making the shift to digital

I did an experiment this morning, now that Wednesday has become a gym free day.

I took my Leica M4-P film camera and the digital Sony DSC R1 with me when I went to the IMVS Pathology Centre at the Royal Adelaide Hospital to have a blood test. I wanted to see which one I used instinctively as a working photographer.

I started out using the Leica with a 35mm lens (a Summicron F2-ASPH) as I walked through the dense shopping precinct that is Rundle Mall. It was just as I would have done in my pre-digital days. But I actually ended up using the Sony a lot more. I did so without thinking about it. It was instinctive in a photographic sense.


The film Leica with its expensive lens was basically put away in favour of the pro-sumer digital Sony because the latter was more flexible, I could get more shots with the variable Zeiss lens, and I felt a lot more more comfortable experimenting with digital than film. Film costs money. Towards the end–on the way back through Rundle Mall after having the blood test—I only used the Lecia if I thought that I had a worthwhile image.

So this confirms what I said in my earlier post about using 35mm cameras. The shift to digital at this format is a worthwhile investment. That means the film camera is used in order to get that film look. Or the Leica ‘look’.

from a tram

I got tired of the rigors of urban large format photography after a fruitless day hunting for new locations. So I jumped a tram, found myself a window seat, then snapped away through the window as the tram moved through the city.

Monday afternoon

It was liberating. Many of the pictures were no good in terms of composition but others indicated the possibilities of this way of taking photography. I had tried this approach in Canberra on a bus, and in Melbourne on a bus and train but they never really worked. It was hit and miss.

a public holiday

I spent the afternoon returning to my commonplaces along the foreshore west of Petrel Cove, near Victor Harbor. Only this time I started working it as a photographer, rather than just taking snaps whilst working through it on a poodlewalk.

creeper rocks, sea

I was looking for possibilities that would work for large format—were accessible for using a heavy duty tripod etc. It was a public holiday and there were too many people and dogs around to use big camera gear and keep an eye on the poodles.

living in a commodity culture

We are surrounded by the images of our commodity culture whether we are watching tv, walking the streets of the city or working on our computers. The visual signs are everywhere.

Our experience is that we live under the assumption that there is no other way of knowing and being outside the phantasmagoriac realm of representation of commodity culture.

mannequin, Rundle Mall, Adelaide

So I photograph these visual forms. We often sleepwalk through their world, barely conscious of the way they speak to our desires or shape our sensory experience. ‘Sleepwalk’ because I often feel that we are living a dream of what it is to be modern in a world of progress (to a better life or future); a dream woven for us by the culture industry of capitalism.

about monsters

I couldn’t resist taking a photo. The street art appeared on the wall in Wright Street over the weekend. When I saw it I thought of the well-known phrase attributed to Antonio Gramsci: “The old world is dying away, and the new world struggles to come forth: now is the time of monsters.”

I have little idea why I thought that, then and there. It popped into my head.

Be the Bigger Man

Maybe it is because so much street art depicts the monsters. They seem to come from the unconscious. Anyhow, I went back home, grabbed the camera and took a snap, as it was getting dark.

Hindmarsh River

When we are down at Victor Harbor on the the weekend I often walk around the mouth of the Hindmarsh River with the dogs. This coastal walk and beach are a popular with strollers, bathers and other dog walkers. The scene looks best in the soft afternoon light, and it is reasonably protected from the winds coming in from the sea.

mouth of the Hindmarsh River

It’s hard to do the landscape photos with a large format camera due to the time constraints (household duties and obligations), blogging and the weather. I managed to take a photo of the silky oak yesterday with the 5×7 Cambo, even though the weather was dull, overcast, and a few spots of rain were falling.

urban poetics

This is an example of the poetic option that I was tempted to explore in contrast to the waste series. I mentioned the options in the earlier in a vacuum post. The poetic option is about the image and it has little to do with the literary text’s verbal equivalent of photographic techniques and processes or the use of photography in literature.


Urban poetics is a different kind of photography and one that I have little confidence in. So I don’t do much of it and I have little confidence and no sense of a project. The poetics of urban photography is quite different to the genre of street photography and is often associated with Polaroid photography.

before the rain

I managed to take some 5×7 photographs this morning at Petrel Cove, Victor Harbor, before the rain came in. Just as I was finishing with the two types of landscapes mentioned in the earlier post it started to rain.

before the rain

It hasn’t stopped raining since. It looks to be settled in for the day. I hope not as the conditions are very still and I’d planned an afternoon shoot of this landscape.

rubbish dump

One of the places in Victor Harbor that we often visit on our poodle walks is the local rubbish dump. It is situated within a ravine that cuts it way to the sea and borders the beginning of the Heysen Trail in the southern Fleurieu Peninsula. It offers some photographic possibilities.

tires, rubbish dump

Suzanne walked the Heysen Trail from Kings Beach to Waitpinga Beach this morning. We all walked to the eastern edge of the Newland Head Conservation Park, then the poodles and myself turned back whilst Suzanne walked on. I picked her up at Waitpinga Beach a couple of hours latter.

Blue Tier + myrtle beech rain forest

The Blue Tiers is in the north east of Tasmania and we passed through it on our way to St.Helens.

The early settlers mined tin in much of the George River catchment area between about 1880 and 1930. The clearfelling of native forests by Forestry Tasmania continues supported by the forestry union, the CFMEU and the Tasmanian government, which provides every incentive to destroy the old growth forest.

Within it is a remnant of an ancient Myrtle Beech (Nothofagus cunninghamii) temperate rain forest:

root of Myrtle beech

This was in an area of regenerated rain forest full of ferns and mosses.