Fine Art Photography Techniques
I have came across this website on fine art photography by David Fokos. I was truly amazed and inspired by his work.
I've also came across another photographer's website, who does the similar fine art style as David Fokos, especially their seascapes photographs.
I'd like to ask/consult the experienced photographers here, if anyone knows how to make exposures like those of David Fokos' and Håkan Strand's seascape photographs. My choice of camera is a TLR and a 35mm SLR on B&W films. I'll be using filters like Cokin 'P' system ND-8 and a HOYA ND-400 filter lens. Are these equipments good enough to make those photographs?
It's a great motivation to learn this photo-making technique. Please kindly advise. Thanks.
equipment for fine photographs
One of my favorite saying is "it's not the hammer, but the person swinging it that counts". Any camera is capable of making a work of art if used properly. Your vision and technique will do more to determine the "look" of your photographs more than any piece of hardware. Looking at these 2 websites, I can make 2 immediate observations. 1 - the seascapes use a long exposure to blur the water to give it that silky look. 2- most of these photographs have only a few very graphical elements that give them a very stark simplicity, which in my opinion, enhances their beauty. Simple is almost always better than cluttered. I hope this helps.
I have no detailed knowledge of Fokos' work but ...
Your TLR (Mamiya? Rollei?) is without doubt good enough to use - most of Fokos' shots seem to be taken with a wide-ish standard lens. Fokos' technique seems to be to use short exposures sometimes to record detail in water, at other times to rely on a very solid tripod and use ND filters to allow longer than usual exposures to blur out water detail. If you have a 400x ND filter you will be able to use this technique even in bright light. Otherwise, Fokos seems to use a contrast filter (orange or red) and print his skies in quite strongly. A TLR is great to use with ND filters, as with an SLR you will find the viewfinder dim even with an 8x filter and totally useless with a 400x.
Your camera will be fine as long as you have a B setting, cable release and a sturdy tripod.
Thank you for bringing Strand to my attention, I haven't come across his work before. This style of photography is very popular at the moment and has been discussed several times here on apug. If you do a search for Michael Kenna, Bill Schwab as well as Fokos you'll find several threads along with references to other photographers who work in this way.
I have some contact with David Fokos. David shoots an old Century camera with a 300mm lens last I heard. He uses lots of ND filters. The neg after development is scanned into a computer via a high end drum scanner and is worked over sometimes pixel by pixel. Sometimes images are removed and sometimes images are added but they likely are not the scene as photographed. Once the file meets David's ideas it is sent to a printer either an Epson or a Lightjet of some variety. His big image is 3 foot by 3 foot. He does make striking images.
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thanks for bringing up these links. this is very close to my idea of fine art photography and these artists are remarcable. Truly inspiring work.
Definitely is the person behind the camera, the vision you have that leads to the result. Mechanics are important but not crucial in getting a good picture.
Technique is important and can be learned, jut go out and shoot, over and over again; learn from your mistakes and shoot more. Damn, I wish one day I could make one picture like Fokos or Kenna. I still believe I will. Time kills me, when do I find the time since I don't shoot for a living.
"There's more to the picture
Than meets the eye." - Neil Young
& My APUG
Thanks for mentioning this work, Martin. Interesting.
After a glance through Fokos work, I would guess that in addition to NDs you may wish to consider pulling low speed film. The long exposure images look very smooth to me, maybe try delta 100 or tmax pulled in xtol or something. Just a guess, not something I do.
I think he is shooting digital by now
Originally Posted by lee
Am I missing something? "400x ND" ?? How many 'stops" is that?
Originally Posted by David H. Bebbington
Ed Sukach, FFP.
A lot, although without taking my shoes and socks off, I can't work it out! (Actually it's 8 2/3 stops). Log equivalent is 2.6 apparently. I don't own one of these filters, but they do exist. The easiest way to apply the factor would be to use a lower EI (e.g. Tri-X at ISO 0.5 instead of 200) or multiply the exposure time (1 sec. instead of 1/400). Off the cuff, I could imagine the only use for these filters is in very bright light.
Originally Posted by Ed Sukach