I'm always looking for, no searching for 'IT'
'IT' is rather indefinable, it can be found anywhere come in any shape or size, and be just about anything.
For 'IT' is something new (or old) which gives me and my photography the edge, and helps me to create or reinforce my signature
At the moment 'IT' comes in the form of the unique, exotic and rather pricey Phase One Achromatic+ digital camera back.
The Achromatic back is unique because it shoots in Black and White only
Instead of using a colour sensor, it is the first medium format digital back which uses a black and White sensor.
To quote Phase One
'The Achromatic+ is the first commercially available medium format back that is a true replacement for almost all scientific black and white film types at much higher quality and with far more consistency.
Traditionally, most camera sensors have a Bayer pattern of individual red, green and blue filters for each pixel. These individual colors are then interpolated through numerous methods to create RGB data for each pixel. The Achromatic+ back is designed to be a black and white only product with no color filters on the sensor'
What this means is not only do you get digital black and white quality like never before, but you can shoot in non visible spectrum of light.
Like ultra violet or infra red........
Now this got me excited.
So I decided to try some shots
Not of the traditional black skies and glowing trees (an easy decision to reach in the depths of an English winter) and sweeping landscapes but I thought I would try shooting people.
Some with available light and some with artificial light.
I used a Lee 87 Filter
Which really spiced things up in that I could not see to focus
Yes, the infra red focusing mark maybe present on some lenses but I found this to be variable in accuracy to say the least.
So tethered shooting it was
Even then it was a pretty 'willow the wisp' to get in focus.
When shooting in the non edible spectrum with things that move, like people and animals, it was a challenge.
But boy what a challenge!
I have not had so much fun taking pictures in a very long time
When digital photography came along so did an immediacy, which meant the 'heart in the mouth' moment of 'has it come out?' was gone forever.
You simply never know how things are going to work out when you shoot in infra red.
Fun is back.
But like so many things fun has it's price.
And that price is high, very high.
More than £20,000
Black and White sensors are made in such small numbers that the price is sky high.
Who knows they may one day have an offering which sells for less? I would not hold my breath though.
Perhaps some of the more switched on rental houses will get them in?
In the meantime there are companies which will convert your DSLR to infra red for much less.
But this is still with colour sensors and infra red only, I hope to be trying a conversion out in the future.
I still think it is worth looking into, though.
It is an 'edge' in a world of 'me too' predictable photographic results.
Very unpredictable and exciting, and a great way to stand out from the rest of the pack.
Something great to go into a meeting with and impress clients