
It takes time, seems thats the only thing you cant buy !Beside that I dont have the space for a darkroom currently. So I found back to film, but do the prints with large format printer with the scanned images.
At the end of the day, it is about pictures, not really the process how you produce it.

It reminds me of our favourite discussion with Ian and Alan about film vs. digital and if digital can reach the same level as film, not in terms of resolution, but the "feeling" thing.

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Toning - Digital Touchup vs Darkroom

I like this slight sepia tone.
What is allowed ? First of all: Everything, I need to like my pictures, I dont need to please someones specific requirements for film vs. digital. Do what you want !
But here I want to reduce to the minimum touchup, like you would do in the darkroom.

The slides or negatives I scan, aftwards check the gradation or contrast. Then do some toning. In the lab I was using Kodak Selenium to produce a similiar effect.

Film Development

Just returned from a trip to Bali over the last weekend. Came back with 3 rolls bw, 4 rolls color and 1 120. Brought it immediately to the lab today. What a joy looking forward to the ~160 images. Think with the digital equipment would have shot easily 10x more pictures and takes me forever to sort out. Somehow I enjoy this personal renaissance of film. Lets see tomorrow the results !