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Bill Pierce - Leica M photog and author

 

“Our autobiography is written in our contact sheets,  and our opinion of the world in our selects”  

"Never ever confuse sharp with good, or you will end up shaving with an ice cream cone and licking a razor blade."  

 

Bill Pierce is one of the most successful Leica photographers and authors ever. I initially "met" Bill in the wonderful 1973 15th edition Leica Manual (the one with the M5 on the cover). I kept reading and re-reading his four chapters, continually amazed at his knoweldge and ability, thinking "if I only knew a small part of what this guy knows... wow."  I looked foward to his monthly columns in Camera 35 and devoured them like a starving man.  Bill has worked as a photojournalist  for 25 years, keyword: WORK.  Many photogs dream of the professional photographer's  life that Bill has earned and enjoyed.  Probably Bill's most famous pic is Nixon departing the White House for the last time, victory signs still waving. 

 

Bill  has been published in many major magazines, including  Time, Life, Newsweek, U.S. News, The New York Times Sunday Magazine, New York Magazine, Stern, L'Express and Paris Match.  :His published books include  The Leica Manual,  War Torn, Survivors and Victims in the Late 20th Century, Homeless in America,  Human Rights in China,  Children of War.  Add to that numerous exhibitions at major galleries and museums.  Magazine contributions include  Popular Photography,  Camera 35, Leica Manual,  Photo District News, the Encyclopedia of Brittanica, the Digital Journalist, and now RFF.  Major awards include Leica Medal of Excellence, Overseas Press Club's Oliver Rebbot Award for Best Photojournalism from Abroad,  and the World Press Photo's Budapest Award. Perhaps an ever bigger award is Tom Abrahamsson's comment: "If you want to know Rodinal, ask Bill."

 

I met Bill in person through our mutual friend Tom Abrahamsson.  In person his insight and comments are every bit as interesting and engaging as his writing.  He is a great guy who really KNOWS photography.  I am happy to say he has generously agreed to host this forum at RFF  From time to time Bill will bring up topics, but you are also invited to ask questions.  Sit down and enjoy the ride!

 


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Old 05-06-2018   #41
willie_901
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I use a Plustek OpticFilm 7600i.

I use Vuescan to make a 48 bits per pixel (48) raw DNG file. This is not a true raw file, it is a rendered flat TIFF. This is a 3600 dpi, ~ 4900 X 3300 file. I don't notice any benefit to scanning at 7200 dpi.

A Vuescan DNG file can be cropped and rendered using Vuescan's built-in tools. Sometimes I just use these. I only crop to include the negative frame.

For color negatives, the rendering involves inversion and color temperature adjustments (I use the histogram). Occasionally do all of the above in Photoshop. In all cases the scan (Vuescan DNG and, or rendered DNG TIFFs are in my Lightroom CC Library Folder.

Color transparencies get the same treatment.

For B&W film The process is similar. Vuescan's grain filter seem improve perceived sharpness, but do not affect grain. A 3X mutlipass scan can been useful for grainy negatives.

I like to use the NIK Silver Effex Pro 2 for B&W post-production work. The burn and dodge tools are very convenient.

I no longer use film cameras. If I did, I would use a dedicated 35mm DSLR rig with a decent copy lens and an external light source.

I outsource all printing, so that's not an issue.
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Old 05-06-2018   #42
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My Nikon scanner bit the dust, so I switched to DSLR w/ macro lens on a copy stand... currently D700. ColorPerfect for color neg reversal. A little more work than with the scanner, but not too bad.
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Old 05-06-2018   #43
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Huss View Post
That looks like a fantastic product, thanks for the heads up!!!
I've been using enlarger film carriers, but this looks much better.

Ordering now.

edit - wow those are sold out everywhere! I bought the last 120 one that Lomo had. Sold out everywhere else. Also grabbed the 35m one from someone else, and the 110 too. If these work out, I can get rid of all my other film holders! I have a lot...
Good luck Huss.

The digitaliza does keep things flat for the flatbed but my V500 doesn't give as good a 35mm scan as the little Plustek 7600i.

The Better Scanning holder works quite well for 120 so I never tried the 120 digitaliza.

Now, if they made one for 127 film I might give that one a try.
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Old 05-06-2018   #44
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My V600 bit the dust some months ago and I replaced it with an 8500.

The improvement over the V600 was marked ,although I didn`t expect it to be , so happy with the results.
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Old 05-06-2018   #45
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I'm using an Epson 4990 with EpsonScan. Used ViewScan sometimes. I came back to Epsonscan for its simplicity of batch scanning. I still tweak setting a little for each frame. I figured out how to get it to scan into the black so get the whole frame. I change the date to match the shot date via an app then import into my Aperture library.

