SoCal PhotoExchange

LACP Open House March 16-18, 2018 — Classes, Events, Photobook and Portfolio Day March 17 With Douglas Stockdale & Special Guests

Posted in Books & Magazines, Photo Art Business, Photo books, Photo Workshops, Photographers, tPE members by Gerhard Clausing on February 24, 2018

 

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Photo courtesy of Douglas Stockdale, Founder/Editor of The PhotoBook Journal

 

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Join LACP for our Sixth Annual
Spring Open House


Featuring workshops, panel discussions, portfolio & photo book walk, raffle prizes, vendors, food, drink and much more!!


March 16th – 18th, 10 am – 5 pm

 

On Friday, March 16, 10 am – 5 pm, bring your old, used camera equipmentand turn it into cash! 

  • KEH Camera will be at LACP all day buying used photo equipment
    On Saturday, March 17th, 10 am – 5 pm, celebrate the Photo Book with workshops, panel discussions, portfolio walks and more!

 

Saturday, March 17, 10 am – 5 pm

On Saturday, March 17th, 10 am – 5 pm, celebrate the Photo Book with workshops, panel discussions, portfolio walks and more!

10:15-11:00 am – “Photo Book Pre-Visualization” taught by  Douglas Stockdale, Founder/Editor, The PhotoBook Journal
$20 for Members; $40 for Non-Members

11:15 am-12:00 pm – “Self-Publishing for Photographers: Blurb Books” with Dan Milnor,
$20 for Members; $40 for Non-Members

12:30-1:30 pm – Free Panel Discussion, “How to Get Your Photo Book Published,
moderated by Douglas Stockdale, Founder/Editor, The PhotoBook Journal
Panelists include Dan Milnor, Cat Gwynn, and more (TBA).

2:30-4:30 pm – Free Portfolio and Photo Book Walk featuring the work of LACP Members  (contact info@lacphoto.org to sign up for a table space)

Throughout the day:
• There will be various organizations and vendors present including ASMP Los Angeles, Hahnemühle, Freestyle, Blurb, The Artist Corner, and more!
• Raffle tickets available and prize drawings!
• Complimentary lunch (served from 1:30 – 2:30 pm)
• Complimentary wine and beer (served from 1:30-4:30 pm)

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Sunday, March 18, 10 am – 5 pm

  • Come take part in one of several of our 17 “mini” classes and seminars.  A full day pass is only $100!!

10:00 am:
1) “Portraiture: An Artistic Journey” with Ken Merfeld
2) “Understanding Your Camera’s Features” with Peter Bennett

11:00 am:
1) “Introduction to the Documentary World” with Kevin Weinstein
2) “Let’s Talk Lenses” with Peter Bennett
3) “Creating Worlds and Stories with Photomontage” with Ry Sangalang

12:00 pm:
1) “Portrait Studio Lighting” with Jennifer Emery
2) “The Singular Vision” with Andrew Southam
3) “Optimizing Your Images in Camera Raw Before using Photoshop” with Ed Freeman

2:00 pm:
1) “Street Photography Essentials” with Ibarionex Perello
2) “Moving Your Career Forward: Steps to Success for Photographers” with Sherrie Berger
3) “Black & White Conversion using Lightroom” with Rollence Patugan

3:00 pm:
1) “Crash Flash” with Julia Dean
2) “Best Practices Using Social Media for Photographers” with Paul-Michael Carr, TBA
3) “Monitor Calibration” with Eric Joseph

4:00 pm:
1) “How to Teach Photography” with Julia Dean
2) TBA
3) “Digital Printmaking Primer” with Eric Joseph

  • Click HERE to sign up for the classes.  (Please note not all classes are posted yet.)
    • Individual classes are $20 for Members; $40 for Non-Members. Sign up now! Seating is limited.
    A one-day Sunday pass is $100 for Members; $200 for Non-Members.

