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norm
7-Oct-2015, 15:28
Hi, all!

My name is Norm and I'm a photographer in Los Angeles. I actually don't own a large format camera or even a medium format one; I'm shooting 35mm. I'm going through the photography program at Santa Monica College and am currently enrolled in Photo 37, which is Advanced Black & White. We're learning the Zone System, using it to photograph our assignments, processing our film accordingly, and printing in the darkroom.

Like I mentioned up front, I'm shooting 35mm. I'd like to graduate up to medium format in the nearish future and have my eyes on a Hasselblad. My reasons for joining this forum dedicated to large format are purely selfish: I was hoping to peruse the sub-forum for sales since I need an easel for my class, but now that I've read the FAQ I know I won't be able to access that particular sub-forum for another 30 days ;) I also hope to lurk and learn more specifically about printing since anything I learn here will be an advantage I can use to earn an "A" in Photo 37!

Thanks a ton for reading. Some day I'll be a master like some of you folks are, but for now I'm content to watch and learn :)

stormpetrel
7-Oct-2015, 15:52
Hi Norm

Good luck with your studies! It is a bit a pity to do an advanced Black&White course with only a 35mm camera. Medium format are very cheap nowadays (if you exclude the super stars: Hasselblad, Mamiya7, Rollei..), you should definitively get one. Investing in a large format camera is an other story but if you have the opportunity to borrow one at your college, do it! This would be a great opportunity to apply what you learned about the Zone system. The ZS does not make sense with roll films. Of course with a lot of efforts (or cameras) you could apply the Zone System to 35mm or medium format, but it is just a pain in the A.

Dom

Tim Meisburger
7-Oct-2015, 18:27
Yes, definitely borrow a large format camera from school and do some still life and portrait. All cameras work the same, but the view camera forces a deliberative technique that will improve your photography in every format. I shot 35mm for decades, but learned much more in in LF in every area, including composition.

Deliberative - I just returned from a work trip to East Timor where I shot 12 sheets of 4x5. Since I was mostly shooting at night I bracketed those. In total I think I had four different scenes.

God luck with your course!

Fr. Mark
7-Oct-2015, 21:11
A sheet of black foam core, gaffer's tape and a piece of a beer can can be turned into a LF pinhole camera with a sewing needle and a craft knife. Some really fine 600-2000 grit sandpaper helps make better pinholes. Investment is quite low. Or find a cookie tin at a thrift store and make a pinhole camera from that
If you are ambitious, a telescoping box camera could be built around a film holder and just about any lens that focuses an image. Making Waterhouse stops (cards with holes to vary f-stops) is not hard either.
Paper negatives can be contact printed, X-ray film and Ortho litho films are inexpensive, though Arista edu film might ease the learning curve.
Welcome aboard.

Fr. Mark
7-Oct-2015, 21:12
PS I still use my 35mm cameras some too.

brucetaylor
8-Oct-2015, 07:51
FYI, LA City College Photo 1 is 4x5 and mf (Hasselblad) only. All equip supplied by the school.

norm
8-Oct-2015, 08:20
The ZS does not make sense with roll films. Of course with a lot of efforts (or cameras) you could apply the Zone System to 35mm or medium format, but it is just a pain in the A.

That's exactly what I'm learning! With large format one exposes one frame at a time so you can process each one individually, where with medium format one has 12 frames and 35mm 24. 24 is fine if you're trying something artsy and want to bracket with different depths of field, but otherwise it's a little frustrating to try and keep the lighting consistent with each frame so processing is consistent.

norm
8-Oct-2015, 08:26
Yes, definitely borrow a large format camera from school and do some still life and portrait. All cameras work the same, but the view camera forces a deliberative technique that will improve your photography in every format. I shot 35mm for decades, but learned much more in in LF in every area, including composition.

SMC actually does have large format cameras that students can use, but only for the Photo 64 class, Community Documentary Photography: "This course explores the genre of documentary photography while focusing on various communities in the Los Angeles area. Students will create an in-depth project and present a portfolio of photographs documenting the unique characteristics of individual communities in Los Angeles. Each semester will offer a unifying, rotating topic that may focus on specific neighborhoods, subcultures, or other appropriate themes. Lectures focus on historical photographic references and contemporary social issues. The importance and power of documentary photography are discussed and historical examples that have inspired change or shaped our perception of communities are explored. Students utilize large format cameras and film (in addition to their own digital cameras) as a way of better understanding historical processes in photography and nurturing a respect for the medium’s alternative, non-commercial side."

I only wish that this was offered as a night class. I have a day job that, for now, I need to keep so that I might afford more photographic stuff ;)

norm
8-Oct-2015, 08:29
A sheet of black foam core, gaffer's tape and a piece of a beer can can be turned into a LF pinhole camera with a sewing needle and a craft knife. Some really fine 600-2000 grit sandpaper helps make better pinholes. Investment is quite low. Or find a cookie tin at a thrift store and make a pinhole camera from that
If you are ambitious, a telescoping box camera could be built around a film holder and just about any lens that focuses an image. Making Waterhouse stops (cards with holes to vary f-stops) is not hard either.
Paper negatives can be contact printed, X-ray film and Ortho litho films are inexpensive, though Arista edu film might ease the learning curve.
Welcome aboard.

This sounds absolutely fun! I'd love to give it a go.

norm
8-Oct-2015, 08:33
FYI, LA City College Photo 1 is 4x5 and mf (Hasselblad) only. All equip supplied by the school.

Well, NOW you tell me! ;)

That sounds like a challenging Photo 1! At SMC, Photo 1 is 100% digital and students need their own gear.

brucetaylor
8-Oct-2015, 14:19
Oddly, LACC's intro class is Photo 10, which is 35mm b&w film based. The next class is Photo 1. The dept head is thankfully committed to film and wet darkroom.