On the cover of a chocolate box…

One of my winter pictures of the beguinage of Bruges has made it to the cover of a chocolate box, and although it is small (you can see it between the “Cachet” text and the chocolates) I am still very happy of course. The picture was taken after a snowstorm in 2009, which covered the whole of Belgium (including the coast area which seldom happens) in a beautiful white blanket of snow. A panoramic image of the white houses in the beguinage covered in snow and contrasting with the black trees was already lingering longer in my head, and that day i took my chance. The fact that i had to risk life and limb to get to Bruges that day is another story… More info on the chocolates and where to buy them on www.kimchoc.be. Image data: Fotoman 617 panoramic camera, lens 90mm FujinonSW with center filter, Fuji Provia 100F medium format slide film, exposure unrecorded. Follow me on Twitter (www.twitter.com/frankdeluyck) and Facebook (www.facebook.com/FrankDeLuyckPhotography)!

Cover Cachet Chocolate box

Exhibition at Netwerk Aalst: Fat Birds don’t Fly

We went yesterday with the Art Academy to an exhibition hosted by Netwerk Aalst. Although I was a bit sceptical at first seen earlier (dissapointing) visits at the Netwerk (we are regularly requested to visit as part of our courses on art history), I was pleasantly surprised. The main theme of the (group) exhibition is basically about people and their (de)constructed identities. Further, in the context of the Louis Paul Boon year, the exhibition is intertwined with audio clips and quotes from Boon’s “90 People” and “The Paradise Bird”.
My favorites at the exhibition? As first a video from Finnish artist Pilv Takala called “Real Snow White” where the absurd logic of the “real character” and the extreme discipline of Disneyland become apparent when a real fan of Disney’s Snow White is banned from entering the park in a Snow White costume, and as close second the photography series on the “Furries” by Belgian photographer Charlotte Lybeer: “The Furtastic Adventures of the Cabbit and the Folf” : in this series people who like to dress up as furry animals, (and organise gatherings where the animal behaviour is re-enacted (inclusive sounds they make – talking is prohibited at these meetings)), are photographed as their “alter-ego” in their own living room resulting in weird (sorry don’t find another word) pictures…
Definitely an exhibition worth a visit!

Wet Plate Collodion process

For some time now I have been interested in the wet plate collodion process, checking out websites from photographers using the technique (one of the more famous photographers using this process is Sally Mann), and reading blogs / watching movies on Youtube trying to find out the details involved. It seemed however so complicated I almost gave up… until I saw a workshop for this process organised by the Antwerp Fotomuseum: of course the same day i enrolled.
And finally the moment was there: 2 days of pure photographic joy employing this technique. I love workshops like this: they make something that looks impossible well… not easy but at least do-able. The most complicated about the process is the chemistry (with some quite dangerous chemicals such as cadmiumbromide, kaliumcyanide, etc…), but once the products are ready the technique is (more or less) a breeze (for the ones used to large format photography). What amazed me most is the remarkable sharpness (due to the fluid emulsion) that can be achieved with this 19th century process. Agreed, although some dare doing it, it does not look like a technique to use in the field, since plates have to be made lightsensitive in darkroom and then photographed/developed within approximately 10 minutes – hence the term wet plate. For studio work however it looks like a very nice process, yielding fantastic results. Below some pictures taken during the workshop (last 2 pictures show collodion plates photographed and developed by myself, and quite proud of it!): 

 I took as well a small documentary video of the workshop, to allow me to remember the required steps during the photography and development process:

Wet plate collodion process from Frank De Luyck on Vimeo.

First Time-Lapse Movie

Finally after a long silence another post on my blog. One of my New Year resolutions is to update the blog more often (besides renewing my website), so we will see… Fingers crossed!
Below you can find my first timelapse movie, made from pictures taken from Tienen’s water tower during a cold winterday from 10:44am until 18:10pm on 15th January 2012. The timelapse forms part of a project for the “Vlaamse Maatschappij voor Watervoorziening” (VMW) for which they requested me to supply them with pictures for each of their (87) water towers. Although the principal idea was to photograph the towers on a large format technical camera (4X5, both colour slide and B&W negative), i found it a good idea to as well have a go at a timelapse of one of the more modern water towers, ie. the one located at Tienen, Belgium. Since it was the first time I was trying out a timelapse, some trial and error was involved: arriving on site already before sunrise (around 07:00am or so) I was hopefull to be able to capture the period from sunrise upto sunset. However, some problems along the way resulted in only being able to use images as from 10:44am:
1) Setting up in pitch dark proved challenging, since focusing in manual focus mode (too dark for autofocus) was not as easy as it looked (Large format lenses have clear distance scales marked, digital lenses have this much less so). End result was that for the first 3 hours focusing was off (i saw only later), and the tower was actually unsharp…
2) during the course of the first few hours, the lens started fogging/freezing up (it was quite cold that morning) which necessitated me to clean the lens every 2 shots. This would have eventually not been a problem would the tower have been sharp at the first place.
Anyways around 10:40 I decided to check the shots on the Eos5DII’s screen (earlier I was scared to touch the camera for stability issues) and noticed the unsharpness… which I then corrected (in a way I am happy I noticed it at a certain point, imagine sitting there whole day with as end result all unsharp pictures (aaarghh)).
The shots were taken with a Canon Eos5DII, a 16-35mm lens zoomed in at 35mm, aperture at f5.6, ISO100, Av-priority, Autofocus off, Wb fixed on Sunny, JPEG – frequency was programmed for 1 shot every 32 seconds (to cover for maximum exposure time of 30 seconds). One 1 battery camera lasted (with camera review screen switched off) from 07:30am until 18:10pm. The camera was mounted on a Gitzo carbon tripod.
Conclusions from the trial: 
1) Ideally camera should be tethered to laptop/Ipad: pictures can as such more easily be checked for sharpness/composition;
2) Batterygrip (allowing camera to use 2 batteries) is mandatory for longer (summer days);
3) Eventual lens fogging to be checked on a regular basis during the shoot;
4) If anyways possible try to include the sun/moon rising/setting since this will make for more spectacular effects. 
Enough talked, here is the movie:

Timelapse Water Tower Tienen from Frank De Luyck on Vimeo.