The Open House is all about community. It’s a time and place for all those interested in photography and the arts to come together and meet, socialize, learn, laugh and grow. Network with other artists, try your luck at some terrific raffle prizes, sell your used camera equipment, meet organizational vendors, take some classes and more! Whatever your pleasure may be, we encourage you to spend a weekend with us, invite your family and friends, and enjoy some good camaraderie, fellowship and fun!

A Time and Place for the
Photo Community to Come Together

 

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Photo Book as Art – Artist talk and discussion of Middle Ground

Posted in Books & Magazines, Photo Art Business, Photo books, Photography, tPE members by douglaspstockdale on February 23, 2018

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America (Middle Ground Book dummy #2) 2016 copyright Douglas Stockdale

For those on the left coast next week, I am very happy to announce that I will be speaking on “Photo Books as Art” for the Photographic and Digital Artist Group (PADA) at the Palos Verdes Art Center (PVAC) on Wednesday, February 28, 2018 at 7 pm. For non-members there is a $10.00 fee, with the good news is that you will also be in the drawing for one of my photobooks.

Additionally this will be the first opportunity I will have to introduce my current photobook project, Middle Ground, a political satire (political protest book).

The PADA announcement:

DOUGLAS STOCKDALE TO SPEAK ON “PHOTOBOOKS AS ART” at PVAC WEDNESDAY, FEB 28
Douglas Stockdale, artist, educator, mentor and founding publisher of The PhotoBook Journal will give photographers tips on using photobooks as a way of presenting their portfolios and as works of art in themselves at the Palos Verdes Art Center (PVAC) on Wednesday, February 28, 2018 at 7 pm. At this meeting, sponsored by the Photographic and Digital Artists Group (PADA), Stockdale will review selections by the editors of The PhotoBook Journal for their “Interesting Photo Books for 2017”. 

The books to be discussed will be available at the presentation and can be previewed on The PhotoBook Journal website

Admission to this event for non-PADA members is $10 and automatically enters the ticket holder in a drawing for one of the speaker’s books.

Two of Stockdale’s limited edition artist books were recognized, respectively, as one of the Best Photography Books for 2017 and 2014. He has curated/juried photobook exhibitions for Photo Independent and Fotografia Internazionale di Roma, Rome, and co-curated with 10×10 Photobooks and FotoBookFestival Kassel (Germany) and was a guest curator for LA Photo Curator.

The PhotoBook Journal Features & promotes photographers & artists & their published work

Hope to see you there.

 

Cheers!

Doug

Minor White’s Zone System Manual revisited

Posted in Photo techniques, Photography by douglaspstockdale on February 20, 2018

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Minor White Zone System Manual, Fourth printing, copyright 1972 with 19% Gray card

Earlier this month when discussing the Pentax Spotmeter V, I had stated that this was a pretty essential piece of photographic equipment when using the Zone System. I have received some questions about the Zone System and I thought it might be a great idea to expand on what the Zone System is as well as what it is NOT.

First the easy part; the Zone System does not do the thinking for you. As the late Ansel Adams and Minor White stated the Zone System is an enabling technology that allows the photographer to achieve the results that they would like to see in the finish print/image, which in the 1960’s and 70’s is called previsualization. If a photographer wanted certain areas in the photograph print (image) to have some texture/information, it enables them to make an exposure that will exhibit that texture/information in the final print (image).

Adams tried to explain the theory behind the Zone System which became too technical and complicated and it was later that the late Minor White broke it down into the simple terms that belie the basic ideas of the Zone System. To underline the simplicity was White’s famous little yellow Zone System Manual. As you can see of my cover above, the price in 1972 was pretty inexpensive (and I bought it for an even cheaper price at what is now Costco). The one issue with this older book is that it is a perfect bound (glued) book with many of the pages falling out; so it remains togther in my zip-lock plastic baggie.

