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Author Topic: Terras Finger Mower  (Read 1357 times)
John R Smith
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Still crazy, after all these years


« on: May 14, 2012, 07:47:35 AM »
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Back to my archives for this picture. It is a finger-mower (for cutting hay) abandoned on the side of the lane at Terras, about three miles north of here. I used my Rollei 2.8F and Ilford HP5, in April 1984.

Be nice to have your comments . . .

John
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Rob C
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« Reply #1 on: May 14, 2012, 09:12:55 AM »
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John, did you ever work with Kodak's TXP120? I found it better than the Ilford films in that size, though I always used Ilford for my 35mm work and not Kodak. Soup was ever D76 1+1.

Rob C
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John R Smith
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Still crazy, after all these years


« Reply #2 on: May 14, 2012, 10:22:08 AM »
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For some reason, Rob, I never got on with Tri-X. I think I just liked the tonality of HP5 better, and if you compare the spectral response curves you will see that they are somewhat different. This film was developed in Unitol 1+14 for 15 mins, according to my notes. The original print was made on Ilford Galerie, but this is a scan of the negative which was re-worked in PS to get as close to my print as possible.

John
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RSL
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« Reply #3 on: May 14, 2012, 11:40:58 AM »
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Love it, John. That's my kind of picture. At first glance I thought it might be improved by opening the close-in shadows a bit, but on second thought I think the way the thing is silhouetted against the sky is the point of the picture and where the viewer's eye belongs. Why do they call it a finger mower? Has an army of farmers lost fingers to it?

Come to think of it I've got a picture of one of those. I'll have to dig it out.
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Rob C
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« Reply #4 on: May 14, 2012, 12:36:15 PM »
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For some reason, Rob, I never got on with Tri-X. I think I just liked the tonality of HP5 better, and if you compare the spectral response curves you will see that they are somewhat different. This film was developed in Unitol 1+14 for 15 mins, according to my notes. The original print was made on Ilford Galerie, but this is a scan of the negative which was re-worked in PS to get as close to my print as possible.

John



Unitol... I found that was way too soft for 'fast' films! One lost speed and also a lot of acutance(?) or whatever edge definition used to be called. I used it extensively before I turned pro, when I believed that keeping grain down was close-cousin to the Holy Grail - the D76 1+1 that I eventually settled upon was also partly chosen because of its reasonable life as stock solution - all important factors in trying to keep the processes simple and, most of all, repeatable.


But as with everything in photography, different strokes etc. and what works for one might fail miserably with another. Your way clearly works very well with you, and that's always what counts.

Rob C
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John R Smith
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Still crazy, after all these years


« Reply #5 on: May 14, 2012, 02:57:35 PM »
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Russ

I'm glad you liked the picture. I think these were called finger mowers simply because the blades look like a set of fingers sticking forward from the cutter bar, although, as you mention, there is a very high potential for unpleasant accidents as well  Wink  See if you can find your shot . . .

Rob

It's so long ago now that I can't actually remember why I was using Unitol. It may have been an attempt to keep grain under control, as you mention. I do remember the high dilution and long dev time was to try to extract more shadow detail, as I knew the shots on the roll were all high-contrast.

John


 
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WalterEG
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« Reply #6 on: May 14, 2012, 06:05:42 PM »
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John,

Your photo has really lifted my morning.  The tonality is indicative of why I seldom used Tri-X.  In fact, to this day I find the partnership of FP4+ and HP5+ quite beneficial.  In 8x10 I invariably shot HP5+ and the different shape of the curve was simply glorious.

I know nothing of Unitol but used lots of DD-X and Perceptol.

I don't see digital captures that look like this.  Is it the medium or is it the operator that is the reason.  In all probability many operators would look at the histogram and want to move it left thereby risky the loss of those wispy high clouds.

Aside from the technical and mundane you have made a picture with so much on offer on so many different levels.

Cheers,

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Timprov
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« Reply #7 on: May 14, 2012, 07:49:43 PM »
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I do like the tonality, but I'm finding the angles between the mower and the trees disharmonious.
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louoates
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« Reply #8 on: May 14, 2012, 08:28:56 PM »
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The strength of this image to me is that it appears that the growing stuff is finally defeating the mower. We see it sinking back into the earth where it will rust and rot and help feed the plants it once reaped. Very strong and moving image. A+
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wolfnowl
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« Reply #9 on: May 15, 2012, 12:21:40 AM »
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All been said... nicely done, John.  Thanks for sharing it!!

