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Thread: Mossmorran Moon

  1. #1
    Moderator Donald's Avatar
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    Mossmorran Moon

    Got out and about early(ish) this morning

    Mossmorran Moon

    40D, EF-S 17-85 IS f4-5.6 Kit @38mm. ISO 100. 1s @f22 (Moon - 1/3 @ f22). 5 stop (3 + 2) GND. Manual. 07:54am

    The petrochemical processing plant is on the edge of a mossy tract of land to the south of Cowdenbeath at Mossmorran in Fife.

    Liquid gas is piped to Mossmorran from the North Sea, broken down to form ethane and then converted into ethylene which is a basic hydrocarbon 'building block' of the petrochemical industry. The original plant was built to handle liquids extracted from Shell/Exxon's Brent Field and other discoveries in North Sea waters east of Shetland.

  2. #2

    Re: Mossmorran Moon

    Very powerful work as usual Donald. I really like the gradient imposed by the GNDs. Much I love your B/W stuff this is one image I would be curious to see in colour.

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    Re: Mossmorran Moon

    Glad you had a chance to get out Donald. I see you have not lost your touch, beautiful shot. My only complaint would be that it is too beautiful - makes me want to live near an oil refinery. I'm always conflicted when you post shots like this, I automatically want to see grunge and ugliness and grime, but this looks so nice.

    Wendy

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    Peter Ryan's Avatar
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    Re: Mossmorran Moon

    Good shot Donald, great control over light and shade - as usual. You do B&W very well.

    While I am on the subject. I basically do colour and convert some to B&W just to participate in the comps but I would like to hear your thoughts when you see the shot in front of you. B&W needs some additional thought/vision with regards to contrast, etc. How do you evaluate an image possibility for B&W conversion?

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    Moderator Donald's Avatar
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    Re: Mossmorran Moon

    Quote Originally Posted by ScoutR View Post
    makes me want to live near an oil refinery.

    I must be doing somethign wrong!

    I didn't want to make it pretty. Rather it was about trying to show this mighty industrial complex in what is essentially a pretty rural setting.

    Living close to it might be okay until they ignite the 'waste' burner to burn off excess something (gas?). I live about 15 miles away as the crow flies (just the other side of that hill you can see between the two sets of pipes. It lights up the night sky for the 3 - 4 days they do this at a time (about 2/3 times a year it seems) and from closer in you can hear the roar.

    Quote Originally Posted by Peter Ryan View Post
    While I am on the subject. I basically do colour and convert some to B&W just to participate in the comps but I would like to hear your thoughts when you see the shot in front of you. B&W needs some additional thought/vision with regards to contrast, etc. How do you evaluate an image possibility for B&W conversion?

    Peter.

    To strip your points down ....

    As I've written before, when I press the button I do so in the knowledge that it is the first step in capturing a B & W or a colour photograph. It is never "It could be either/or". When I get back to the digital darkroom I will then confirm whether I've got the basis, for example, of a good B & W image. I will never ask if this might work better in colour. It was not shot to be a colour image and it will never be made into one. The same applies if I have shot it to be a colour image. It will never be converted to B & W to see what it looks like.

    So, to go back to your message, the decision to 'convert to B & W' is made before I press the shutter. And it never gets reversed.

    That's just my way of working and a practice I have adopted to help me 'see' in B & W.

    Now, there's lots and lots been written about 'seeing' in B & W and perhaps some folk dismiss it as nonsensical twaddle. But for me it works. I do think it is a discipline that you can learn through practice.

    I've never properly analysed what I do when I look at a scene. But it usually takes a while and is informed, I hope/think, by application of the principles of Adams' zone system (though that was not designed for making images in the digital age).

    Once I found this location (and that was a story in itself - nearly causing a car accident as I suddenly saw a way over gates and fences into the field I wanted to access), I just stood around for 15/20 minutes watching the light develop, waiting for the moon to move down a bit, creating the composition in my mind and doing my analysis. I think I start with identifying the blacks and the whites and then work in from both ends of the scale; e.g. what is there that's just in from black and from white and where is it, and so on, until I meet myself in the middle. At that point I think I've got some sense of the tonal make up of what I'm looking at. And that's when I decide whether I'm going to press the shutter or not.