The Zone System is about understanding light and luminescence (reflected light) such that in bright sunlight, the luminescence range that your eye can detect is broader than the sensitivity of either analog film or a digital sensor. As example for digital capture, if you have a sunny day and your image capture has highlights that are blown out (no texture or complete white-out), then you understand the need for exposure control. The Zone System is essentially the color management system of its day.

What Adams and Fred Archer did in the late 1930’s is evaluate the luminescence scale is in ten steps; from white without texture (Zone 10) to black without texture (Zone 1). The 18% Gray card is Zone 5, right in the middle, which is also the same value your meter, whether digital capture or an analog Spotmeter reads. If you have ever photographed a large area of white snow, but obtain a middle gray (muddy appearing) photograph/image, you may now understand why. Your digital sensor thought that it was metering 19% gray subject and auto exposed to provide that image contrast range.

The real idea behind the Zone System and previsualization is to have an ability to take light meter readings of a proposed composition, understand the luminescence of the brightest area that you wanted to retain some texture (information) as well as the darkest area of texture, then calculate what your exposure should be. For analog black and white film there are some additional processing tricks to either obtain expansions (the subject’s contrast was too limited) or contractions (the subject’s contrast was too great) of the film’s development to attempt to match the intended final darkroom print, as well as some processing tricks to expand or contract the contrast of the printing paper.

The equivalent for digital photography is to look at the histogram of the image capture and then make a determination to either adjust the exposure or anticipate making some post-processing contrast adjustments with software like Photoshop (i.e. curve layer). As stated above, the digital sensors are very sensitive with bright lights and can lose information, even with shooting RAW, so you might error on a slight underexposure to capture the highlight values. For analog black & white film, the opposite is true, there is a potential to lose detail in the dark values of a negative, thus a tendency to slightly overexpose the film to make sure that the dark values are captured by the film.

If you are having issues with your film or digital capture exposures and you are not getting your intended image results (what you had previsualized), then you might want to spend some time understanding the basics behind the Zone System.

Cheers!

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An Image in Honor of President’s Day

Posted in Photographers, Photography, Uncategorized by Gerhard Clausing on February 19, 2018

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© 2017 Gerhard Clausing

 

After the last presidential election, I created the self-portrait above (with some distortion) to express my feelings. And isn’t that really the main purpose of photography and art in general?

While I have been a citizen of the United States for over 50 years and have great respect for this country and the office of the President, I have had great qualms ever since this last election campaign was underway. I feel that much of what we believe in has been seriously distorted. Surely we deserve better than such divisive tactics and insulting rhetoric? And now that the occupant of that office has engaged in many shenanigans for over a year, perhaps on a day like this we should ask ourselves if we are worthy of better representation: someone who does not get elected with the help of foreign propaganda and fake news, someone who does not want to spend our money on “walls,” someone who does not emphasize tax breaks for the super wealthy, someone who does not use the government to solicit business for his own family’s enterprises?

Your mileage may vary from mine. Please send your comments and images that express your own emotions and opinions, so we may have a lively exchange here! That is what a real photo exchange is all about.

 

Happy President’s Day!

Gerry

 

 

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The Extraordinary Art of Tami Bahat

Posted in Photo Art Business, Photo Galleries, Photograph Exhibits, Photographers, Photography by Gerhard Clausing on February 9, 2018

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Tami Bahat’s vision transcends time and space. When I met her for the first time some years ago, I was fully convinced that she was some sort of ethereal spirit that had been placed in my path as a reality check to reevaluate our contemporary upheaval through renaissance eyes. Not only does she have a gentle, forthcoming way of interacting with everyone, she is also a most insightful and creative artist whose work is both abstract and natural, both modern and history-laden, all wrapped up into each individual image, delightful to contemplate and appreciate. Incredible! As Will Geer once said, “it needs to come from the heart,” and Tami Bahat’s creative inventiveness is certainly full of heart and intellect as well.

