Wednesday, September 5, 2007

France, Digitally

Marked, originally uploaded by John the Monkey.

Just to show that it's not all film, here's a quartet of digital pictures from my holiday in France a few weeks ago. I enjoy digital sometimes, and like the D70 (with it's Agfa Optima custom curve) a lot.

The shot above was taken on a walk near Forest View - basically you turn left out of the entrance, and head up the hill to the road running through the forest. I was on foot here, but it's a great ride on a bike too, with an 8km run up to Bretoncelles available once you leave the forest, or a leisurely freewheel back the way you came. The markings are, I assume, something to do with forestry - I never saw anyone working in the woods while I was there, although there was a sign for a forestry company on the opposite side of the main road.

Meadow, originally uploaded by John the Monkey.

Walking up the road to the forest, you'd have passed this meadow, and the farm pictured below. The meadow is a shot I'm quite disappointed with, as I'm convinced there's something better to be had from this, although none of my shots captured it.

Ferme, originally uploaded by John the Monkey.

You can see the same field pictured in "Meadow" in the lower part of this frame, I assume it belongs to the little farm you can see nestling in the trees. I love the colour in this one, I have to say, and it's a testament to the quality of the D70 that it renders this scene so nicely.

I've placed this shot with the one you see below to contrast the colour rendering used for each shot - I felt the forest needed to be more muted than the greens and yellows of "Ferme" (I'd have shot it on a neutral film like Astia, had we been doing things on 35mm).

Stop, originally uploaded by John the Monkey.

Pedants may wonder "Why not Arretez?" I don't know, is the honest answer. I'm very pleased with this shot though, I think the muted colour suits the light and tone from the forest really well.

Posting these was a bit rushed, as a 10 minute job I had to do for work at 8pm last night turned into an hour of head scratching and database querying. Prior to that, I had, of course, decided to re-wrap the handlebars of my bike (Bike Ribbon Cork Plus, and I went for C35, thanks for asking). In fact, I'd not only decided to, I'd already taken the old wraps off :/

Wrapping the bars didn't take too long, and as with any little bike maintenance job, I learnt a fair bit doing it (largely what not to do next time, sadly). I'd recommend Park Tools' repair how-to on the subject as an excellent resource for the first timer. (I wrapped using the method described for making the wrap self tightening on the dropped part of the bar, as I ride here a lot). The tape feels lovely to ride with - much grippier in the wet than the thin, shiny ribbon that was on the bars, and more comfortable because of the extra cushioning provided by the fairly thick, spongy tape.

Incidentally, I was unimpressed by Bike Ribbon's finishing tape - use electrical tape, as you'll end up covering the finishing tape with it anyway.

Today also marked my first commute with rain all the way - not as unpleasant as I thought it would be, although the gate in Bruntwood Park (a nice, traffic free cut through) was locked, causing me to have to retrace my steps, and cost about an extra 5-10mins on my journey.

If anyone's interested, my cycleometer (thanks Kellogs) shows that, including this morning's commute (3 journeys, as I only fitted the unit on Monday night), I've done 1hr 52mins on the bike, 24.53 miles, at an average speed of 13.14 mph, and a top speed of 23.71 mph (probably downhill, with the wind behind me).


brendadada said...

Agfa Optima custom curve? Sounds intriguing. Can I please ask what and how d'you do it?

John the Monkey said...

Yep - some Nikon cameras allow the user to upload custom image processing curves - they override the standard "Low Contrast, Med Contrast..." etc curves in the camera.

You can use Nikon Capture (Capture Control?) to upload the curves into the camera, or toneupS3, a third party tool that allows custom curve uploading (but doesn't include the tethered capture options of the Nikon product). One interesting thing ToneUp does is allow you to see the effects of various curves on your image files too, but I digress. Once the curve is in the camera, images are processed using it, and Capture NX (the Nikon raw convertor) shows the files as they look with this processing in place.

ToneUp comes with various custom curves, and after trying a few, the one that purports to be Agfa Optima is the one I like best, although I've never shot the film so can't say how accurate it is in reproducing it.