Wild at heart

July 2019 French photographer Stéphane Gautronneau boarded the Ms. Austral in Petropavlosk. The ship sailed the Bering Sea, past the Aleutian Islands and reached the Alaskan Coast 21 days later. Due to global warming this Northern Passage has become more and more accessible. The melting ice offers unseen spectacular landscapes and traces of human intervention, such as wrecked submarines and planes from the Japan-US war. The initial plan was to work on a reportage for Le Monde M, following the Trans-Alaska Pipeline from Prudhoe Bay to Seward. The forest fires of that summer urged to a chance of plans.

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The Austral dropped Stéphane off at Juneau, Alaska. He made his way to Fairbanks to meet his local contact, a Native American who was going to help him on this reportage. Stéphane likes to set off on his own and hire assistants and help locally. It gives him a chance to meet people. And travelling is actually part of the process. “Hopping on a plane for a long journey, just to spend a few days out there, isn’t natural to the human body, the mind and the planet! I like to get out on my own, walking or biking. Slow travelling brings the human scale back into the picture.” 250km North of Fairbanks Stéphane and his guide – wearing gas masks to be able to breath – were stopped by fire-fighters.The couple could continue to Wiseman. Normally the last stop for petrol and coffee. This time the fire-fighter troops stopped them definitely.

 

Steph in Yellow Jacket

Stéphane during training

It was clear that the initial reportage could not be accomplished. After a two-days crash course Stéphane was allowed to join the troops. The new plan: A series of portraits of the fire-fighters, young people coming from all over the USA. Fire-fighting in Alaska is actually a summer job, like being a waiter or working on the beach. The brigades were named after the states the members originated from. Stéphane sticked with the Oregon Brigade most of the time.

May 2020 the result will be exhibited at ‘Le Collatéral’ in Arles. All the work has been shot with a Cambo Actus-GFX, using Mamiya RZ lenses and a portable Elinchrom strobe.

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The Actus suits Stéphane’s way of working perfectly. He’s a photographer who prefers to come home with just a few photographs over shooting endlessly. Rather the picture he already had in his mind than a dozen that are nearly right. When working in New York in the 1990’s, he bought a 1952 Linhof Technika from an assistant. Stéphane immediately loved the more contemplative way of working it required. And its compact size made it a good travel companion. The Actus brought these qualities to the digital age. And Stéphane still uses the Mamiya RZ lenses on it that he’s been using since his younger days as a NYC based fashion photographer.

Over time shooting with a view camera has become Stéphane’s natural way of working. It’s not limited to travel photography. This picture is from a recent Thierry Colson fashion shoot.St. Gautronneau for Thierry Colson

Biography of Stéphane Gautronneau by Clara Lefort

Wild at heart, Stéphane Gautronneau is a photographer like no other. An autodidact, he started his career by assisting a roaster of great fashion photographers like Patrick Demarchelier, Justine Parson, David Sawyer and Riccardo Tinelli. Sensitive and precise, Stéphane soon devoted time to mastering large format cameras – which require extra care and attention during pre and post-production phases.

Ready to apply his skills to extreme conditions – under a tent or a motorbike, on a glacier or in a desert – Stéphane works marvels with this 4×5, admitting that the “probability that an image is untouched and perfect is rare. A rare exception.”

A regular contributor for major lifestyle magazines and periodicals, his work has been featured in French Vogue, Glamour US, Paris Match, Air France Magazine & Madame (Conde Nast), Figaro Madame, Le Monde, Libération, The New York Times, Vanity Fair US, Harpers Bazaar UK, Stern, The Guardian or The Independent to name a few. Stéphane also shoots many travel stories and portraits, including Gregory David Roberts, Zaha Hadid, Pharell Williams, Nicolas Hulot, amongst others.

Working with and for brands, Stéphane produces images for Nike, BMW, Benetti yachts, Virgin and Richard Branson’s submarine (Necker Nymph)

A BMW ambassador, Stéphane travelled the world to open expedition roads: these long solitary journeys included Perth-Sydney; Paris-Goa; Istanbul-Kathmandu; Buenos Aires-Atacama; Paris-Vladivostok-Lisbon.

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Since 2014 Stéphane Gautronneau has been been collaborating with BMW Motorrad. His work has been used for bill boards and commercials. Being a rider himself, he documented over-land motorbike trips for the Make Life a Ride campaign. For a French-German co-production by Commune Image and Connaissances du Monde he was asked to follow a season at the Motodrome, a group of travelling wall of death riders. The resulting movie The Wall will be released in 2020. Here’s a short showreel.