Let me take you on a small preview of her current solo exhibition, “Revisiting Humanity: Secrets and Lifetimes,” shown at the Building Bridges Art Exchange gallery at Bergamot Station Art Center in Santa Monica, only through February 17, with a special closing reception from 6 to 9 that evening. Don’t miss this exhibit! There is no substitute for seeing the actual work and its gallery presentation, the superb prints as presented by Tami in gorgeous frames.

Marisa Caichiolo has curated Tami’s work into outstanding settings, generously presented, on a level of quality that art museums would be proud of. The subdued lighting is perfect for the mysterious work that looks as if it might have been created in a different time, yet, on closer examination, is so modern. We are confronted with a variety of figures that seem to serve in important roles in their own space and time, both of which remain mainly undefined, for the viewer to puzzle over. The figures are shown in a very theatrical manner against dark backgrounds, lit interestingly to give a pleasant, yet somewhat Kafkaesque effect; at the same time we feel an urge to place them somewhere in time, perhaps some centuries ago. And yet we can’t quite pinpoint where they belong or what they might be feeling, as their expressions are fairly neutral. This is where the viewers are enticed to do their part and to project themselves into what appears like a stylized historical tableau with contemporary psychology thrown in to startle us a bit. Some of the figures are shown together with other creatures or in the process of engaging in activities, with a clear mantle of other centuries and an unseen director (a puppet master, or possibly the Establishment) hovering over the whole enterprise. The shadows know … there can be danger in some of what’s in you or around you, or it can be lovable, or anything in between. There is an astonishing obliviousness that we observe. We want to caution the characters … watch out – some of the creatures present may not be as complacent as the momentary stillness might imply! Look at the images below and judge for yourself. Better yet, go see the exhibit and immerse yourself in Tami’s world of art.

Other series that Tami previously created also show her skills in translating emotions into images. Shades of Man Ray, Ralph Eugene Meatyard and William Mortensen, but with a very unique contemporary twist: the series “Reflection,” “Subsurface,” and “Wildlife,” exhibiting varying levels of abstraction and exquisite compositional arrangements, challenge the viewer to question form and purpose of life itself – implicit in her images displaying ambiguous beauty and tension. One example from each of these three other series is shown below. I invite you to view more of Tami’s work on her website.

We expect many more great projects from Tami Bahat in the future!

Gerhard Clausing

 

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The Dispute

 

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The Housekeeper

 

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The Fishmonger

 

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The Maid

 

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The Twins

 

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Divergence

 

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High and Low

 

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Inseparable

 

Image No. 1 above: © Gerhard Clausing, Nos. 2-13: © Tami Bahat

 

 

 

 

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John Montich at El Camino College Feb. 12 – Mar. 8; Art Palm Springs Feb. 16-19 this year

Posted in Photo Galleries, Photograph Exhibits, Photographers, Photography by Gerhard Clausing on February 8, 2018

John Montich will show the largest Cibachrome print he has ever done at the Moving Line Exhibit at El Camino College Gallery in Torrance. He will also participate in an artist talk on February 22 at 1 p.m. Further details can be found here (check the current exhibition link).

The Art Palm Springs Show will take place from February 16 to 19 this year. A discussion of the work of Andy Warhol (Feb. 16) will be one of the highlights, Further details can be found here.

 

Moving Line ad revA

 

2018-02-08 12_34_11-Art Palm Springs – Art Palm Springs

 

 

Pentax Spotmeter V – User Report

Posted in Camera equipment, Photo techniques, Photography by douglaspstockdale on February 7, 2018

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Pentax Spotmeter V 2017 copyright Douglas Stockdale

For my analog/film photography, I have been a long time user of spotmeters, my first was made by Soligor and when I dropped that too many times, I replaced it with the Pentax Spotmeter V. The Spotmeter V is an analog spotmeter that has since been replaced by Pentax with a digital version. The meter will measure the luminescence of a very precise area of the subject designed by a round spot much like a bullseye within the meter.

