Some terminology advice please?

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  • superfurryanimal 7 Jul 2010 20:56:21 1,023 posts
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    I'm writing a short story where the protagonist is a landscape photographer trying to capture Ashness Bridge in the Lake district, as a winter sunset.

    Could you please give me some pointers as I have no knowledge of the technical language he would think in.

    Firstly, do some photographers still prefer the thrill of non-digital cameras? Is there any jovial animosity between film users and digital camera users?

    When setting up such a shot, what terminology would he use for lenses, filters, distance etc?

    What would be a suitably impressive model of camera for him to be using (preferably even to the point of showing off or overly poncey kit)

    Hopefully I have been clear, ask anything to clarify!

    Thanks a lot for any help you have the time to give!

    SFA

  • Deleted user 7 July 2010 21:12:34
    John pointed the end bit of the camera towards the area that was going to be captured, possibly in the way the aborigines thought. His mind went back to last summer, with Lucy. How he yearned to use his photographical doohickey on his memories, and print the dots of colour onto magic paper that reproduced it as an image.

    He sighed, and pressed the button that makes things happen.

    Later, he was killed in a road accident.

    Lucy never found out.
  • otto Moderator 7 Jul 2010 21:13:21 49,315 posts
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    Just copy & paste pretty much any post taken at random from the Photo Gallery thread... ;)

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  • superfurryanimal 7 Jul 2010 21:16:36 1,023 posts
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    Okay ta.
  • otto Moderator 7 Jul 2010 21:19:24 49,315 posts
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    superfurryanimal wrote:
    I'm writing a short story where the protagonist is a landscape photographer trying to capture Ashness Bridge in the Lake district, as a winter sunset.

    Could you please give me some pointers as I have no knowledge of the technical language he would think in.

    Firstly, do some photographers still prefer the thrill of non-digital cameras? Is there any jovial animosity between film users and digital camera users?

    When setting up such a shot, what terminology would he use for lenses, filters, distance etc?

    What would be a suitably impressive model of camera for him to be using (preferably even to the point of showing off or overly poncey kit)

    Hopefully I have been clear, ask anything to clarify!

    Thanks a lot for any help you have the time to give!

    SFA

    OK. No real issue between film and digital photographers, the divide is more between the vegetables using programme modes and the hobbyists shooting fully manual. If it's a landscape shot at sunset the photographer will be looking at how the light is falling - is he shooting into the sunset? In which case he will find it nearly impossible to keep any detail in the actual land (the bridge and surroundings); or is he shooting the bridge in the evening light? Either way he will probably be using a graduated neutral density filter to try to even out the huge difference in light intensity between the sky and the ground. He will almost certainly be shooting with a wide-angle prime lens (18mm, 21mm, 25mm, 28mm) and using a tripod. If he is a bling show-off moneybags hobbyist photographer he will be shooting with a big expensive Canon or Nikon, if he is a connoisseur and purist he will be shooting with a Leica digital rangefinder... ;p

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  • Deleted user 7 July 2010 21:21:37
    You can shorten connoisseur and purist to git.
  • otto Moderator 7 Jul 2010 21:26:44 49,315 posts
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    Heheh

    You can definitely say a lot about the character by describing his kit. How old is the photographer? Is he a pro, an amateur? Rich, poor? He could be using film and developing it himself, that would say something about him. etc

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  • mrharvest 7 Jul 2010 22:25:42 5,197 posts
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    He might be shooting with a home-made pinhole camera on 5x7 colour reversal film which he's planning to cross-process in C-41 slide solution. In which case he's mostly thinking about if his coffee has gone cold in the thermos.
  • neilka 7 Jul 2010 22:32:07 15,914 posts
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    Write a story about space marines instead.

    A map is like comparing velocity and speed.

  • TheRealBadabing 7 Jul 2010 22:38:02 1,312 posts
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    Space marines use Canon, then go home and fuck the prom queen. Who is a Leica user.
  • Jeepers 7 Jul 2010 22:49:31 13,181 posts
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    If he's in his 30s, and a photography ponce, he'll be using the Nikon d3x with the Nikon AF-S 14-24mm f2.8G ED; if he's super-poncey, it'll be a medium format camera.

