Archive for the 'photography' Category
Wednesday, April 5th, 2023
In today’s video there is a little preview of my current project, info about my wet plate lecture in Graz and how smartphones change images.
For “non-photographers” some features are really great and very helpful. But then I ask myself why are these features not called by it’s name. Other functions, like changing or even modifying facial features, are almost creepy. What do you think?
In the gallery underneath are a few examples of my moon photos and the equipment. Of course you can take pictures of the moon with small cameras/lenses nowadays, but I was a bit skeptical about the pictures from smartphones back in 2021.
Here the link to my lecture about wet plate photography in Graz. https://www.fomograz.at/veranstaltungen-2023/
Wednesday, March 8th, 2023
In short words “this lens is something else”. It’s extremely fast, huge and has a strange focus distance. It was used in Sony CRT Projectors from 1997. I bought it some years ago from a very interesting guy. He had so many more great stuff in his shop and I regret that I did not buy more. It took me some time to find the right opportunity to use that lens. But I think it was worth the waiting. I am glad my friend and former workshop participant Alois Stingl came over with is wonderful ultra large format camera.
Before I could use it, it needed some cleaning, I used a cloth that was soaked with water and just put it on the lens without wiping to avoid more scratches.
I measured the lens at infinity to calculate the F-Stop. I measured 135mm and the front element was 145mm That is about a F0.9 lens. But a document I found on the internet told me its more an F 1.0 lens. Still crazy fast.
When I saw the yellow coating on the front element of the lens, I thought about Mathieu Stern’s video about radioactive lenses. If it really is made of Thorium, it is indeed radioactive, but only for a very small amount. Watch Mathieu’s video to learn more about this Material
Because the lens is very fast it is still dangerous. If it focuses the sun on something, it will start to burn immediately. That’s the reason you should not put the lens near a window and always put a lens cap on it.
I thought it would be interesting to calculate the crop factor of an 40x50cm ultra large format camera. If you use the common formula to calculate crop factors you will see that this plate size has a crop factor of 0.0067 compared to a full frame sensor. With that you also can calculate the comparable depth of field F-Stop. This would also be F 0.067 compared to F 1.0 on a full frame camera. When I tried to focus on the ground glass, I could barley find something in focus. Thats why you see me focusing for a very long time.
But there is more. a 140mm lens is a tele lens on a full frame camera, but it’s a wide angle lens on an ultra large format camera. This is because of the bigger plate size of the ULF camera. listen to my full explanation in the video.
To “connect” the lens to the camera, I designed and printed a basic flange in Tinkercad. It needed some pool line and tape, but eventually it worked out.
The next issue was the fact that my darkroom was not made for 40x50cm plates. only for 30x40cm ones. After some tests with smaller plates, we only had one cup of developer left. Beside that, everything starts to get unpleasantly expensive if you pour on plates with this size. So my goal was to make it work with only one attempt. I did some dry runs to get comfortable with everything. Not only the dark room work was something I had to prepare for, but also the camera. These old beauties all have some quirks. Besides that, Alois made a beautiful plate holder by himself. These holder needed also some special attention. But as explained in the video, I love these challenges. It makes the result at the end even more sweet.
To calculate the strobe power I needed, I used my wet plate strobe calculator that I created for my Patreon supporters. Since I made it, I use it all the time for myself, because it makes life much easier with the wet plate process. If you are a fan of analog photography and the wet plate process, have a look at our wet plate conversation magazine on Flipboard. Besides many great stories about our favourite process, you’ll wind there also work from other wet plate artists.
But this is not the end, because of some kind of funny coincidence, a former workshop participant sent me a very similar lens over. I am thinking to do a still life plate with that one. What do you guys think?
But there is more, I got also a very tiny lens. I guess I need to build a camera for this one
I hope you enjoyed that journey. It took me a long time to finish everything, but I am again glad that I worked through it.
Wednesday, December 21st, 2022
Maybe you missed my exhibition, or you want to come for a portrait or a workshop. Then you have now a chance to walk with me in a brief overview through my studio.
