So, checking my stats I came across a TON of traffic coming from Germany. Specifically, from a post on a photography forum called dforum.net. You can see the discussion HERE.
I posted over on the workshop blog if anyone spoke German so they could translate it to find out what they were talking about. And kindly enough, someone commented on my post showing me google's answer to translating pages that are not in English.
Basically, the original post was asking, what tricks I was using to get such narrow depth of field on a handful of pictures I had posted on this blog (exhibit 1, 2, 3, 4, 5).
Simply put? There are no tricks. Let me be very clear, nothing you see on this blog, or the newly launched website has any form of photo manipulation done to it to make it look soft and or sharp. I do no sharpening of my images for the blog/website.
99% of my work is STRAIGHT OUT OF CAMERA. I shoot my work on various Fuji films (400H, 800Z, Neopan 1600, Neopan 400) and some Kodak films as well (BW400CN, E100VS, TMZ3200). I develop it myself as well as scan it in house.
The images you see on this blog and on my website are how my film images turn out. My "post processing" is done in camera in the exposure and choice of film. Obviously, in the scanning there is some color correction done along with correction for density, but that is it. I go through and edit for dust or imperfections found on the negatives as well after the images are scanned. Also, I will go in and straighten out lines if a negative was scanned crooked or if I want certain perspective control (straight lines in buildings etc).
So, back to the question at hand. How do I get such narrow depth of field on the images in question?
CONTAX 645 with an 80mm F2 lens.
F2!!!??? What does that mean? It is a SUPER fast lens, the fastest medium format lens available (to my knowledge - scratch that, Mamiya out did Contax with an F/1.9 lens but it is not Zeiss glass...).
Is depth of field different on film than it is on digital? Simply put, YES. Completely different. So different that it sparked a 3 page posting on a forum as to figure out what "tricks" I was using in post production to get this look.
Can this look be duplicated digitally? I don't know. Apparently not according to this forum's post. Maybe (somebody send me some jpegs of your best rendition of digital captures with the look of "film")? But how long would it take to create the look and why even do it if I can do it so simply on film, a medium that is just to tangible?
I have a real working relationship with my film. I can honestly say that if that aspect was taken away from the process of making images, it would not feel like I was doing photography. Film is what works for me. Film is what gives me the look that I create. Film is what gives me the tangible softness and pastel colors found in my work. Film is the only medium for me to fully express what it is I am trying to emulate in my work; the inherit light in people and everyday life.
Is digital "bad"? No way, no how. Film is just what works for me. And what works for me, may not work for you and vice-versa.
Das is gut, ya?
Discuss...in other words, leave your thoughts and opinions in the comments below.