    If he's an enormous luvvy, it'll be the Leica. Altho' we all know that Leica cameras don't do landscapes...

    ;)
  • superfurryanimal 8 Jul 2010 08:28:14 1,023 posts
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    Thanks guys.
    This is the character I want, if it is possible.

    He is an early twenties London school of art graduate who is trying to take a 'winter sunset over Ashness bridge' photo.

    Ashness bridge is very famous in the Lake district for a particular view of it which features on every souvenir imaginable.
    The bridge is always crowded out during the summer with tourists, amateur and pro photographers all trying to take the same cliched landscape.

    http://www.lakedistricts.co.uk/photos/img21.htm


    So the snobbish city photographer is determined to get a groundbreaking winter sunset picture with which to make his fame and fortune.

    He is a very arrogant ponce and sees himself as a classical photographer, and will be shooting on film rather than digital, developing himself in his makeshift darkroom in a rented Keswick holiday cottage.

    He argues with a kindly passing farmer about why he uses film and applies the effects he wants using filters and development technique, not 'fucking photoshop.'


    Thanks Otto some useful stuff there!

    @ Mr Harvest, is it conceivable that someone would actually try that, or is that mostly a hardcore photography in joke? Either way I likes it!

    For the purposes of the story, he needs to be developing his own shot film, and then finding problems when he develops it back at the cottage (what would be the usual problems with self developing?)
    He has to return for three nights running, getting more and more irritated, and mocked each time by the farmer.

    Something under the bridge is causing reflections.....

    He gets eaten by a hideous H.P. Lovecraft creature that the farmer and his brethren have been breeding and re-introducing to he fells.

    The farmer picks up his kit to sell it on, wishing it was an expensive digital model.
  • Nexus_6 8 Jul 2010 09:17:51 3,878 posts
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    SPOILERS!

    Asshole ;-)
  • superfurryanimal 8 Jul 2010 09:25:06 1,023 posts
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    Heh heh. Actually I will edit that.
  • Nexus_6 8 Jul 2010 09:30:30 3,878 posts
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    Hee hee - it is actually a great idea for a short story. Kind of Philip K Dick in its ordinaryness changing to fantasy in the twist...

    You missed a bit of spoiler also.
  • superfurryanimal 8 Jul 2010 09:45:07 1,023 posts
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    Cheers, its for a site I'm trying to put together 'Cumbrian Cthulhu'
    All contributors encouraged and welcomed!
  • mrharvest 8 Jul 2010 10:24:30 5,197 posts
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    superfurryanimal wrote:
    @ Mr Harvest, is it conceivable that someone would actually try that, or is that mostly a hardcore photography in joke? Either way I likes it!
    Quite conceivable. In fact I'm sure someone right now somewhere on the planet is waiting for their pinhole camera to expose. Depending on how sharp you want it, it can take anywhere between 15 minutes and 2 hours. Especially when shooting popular locations this can be a blessing: anyone walking across the shot will be invisible. The changing light conditions over the duration of the shot would probably give it a "shimmering" quality.

    Large format film (5x7) would give you a really nice sized print, plus it's much easier to develop at home. And cross-processing is the "in thing" now in hobbyist photography. Gives wildly exaggerated colours. However more typically people who shoot with home-made pinhole cameras would use B&W film because it's silly easy to develop how you want it.

    But to fit in better with your storyline, maybe he's got an old Hasselblad. Those were often good for studio work but also used for landscapes. See a video of it in action.
  • superfurryanimal 8 Jul 2010 13:07:03 1,023 posts
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    Thanks very much chaps.
    last questions:
    What terms would be used when looking for possible mistakes when home processing?
    What would be the current uber digital camera, price no object?

    Thanks again you have all been very helpful, I wish I could write as well as MEME :)
  • ilmaestro 8 Jul 2010 13:14:56 32,430 posts
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    otto wrote:
    Leica digital rangefinder... ;p
    Is this the photography equivalent of wearing wooden glasses and hemp shoes?

