On assignment photoessay: Development details, part I


Today’s set is the result of an interesting client brief earlier in the year: shoot details of the development for several objectives: a) the usual promotion via social media, advertising etc; b) developer portfolio and award entries; c) for use as decor in the development itself. The latter is the biggest challenge of the lot, because you have to find angles and light that people who live there every day won’t see or won’t mind seeing or would like to discover through the images; and on top of that do it in a limited period of time – the small window between completion and handover. That leaves us at both the mercy of the weather (and thus light) during that window, as well as not really having time to ‘live in’ the development itself. Nevertheless – I actually landed up delivering two sets of images; monochrome for decor to both render the scenes somewhat abstract and era/time-independent, and color, for portfolio. Here’s the interesting bit: the two sets almost don’t overlap at all, though in totality they are both self-coherent. I present both sets here (and in the next post) for you to see yourself just how much the mood and feel changes… MT

Shot with a D850, 19 PCE and Sigma 100-400 (unfortunately there aren’t really any equivalents in the Hasselblad system yet) and processed with the Monochrome Masterclass workflow.














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  1. Just unrelated 2 cents. I noticed that this beautiful B&W workflow is virtually indistinguishable from UV (ultraviolet) imaging that can be obtained with the modified (filter less) sensors and a quartz lens. The same tropical vegetation absorbance profile, water and sky rendering.

  2. Kristian Wannebo says:

    I still enjoy this exhibition!

    And you covered such a wide range of tastes for them, 😉 .

  3. The photos look very tropical and it is not because of the vegetation. It’s the intensity and direction of the light and your use of local contrast I guess. I want to see the color photos now…

  4. Truly exceptional – I love them!

  5. Love these images. The B&W conversions are great. Thanks for sharing. How do you like the Sigma 100-400?

    • Thanks. Sigma: useful for what I bought it for (tripod based, very compressed compositions stopped down) but could be better wide open on the D850. Does not seem to play well with the Z7 at all due to what appears to be a conflict between Sigma’s OIS and Nikon’s IBIS. I will likely swap it for a 70-200/4 and TC14 or TC17 for flexibility in the coming weeks.

  6. Love every aspect – tonal beauty

  7. Those are some great images, Ming! I’ll have to revisit your Monochrome Workflow on my hard drive.

  8. Alex Carnes says:

    I like them!

    How did you darken the sky, especially in the last image? I imagine you’re not a fan of the popular ‘pull the blue channel’ method?

  9. John Prosper says:

    How does the 19/4 PCE compare to the 4/3,5 PCE with respect to sharpness (apparent resolution) and the mechanical ease of employing the vertical/horizontal axes?

    • Much better. You have feared shift control and no weird field curvature. Movement axes are also independently rotatable. Unfortunately the one catch is that you cannot physically use filters with it…

      • John Prosper says:

        Nikon should have built a filter turret into the lens chassis with a polarizer and a few other filters included. However, who knows what they would have charged for such a lens!?!

        • I shudder to think. A rear filter thread would suffice, but I suspect that would interfere with the optics – especially given the extreme exit angles with full movements.

          • stanislaw zolczynski says:

            Nikon Z7 with filter adopter like Canons would help.

            • It would, but I suspect it wasn’t done because of the ray angles from the smaller F mount. Introducing another piece of glass is likely to cause optical issues. EOS doesn’t have this problem.

  10. Michael Hanson says:

    #8 is perfection. The blend of stark contrast with subtle tonality is exactly what I try to achieve in B/W photos. It would be great to see the same shot taken on Acros or Tmax.

    • Thanks – impossible to say how the film version would render; it would of course depend heavily on the developing and scanning…

      • Michael Hanson says:

        On a completely random note: have you ever tested the Nikon 28 f/2.8 AI-S? I know you like 28mm and I’ve found it to have great optics and tons of character. It’s quite a bargain for what it is.

        • Yes actually; the version with CRC was pretty impressive as I recall, at least on the 12MP bodies of the day. Didn’t buy one though as I had the Zeiss 2/28 Hollywood…


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