More work by  Stéphane Gautronneau

Posted in ACTUS, General, Landscape, portrait | Tagged , , ,

Pictures for Money (Pim Top)

The blog title may suggest it’s a how-to about making LeoluxLX_FRAME_001money as a photographer:            We’re sorry for deceiving you! Pictures For Money is Pim Top’s Instagram account. And it shows all but straightforward pictures made by a photographer shooting objects for a living. His portfolio certainly shows pictures from objects. There are chairs wrapped up in leather. Tin cans doing a balancing act. And there’s interior photography in which the furniture has been covered with decorator’s protective foil with so much care that you’d feel sorry if you’d ever had to remove it.

Pim studied Cultural Science, Philosophy and Art History at the Rotterdam based Erasmus University. As Frans Willem Korsten – his former Professor in Literature – states, Pim is not so much looking at a room, he’s “looking at something that represents a possibility of living in or with that space”. At a recent exhibition during Dutch Design Week Pim collaborated with the designer-duo Supertoys Supertoys. Their design philosophy is a way to break out of the ongoing entanglement of being human through things to be human among things instead. This seems to blend seamlessly with Pim Top’s way of looking at the world. In his photographs the objects created by Supertoys Supertoys are in a dialogue with their environment and one isn’t necessarily more important than the other.

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Pim uses his camera to recreate the pictures he’s got in his mind. Inspiration rather comes from paintings, sculptures and experimental music than from looking at photography.  Contemplate, arrange, look. Rearrange and look twice. The camera comes last. And that’s one of the reasons using a view camera fits in perfectly with Pim Top’s way of working. One’s own creativity should be the only limitation.

Pim’s work is very often built up from a multitude of shots. Looking at it, you notice something odd, but can’t always tell what it is. This photographer likes to take the same liberty chosing his perspective as painters do. That’s why many photographs are composed from shots taking from slightly different view points. Before Pim switched to using a view camera he often needed 70-100 images to stack the perfect picture. Since he’s using an Actus often ten images will do. Which saves a lot of time. And he’s developed a new love for out-of-focus areas, now that the view camera gives him perfect control over the plane of focus.

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Actus-Nikon Z7_04s

Pim uses a Nikon Z7 with a Cambo Actus-G and Actar-90 lens. The Z is his mirrorless camera of choice, because of its large bayonet and short flange-focal distance. These features enable the large camera movements he needs for his work. Pim likes the Actar-90 because it renders beautifully and has an outstanding image quality both when used for (extreme) close-ups and at a more regular table-top distance. Just recently he’s added an Actar-60. The latter was used for this interior shot of a gallery.

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Like to see more?

Studio Pim Top

Supertoys Supertoys

Posted in General, Interiors, Studio | Tagged , , ,

Sigma FP meets Cambo Actus

Here we see the smallest Full Frame interchangeable lens camera attached to the smallest view camera. Actus-G_Sigma FP_02s

It’s the latest addition to the L-Alliance announced at Photokina 2018. Leica, Panasonic and Sigma made public to use the Leica L bayonet (by then known from the SL) for their new mirrorless cameras. It brought us the first full frame Panasonic and now this really compact Sigma.

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Obviously this small camera body looks neat on an Actus-G. And it makes a very portable solution without having to forgo on image quality. But it works as well on a full size view camera!

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Sigma FP on the Actus-XL

Posted in General, Photokina, Studio, Technical | Tagged , , ,

More than a modern classic

Basically a view camera is nothing more or less than a flexible connection betweenSupertechna_1948_s a lens and a light sensitive medium. The latter being a glass plate, a sheet or roll of film or a digital sensor. One could easily think that view camera technology has seen more evolution than revolution since Cambo entered the market in 1946. Albeit under a different name, where this 1948 advertisement bears witness of. For obvious reasons the company’s founder soon decided to change the name to Cambo, a conjunction of the first syllables of Camera and his surname.

 

 

 

We’ve got a true modern classic in our program – the SC aka Super Cambo – that’s been around since 1958. The view cameras that leave our factory far more frequently nowadays, have to meet other demands. When the light sensitive medium scaled down from a generous 8 x 10” or 4×5″ to the now common 24 x 36, 33 x 44 and 40 x54mm sensors, the need for precision grew. Our current top-of-the-line view camera, the Actus-XL, may superficially resemble the vintage Cambo cameras, it’s a completely different beast.

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Actus-XL with Nikon Z7

SC-2 40th AE

The 40th Anniversary SC from 1986

 

Speaking about evolution: The introduction of the Fuji GFX-100 urged us to redesign the Actus-XL’s rear standard. It now has the same interchangeable bayonet holder that’s one of the amenities of its smaller sibbling the Actus-G.

 

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This makes swapping between different sensors a breeze. There’s a variety of fittings for all current camera systems, including mirrorless medium format and digital backs.

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The Actus-XL is a modular view camera that will serve you for many years. Whenever you decide to change to another sensor, the Actus-XL is easy to adapt.  And for on-location photography we build some more compact solutions. Like the ones shown here.

