Natural Landscape Photography
photo equipment
In a time when the digital world grows you should know that I still use analog gear. Further, I am not planing to go digital yet. Many of my frieds are fascinated in amateur DSLRs with resolution of 12 Mpix or such but I did not find it interesting. Of course there are professional cameras like Sony Alpha 900 but I still prefer color transparency films. So, all the pictures were shot on reversal films, developed in the lab, then scanned and finally tweaked by the imaging software. Black and White negatives I process myself. To get the best possible image quality on a 35mm camera I use only fixed focal lenght lenses. The camera body is less important than lenses, but there are three fetures that each camera just must have. First of all, a good exposure metering system providing a spot and center weighted average (or just reliable matrix) modes. Minolta's honeycomb pattern is fine. Second, exposure compensation system or manual mode. It is very important and useful feature. Third, remote control terminal or sensor. That is all, other features of modern SLRs are either useless or less important in landscape photography. Another thing is a good light meter, with a 1° spot meter and an incident light measurement. My favorite light meter is Sekonic Digitalmaster L-758DR. I almost forgot about tripods to prevent blur. A solid one, made of metal e.g. Goldphoto or Manfrotto equipped with the ball head is the best choice, I am sure.
camera body
Minolta Dynax 9
Even though there is no comparision between a 4x5 field camera or medium format and a 35mm film body I do like my Minolta Dynax 9. This camera is not small, not lite but it is reliable. Drawing on hyperfocal and infinity distance, my skills and manual focusing I always switch off the AF mode. There is another reason to do this. In deep forest it is hard to focus on the area we choose, due to a lot of AF sensors. Of course it is easy to switch on single AF or to choose the local area AF selection but in my opinion this is a waste of time. Moreover, we can not be sure of the appropriate depth of field with AF. To make this camera more handy I use vertical grip VC-9. This grip also provides sufficient power, necessary to run such a giant like Minolta Dynax 9. Viewfinder of this camera covers 100% of real area. Further, the price, very bright matte, big EV scale, large shutter-speed and aperture indicators make this camera the very convenient and nowadays the cheap instrument. Outdoors my camera is always switched either to aperture or manual mode. I also still keep Minolta 800si as a backup body. From time to time I use Pentax 67 medium format camera.
exposure metering
Like most of landscape photographers I only use slow ISO 50 and medium ISO 100 reversal films. My favorite slides are Fuji Velvia 50, Fuji Provia 100F and Kodak E100VS. The first one is the sharpest film available on the market, while the last one is the most saturated. Dynamic range of all mentioned films is around 5.5EV, according to the straight line of characteristic curves of each film. Because of narrow latitude (usually 0.7EV) slides are very sensitive to the incorrect exposure. Overexposed material is lost, underexposed a little bit might be saved. Before taking photo I measure the scene with the light meter (spot metering). So, at least two areas of the future image are considered, the brightest and the darkest. If the dynamic range of the measured scene is over 5.5EV I just walk away. Otherwise, I mount the camera on a tripod, compose and switch to the center weighted average metering mode. Then I observe results and if the brightest area is no more that 2.5EV over that spot measured I either decide to adjust the exposure or to shot. Range of adjustment is from 0.5EV to 0.7EV (e.g. snow or mist covered area). For close ups I prefer incident light measurement. While taking photos I make one or two exposures, hardly three (especially at sunrise or sunset when I bracket the scene). To get the correct exposure I try to avoid the harsh light. It might cause the image to burn out some parts of it and eventually ruin the whole work by losing details and colors in highlights.
As I said only fixed focal lenght lenses are mounted on my camera body. For the landscape work I mainly use four lenses, as follows: The most handy lens is the Minolta 50mm prime. It is beacause that lens has angle of view similar to the human eye. That is why I take over 70 percent of my photos with this lens. All pictures I take with lenses at the apertures between f/11 and f/16, ocassionally f/8 for long distance subjects or f/22 for close ups. Whitch aperture is set depends on depth of field calculation, and the shutter speed (usually between 1/30 sec and 15 sec). Here, we should keep in mind that apertures above f/16 (for small format) affect image quality, while the best resolution one can obtain at the aperture about f/5.6 (for 28mm, 35mm and 50mm lenses) and about f/8 (for a 100mm lens). In some circumstances I use Minolta Vn Magnifier 2.3x loupe. The last issue is the filters usage. Generally speaking I try not to use any filters but in some circumstances I have to use a gradual grey (to fit narrow latitude of slides), grey (NDx4 for longer exposure times, e.g. running water) and circular polarizer (against reflections on the water, snow or rocks surfaces) filters. Effects of other filters that can alter natural scene might be achieved in the imaging software like Gimp, but I hate to adjust what nature created.
scans & prints
All scans presented on the website are done by Marcin Krynski on Nikon Colscan 5000ED at PFC Multimedia Poznan. The medium-format transparency films are scanned on Nikon Colscan 9000ED. Medium and large size prints are crafted by Marcin Luczyk at Print Shop Szczecin, Poland.

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