    Once the decision is made I will shoot a lot of frames at different shutter/aperture settings, all in fairly rapid succession before the light changes too much. I think I know what's going to work best. In the case above, I didn't want a shutter speed so long that the cloud-like blow-off became like cotton wool. Nor did I want it ultra sharp. So it was somewhere in between. The aperture was informed by the shutter speed. So I start with what I think is going to work best and then go up and down on shutter and aperture around that 'centre point'. Because I shoot on manual all the time ( I have the three CF buttons set on my Canon 40D with different settings on the variables and jump between the three. But each of them is set to Manual mode), I can adjust one (shutter or aperture) without it changing the other.

    Sorry if this is too much. But hopefully it is informative.
    Last edited by Donald; 26th October 2010 at 01:59 PM.

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    Clactonian's Avatar
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    Re: Mossmorran Moon

    Quote Originally Posted by Donald View Post

    To strip your points down ....
    Now I know why I'll never be anything other than a happy snapper.

    Great work Donald.

  7. #7
    Moderator Donald's Avatar
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    Re: Mossmorran Moon

    Thank you for the comments above

    Mike: Re your, "Now I know why I'll never be anything other than a happy snapper". The reverse is quite the case. I have to go through this ritual in order to get what I think might be a decent image. From what and how you write the above comment, you suggest that what you do is maybe 'less competent'. However, you produce those staggeringly impressive B & Ws without this rigmaroll (Do people in other countries use that word, or is it just a good old Scots word for 'ridiculous process'). That's what attracts my awe and admiration.

    At the end of the day it's about what you produce, not so much about how you get there.

    A happy snapper you are not.

  8. #8

    Re: Mossmorran Moon

    Sorry if this is too much. But hopefully it is informative.
    I found it a fascinating insight. I am trying to train myself to see in b/w and it is not as easy as seems. I try to look for contrasty images but I find it interesting that a lot of your stuff is not particularly contrasty but you still make it work. I have a sneaking suspicion that many use b/w as what they believe to be a cure all...the ultimate Gok Wan makeover of the photographic world. Dull flat colour image, colours uncomplimentary....desaturate...instant art.

    I actually find the opposite applies. If the exposure is good and the composition is strong a good colour image can make a successful b/w conversion. It has to be gut feeling in the end and that gut feel is best applied at the capture end.

    Once the decision is made I will shoot a lot of frames at different shutter/aperture settings,
    I think i might have to start doing something like this but I cannot see why I should (landscaper thing maybe). I often read on forums of thousands of shutter actuations in a week and it amazes me no end. I take absolute minimum shots per session. I just get wound up trying to sift through hundreds of images of the same thing. If it has not worked on first capture it goes on the external drive and if it sits there too long...curtains. I will go back to the same subject matter again occasionally...once the trauma has worn off

  9. #9
    Moderator Donald's Avatar
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    Re: Mossmorran Moon

    Quote Originally Posted by Wirefox View Post
    but I find it interesting that a lot of your stuff is not particularly contrasty but you still make it work.
    That's about me discovering the work of Paul Strand and loving it. A number of my images have neither black nor white in them. I know some suggest that a B & W must always have both B and W. But this notion of working from dark grey to light grey fascinates me. I do not claim to be a good exponent of it, but am enthusiastic.

    Quote Originally Posted by Wirefox View Post
    I often read on forums of thousands of shutter actuations in a week and it amazes me no end. I take absolute minimum shots per session.
    I didn't mean to convey that I'm on rapid fire and make hundreds. I don't like doing that either. Just had a look back. To get this one, I took 24 frames at different settings. That's really just 12 - because I took 2 of everything (one of which was the the shutter set for the moon). So it was 12 pairs, if you like. You will see from my EXIF under the image above that this is a blend of two. A layer mask was put on the top layer and the only bit showing through is the moon. I couldn't get the plant the way I wanted it without the moon being totally blown. But those 24 were taken within the space of a couple of minutes or so, once I started shooting.
    Last edited by Donald; 26th October 2010 at 09:34 PM.

  10. #10
    Peter Ryan's Avatar
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    Re: Mossmorran Moon

    Thanks for taking the time to expand on this Donald, it is most enlightening.

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