Cambo on location

Posted in ACTUS, General, Studio, Technical | Tagged , , ,

Using strobes and ES. Is it any good?

Since a couple of months the Rodenstock Digaron lenses have been available in Aperture-Only (AO) mounts. As the era of mechanical leaf shutters is coming to an end, we need to look at other solutions to use these outstanding lenses. Using them in AO is one of the options. An option that requires a digital back with an integrated shutter (ES).

HyperFocal: 0The IQ3-100 was Phase One’s first back featuring the ES function. We’ve got high hopes that the recently announced Hasselblad CFV-II 50c will have a similar integrated shutter. Maybe faster, thanks to the smaller sensor. As it stands now, ES is not suitable for shooting fast moving objects. Not necessarily a problem to photographers using a tech cam. The ES technology has got its own merits. There are no moving parts, so no camera vibration and no wear and tear of the shutter. Shutter times are 100% dependable and the range of available speeds is much broader than a mechanical shutter could ever offer.

 

ES has a limitation though that does matter to those of you using tech and view cameras: It affects the use of strobes. Some may say that you can’t use strobes at all. But please draw your own conclusions, based on the facts.

As the ES is a rolling shutter, strobe sync is limited to 0.6 seconds with IIQ-L (14-bit) or 1.3 seconds with IIQ-L (16 Bit). When the back is set to these shutter times or longer it will trigger the flash. The flash is connected to the sync port of the back – by cable, Pocket Wizard or whatever you prefer . When the exposure starts, the flash will fire about halfway. In most studio situations switching of the modelling lights during exposure will do. On location use of strobes is also pretty uncomplicated, as long as no short exposure times are needed. Whether that’s a serious limitation or not, every interior photographer needs to judge for himself. HyperFocal: 0

Here’s a quick test – not the most exciting subject – for which an IQ3-100 was paired with a Cambo WRS-1600 and a Digaron-23 in AO.

 

 

Side by Side.jpgThanks to the long exposure time for this shot, there was no need to use the 14-bit mode.

 

Wieker Meule-top_no flash

The next shot – the interior of a Dutch Windmill – required an exposure time of 2 sec. at f8/11. The lens uses was a Digaron-32. All the ambient light was coming from behind the camera. Therefore two small strobes were hidden behind this massive wooden mill wheel.

 

Wieker Meule ES 2s Digaron-32 f8/11 Fill flash

 

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HyperFocal: 0

This Rodenstock Digaron HR-105 Macro is optimised for a magnification range of 1:4 – 4:1. It’s not a general purpose lens, but superb results can be obtained in close-up photography. It has never been supplied with a shutter, as the lens’ construction doesn’t allow this. So for use with a digital back, the ES is needed.

 

 

Posted in General

Fachkameraworkshop in Frankfurt am Main

In their new Frankfurt based store Calumet Germany will conduct a View Camera Workshop. A blog entry in German:

Calumet Deutschland veranstaltet in Frankfurt einen Workshop             Produktfotografie mit der Fachkamera. Wir werden dafür  technische Unterstützung und Demo-Apparatur zur Verfügung stellen.

Trotz aller Möglichkeiten, die Fotografen bei der Nachbearbeitung ihrer Bilder zur Verfügung stehen, lassen sich manche Ergebnisse ausschließlich mit Hilfe einer Fachkamera erzielen. Hier erfahren Sie, ob und wie die Fachkamera Ihre fotografische Praxis erweitern kann und wie Sie in Produkt-, Interieur-, Makro- und Architekturfotografie das besondere und fotografische „Etwas” hineinbringen können.

©Gerhard Witteveen

©Gerhard Witteveen

Nach einer theoretischen Einführung machen Sie sich selbst mit einer Fachkamera an die Arbeit. Vorzugsweise setzen Sie dabei die eigene Kamera als Digitalrückteil ein. Cambo wird dafür die geeignete Fachkameras und Adapter zur Verfügung stellen.

Dieser Workshop vermittelt nicht nur das für die Arbeit mit einer Fachkamera benötigte Wissen. Zweck und Ziel ist auch die Teilnehmer zu motivieren, zu inspirieren und Wege aufzuzeigen. Freuen Sie sich auf diese spannende und praxisnahe Veranstaltung und den Austausch mit Fachkollegen.

Workshopleiter ist Sacha Goerke:Sache Goerke

Sacha ist Gründer und Leiter der
Fotoakademie Westfalen. Er schult viele namenhafte Fototeams und ist darüber hinaus langjähriger Werbefotograf. Viele Tipps und Tricks aus dem beruflichen Alltag fließen in seine Workshops  mit ein.

 

 

Der Workshop findet am Freitag dem 4. Oktober in der Calumet Filiale in Frankfurt statt.

