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Sunday, November 11, 2007

Ethereal Days by Chris Conrad

In August 2007 issue of Black & White Photography magazine (UK), I read an article on Chris Conrad's portfolio, Ethereal Days, in which the magazine featured some of his most amazing and stunning night photographs taken on the area around Moab, USA.

Chris started a portfolio on the fleeting pools of water that exist in the redrock canyons after rainstorms, he began the Oases series.

"I was searching for a different take on the area around Moab, looking for a way to capture the fleeting ephermeral views that appear and pass so quickly. The Oases series then led me into the night photos, and the Ethereal Days series began."

The technical difficulties involved in night reflections are myriad, and Chris' technique requires him to find the subject and set up the camera early, anticipating the path of the moon and stars. Pre-exposing the scenes to build some shadow detail, he uses a combination of polarizer and red filters - also adding split neutral density filters - to hold density down in the sky portion of the negative during this first exposure. After darkness falls, he opens the shutter again to catch the stars and moon trails, often leaving it open for up to eight hours.

Chris' Equipment:
  • A Techihara 5x4in is Chris' main camera, with his favorite lens being a Nikkor 75mm.
  • A Rodenstock 135mm is his back-up lens, for those times when the Nikkor is too wide.
  • A Pentax Digital spotmeter allows him to figure out the difficult exposures involved in night work.
  • His film is Ilford FP4 Plus, abd occasionally HP5 Plus, for the extra speed.
  • His developer of course is Kodal HC-110.
  • Another camera often used is his Pentax 67II with 45mm lens, loaded with either Kodak TMAX or Ilford FP4 Plus.
  • For pure digital work, he use Canon EOS 20D with 16-35mm lens.
  • For printing, his paper of choice is Moab Entrada Ntural, using either a Septone or a QuadtoneRIP program. The paper is run through either an Epson 2300 or an Epson 7600 printer.
To view Chris Conrad's photographs, please click here.
Here's the 5-minutes video on "Ethereal Days".