I print up to 11x regularly, mostly for framed prints in my home. Prints are mostly via SamsClub or Costco. They match my monitor closer than my home printer. When my scanner breaks, I will most likely switch to using a dslr set up.
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Old 05-07-2018   #46
Bill Pierce
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I check into Mike Johnston’s blog “The Online Photographer” every day. Guess what? His latest entry is on shooting film.

http://theonlinephotographer.typepad...film-look.html
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Old 05-07-2018   #47
Erik van Straten
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Leica M5, Summilux 50mm f/1.4 v1, 400-2TMY, split grade print on ADOX MCC 110.

Erik.

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Old 05-07-2018   #48
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Problem with film? I don't have a problem. I can quit it anytime I want, Bill. I just don't want to. Yet. Maybe when the Nikon mirrorless cams come out, or Leica comes off their high horse and develops a truly affordable system instead of being a niche player.

PF
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Old 05-07-2018   #49
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I shoot tons of film, process them, put them in the Printfile sheets/boxes and store them away. When I retire I plan to put together a darkroom and make wet prints. Well that's the plan anyway. If that day comes and I find whatever chemistry or materials no longer available then I'll scan them if they made those anymore.
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Old 05-07-2018   #50
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Quote:
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I shoot tons of film, process them, put them in the Printfile sheets/boxes and store them away. When I retire I plan to put together a darkroom and make wet prints. Well that's the plan anyway. If that day comes and I find whatever chemistry or materials no longer available then I'll scan them if they made those anymore.
Wait, so you just shoot the film, then process and file? You never make any actual prints - real or for the internet - from them?
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Old 05-08-2018   #51
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Originally Posted by Emile de Leon View Post
Best prints I ever did came from Azo contact printed..and then just copy that and publish..still have some Azo left..amazing paper..
Emile,

This is of great interest to me. The end game is to make digital negatives for contact wet printing with my Piezography system using Azo and Amadol as the developer for maximum tonal scale and resolution.

This is ideal I figure for limited edition fine art prints.

Cal
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Old 05-08-2018   #52
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Wait, so you just shoot the film, then process and file? You never make any actual prints - real or for the internet - from them?
Huss,

I'm with Ray (plus-one). I have digital for Piezography printing and the internet.

I have an unprinted archive in film. Time is the best editor, and this work is more documentry and historical.

Cal
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Old 05-08-2018   #53
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Cal: LOVE! the "vintage hipster" schtick. Keep rockin' it, baby!

I'm 60, I'm no pro and I'm not a wet printer, but a hybrid of necessity. Maybe one day whenever Cal get's his wet darkroom, I'll buy up his Piezo stuff! T'ain't cheap from what I can tell, and then there's the learning curve...

Meantime, I print with an Epson SC P800 through Imageprint and have been very happy with the output. I let Colorbyte (Imageprint's maker) do the dance with papers, inks and all that and stay in my comfort zone with Capture One for Post. Nice thing about negatives (I use a Jobo) - and I just did my first color negatives this week - is that it's just less computer time to add to my day full of computers at the office. So yes, I scan with an old Nikon LS8000 I had rebuilt and I learned there's a small community adapting and rebuilding these things (mine now has a brass door so as to not mess with a badly designed servo), and a while a drum scanner it ain't, it's good enough for this ham. Not sure any of the time would be available if I were trying to hustle and make money doing it this way, but as a pastime, I can have fun. And believe it or not, I am.
Roscoe,

Don't downplay your skills. Mine are rather limited to specializing in doing really only two things well. My skills are very limited, but what I do-do I do very well and are very concentrated.

I learned from a Vietnam era Navy Seal that for hand-to-hand combat he was taught seven connected deadly moves until they were like a reflex as part of his survival training. This is my approach to B&W photography.

I would say you are more skilled than me. I'm a real simple kinda guy. I have a very limited skillset.

Cal
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Old 05-08-2018   #54
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My K-M Scan Dual IV, now 13 years old, is still (knock on wood) hanging in there! I'm really surprised that it's performing this well after 13 years. Very few electronic gadgets seem to last that long.

I know it's not the Latest And Greatest (tm) but I've done some very nice 13x19 prints from negatives scanned on it.

When it dies, I'm probably going to look into DSLR scanning, as people are saying that technique is now working better than scanners.
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Old 05-08-2018   #55
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Some of my clients feel the same and are willing to pay a premium for the silver gelatin print.
X-Ray,

Plus one for the hand made print premium for wet prints.

Cal
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Old 05-08-2018   #56
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I only use a hybrid system for film images to be used in our weekly newspapers. I scan with a Nikon Coolscan 5000 and import the images into a page layout program. I do not have, and don't plan to have, an inkjet or other digital printer. I have, and use weekly, a wet darkroom and make prints there - all black and white. If I need a color image for publication, the workflow is all digital.
I do wonder if anyone is using one of the old advanced slide copiers and a digital camera to scan 35mm negatives. I have never seen that written up.
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