What brought me to use this precise light meter tool was my introduction into the zone system many, many years ago. In a future article I will discuss the zone system in more detail, suffice to say when using black & white film that was hand developed, there were a number of film processing tricks a photographer could use. This was predicated on the fact that they knew the lighting conditions of their subject and what the black & white values that they wanted in the resulting print. The secret trick to make this happened depended a lot on using a spot meter that could record exact light readings in various places within the subject; from the lightest values, mid values to the darkest values.

One thing that I did not like about the lesser expensive Soligor spotmeter was the undersized handle grip, which was rather annoying and maybe a reason that I dropped this delicate instrument one too many times. The Pentax in turn has a large handle and from that perspective alone is a delight to use. You can really get a grip on this little beauty.

The second was the Soligor had a two phase scale; you had one set of values with a slight squeeze of the button and if needed a different sensitivity, you squeezed a little harder to get the second set of light values. In comparison the Pentax has one continuous scale within the view finder, which is much easier to use, especially if the light values were in the mid point of the scale that for the Soligor had the readout jumping between the two values and a bit confusing to know exactly what was going on.

To use this spotmeter requires the photographer to take the value(s) viewed inside the meter and then translate it to the rotating scale on the outside of the meter, see below, to determine the required camera settings. As example, if reading a gray card (18% gray) and the meter pointed to the value of 10 & 1/2, you moved the dial to point at the 10-1/2 mark and for an ISO 100 film, you could chose a series of exposures that provide you with an appropriately exposed film (e.g. 1/15 sec at the half click between f/8 and f/11).

The final luminescence value determined for the mid-point is called the exposure index (EI) and when using the older Hassleblad lens, there is a corresponding EI scale on the lens. Thus this meter and lens make a great combination. When the EI is set on the lens, the aperture and shutter speed sequences were coupled together and locked in. A change in the aperture created a corresponding change to the exposure time. Thus a photographer could make one exposure and then quickly change the coupled exposure index settings for a different combination and still have the desired film exposure.

Although I no longer hand-process my film, I still depend on this meter to evaluate the lighting of my subject and then determine what my exposure should be.

This Pentax Spotmeter V has been a work-horse for me and has been trouble free for the past ten plus years. recommended.

Cheers!

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Report on the Classic Photographs Event at Bergamot Station Art Center in Santa Monica

Posted in Photo Art Business, Photo books, Photo Galleries, Photograph Exhibits, Photographers by Gerhard Clausing on February 6, 2018

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On Sunday, we had the pleasure of visiting the Classic Photographs Show at Bergamot Station Art Center in Santa Monica. Several folks from the Photo Exchange could be seen in attendance, among them Doug Stockdale, Larry Pribble (with his delightful wife Michele), Scott Mathews, and Bill Edwards, in addition to myself. The galleries offered visitors the work of many of the major photographers of the past as well as significant current work. The atmosphere was more intimate than at other shows and therefore very personal, with excellent opportunities for informal conversations.

Contrary to the rumors concerning Bergamot Station Art Center that were floating about, we are pleased to note that yesterday an announcement was made that this important center will continue, in enhanced form. Cheers to the city of Santa Monica and the developers!

As I had reported previously, a number of important galleries were present, as well as some notable publishers, Nazraeli Press and Marymount Institute Press (Elias Wondimu, Publisher, and Theresia de Vroom, Editor). The latter published Judy Dater’s book, Only Human, which she signed in a session that included refreshing conversation (and shared sandwiches. Please, dear organizers, let there be a food truck when the cafeteria is closed on certain days in the future!) I will be reviewing Judy’s impressive volume in The PhotoBook Journal shortly.

For us Californians, especially noteworthy galleries (in addition to fabulous out-of-state ones noted before) were  Christa Dix and her Wall Space Gallery of Santa Monica and Seattle (featuring the work of Aline Smithson et al.), Susan Spiritus Gallery in our very own Newport Beach/Irvine area (who also featured a book signing with Cat Gwynn), Michael Dawson Gallery of Los Angeles, which featured significant items for collectors, including some rare books, as did Stephen Daiter Gallery of Chicago, represented by Lucas Zenk. Rose Gallery, which also has a significant collection and resides at the Center, was also well represented.