Wednesday, November 30th, 2022
David Kriesel is a data scientist from Bonn – Germany. He was born in 1984 and is self-employed from 1998 on (at the time he was 14). Find more details here: https://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/David_Kriesel
You might know him in connection with the Xerox bug he discovered in 2013. (German version here)
David also does a lot of talks. The combination of data science and talks may sound boring to some of you. But this is only because you never watched one of David’s extremely entertaining and very interesting talks. He will explain a specific topic to you, that you probably never thought will be of any interest for you. After he finished his talk, he for sure has convinced you otherwise.
There is a quote that I like to mention from one of his talks, that made me think and smile: “Mathematics know no mercy” and that reflects for me what his talks are about. There are no shortcuts, behind every of his projects is a lot of hard work. But with that comes a lot of fun stories.
I am very grateful that David took the time to fly over from Germany with his Dad to be my sitter in front of my wet plate camera for the inspired series. I also enjoyed talking to his dad a lot, he is a wonderful person and I can see now where David got his humour from. It was great meeting both of you and so much fun. Thanks again for your time!
Wednesday, November 23rd, 2022
As you all know, I am very passionate about portrait photography. And when I shoot portraits, my main focus is always on the eyes. Eyes just attract and fascinate me. Back then when I still was shooting pool billiard tournaments, I started already a series about eyes on the pool table. Its called “the eye of pool”:
Thats the article from back then (11 years ago) https://blog.markus-hofstaetter.at/2011/08/eye-of-pool-update/
But now I wanted to go closer and create a more abstract artwork. I started with buying the Laowa 25mm Ultra Macro lens. As explained in the video, I build a whole rig with macro focusing rails and a a linear transition stage.
Eye movement, ripod movment and head movement was a big issue. For that I build a special kind of headrest.
I tried different camera/lens setups during my shootings. That is one of them
At the end I am very happy with the outcome. It was a lot of work, but for me it was totally worth it. I love how these abstract eye photographs turned out on fine art prints. If you want to get a signed fine art print, contact me here: http://contact.mhaustria.com for prints from my shop visit http://prints.mhaustria.com. If you are an ophthalmologist and want to work with me on some of the images, please let me know and contact me.
Wednesday, June 1st, 2022
Exciting news, a wonderful exhibition is coming up where a lot of my wet plates are shown in a big format. The Exhibition is called “Kopf, Herz, Hand” that translates to “Head, Heart, Hand” and shows artist that put passion and craftsmanship into their work. The Vernissage is on the 17th of June at 5pm at the Rathausplatz in 3680 Persenbeug. It also includes a guided tour through all artworks. I would be super happy if I meet you guys there.
Beside that I also talk about what are the benefits to support me as a patron http://patron.mhaustria.com , what I am working on for my upcoming videos and why you should follow me on Flipboard http://flip.mhaustria.com
Wednesday, May 18th, 2022
My inspired series is going on slowly, but for sure I captured wonderful people on metal plates. First you see Henrik Brahe. An archaeologist and photographer from Portugal. He brought me a wonderful book of his work. Find out more about him at http://henrikbrahe.com He visited with his beautiful wife Sanne. I could not resist to capture them together as well.
Gerhard Sokol is a well know photographer who captured history with his work. But after all these years in photography, he did not stop there, he went on to work with lots of different techniques. He also published a book recently that tis worth to buy. you can find his work and book on https://www.bilderges.at
More information about the Book (with beautiful prints and stories) and the Inspired Series: http://inspired.mhaustria.com
Wednesday, May 4th, 2022
Corrine of www.corrinewestmedia.co.uk booked a wet plate workshop before the pandemic started. Two years later we were finally able to do it. The main subject was to get comfortable with the wet collodion process and to create images similar to the ones of spirit photographer William H. Mumler. Mr. Mumler created images (probably double exposures) where his clients could take a picture with their deceased relatives. The photograph of Mary Todd Lincoln with the “ghost” of her husband (Abraham Lincoln) was his most famous one. Corrine found my double exposure wet plates and that was the reason she contacted me in the first place. About two months before the workshop Corrine surprised me with a question: “Can we build a wet plate camera together?”. I talked with a friend and after a long visit at a DIY market I was sure that we can do it. A DIY Camera and capturing ghosts, that sounds like a fun workshop for me 🙂
I could not capture everything in the video, because I was focused to deliver a great workshop experience. So let me explain a bit here. I build a diy camera kit so to say. But I did not want to build everything. It was important for me that we put the major parts together in person, to really create a camera and an understanding how a camera works.
