Ice Shack Seal Cove Pond. 5.0 sec at f/4.0 iso 50 with B+W 110 ND. 21mm on 17-40 f/4.0 5DMKII
Technical stuff: sometimes I like to make my long exposures shorter and retain some of the edges of the clouds if there is an angry enough sky- along with a larger aperture that will also soften the plane of the sky, this style of short Le evokes feelings of Wizard of Oz skies or something.
Also- recently a friend lent me a book about Robert Frank and his making of "The Americans" called "Looking In Robert Frank's The Americans"
which is an awesome study of black and white photography and America in the 1950's and the amazing character of Robert Frank but what really struck me as the most from flipping through those images was the massive in-your-face, almost sometimes completely visually obliterating- grain. Grain like an eye ball full of beach sand, not to say that I didn't like it- the grain gave some of those images an abstract and impressionistic quality that is completely beautiful. Kind of like this: ( not quite the same on the web, nevertheless..)
Like I said earlier, web compression does these images no justice, but what I'm seeing that I like about the grain is the dimensionality at the transitions of contrasty edges- not to mention the body of the midtones, but that's something else entirely- anyways, our super high fidelity cameras with massively clean high iso's make such a perfect image that sometimes there isn't any depth in the highlight to shadows transitions. It's just a feeling- don't hold me to this in ten years. Our cameras grain, when we can see it, usually looks pretty terrible and not very organic- it's kind of like a bug screen looking feel of the pixels- that's when you push the image too much and make the pixels angry. That's bad. Recently though (which is to say for maybe the last ten 'serious' images I've approached) I've been experimenting with adding just a little grain with my workflow through Nik Silver Efex and I'm liking it. Funny that- honestly I used to think post process added grain was lame, a trick to hide processing errors and just like adding a texture layer, akin to replacing a sky- but now not so much. I'm thinking that the right amount can fill out the body of the specular highlights just right, to gain depth. Well check back with me in six months in regards to this one and see what I say then, but I think this one is gonna stick for a bit. Any thoughts as to adding grain my friends?