Mother Nature has many moods. In changes of season, the position of sun, the patterns are inexhaustible. Erskine Wood has sought to capture that instant when Nature is at her best. His work, a collection of traditional and original prints, has been exhibited world-wide and received numerous international awards and honors including two Photographic Society of America's Gold Medals and six international "Best of Show" awards.
Erskine Wood grew up in Portland, then moved to Eugene get his degree and license in architecture. After ten years Erskine left his architectural practice to become a full time landscape photographer. His subjects are the colors, graphic patterns, and moods of nature found from the smallest detail to grand scenes.
Together Erskine and Sandy continue to photograph part time, participate in a few major arts and crafts shows annually, and sell their images through local galleries, and on the internet. All phases of work, from print processing to streching prints or cutting and assembling mats and frames are produced by Sandy and Erskine.
Large and medium format view cameras were the standard for forty years. For years Erskine used a Linhof Master Technica (4"x 5") camera with five lenses and a 60# backpack full of sheet-film holders. Later a medium format Fuji GX680 (6x8cm) covered the balance of work. The distinct advantage using each of these view cameras is the ability of the lens to swing, tilt, and shift to increase depth of field and control perspective while the larger format films also increased sharpness.
A basic selection of a polarizer and a 2-stop graduated neutral density filter was and still is used as needed to balance existing light conditions. The exceptional color and brilliance of the photographs are accomplished at the time of exposure through the photographer's choice of optimum light, mood, and season for each image. Printing of each photograph is done by the photographer. The introduction of digital printing from the high-resolution film scans (also by the photographer) permits even greater control over the final print with greater detail in highlights and shadows, removal of unnatural colorcasts, and exceptional sharpness.
Fine-grain Fuji Velvia films was often a favorite for film. Photographic prints were made from 1993 until 2000 with Fuji Crystal Archive paper. All newer prints are printed with Epson Ultrachrome K3 Ink prints. These papers are selected for their reproduction accuracy and lightfast stability of displayed color prints. Epson prints are conditionally tested for up to 200 year lightfast.
These photographs represent many miles of travel, many hours, even days, of waiting for the right moment. We hope you will share and enjoy these moments with us.
Erskine and Sandy Wood
Why Larger Formats?
In a day and age of fully automated digital cameras, one wonders why one ever used the more cumbersome box/bellows style of a large format camera. Without question, the ultra-fast cameras of today are approaching the quality of prints made from these older view cameras. Large format is normally defined as a camera which uses film in sizes 4”x 5” and larger. By today’s standard their quality would be that of a 40-60 megapixel digital camera.
In the early evolution of digital cameras, professional photographers expected only “digital camera backs” on these larger cameras could produce the same quality. They needed to attach to a computer with lots of memory (of its time) and a dependable battery pack. These were fine for studio photography but were awkward to use out in the field. The rapid advancement by major camera manufacturers showed that considerably smaller cameras …the size of 35mm cameras can equal the quality of those much larger cameras. The current generation of "Pro" Digital Cameras can produce 25 to 35 megapixel raw files of a quality equal to the best medium format film cameras.
For those who have a portfolio of film images, digital printing from scanned originals has emerged as a replacement for older darkroom techniques. Quality scans are made on high-density drum and drum-like scanners to make digital files of 150-300 megabytes. We have mostly transitioned as digital methods of printing provide greater sharpness, more accurate color, and increase the archival display life of the photograph. Erskine has converted and archived his film collection to digital files using an Imacon Flextight Precicion III scanner. Each image requires several hours of inspection and retouching after scanning. The result is prints of superior quality in sharpness and lightfastness.
Several cameras have been used over the years. From 1978 thru 2000 my preferred camera was a Linhof 4x5 view camera long considered the Cadillac of large format field cameras. In the latter part of the 90's improvements in film such as Fuji's "Velvia" allowed greater quality in large prints and became the new standard for many landscape photographers. For myself I found I could downsize my camera to a medium format 6cm x 8cm (shown above) with the same movements as the larger field camera. The newer medium format film images scanned on a high end scanner surpassed the quality of my earlier large format images on older films. This presumes the largest print to be made would be a 32"x40". To exceed this size print I would still reccommend a large format original or a digital file above 45 megapixels.
My current camera of choice is a Nikon D800E (36mp) with tilt/shift lenses. Even with stabilized lenses I find a tripod or monopod essential. For larger prints I shoot/pan a series of images and combine them in Photoshop for larger files. After passing the young age of 70 I find the lighter pack much to my liking.