Monday, January 9th, 2023

How to load Analog FIlm into a Sony A7 – An Analog Portrait Photographers view of the upcoming year 2023 and why AI is not the End

My own prediction about what will photography be in the future and what I will do about it

I am not doing a rewind or recap this year. I think there are too many of these out there and I have mostly the feeling it’s only a fill-in. You can watch my “end of 2022 studio tour” video or my recent scanner renovation video if you want to watch something instead of reading this article.

This rose was so beautiful on the last day of the year. I saw her when I put some treats on the trees for the birds. It survived the cold temperatures and is still standing. It reminded me that I am a similar plant that is still standing during that turbulent times of photography

The pink elephant in the room

It’s there, and everybody is seeing it (Also non photographers). Some people are scared, some are angry and others ignore it. What I am talking about? AI, like Midjourney, Dall-E or the text focused chatGPT. This will not change our world, it changed it already. The ai integration in our lives started a little sneaky, with some cool filters for example, google recaptcha, or enhancements for our phone cameras. Text-wise, we had chat bots that were mostly bad and voice assistants that were somewhere inbetween. Close your eyes and paint your own picture about how you felt about ai at the beginning of 2022. And now face reality and think how much it has improved in the last 5 Months and how much it improves now on a daily bases. For me it’s crazy how great these generated images/portraits look like and how they get better by the hour. It gets harder and harder for me to identify these generated images. I think these “calculated” pictures can be very useful sometimes and many of them look great.

I wrote a German article for c’t Fotografie (online pay or paper magazine) about this topic, you can read it here: https://www.heise.de/select/ct-foto/2023/1/2219314550220514230 This includes also an interview with an portrait artist that uses ai: Klaudia Ratzinger

My ai article for the c’t Fotografie magazine – this includes also an interview with the ai artist Klaudia Ratzinger

But I also think that all these generated images should have a digital watermark, so social media and websites can tag them as generated. People need to know if that image they are looking at is real or generated. I know that there is Photoshop as well, but these ai tools can be operated form a 5 year old and the results will fool you. Ai affects already so many business, not only photography, but also writers, lawyers, translators, book authors and many many more. I recently saw an article that a guy used chatGPT to create a children’s book. He also asked chatGPT to write down descriptions for pictures, so other ai picture generators can create imagery for the book from this description. He is selling the finished product now on Amazon. I also read a reddit thread where there was the need for a letter from a lawyer. Somebody asked chatGPT to write a letter and the user asking for a lawyer letter had success with it. You don’t have any programming skills? just ask chatGPT to write a script/program for you.

“Words can be powerful” gets a totally new meaning these days.
Talking with chatGPT can also be hilarious – more at the end of this posting

There is so much more you can do with chatGPT

Does that mean we need to be scared as a photographer? I don’t think so. Let me explain:

  • At the beginning of photography, painters were upset because photographers had no idea about posing and light. Of course it was much easier to get a portrait from one day to another. That changed crime scene documentation totally.
  • Later black and white film photographers were upset about color film photography.
  • At the beginning of 2000, film photographers were upset about digital photography
  • And later digital photographers were upset about phone cameras
  • And now the same discussion starts with ai generated images. Even we use ai already for many years in our phones (or how do you think it was possible to capture a detailed moon photo with your phone?)

And today all these mentioned techniques are still coexisting. That’s why I think they will also coexist in the future. I think good photographers must be “stage managers” these days. They need to sell an experience. Something the customer will remember for a very long time. For example, when somebody gets their wet plate portrait taken in my studio, they for sure will remember that forever.

Lara, from my inspired wet plate portrait series – more at inspired.mhaustria.com

This kind of photography is so different in our fast moving world. Sure, people could use a tintype filter. But that is like seeing a great dinner on a photograph instead of going there and enjoying it. Or think of a wet plate workshop, or any other kind of photography workshop. Creating something by yourself is always exciting and fun.

Workshops are always fun

This works also for digital. I just had a business shooting for two days and this can be a great experience as well. People were excited and happy.

I do lots of business shootings, most of them are for bigger companies, but also single ones like this one of Mathieu Stern.

I think that may be a different story for non portrait photographers, like food, architecture or product photographers. But a lot of companies are working already with generated (3D renderings) images for their catalogs. And as far as I know, these generated images are directed by photographers.
Please comment how you think other photography business will be affected by ai.

Relax

That is something I am not very good of. I have so much in my mind and want to do everything at once. But I try to go for walks every day to relax. Instead of my camera, I bring my new binoculars with me. I got myself some cool ones for Christmas (US click here – German click here for the ones I bought). So why I am telling you this? Because I felt the need sometimes to bring my camera to my walks, to capture deers, swans and other wildlife scenes. The binoculars are a great substitute for that. They will calm you down, because you can not use them to take pictures. I use them to watch wildlife and enjoy it a lot.