It took me a long time to figure everything out, I wanted to create a diy camera, that is adaptable and upgradeable without any special parts. It also should be able to shoot portraits and landscape and if something breaks, just go to your diy marked and get a replacement part. The only thing needed is my self designed camera back. I wanted to invent/adapt something that you can get in the market, but I was without luck finding such a part. The 3D printed design took many hours and a lot of filament to work as expected.
For the lens I went for a 150mm Leitz Dimaron (F2.8), Elmaron (F2.8) or Hektor (F2.5). These lenses have three things in common. 150mm is kind of a “normal” lens for the 4×5 large format and they all have the same diameter and not too expensive if you buy them online. All of them are pretty sharp as well as you could see in the video (this was a Dimaron)
The camera and lens support is build like this one in that posting: Camera and Lens support
For the Film/Plate holder I decided to go for the std international 4×5 holders. I had them water jet cut for a clean look and we modified it with silver wires, because these are more resistant against acid and fit into the silver nitrate workflow
We were super happy with our first result. The portrait looked awesome and the resolution of the lens is great. When you look closely at the video you will see, that we used two boxes for portrait distance.
Here is a detail scan of Corrine’s eye – pretty impressive result of a 4×5 plate shot with a self made camera and a projection lens.
For the spirit photographs that are inspired by Mr. Mumler we wend for wet plate double exposures.
To make our live easier, we marked all positions with sticky tape on the ground.
We decided to use my Dallmeyer 3B Petzval lens for the first double exposure, because it fits better to the time when the original images were captured.
The second double exposure was a bit more modern, but also should get the ghost look. For that we used a Zeiss 300mm F4.5 Tessar lens. This lens is pretty new (about 2ß-30 years old) and is very crisp. I thought that makes more sense for this kind of image and also fits to the story (see caption of the image)
What a great 3 Day workshop that was. We created so many different portraits. (more in the gallery) and time flew so fast. At this point I want to say thanks again to Corrine for visiting my workshop and trusting me with the camera design. I looking forward to see what she will do for her PHD with the wet collodion process.
Wednesday, April 27th, 2022
Sometimes I ask myself, how do I get myself always into these enormous projects. Maybe this is how everything is supposed to be in my life. Or somebody putting these big pieces of work in front of my and tries to find out if I will ever give up. But thats where I a have to disappoint, I hardly give up on something.
I was looking for a bigger Scanner for many years, because I wanted to be able to scan my ultra large format wet plates. In the video bellow you can watch my full story. Underneath the video I will go into some details. Find out at the bottom of that post how you can support me and my work to make this postings/videos possible.
Here are some details about the Screen Cezanne Scanner:
- 53x34cm (13.4″ x 20.9″) reflective & transparency scan surface
- 32-bit CMYK, 48-bit RGB, 8-bit grayscale
- Interface SCSI II
- supported formats TIFF; DPS; DCS; SCITEX CT; JPEG; YCC
- 73kg heavy
- Software: Color Genius 2.1 and 1
Picking it up and bringing it home was a bit of a challenge. But somehow we managed to get it into my studio. Please be sure if you get yourself such a beast, that you put it into lock position before you transport it. Then you can also unmount its wing. Check the Maintenance guide here
Get as much information as possible from the large format forum thread https://www.largeformatphotography.info/forum/showthread.php?33565-Screen-Cezanne-Users-Unite
Yes, I could have just used the Power Mac (433mhz) that came with the Scanner and it would have been all over. But, then I had to use the use Firewire hdd, or USB 1 connections. Did anybody of you guys ever tried to copy large image files via usb 1.1? So USB 1.1 transfers with about 12 mbit, thats little under one megabyte a second. Believe me, you don’t won’t to copy many gigabytes over that connection. Other than that, the original Mac was pretty slow wit MacOs 9. All tools I describe here are listed here list.mhaustria.com
Thats the reason I got a used Power Mac G4 Quicksilver with dual 1.2 ghz and 2gig (I said wrongly 4gb in the video) of ram. You can see in the video how cool it is and that it came with an Apple Cinema Display in its original packaging.