    4235

  • otto Moderator 8 Jul 2010 13:31:29 49,315 posts
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    Ha, I remember sketching that bridge in charcoal on a school trip. :D

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  • otto Moderator 8 Jul 2010 13:51:28 49,315 posts
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    Incidentally, if you search Flickr for Ashness Bridge you can find roughly half a million photos of it taken in winter and at sunset; just scan the EXIF data on a few of those for some ideas on how the shots were taken (and with which cameras).

    as you can tell it's not actually a photo that's really going to work as a winter sunset shot, its position with respect to the sun and the mountains is wrong.

    BUT that doesn't matter for your story, creative licence etc. :)

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  • superfurryanimal 8 Jul 2010 15:17:31 1,023 posts
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    Great stuff Otto, thank you. I will check those out. Yeah youre right about that particular photo not being a great one, so that can be his reason for trying to achieve perfection. Or something like that anyway.
  • otto Moderator 8 Jul 2010 15:20:49 49,315 posts
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    The photo's OK, the problem is that the bridge is in the shadow of mountains, the nice view is facing north and there are mountains to the west where the sun is setting meaning that you're never going to get a nice sunset shot of that particular location. This is about the right lighting for a good winter shot there (though it's obviously not at sunset).

    But don't get too distracted from the story... ;)

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  • Salaman 8 Jul 2010 15:27:50 19,051 posts
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    Rather than making it all about the exact camera and kit he has (which will probably go straight over a lot of people's head) flesh out his character through other, more easily interpretable clues.

    The wooden glasses and hemp shoes mentioned might be a good start.
    ;-)
  • superfurryanimal 8 Jul 2010 21:10:11 1,023 posts
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    Thanks again people, I will link to the site when its finished, would like to credit your names / EG usernames afterwards.

    Much love
    SFA
  • tiddles 9 Jul 2010 11:07:51 3,555 posts
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    Story sounds great!

    One thing I would ask yourself is, what purpose is the technical detail serving in the story? Is it just to create the impression that you know what you're talking about, or does it serve a deeper thematic purpose in the story? If it's the former, I would say try and keep it to a minimum, as the average reader probably won't be interested in the tech details - the main thing is not to get something wrong which will stick out like a sore thumb to somebody who DOES know about photography - another reason why less might be better!

    However, if you CAN bring the technical side to life for the non-expert reader, and it has a strong link to what you want to do with the character and the story, it could be really powerful... personally I love it when a writer takes you through a subject which you never thought you'd be interested in, and by the end of the journey you feel like an expert on something new...
  • otto Moderator 9 Jul 2010 11:10:35 49,315 posts
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    He's right, there's nothing worse than a writer who wears his research on his sleeve. Yes Stephen Baxter I'm looking at you.

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  • superfurryanimal 9 Jul 2010 12:13:44 1,023 posts
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    The protagonist is a young city git who favours old technology and despises the modern camera. The other main character is an old rural farmer who mocks him and keeps suggesting he go digital, photoshop etc, whilst at the same time being part of an experimental Cthulhu cult attempting to bring back aeon old creatures by the process of dark prayer and cutting edge cloning tech.
    The camera tech info is for background for the protagonist, the petty bickering between the two characters, and for teh big messy juxtaposition between age, rural vs city, tech vs classic etc.
    I probably wont use everything, but its good to know what options I have!

    It may be shite in the end but I have enjoyed writing it, and in truth its quite short.
    I just really need to convert the farmers speech into hardcore rural Cumbrian.
  • superfurryanimal 9 Jul 2010 12:14:55 1,023 posts
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    So Hopefully the second part of what you said Tiddles!
  • otto Moderator 9 Jul 2010 12:27:54 49,315 posts
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    superfurryanimal wrote:
    I just really need to convert the farmers speech into hardcore rural Cumbrian.
    Ooo-arrrr get orrffff moi laaaaand sitheee ya poofdah nancy boy arrrrr

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