Fascinating fact: Since purchasing the digital camera (hereafter referred to as the Canon), I've discovered that I really don't have the artistic photographic eye using it that I have using the old-fashioned film camera (hereafter referred to as the Pentax). The only thing I can do really well artistically with the Canon is macro shots. This is a little bit sucky since I dropped a large wad of cash on a reasonably full-featured digital, but it's also really cool because it keeps me shooting using film, which I enjoy and which I feel is quickly becoming an old-school way of doing things. I don't know, something about that is just attractive to me. Sort of like digging muscle cars over tuners, only more gay. THAT'S A JOKE, YOU OVERSENSITIVE PILLHEADS.
(I don't prefer muscle cars over tuners - I love all cars. I'm a freak.)
It should be mentioned that it's possible I might be able to shoot just as well with a digital if it happened to be a digital SLR. Someone donate me one.
So, Gianna and I went out to the Flint Hills last Friday evening after work to try to get some good photographs. I bought a roll of Fuji Velvia film, which I haven't used before. It's a 50 ISO slide film with UTTERLY FANTASTIC color representation. Bright colors are reproduced REALLY NICELY using this film. The 50 ISO part means it's got a ridiculously tight grain, which makes for incredible resolution (no digital camera can touch 50 ISO yet that I am aware of), which of course means you can blow it up to at least STUPID HUGE size without graininess. The slide film part means it's got very good tonal range reproduction - lots of details in the light parts, and lots of details in the dark parts as well. Your average Kodak 400 can't do that - you've got to choose one or the other.
For example, I went out shooting landscapes one day using average Fuji 400. Everything below the horizon was great, but the sky was COMPLETELY BLOWN OUT (white) in the photos. That's not what it looked like in real life, but the film couldn't deal with the huge difference in contrast. Had I metered for the sky, the rest of the photo would have been too dark, and I wasn't shooting pictures of the sky.
Another thing I did to combat that was to get a neutral density (gray) graduated filter - it goes from darkening things by two f-stops on the top half, and fades to no effect on the bottom. The idea is to level this fading line with the horizon. This darkens the sky and hopefully brings the sky and the ground into a much closer exposure range with each other. I got that filter for Christmas and hadn't used it yet, so I was excited to do this.
The reason I wanted to go to the Flint Hills was that last time I drove through there during the evening hours, the angle of the sun was creating all kinds of really neat shadows from the features of the land, and I thought that with the proper gear (the ND graduated filter, a polarizing filter, and Velvia film) it could make some pretty cool photos.
It was sort of partly cloudy when we left, so it was a crapshoot considering I needed direct sunlight for the shots I wanted. We drove up there and although most of the sky was clear, there was this one REALLY OBNOXIOUS cloud blocking the sun most of the time we were there.
The evening was nicely salvaged by the sunbeams shooting out from behind this cloud, and by Teter Rock. Teter Rock is nothing more than an enormous chunk of limestone that someone lugged to a reasonably high-altitude (for Kansas, anyway) location and propped up on its end. It's like 20 feet tall, which doesn't sound enormous, but you can see it for quite a distance BECAUSE KANSAS IS VERIFIABLY FLATTER THAN A PANCAKE
. Apparently this was supposed to be some sort of marker way back in the days of Wyatt Earp and stagecoaches. So I got some nice shots of that with interesting turbulent looking clouds behind it - very texturey photos.
On the other hand, you could say that I TOOK PICTURES OF A ROCK BECAUSE IT WAS THE MOST INTERESTING THING FOR MILES AROUND, BECAUSE I LIVE IN KANSAS.
The evening was also salvaged by the fact that this was a good excursion to scout locations for next time, which we did.
We intend to go back again soon and I'll fill up the rest of the roll. Then I'll get the slides processed, then I'll pick the good ones, then I'll get them scanned, and THEN you can see them.
In the mean time, some of my old work still lives at http://busychild424.deviantart.com/