Artist Point, Monument Valley
Phase One XF with 150MP IQ4, 110mm Schneider lens
Many new cameras have Backside Illuminated (BSI) sensors. Certainly cameras using Sony sensors do - like Sony, Nikon and Phase One. In my mind, they are definitely different to the earlier CMOS sensors. Now, I'm writing this based on my experience with Phase One, but looking at friends' files with Sony and Nikon, there are similarities in the 'purity' of colour.
Purity might be a funny way to describe colour - surely the colour in our files depends on the subjects we are photographing and this is very true. However, it's also how those colours are rendered by the sensor and I'm finding my colours are 'purer'. There's less 'black' or 'dirt' mixed in. Whether this is natural or not doesn't really matter to me, it is simply another aspect I can play with.
As I process my files, I'm finding I like less contrast than I used to. I like lighter tones more than I used to. And I like the pastel palette more than I used to. Are these changes happening in me due to other external factors? Am I just getting bored with the old way I processed my work? Or are the new sensors giving me an opportunity to develop a new style?
On my recent photo tour of South West USA with Tony Hewitt, we visited Monument Valley once again. This location at Artist Point was completely different to the previous year when it was covered in snow! Yet despite the incredibly rich reds and oranges in the scene at sunrise, I found myself treading lightly with the edit. I have a little more work to do to take it to its final position, but I think you can see a softer, lighter touch to the colours and contrast.
Is this something worth exploring in your own work? Or is seeing this enough to keep you on your own path and steer away from Eastway-like influences?
If you're interested in joining me and Tony Hewitt in the USA, keep an eye on these newsletters as we're working on our next trip for February or March next year. Optionally, email Kim ([email protected]) and ask her to add you to the list and we'll let you know once the details are finalised. We're thinking about Yellowstone!