While I set everything up, I got a scary surprise over night, luckily nothing was damaged. More about that in the video.
Even it was much faster, I needed to upgrade it with an USB 2 card (be sure to get one with a specific new chipset – (links to it at and everything else here list.mhaustria.com), an ssd, a Power Domain 2930 SCSI card (I got a sealed one, check it out in the video) and an PATA/SATA Adapter. This made the Mac really quick.
Long story short, cloning (with carbon copy cloner) everything on the ssd, did not bring any success. Because the old MacOS 9 would not run on the new Mac and the preinstalled Mac OS X would not support the SCSi controller.
Thats why I installed http://macos9lives.com and MacOS X 10.3.2 Panther from the apple website. MacOS creates easily a multi boot when you install one OS after the previous one. To connect remotely with screen sharing form Mac OS X to Mac OS X you just have to enable the feature. For Mac OS9 install this one: https://www.macintoshrepository.org/155-vine-vnc-server-3-5-for-os9
As you can se ein the video, coping files over 1gb ethernet connection is great. I can get about 60 Megabyte a second out of it. that is more than 60 times faster than usb 1.1
Now everything was setup and ready, I worked on a ultra large format wet plate. That was a great opportunity to see what the scanner can do. This is a 30x40cm collodion wet plate. Shot on an ultra large format camera with a Voigtländer Heliar Universal 360mm F 4.5 Lens
Now it is time for the first scans. The results are amazing. Just a little hint for reflective scans. Always try to use a black background, otherwise you get light bleeding into your image. The files this scanner produces are beautiful. There eis not much need of any post processing. That saves so much time. I love it.
For wet plate workshops (Nassplattenworkshops) check ws.mhaustria.com. For portraits wetplate.art or (German/Deutsch) wetplate.at and if you want to see more street portraits check street-portraits.eu
Also the negatives and positives look great. Check out the Gallery for more impressions
Thursday, February 3rd, 2022
Finally the inspired series goes on. Check the project page and register for news about the book here: inspired.mhaustria.com .
I met Hans by accident when I bought a part for my tripod on Ebay. After some calls we decided to do a project together. Check the outcome of it here: https://blog.markus-hofstaetter.at/2021/09/a-170-year-old-process-and-high-end-food-photography/ When I worked with Hans Gerlach this project, his passion about cooking and setting up a scene on a plate inspired me. Every tiny little thing was placed carefully and at the end of every session I got to eat the most wonderful food you can imagine. In the first portrait he hold a pair of tweezers, a tool he used a lot during our work together.
I met Christian the first time during a Menschenbilder exhibition. He invited us to visit his atelier in Graz. It was a great experience to get a private tour through all these famous artworks of well known photographers. He organises lots of other exhibitions, one of them was the amazing Steve McCurry in Graz. Backlit portraits in an enormous size. Steve McCurry inspired me a lot and standing in front of these huge portraits made my eyes wet. You can find more about this exhibition here: https://blog.markus-hofstaetter.at/2021/08/news-amazing-steve-mccurry-exhibition-and-a-waterhouse-stop-database/
Christian is also an internationally popular commercial and magazine photographer. His work is stunning. Lots of people here in Austria know his famous chocolate covered portrait of Mr. Zotter of Zotter Chocolate
This Storie starts a little bit different. I met Wolfgang during a wet plate portrait session in Graz. He came up to me ans asked if I could do a portrait of him in his lighthouse keeper outfit. Austria is not famous for lighthouses, so I was interested what is behind all of this. He die a lot in his life, he was a forma photographer, he has a Diploma in Education for people with special needs, he worked as a photographer for the army and much more. He then had a rough time and needed to step back. He still needs help with some tasks, but at some point he decided for himself, that this can not be everything and started to help people who are in the need of help. With that he brings light into their lives.
It was a busy shooting day, but I figured If I let him sit down by the window with his little lighthouse, it makes the most of sense.