And lo and behold, just around the corner in another building is Marisa Caichiolo’s Building Bridges Art Exchange which, though not part of this show, deserves a special mention, as they are currently featuring Tami Bahat’s solo exhibit, “Revisiting Humanity: Secrets and Lifetimes” (only through February 17, with a closing reception at 6 p.m. the last day). Her work is so fascinating that I will be devoting a special article to it shortly.

Enjoy the photos below!

Gerhard Clausing

 

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Gerhard Clausing visiting the Wall Space Gallery:  Christa Dix, Founder and Director (right), and Dani Kroll, Gallery Assistant (center)

 

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One of the many spacious gallery areas of Bergamot Station Art Center

 

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Michael Dawson and Gerhard Clausing considering the details of a Winogrand item

 

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A lively conversation with Susan Spiritus: Michele and Larry Pribble and Doug Stockdale

 

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Two Dougs and one Susan Spiritus

 

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Cat Gwynn with her book 10-Mile Radius, a testament to the positive power of art

 

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Douglas Stockdale and Debra Klomp Ching of the Clompching Gallery, viewing the work of Jennifer Thoreson (Hudson)

 

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The famous picture by Judy Dater: “Imogen and Twinka at Yosemite, 1974” offered by Scott Nichols Gallery

 

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The one and only Judy Dater and Los Angeles photographer Lisa McCord (right)

 

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Tami Bahat’s solo exhibit at Building Bridges Art Exchange

 

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Photos 1, 2, 4, 7 by Douglas Stockdale © 2018; all others by Gerhard Clausing © 2018

Super Blue Blood Moon Exhibition

Posted in Photo techniques, Photograph Exhibits, Photographers, Photography by Gerhard Clausing on February 3, 2018

The Moon has always had a strange fascination for us. Mysterious powers have been attributed to this ever-present companion of ours (there are many folk tales about it), and science has verified that we definitely need that stellar friend.

So this past week we had a convergence of several phenomena that resulted in showing us a “super blue blood” moon. A few of our members actually got up in the wee morning hours and subsequently submitted their images: Douglas Stockdale and Roger Bennett, and this exhibition honors their dedication. Doug describes the difficulties of this kind of photography in his own blog. Robert Staeck submitted a moon image as well, adding, “Well, it could have happened.” Another member, the one who is writing this post and is known for his surreal images, wanted to share a vision of the moon that he had later that morning when he finally got up. Thus image No. 4 came about, an impression showing a man in the moon with quite a different expression!

There will be more group exhibitions throughout the year! Enjoy!

Gerry

 

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© 2017 Douglas Stockdale

 

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© 2017 Roger Bennett

 

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© 2017 Robert Staeck

 

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© 2017 Gerhard Clausing

 

 

 

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Really Right Stuff ball-head system – User report

Posted in Photo techniques, Photography by douglaspstockdale on February 1, 2018

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Really Right Stuff BH-40 and mounting plate with Hasselblad 2017 copyright Douglas Stockale

The review of the Really Right Stuff (RRS) ball-head system is the second part of my series on tripod systems and last week I discussed the Gitzo carbon-fiber tripods. To create a really good camera support platform, you need to use equal parts tripod and the means to hold and position the camera system. While the tripod provides the basic support I have found that a well design tripod head can make the photographic experience a lot of fun or if not well designed it can be a lot of frustration. Having used a both a ball-head and a pan-head, I do really, really do prefer the ball-head system for the following reasons.

First, I will admit that the pan-head systems have come a long way since I purchased my all-in-one tripod that included a pan-head camera mount. From my discussions with other photographers the pan-head seems better suited for those who need precision and are not in any big hurry, such as architectural field work. Essentially you have three levers to control changes; for the vertical, horizontal and tilt. I just found it frustrating to use a pan-head as a change to one of the three levers usually entailed adjusting the other two, which is why you better not be under a time constraint.

