I bought the book before Christmas.... to get back to the theme of the original post.... and think it's fantastic. Great images and very well printed.
Nick even sent me a file so I could do a blog on the book.
Nick, I can see why you use the dark red filters but why do you use so many ND filters?
Originally Posted by Rob Skeoch
The difference in exposure between the animals and the African skies, even on cloudy days, is usually massive - at least six stops. So I have a choice of silhouetted elephants and great sky, or detailed elephants and blown out sky. The hard maximum ND filters help pull back some of that sky detail. Photoshop helps with some of the rest. But even then, on a big print, as I'm sure you know, you get big ol' balls of grain, even with 100ASA film, where you've darkened a minimally-detailed sky to the limit.
Glad you like the book. Honestly, the printing is not great. Too much sepia in the shadows, and kind of washed out in some images. The reproductions lack the velvety tonality and matte dustiness of the real prints.
I expect I might feel differently about these pictures once I've seen the prints, and it sounds like you make mural sized prints. I love big 'ol balls of grain, myself, so I imagine these pictures are rather more impressive as large prints than they are on the web or small print versions. Thanks for stopping by, and sharing some of your working methods with us here. Oh... I've never been a fan of the look of the ND filters, but seems it's a necessary evil in the light you are working in.
Nick: I am the guy who started this particular s***storm, although that was not my intention. I heard about your book, checked it out from my local library, and really loved the photographs. I think you portray the animals as beings that experience pain, loss, happiness, and many other emotions that we humans do, and that your photographs might help in some way to save them. It was never my intention to disparage you or your pictures in any way. I simply posted the question because I was curious about your workflow, since it is not explained in the book. If I offended you in any way, please accept my apology. Interestingly, the thing I was initially curious of was the variations between sharp and out of focus areas of the pictures, a question that you answered in this post. Thank you for contributing here at APUG.
No need to apologize. I don't have a problem being criticized. It would be very diva-like of me to get all huffy-and-puffy about that. My issue was with the inaccurate comments regarding adding and cloning animals, as this would undermine what I do, and this inaccuracy didn't come from you. Like Doug said, it would have been like Salgado adding in miners on the ladders.
Re the thing you did ask about the photos that have the variation between the sharp and out of focus areas, did I answer it here? Not sure I did, but that effect is all in camera, a personal crude, low-tech manual version of tilt/shift. Using a tilt/shift lens would have exactly the same effect, but is of course, way too impractical to use on the fly with moving subject matter.
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I continue on a day-by-day basis to be more impressed by this forum and the quality of discussions found here. As a result of this particular thread, I've just ordered my first Nick Brandt book and will have it in hand Wednesday. Looking forward to digging in.
"To a photographer the world consists of an infinite number of vantage points -- places to stand -- of which very few are altogether satisfactory." (John Szarkowski, Atget
<sigh> I gotta buy the book too
Ordered a copy of "A Shadow Falls". The images in the 1st book were truly mesmerizing, and am looking forward to viewing the newer images. From your exhibition list, do not see anything close to this area. A shame! Have you thought about exhibits at such places as Southeast Museum of Photography or High Museum in Atlanta?
van Huyck Photo
"Progress is only a direction, and it's often the wrong direction"
Hi Doug, CDowell
Doug - not sure how you were able to order A Shadow Falls - they're sold out due to the 'conservative' (to put it politely) publishers not printing enough. New print run in in late April. You may have a long wait unless you found a lone straggler.
fyi : The new book, A Shadow Falls, is much better than the first, On This Earth. The book is a lot bigger, and the photos a lot better, more sophisticated, mostly better graded, and without those damned effectsy borders that are on a dozen of the photos in the first book. To use the album analogy, On This Earth had some great hit singles, but some really weak album tracks. A Shadow Falls has many more good album tracks along with the hit singles.
If you are able to get A Shadow Falls in 1st edition, there is one panorama shot that is totally real, a complete match to the contact sheet, that no-one believes, but embarrasingly, I screwed up by over-excitedly over-working in photoshop (graded more naturalistically in the 2nd edition) - it will be easy to tell which photo I'm talking about.
cdowell - you must have ordered On This Earth. See above comments for pre-emptive excuses!
Doug - re exhibitions - I would love for as many people as possible to see the photos everywhere in the incarnation they are meant to be seen - as large (40"x50"+) prints, where the images take on something of the epic monumentality of the places and animals I'm photographing. Right now, I'm maxed out with multiple exhibitions since the publication of the new book. Seven down since September, another 3 to come in the next few months.
I also just ordered "A Shadow Falls" on the basis of this thread. Looking forward to getting it (from the US, couldn't find a UK stockist).