Calumet Frankfurt by Night_Address

Hier geht es zur  Anmeldung

Wir freuen uns auf Ihre Teilnahme! Bitte lassen Sie uns bei der Anmeldung wissen, welche Kamera Sie während des Workshops benützen möchten. Cambo wird dafür die passende Fachkamera oder aber Adapter zur Verfügung stellen.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Posted in General, Studio, Technical | Tagged , , , , , ,

Bruce Allinson, Commercial Photographer

In 1979 Bruce Allinson followed his passion for cars and motorcycles and began hisBruce Allinson_Scott Leathers working life with an apprenticeship in a local garage. It didn’t take long before he realised that turning your hobby into a full time job isn’t necessarily a good idea. A new position at a large advertising agency in Newcastle upon Tyne was Bruce’s first introduction to commercial photography. Following a visit to Ravensworth Studios Bruce accepted a job offer, occasionally helping out in the studio but working mostly in the Lab. By looking at Bruce’s portfolio, 30 years later, you can tell he’s still got an above average interest in motorbikes and motorsport.

In those days it wasn’t unusual for a larger studio to have its own laboratory. Processing films and making prints became some of Bruce’s duties at Ravensworth. It was also the first time he had to get himself acquainted with a view camera. It’s been one of his favourite photographic tools ever since. When Kevin Radcliffe started his own studio, he asked Bruce to join him as an assistant. Those ten years of working for Kevin have resulted in a life time of cooperation and collaboration.

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While Kevin’s business was focused on commercial work he would support Bruce in his efforts to subsidise his income with some Wedding Photography. This would be his first venture as “Allinson’s Photography”. Almost ten years after starting as an assistant, Bruce made Allinson’s Photography his full-time business and moved most of its services from the social to commercial photography. While a small selection of clients decided to go with Bruce, it never led to hard feelings between Kevin and Bruce and they would continue to provide resources and support for each other. In fact, in the last couple of years they’re joining forces again on a wide range of projects and commissions.

Clients now benefit from the skills of two highly experienced photographers, Bruce’s quest for technically perfect photographic solutions can blend perfectly with Kevin’s creative and imaginative photography. The whole is greater than the sum of its parts. For example this gives Bruce access to a larger studio space – Kevin Radcliffe’s located in the historic Sallyport Tower in Newcastle Upon Tyne – while Bruce brings a wealth of technical equipment and the services of an in-house post-production specialist. While in the last 2 years Bruce has trained new staff to deliver basic post production services, he has never given up his processing skills and has continued to process and manipulate analogue and digital images throughout his career. From the very beginning Bruce has had his own in-house professional lab. Having full control over the final image has not just started in this digital era.

Bruce Allinson_Architecture 01

Bruce is a fierce advocate of the use of a view camera for commercial photography. Both inside and outside of the studio. It makes many complex creative applications – such as selective focus – more readily available. He still owns a Cambo Ultima-45 (for use with 4×5” sheet film) and has used this as a digital with an Ultima-35 conversion kit for many years, (the latter was used with a small format Nikon D800e and D810 as a digital back). Since a more compact Cambo Actus-GFX is added to the arsenal of equipment, the Ultima resides in the studio.

side by side

The Actus has quickly become the on-location camera of choice. “The precision control of all the movements within a fraction of a millimetre makes it an easy choice when using medium or small format cameras and digital backs. In addition we have found – unlike the many tilt shift solutions offered by the big brand camera manufactures, (who generally only support their own equipment) – the versatility of the Cambo is very appealing. Cambo always caters for our full array of camera sensors (digital backs, or digital cameras) and lenses of choice. A range of almost endless combinations are available to us with both our Cambo cameras. We can use just about everything we already own, or wish to purchase with these cameras.”

Bruce Allinson_Food 02“Finally but perhaps most importantly there is the precise control of focus and perspective that only the skilled photographer using their experience with view cameras can deliver. All this experience, skill and specialist equipment allows the photographer and art director, or chef, to choose exactly what the viewer will focus on in a final image that can deliver a powerful and complete message telling a story in a way that no other photography discipline can.”

 

Bruce is a commercial photographer. Versatility is a word that comes to mind when looking at his porffolio. While he’s well aware that many photographers across the UK specialise in a category of work such as food, fashion, architecture etc. it is probably a North East England thing that there is little work and photographers can’t charge the fees big corporate clients in the city are used to. It’s a case of do everything or die and you will not get enough work to live on if you look to specialise in a smaller market. “I also think that it is the need for this broad church of photography skills, styles and ability to deliver a wide range of photography that has lead us to always owning all the kit needed for almost every type of work, (I can’t remember the last time I hired a camera or lens).”Actus-XL_Fuji GFX-01_s

more about Allinson’s Photography

Posted in ACTUS, Architecture, Automotive, General, Interiors, Studio | Tagged , , , , ,