Since my field work is usually more dynamic and after frequent struggling with a pan-head I made the change to a ball-head support system and I am glad I did. I can vouch for all of the comments that I read about the Magnum photographers almost elusively using a ball-heads as I now realize that a ball-head makes a ton of sense. Set up is fast. And faster still if the ball-head is smooth as silk in operation.

After a lot of checking and reading reviews I concluded that the camera support system made by Really Right Stuff (RRS) was my choice, although a bit more pricey, these are made by a US machine shop which is run by photographers. They have created a really nice market niche and in my book have shown that they can create one of the best ball-heads in the market that is made in the US. Lots and lots of precise metal machining going on.

I acquired the middle of the line PH-40 which is predicated on the weight of the camera system, with the BH-55 meant for the really heavy cameras, e.g. a load view camera or DSLRs with some really long lens. RRS also has some lighter and more compact ball-heads as well. At the time I bought this ball-head I still had my Mamyia RB-67 with the prism, which is a heavy beast (since changed to the Hasselblad system) and a bunch of digital cameras including a full-frame DSLR.

The ball-head weight issue for long lens (my longest zoom is the Canon 70-200 mm f/4 L lens) is with all of that heavy glass hanging out at the end of the lens acts like a big gravity lever that can result in ball-head creep. This occurs once you lock the ball-head down for your composition (or a pan-head), there might be a tiny bit of moment in the camera/lens due to the amount of static weight being placed on it. Even with the relatively light 70-200 on my Canon, I still recheck the composition before committing to the exposure.

Although the ball head comes with a threaded screw, what makes this system work even slicker is when you pair a ball-head up with a quick release system. This also requires a matching mounting plate dedicated to the camera base. In my case I opted for a lever quick release base mounted to the ball-head and I have not had any issues with snagging this lever and inadvertently having the camera come off. The design of the lever does require some force to engage it, thus it does take some effort to open and close so a slight brush with your clothes is not going to allow a catastrophe to occur. For a square format camera like the Hasselblad a simple bottom quick-release plate will suffice, see above.

For a DSLR with a rectangle format, I would recommend acquiring an L bracket (see below) that once the camera is locked down for the composition, the camera body can be quickly changed to for an alternative framing. Although an L bracket does add a bit more weight to potentially an already heavy camera such as the Canon 5DMk3, I have found that the L bracket weight actually seems to act as a counter balance to the battery and hand hold aspects of most digital camera systems. The camera as a whole now seems more balanced and for hand holding situations, the horizontal framing process seems quicker now. Maybe it’s just me, but I get similar comments from other photographers when they pick up my rig.

I will be honest; the majority of my work is with horizontal framing, but when I wanted a quick vertical framing after the camera was set-up, it was lightening fast to change the body and quickly get the exposure. When you are working with a fluid situation, the amount of time to make a camera change can also make the difference in getting the alternative shot.

My one gripe; the quick release plate does include a leveling bubble, but this bubble is concealed when the camera is on the ball-head. If for an architectural composition in which the horizon and verticals need to be in alignment this would require removing the camera body and checking the bubble or setting up the tripod and get the bubble right before mounting the camera body. My work around for speed? I purchased an inexpensive bubble that slides into the flash bracket of my DSLR (regretfully not shown below).

All in all I have now used the RRS BH-40 for over five years through the US, Europe and Asia. It easily dismounts from the tripod to reduce size for travel and is an absolute delight to use; very, very smooth operation. It is really great that when you are engaged with a subject that you don’t find yourself worrying about your support equipment and it essentially becomes an extension of your creative imagination.

It’s also my option that Really Right Stuff is the top of the line for ball-heads systems. Not the most inexpensive system, but you only need to buy it once and you should consider this a valuable investment in obtaining great photographs.

Cheers!

RRS BH-40 ball-head with Canon 5DMark3