We’ve all seen plenty of photos of people photographing people photographing each other, but not for a while. Not from me, at least.
Sunday in San Jose, two days before the legal CV-19 masking restrictions were (mostly) lifted.
An edit and crop of the Monochrom sample shot from a few days ago.
For the previous post, I had to dig out some of my old files from a brief 2014 affair with the original Leica Monochrom.
Here’s one of the shots I liked that were made with it, in this case on the streets of Miami. The artist here told me he was from elsewhere but I can’t recall his name or those details any more. Or maybe I’m just being misguided by the tee-shirt.
Photos can trick memory as much as assist it.
Adobe Camera Raw (ACR) has supported Leica Monchrom files for most of the past decade, yet the support seems to have been pretty modest – a linear mapping of the grayscale-source DNG values. Setting your preferences for “Camera Matching” has essentially no effect - the contrast adjustments in the Monochrom are ignored.
The pic above shows three versions. On the left, what ACR will deliver directly from the sensor: a full range but with flat tones. The center is what the EVF showed, and is the in-camera JPG. The right image is something getting closer to my final edit, based on a higher-contrast version like that at the center: closer to the EVF view than what was delivered by ACR.
I couldn’t find any publicly-available curves or presets for Monochrom DNGs to match the contrast ranges you might see in the EVF or JPGs. So: I made some. You can find the link below:
Close to the last exposures on my 15-year-old spool of Neopan 1600, rated variously at ISOs 100 to 400 and attempted in Rodinal, D-76, and X-tol. I adored this film when it still had a rating of 1600 – but today, expired and degraded, there’s too much pain and grain for too little gain. The next sixteen rolls in the bulk loader are HP5, and Pan-F is on deck.
As a learning/relearning opportunity, sure. It’s been a surprise to realize how many of my old film skills remained, but also how many had been forgotten or erased by a decade and a half of digital shooting. The biggest challenge in relearning is trying to sort out what you know from what you think you know. Or thought you knew until the negative comes back thin and soft-focus as a cloud’s ghost.