Sunday, November 26, 2006

Mike Stacey

Velvet Sea
This was taken in the middle of winter about 30 minutes before sunrise. It was raining lightly which meant wiping the filter and camera every few minutes or so. The tripod was straddled across a pointed rock (you can see the front of the rock in the photo) and I could barely see anything in the ground glass with so little light. Aperture and speed settings were made with the use of a headlamp and required clambering precariously out in front of the camera to see the aperture ring at the front. I had to shine the headlamp on the foreground rock to focus the camera. A few light readings putting the sky in zone 7 and then trip the shutter and wait...4 minutes later close the shutter. When the tranny came back from processing a few days later I was very surprised to see that it had all worked out perfectly!

Until Then
None of the epic involved with Velvet Sea here. Went to the spot the previous day and scoped this compositon with a small anglefinder and tried to imagine where the first light would be etc. Came back next day, set up and tripped the shutter for another long exposure of around 3.5 minutes. The clouds are blurred due to their swift movement that day and the colour of the water and reflections provide the feel that I'm usually looking for. This is a local spot and funnily enough I've never photographed it so my next series will be taken there.

1: How long have you been involved in photography?
I first began taking photographs seriously when I was about 19. It has always been landscape photography simply because I feel a deep connection with the natural world and think that it has much to offer us, in many ways.

2: Equipment you use?

- Horseman large format (4 x 5") camera
- 65mm, 75mm, 90mm, 150mm Nikkor lenses
- Mamiya 7 11 medium format camera
- 43mm and 80mm Mamiya lenses
- Sekonic L-608 light meter
- Fuji Velvia 50ASA and Astia 100F film, sheet and roll
- Manfrotto 055CLB Tripod and Ball Head
- Lowe Photo Trekker camera pack
- plus the usual stuff like headlamp, loupe etc.

3: Mac or PC?

4: What inspires you?
The work of other photographers such as Michael Kenna, Paul Schilliger, Gerard Laurenceau, and of course our very own Leigh Perry and Jeff Grant and... the amazing world we live in.

The magical moments we can experience that are ever so fleeting but stay in our minds forever are a major source of inspiration.

5: Prefered subject matter?
Pre sunrise and post sunset landscapes with water of some kind.

6: Name one thing you haven't caught with the camera that you REALLY want to capture.

No matter how good a photo is, I always think there's things that need improving and things that weren't captured. They're usually vague and intangible things though - like feelings and emotions that may be lacking when I view an image. Some photos have a soul, come don't and it's not always obvious why. That's the art of photography, being able to know beforehand whether an image will have these qualities. Generally I have a vague but fairly reliable idea as to whether a particular shot will be worth it or not in terms of these qualities. Large format photography teaches you to see and while I don't want to preach about it my photographs have improved since I started shooting with one of these beasts. Plus, nothing beats a 4 x 5 inch transparency!

7: When in doubt about your art, who do you confide in?

My partner Kim. She provides an objective view and is also a keen photographer. On the odd occassions I speak to my brother David, he provides good advice, having been an artist all his life.

8: Qualifications/training in anything? ie: Photoshop
No formal photography education. My education is in electrical engineering and now computer science in which I'm currently completing a PhD.

9: Plans for the future?
Capture the essence of the natural world in such a way that the viewer is taken beyond their usual frame of reference and glimpses something of the eternal. I shudder at saying things like that beacuse I know it can sound pretty out there but...Images that can be "looked into"... and have a sense of the infinite are what really inspire me. Pre-dawn and post-sunset have the best light (very little) for this where colours are muted and ethereal aspects are easier to see, and expose for.

10: In one word, describe your photography.
PatientandCalculating, that's one word isn't it?

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