19 May 2017

Skirting Wool: An Experimental Photograph

Skirting Wool: An Experimental Photograph

Maria sat under the apple tree today with Red and Fate trying to get involved and I decided to try a different kind of photograph, an experimental hybrid. I used my infrared camera, which I have been neglecting lately, and my new Petzval 58 lens with Russian glass.

I wanted this to be a portrait of an artist engaging in the ancient art of skirting, the cleaning of the newly-shorn wool before it goes to the knitting mill to be turned into yarn. I had the dogs in the photo, Red who always lies still as he is supposed, and Fate, who gets into every single thing she is not supposed to get into (she loves to eat the wool and hangs nearby waiting for scraps to fall.)

The Petzval is a portrait lens, it blurs the background around the subject. In this case, there were three or four subjects, because the Petzval does not have automatic focus, it focuses on what it wishes to focus on, and blurs the exterior.  The infrared picked up the color and the light, I had to focus a dozen times (on this lens, there is an old-fashion gear mechanism that has to be hand cracked for each shot).

I loved the effect, it seemed enchanting and somehow timeless to me. There was enough color to draw the eye, and yet it had a sepia, archival kind of quality to it. The Petval and the infrared are not a natural marriage, they do not know one another. But they did just what I wanted them to do today, there was much luck to this effect, but I was excited by it.

So I liked this awkward marriage of a very old kind of lens with a very new kind of camera. I didn't  really know what these two elements would do when they got together, but I am going to explore this affect further.

As many of you know,  you just have to try and get lucky.

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