Watching these sparrows is so much fun

My new year resolutions for 2023

Don’t seek for perfect wet plate portraits all the time, accept the one you did and appreciate it. Look for more assignments that you enjoy and less that you don’t. Work more on your own projects you love.

this is one of my very first wet plates. that was about 8+ years ago.

How to load analog film into a Sony A7 digital camera?

Let’s end this post with something fun. I asked chatGPT some questions about wet plate and analog photography. And at the end, chatGPT ended up explaining me how to load film into a Sony A7 camera and why medium format film would not fit in. And no worries, the sensor cleaning and the ibis of the Sony A7 will not destroy your film either. And if you ever looked for a film rewind button on your digital camera, chat GPT got you covered. In that case chatGPT acts like a little child that made a mistake and makes up more facts to cover it. Please be aware that all other answers about the wet plate process and so on contains also false information (I won’t explain everything, but for insiders it’s fun to read). As always, if you are interested in that process, take a workshop or read a book (chatGPT tells you the same). Enjoy the answers guys (You need to open some screenshots in a new browser tab to be able to read them):

How does a digital camera that loads analog film look like?

I asked that question Midjourney and got these results 🙂

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    Wednesday, December 14th, 2022

    Bringing a Cheap 24 Year Old High-End Scanner Back to Life – It’s mind blowing

    It all started when we needed to scan some slides. With my Screen Cezanne 5000 scanner I would get an amazing quality, but it would be exhausting to do. I have an old Epson scanner that could do it, but it’s also not a very comfortable task. So I had an eye on a Agfa Duoscan Hid scanner. These scanners scan film without the need of a glass. That makes things much easier. They are also great flatbed scanners. With that I take more care about my valuable Screen scanner. The lamps of it are not longer available, when they break its over. But as always it was more difficult to get this scanner up an running than I thought. It needed lots of cleaning and my first idea about a fitting computer was also not my best one.

    The Scenic Mobile 800 was ahead of its time back then, but now to slow to work as a scan server.
    Overhead projectors are obsolete since a long time, but back then it was amazing what that laptop could do.
    Scanning without the need of glas – a great benefit of this scanner.
    The scanner was very dirty and in the need of many cleanings. I cleaned it 4 times until it worked as expected. Whenever you open the scanner, you must be very careful. First of all disconnect power and SCSI. The Manual mentions also high voltage inside the scanner, I guess they’re mean capacitors or something like that. I already tried to clean the “bottom scanner” that takes care of the film scanning. I could barley see it with a little mirror, but not reach it. And dismounting the main scan unit was way too risky. I think I would never get the scanner calibrated again.
    I was very happy for the SilverFast support. I had some issues, that were very specific to my configuration. Also the software is great for scanning film. Check out their website here : https://www.silverfast.com
    This scan of one of my moste favourite portraits (Phoebe) was done with the Screen Cezanne and is very similar to the Agfa, see the video for more details

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  • Posted by Markus | Filed in collodion, diy, Gear, scanning, wetplate | Comment now »

     

    Wednesday, September 14th, 2022

    A free wet plate/tintype?

    Sounds crazy but it is possible, if you support me on Patreon (from the second tier), you will get early access to add free videos, live streams (shooting and discussing wet plates), support and troubleshooting and after a year a free one of a kind wet plate sent to you. Check my Patreon page here: https://www.patreon.com/mhaustria

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  • Posted by Markus | Filed in collodion, preparation, tintype, wetplate | Comment now »

     

    Wednesday, September 7th, 2022

    Freilichtmuseum Salzburg Wet Plate Experience (rainy days)

    Wet plate in the rain? Sure thats why its called wet plate 🙂 We had a great time in Salzburg and it was a pleasure to be there again. It’s great to do portraiture in these wonderful old houses. You have to visit this museum when you are nearby. It is totally worth it. The best time would be when I shoot portraits there 😉

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    Wednesday, August 31st, 2022

    Wet Plate Expedition Part II – more portraits

    In the first part of the expedition video I gave you the relaxing vibe I experienced there. In the second part want to give you some different views. I may have only shot one wet plate portrait for my inspired series of Lara Ješe. But I also shot two rolls of Kodak Vision 500 35mm film with my Canon EOS 50E camera. This film is hand cut in Vienna at lab of Mr. Wolczak. The lab also mixes the chemicals by them self to match the Kodak recipe. The results are the original Kodak Vision look. I love how this film renders colors. At the end of the workshop I set up a tiny photo studio with a strobe. I shot there portraits in digital and also with my Mamiya 645 afd II with two rolls of Ilford Pan F Plus 50. I pushed the film with one stop. And now comes the funny part. As you can imagine, I used the same setting on both rolls. And both rolls were develop together with the same chemicals. But somehow one roll has a totally different look (what I love). More about in the video. Thanks again for everybody for being such a great community and see you next you again at Borut’s event

