Gratuitous & Full Circle

Here we are, on the cusp of yet another Christmas Day—which also means the year is almost over as well. Captain Obvious here, offering invaluable insight to the masses since 2009...you’re quite welcome ;)

I want to say a quick thank you to all those who’ve already purchased the new 1EYE, ROAMING books—I’m very grateful and hope you’ll enjoy the journey. But beyond products: a huge thanks to all of you for being here, period. I’m well aware that this blog can veer into very personal territory at times, content that—while I try and inject knowledge here and there—isn’t necessarily educational. And admittedly, this year was a bit of a transition for me, moving away from difficult times in 2016 (on a personal level) and embracing new realities, new ways of working that impacted the time spent on the blog. I also went from a productivity-fueled Todoist workflow to an absolute repudiation of organization as a whole. Backlash. Now I’m back to a more balanced approach with Things; I might write about this in the New Year, we’ll see. Ideally, I’d like to come back to a more regular publishing schedule—but no, this is not a resolution. Resolutions are where goals go to die. It’s a psychological issue I’m sure.

I didn’t know how to end 2017, what note to strike on this last post. Then yesterday I started messing around in the studio and picked up my dusty old X100—the original one, no bloody S, T or F (I’m paraphrasing a Star Trek TNG reference here in case you’re not as geeky as I am). Anyway, this somehow made sense: shooting the little APS-C camera that started it all with its medium-format grandchild. It’s a bit like coming full circle if you think about it.

Alright, let’s go educational for a bit...if only to contradict what I just said. Here’s a shot of the setup:

That’s a Profoto A1 with Dome Diffuser on the C-stand, modelling light ON (just to check the shadows). The cable is a PC cord, dangling from a Godox X1T-F transmitter that’s currently acting as a manual trigger for the A1 (set to X-Sync). Obviously that’s plugged into the GFX 50S. The Deep Octa in the back isn't active and that's a white book leaning against a tape meter, to act as a bit of fill. Whatever works right?

I’m using the GF 120mm f/4 Macro R LM OIS WR lens (boy that’s a mouthful) with the camera set to 1/125s, f/4 at ISO 100. One last note: the image at the top was processed from a colour JPEG (Classic Chrome) to black and white in Capture One 11. But the ones below are straight out of camera. I don’t do this very often. A few shots in I switched to my Moriyama preset on the GFX—Acros with +3 shadows and +2 highlights—and that was it. When I opened the files in C1 they looked exactly the way I wanted them to. Sure, I could’ve tweaked a few details here and there...but I thought it would be fun (and certainly different for this site) to go straight from camera to blog. 

Is it superficial to end on tech and gear porn? Perhaps. But I’ve always believed there’s a poetry to these machines that’s part of our equation—part of the urge, the madness, this thrust to look and seize and possess the world. It all begins in glass and metal. In these objects that call us to action, through soft lines and whispers.

With this, I’m off for the holidays. Allow me to wish you and your families the very best. Have fun, be safe. Let’s refuel and get ready to rock the other side of this one.
2018 here we come.


Shot with the GFX 50S and GF 120mm f/4 Macro R LM OIS WR


Introducing The Curated Archives

The flip side to writing a blog for any decent amount of time is that, at some point, content gets buried. Sure, there’s a search page and a tag cloud and categories to dig through but in the end —especially for a photo oriented site— all of it tends to lack visual appeal: you’re looking at a bunch of titles or scrolling a long list of posts, chronologically. Time pushes everything down, regardless of value. The other issue is formatting: over the years I switched from Wordpress to Squarespace; then new templates with bigger images, a different signature. It adds up to a disjointed look as you move back into the archived work.

So for a while now I’d been trying to find a solution, a way of unifying past and present. Not to wallow in old stories but just to level the playing field and bring buried content forward, a window into more than simply the newest of the new. Allow things to remain visible. The result is now available and can be found under the Blog heading: I call it The Curated Archives. Think of it as another way of browsing the site.

The main page of The Curated Archives contains two grids giving access to a selection of reviews (going back to the original X100) but also to stories and essays shot with every X-Series camera I’ve used over the years — a maximum of 30 posts per model. Using cameras as the differentiating factor allowed me to keeps things manageable while including material that went all the way back to 2011, which is when the site format really started to take shape (yup, when I got my hands on that X100).

I’m not just linking to existing posts: all images have been re-uploaded at the current resolution, larger and formatted just like they’d been shot yesterday. In some cases I re-processed the work in Lightroom but I did it as an exercise, staying true to the originals.

The selection is pretty extensive but I have, however, omitted two things:
1) Tutorials.
2) The Lutetia series.
Why? Well, in the case of the tutorials I feel they’re showing their age. A lot of these centre around Aperture and while most concepts are transferable to other software, they now seem woefully outdated. I constantly receive emails about this topic and have plans regarding processing articles, but I’m still brainstorming on the shape these will take. As for the Lutetia series: I just think 1EYE, ROAMING does a much better job of it; I spent a lot of time on that material and the original posts now feel like drafts—interesting but not worth revisiting all over again. Of course all of the above content is still available the same way it’s always been; those posts simply don’t appear as part of the selection.

It’s always interesting to go back and look at where we were before. It provides orientation, a sense of the path we’re on. In preparing these archives, I was surprised at times by things I’d forgotten, by certain experiments that could still prove useful in the future. I also couldn’t help but see how our kids have grown up through all of this… The biographical aspect of it is hard to deny.

I’ve set the archives up in a way that will allow me to easily manage content and I must say it feels pretty good:  like I now have an anchor, something to hold it all together instead of pushing stuff away as time passes and life moves on. I’m hoping you’ll see the value in this as well.

I leave you with a few weekend images, all shot with the X-T1 and XF 56mm f/1.2… Gotta let that X100T breathe a little ;)
Later

Montreal Science Centre — 12 X 2.


Shot with the good ol' original X100.


COLOUR

MONO

Kind of Blue

LAROQUE-blue-01.jpg

Nine hours of never-ending road. Highway 20 up and down, side to side, back and forth in all its tedious, excruciating glory. Thank god for the mountains and the St-Lawrence, its frigid waters and salty air. Everything painted blue — Miles and miles of blue.


Shot with the X100


On summer's shores...

"*Can we play video games? Is it time for a snack? Is the pool warm enough yet? Can we go biking? Watch a movie? Eat at the restaurant? Get some ice cream later?*"

Good. God... It's not even 10am yet. 

They're working really hard to cram their entire summer vacation into the first hours, of the first morning, of the first day. Can't blame them though: I still remember that vertiginous freedom, the heart thumping excitement, a world of wonders ready for the taking and nothing but time as far as the eye could see. So I tell them to grab their bikes and we ride down to the river; just the three of us, some water and a few granola bars. I watch them run around and throw rocks and be kids.

Summer's here.


Shot with the X100