Had a thought about Velvia.
I took up a hobby in photography only some yrs ago in 2004 which I first got a dSLR and now shooting more film b/c I loved the colors off slide. Before that was just consumer neg film. I quite liked Galen Rowell's pictures, the saturation didn't bother me much. Some of that might have been used in advertising, postcards, magazines which is good. Very eye catching. Then I was looking around home and we have 2 inexpensive painting, I think they are computer generated which got me thinking that a old timer photographer told me, re: photography clubs with competitions he said that a picture that is seen but put down and reviewed at a later. Like some saturated pictures may have the aww factor at first but doesn't have the same appeal the 2nd or 3rd time round. I may print Velvia's up to A3 but I am not sure if I would print them larger than that even if I was seeking one.
In terms of landscapes. Kodak has ended their slide film. So maybe I would try color neg film out ... I have heard from a pro from the club that, they don't take pretty photographs but those that makes you think ....
So I am wondering if you had thoughts about this. Do you have any thoughts in why you like to shoot a particular style? I like Velvia because it's eye catching, it's somewhat fills a market but I am thinking for much larger prints maybe I like something different or even black and white which I have not really shot.
Velvia is very saturated and punchy, so it must be used like a heavy weapon--deliberately and on an intended target, otherwise you'll get sheets of garrish looking images and feel dismayed. It is absolutely great for sunsets, reds, yellows, blues, but makes green jump like electricity. I would highly recommend against it for people as well, since it makes the skin look unhealthy. That being said, when used correctly, it's a truly remarkable film. Go experiment in some flattish/low contrast lighting and see what you get. It has a super narrow exposure, so be absolutely certain of your meter. I'm talking sometimes even a half stop is the difference between breathtaking and overexposed.
Use a tripod* and consider picking up an ND Grad filter like the kind Galen Rowell used.
*I took a series of shots in a field of Lupine leading up Goddard Canyon, in my excitement I didn't use tripod and the compositions and colors are breathtaking... but only a few shots were sharp enough for printing. Nice for slide shows, but can't print most of them.
A lot about Velvia depends on exposing it in conditions for which it delivers results in aces and spaces e.g. pre-dawn, sunset/afterglow, and diffuse light scenes. I would not trust my rainforest imaging to any other film. Spot metering can get around the clumsy use of things like ND filters, and indeed spot metering is the best method to use in the absence of an onboard meter. But another thing is that many photographers will be naturally successful in getting the most out of Velvia, while others still may only be able to do that to a scene in B&W — how you see and interpret the scene. I am not a fan of seeing the world entirely in black and white for the sake of B&W.
I'm sure that if you are using medium format, you could get very large and visually striking print (A0, for example) to showcase Velvia. True, too, you could do the same from a well exposed B&W image, but whichever film you use will depend on the strength of your subject and the desire to showcase colour and hue — something B&W will never do. We do not live in a black and white world. Use your judgement to ascertain the best subjects for Velvia, get into the habit of using a tripod, long exposures and re-indexing (e.g. Velvia 50 and EI40 or EI32, but 'as is' for medium format).
At the time of writing this my lab is going through the first level LAB colourimetrics with a scan from Velvia with the output print at 81 x 51cm (printer maxed out). It will then be dibonded (aluminium plate hot-bonding). Got to now take down some other images in the gallery to make way for it in two weeks.
.::Gary Rowan Higgins
One beautiful image is worth
a thousand hours of therapy.
"It is horrifying that we have to fight our own government
to save the environment."