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    Tuesday, August 23rd, 2022

    A Wet Plate Collodion Experience in Slovenia

    I went to Slovenia to join Borut Peterlin’s Wet Plate Experience. It was great and I had finally some time to slow down and find myself again. There were so many nice people there. I am glad I met everyone of you. I hope to see you guys again next year. This video reflects how I felt there and how it slowed me down. In a second part I will show an analog portrait series and talk a bit more about my experience there. You will also find another Artist in the video who joined my inspired series – Let me introduce you to Lara Ješe – Lara Ješe is an artist who loves to express her inner worlds through animal shapes. Step into her menagerie anytime and bring some snacks for the horses..

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    Wednesday, July 27th, 2022

    Darkroom Home Automations

    Even I am an analog guy, I am not shy to bring new technologies to my darkroom. With the wet collodion process I always try to avoid touching anything unnecessarily. So I build some home automations to assist me with that. Every analog photographer knows the struggle. You work in your darkroom and in this very moment you don’t want to be disturbed. Just imagine, somebody opening the door and your film/paper/plate is exposed to light. For sure, you just can mount a red light on the entrance door and you are safe. But in my case (and I am pretty sure I am not the only one), I have a main entrance to the darkroom and two other doors. One door leads to my studio and the other door to my pouring room. That means if any of these doors are open, it is safe to enter the darkroom. If I just would have a red light on the main entrance door, it would be hard to understand for my workshop participants or sitters if it is safe to enter. Thats the reason I build a solution for that with Apple Homekit (you for sure can build it also with Google/Alex or anything else). But there is more. We all have running water in our Darkrooms. And I think some people will have a water detector. But what if you have to wash something with running water and are not in your darkroom all the time? I used Homekit for that as well. I show you also a solution for measuring time without touching anything. This may be very specific to the wet collodion process, but maybe it may be helpful for others as well. The last topic is about how I feel more safe with my 3D printer.

    I looked also for Google/Alexa devices, but most of them are working with wifi instead of low power bluetooth or thread. So I am not sure if I want to recommend any of these, please let me know which ones work great and I post them here.

    Works with Homekit: Eve Energy power switch
    International https://amzn.to/3BfCqIH Germany: https://amzn.to/3cEAH5s
    Eve Door sensor
    International https://amzn.to/3J3MV3S Germany: https://amzn.to/3b4PiXu
    Eve Waterguard
    Inernational: https://amzn.to/3Pxnn1n Germany: https://amzn.to/3POEJHv
    Eve smoke is not available right now, I found only this alternative from Netatmo
    https://amzn.to/3Ou6T8Z

    Works with Homekit and Google/Alexa
    Philips Hue lightstrip
    International: https://amzn.to/3J7jnlR Germany https://amzn.to/3cGmZzd
    Philips Hue Bridge
    International: https://amzn.to/3z6bYP9 Germany: https://amzn.to/3cxRdEl
    Philips hue switch
    International https://amzn.to/3b1NGxY Germany: https://amzn.to/3Ox1kGX

    Apple Watch app https://apps.apple.com/de/app/click-metronome/id705075264

    Water resistant JBL BT Speaker (new version
    International: https://amzn.to/3Be74Cj Germany: https://amzn.to/3J4DKjA

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  • Posted by Markus | Filed in 3d print, collodion, darkroom, nassplatte | 4 Comments »

     

    Wednesday, July 20th, 2022

    How To make Waterhouse Stops for antique lenses Part II

    In todays video I show you guys how to make Waterhouse stop if you do not have any existing ones.

    Support me on patreon http://patreon.mhaustria.com/
    Visit my flipboard http://flip.mhaustria.com/

    Waterhouse Stop Database: http://waterhousestops.mhaustria.com
    Gerald’s video about aperture & f-stop https://youtu.be/OaSq0ES1ArE
    Website about measuring waterhouse stops: https://apenasimagens.com/en/measuring-lens-aperture/

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  • Posted by Markus | Filed in 3d print, video, waterhouse stop, wetplate | Comment now »

     

    Wednesday, June 29th, 2022

    Great Exhibitions in Austria with my Portraits and more

    I am very exited about these exhibitions! In the first exhibition, at the beautiful Ottenstein Castle are presented 5 pieces of my work. This place is amazing! The exhibition in Persenbeug shows 10 huge pieces of my work directly at the Danube – the exhibition is called Kopf Herz Hand (Head Heart Hand) and is about passionate artists. The Festival La Gacilly in Baden is also a must see. With 7km length and about 1500 images it is amazing. I had my Work there shown the last three years, but did not make it this year.

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    Wednesday, June 1st, 2022

    Exhibition invitation and more

    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

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  •