Archives for posts with tag: rangefinder

For the past few years i have solely been photographing in black and white. Well actually i must confess the odd color roll of film that i have shot has sat forgotten in a container at the back of the fridge, or my last pack of fp100c through the Polaroid. But for the most part, i have “seen” only in monochrome. My wife, Jess had been bugging me since our (almost) 3yo was born, “I want you to get color photos of the kids!” Finally i relented and so became the owner of a black Leica M240, (my compromise on giving in to color). I have always liked color photography and especially the work of Saul Leiter, William Eggleston, Gregory Crewdson etc, so that film / cinematic look really appeals to me and what i had looked to achieve for my own photography.

The main reason i cut color out was to concentrate on the basics. I started to really look at composition, form, content and all the technical aspects of photography, shooting in a documentary fashion and so black and white appealed to me. I could also develop my own black and white film at home in the laundry whilst color film, being more sensitive to temperature during development, made me hesitant to try it myself without some further investment in gadgets to control it.

Back to color and actually to a book that i have been reading “Warbreaker”, by Brandon Sanderson. Color is a kind of magical element in the novel, with the amount of breath one holds and life being associated with vivid colors and being able to experience the full gamut of hues and subtleties in a color. Any way, great book, read it, it got me thinking more of color and then photographing color.

So to photographing in color again! I didn’t realize just how much i had tuned out of seeing color in my photography. I saw only tones of grey, subconsciously converting what i had been seeing with my eyes into how it will look in monochrome. I had been conscious that i was doing this a number of times when abandoning shots because without the color that first attracted me, i realized the image would have just been a bit boring, lacked something. So i had to think of how to build images, what are the elements that i want to have in my images? First i need to find something that interests me, the subject, maybe its just the feeling from an abstraction, maybe its something going on, portrait or an actual object. Then i have to put it into a composition, where to place it, depth of field, leading lines, layering, sub framing, aspect ratio, portrait or landscape, viewpoint. Then the lighting obviously, the exposure, the technical camera stuff on how to capture what i want. Finally, what i had been neglecting was the color, can it be used to separate objects, layers, add mood, highlight a subject etc. I know that before i decided to shoot monochrome, i had never really thought about color in this way, it was always there, in the frame but ignored. Now i feel like i see color in a more vivid way, with autumn here at the moment the colors were so obvious to me on my first walk out of the house with the new camera and new ability to capture it that i have just been on a bit of a color bender lately!

Follow my monochrome work on instagram @abyssic_wizard and my new color work @michael_jolliffe. I am also a member of @videre_collective.

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Went on a hike Saturday morning from Perry’s Lookdown to Blue Gum Forest in the Blue Mountains. I decided to leave my tripod in the car as it was pouring rain, the tripod is pretty heavy and the track is hard grade, being steps down a cliff into the valley then back up. I was determined to go however, the conditions meant it was quite dark, i was unsure if i would be able to shoot the xpan. I had the 30mm with the center corrective filter, the widest aperture is f5.6, with the center filter it is effectively an f8 or so. I decided to load hp5 and push to 1600 in development to be able to give me a usable shutter speed range of 15th – 30th/sec due to the available light. I thought that i might not be able to achieve much but shot two rolls before i was forced to pack away the cameras from being drowned. I’m glad that i didn’t give up, here are some shots from the two rolls i shot. Developed in xtol stock for 13mins.


Voigtlander R2M, 35mm 1.4 Nokton, Kodak Tri-X 400.

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©Michael Jolliffe
Visit: www.michaeljolliffe.com

I had an interesting morning today street shooting in Newtown, Sydney. Made a huge effort to engage more and had a lot of fun with it.
First up I helped a man use the ticket machine at the train station and chatted about his travels as he was on his way to the airport. I did not get his portrait but the interaction put me in the right headspace to start the day.
Secondly at my destination I was walking down a side street to circle around the block and walked by a lady trying to use a screwdriver to fix a loose fence pale in place so I offered to help. I failed to convert this interaction into a portrait but I did not help solely for a photograph anyway, it made me feel good to help people.
My third interaction was a rough looking guy that walked straight up to me and started posing and rapping! I got in a shot (not the best) but I chatted to him briefly, he said his name was “right now” and ran off to meet his friend that crossed the road.
For the fourth, I discovered a small vintage camera store and was chatting to the owner about the resurgence of film and purchased some rolls of portra 400 whilst eying off the vintage cameras and the mamiya rb67 in particular. No photo, but I did get a window shot of the leica’s.
My fifth was whilst leaving a sidewalk market, I noticed an elderly lady dropped one of her earring’s onto the pavement. I picked it up and gave it back to her, she had no idea that she had dropped it and thanked me as we began to cross the street.
My sixth and last interaction was two men that were sitting amongst a bicycle rack enjoying a few bottles of beer. I snapped a photo first and obviously whilst waving then approached as I could sense they both were wondering if I was crazy! They were really friendly and were enjoying the midday sun and a catch up and I explained that I thought they looked like great subjects sitting amongst all the bikes having a good chat. Wished each other a good day and I headed home.
I was shooting candidly in between but the few conversions to street portrait really boosted my confidence and made the day a lot more memorable. I will post more shots in the future when I develop the film and edit. I was switching between the x100s and r2m. Definitely slowed down and chose far less shots with film.  – michaeljolliffe.com

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