Mike.
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John R Smith
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Still crazy, after all these years


« Reply #10 on: May 15, 2012, 04:00:48 AM »
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Thank you all for taking the time to comment.

I do miss some of the qualities of film. If you got it right, there could be a kind of graphic profundity about it which I struggled to regain with digital files. Now, I have come to regard the digital photograph as simply a different media, with its own strengths (and weaknesses!)

John
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Rob C
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« Reply #11 on: May 15, 2012, 03:43:51 PM »
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Thank you all for taking the time to comment.

I do miss some of the qualities of film. If you got it right, there could be a kind of graphic profundity about it which I struggled to regain with digital files. Now, I have come to regard the digital photograph as simply a different media, with its own strengths (and weaknesses!)John




That's probably the best way to look at it. It's hard thing to do, though, because old experience keeps chatting away in the background, telling you that her ways were best, and often they were. Not always, by any means, but quite often.

Part of the problem with having had a long past is exactly that: it's a long past. One becomes used to - if not indoctrinated by - what one knows works and the natural thing to do is to try and make the new conform with that. Then, there's also the romance associated with old gear such as your 'blads. I often curse the mid-life stupidity that deprived me of mine, and when I consider the yearning and striving by the younger me just to get to get to the point where the business could justify re-equipping with them, losing them seems even more insane.

In effect, I think we (some of us) have traded away a certain intrinsic quality for mere convenience. Not a wonderful deal, really.

Rob C
« Last Edit: May 17, 2012, 03:41:25 AM by Rob C » Logged

WalterEG
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« Reply #12 on: May 15, 2012, 06:19:42 PM »
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I(n) effect, I think we (some of us) have traded away a certain intrinsic quality for mere convenience. Not a wonderful deal, really.

Rob C

Rob,

Hasn't that been the entire history of photography since shortly after its inception.  The vast majority of the 'developments' in tools and technique throughout the 20th Century have moved away from quality and towards facile convenience.

Treat yourself to an idle afternoon browsing Shorpy - http://www.shorpy.com/ - and see what folk could do over 100 years ago in terms of quality with glass plates and relatively simple lenses.

As the old cigarette ad used to say "Wow!@  You've come a long way, baby"  NOT!

Cheers,

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Slobodan Blagojevic
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« Reply #13 on: May 15, 2012, 06:27:50 PM »
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Hmmm... why do i have this nagging feeling that this post belongs to an already existing thread:

http://www.luminous-landscape.com/forum/index.php?topic=24136.0  Wink
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« Reply #14 on: May 16, 2012, 01:56:35 PM »
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The strength of this image to me is that it appears that the growing stuff is finally defeating the mower. We see it sinking back into the earth where it will rust and rot and help feed the plants it once reaped. Very strong and moving image. A+

Hi John

I have been wanting to comment on this picture for two days now.

I first saw it on my monitor at work and the sky looked quite blown out, however, at home it looks great. But that is not what I wanted to say...

I did not know what to make of it until I read the above. Suddenly it made sense! Until then I was looking at all sorts of technical things.

I really need to start looking in different ways....

Thanks lou!
Regards
William
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Rob C
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« Reply #15 on: May 17, 2012, 03:42:53 AM »
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Rob,


"I(n) effect, I think we (some of us) have traded away a certain intrinsic quality for mere convenience. Not a wonderful deal, really."

Hasn't that been the entire history of photography since shortly after its inception.  The vast majority of the 'developments' in tools and technique throughout the 20th Century have moved away from quality and towards facile convenience.

Treat yourself to an idle afternoon browsing Shorpy - http://www.shorpy.com/ - and see what folk could do over 100 years ago in terms of quality with glass plates and relatively simple lenses.

As the old cigarette ad used to say "Wow!@  You've come a long way, baby"  NOT!

Cheers,





Told you I have dyslexic fingers! Worse, my eyes must be catching it too...

;-)

Rob C
« Last Edit: May 17, 2012, 03:44:24 AM by Rob C » Logged

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