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jmontague
28-Nov-2016, 12:56
I am still earning my LF wings and have been struggling with the trade-off between depth of field and shutter speed. I shoot HP5+ in 4x5 with a Nagaoka field camera.

I hike every weekend in Rocky Mountain National Park, so I take a lot of my photos there. I like shooting trees and even a mildly windy day makes things challenging for me.

So, what is your technique? Pushing two or three stops? I am all ears (eyes, actually) so please let me know what I should be doing - other than waiting for a calm day (they are few).

Thanks,
Jim


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jmontague
28-Nov-2016, 13:00
I am still earning my LF wings and have been struggling with the trade-off between depth of field and shutter speed. I shoot HP5+ in 4x5 with a Nagaoka field camera.



I hike every weekend in Rocky Mountain National Park, so I take a lot of my photos there. I like shooting trees and even a mildly windy day makes things challenging for me.



So, what is your technique? Pushing two or three stops? I am all ears (eyes, actually) so please let me know what I should be doing - other than waiting for a calm day (they are few).



Thanks,

Jim





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Graham Patterson
28-Nov-2016, 13:16
If you can compose so that the critical part of your subject forms a single plane, you can use movements or camera position to keep the depth of field requirements to a minimum. Typically photograph trees but keep the foreground to a minimum so you only need to deal with a vertical plane, and not vertical and horizontal. But if you cannot get the shutter speed you need with the lens wide-open - make motion the subject, or concentrate on something that does not move.

Andy Eads
28-Nov-2016, 13:17
Jim,
Optical effect vs Temporal effect. Consider that using long exposure times can create interesting blur effects in the things that are moving. Turn the balance the other way, you can create interesting effects with very shallow depth of field. I'd experiment trying to make the most of what mother nature is serving up at the moment. With practice, the story telling power of your photos will far exceed the static postcard. I would avoid "pushing" film; for me it has had deleterious unintended consequences. Andy

j.e.simmons
28-Nov-2016, 14:19
I just put the word "wind" in the photo's title.

vinny
28-Nov-2016, 14:21
what he said or find the nearest watering hole and have a cold one or two til the wind dies down. That's what I do. Otherwise, I'll shoot medium format when it's nasty out.

Drew Wiley
28-Nov-2016, 14:29
Around here the wind never seems to stop except between Nov and Jan, though not this year! The heavier the tripod, the better, preferably a wooden one. Throw away a ballhead if you have one. Otherwise, HP5 should make it easy. It's all in the timing. You just have to learn through experience the difference between a gust
and a steady wind push, and how to catch that mere second or so when it stops. Name of the game. No need to underexpose and "push" film and waste the whole tonality that large format gives. If anything, you should rate HP5 a tad slower. So if you don't like the answer of "waiting", guess my own experience of it working day-in/day-out for decades now won't help you much. Large format isn't for snapshooting.

Willie
28-Nov-2016, 14:33
Depth of field does not depend on wind.
If you want no motion on leaves and things that move in the wind that is a different ballgame.
Shoot higher speed film with a faster shutter speed, one or both.

On the other hand there is nothing wrong with motion in blowing grass, leaves and whatnot at times.

docw
28-Nov-2016, 14:47
Stopping the motion of leaves in the wind AND getting good DOF is always a trade-off, as you have discovered. I don't think that there really is any magic solution. One thing that you did not mention is increasing DOF with movements rather than only aperture. This won't work for everything, btw. I usually just try to avoid windy days unless the wind is gusty. Set up as if there were no gusts and wait for a break in the wind. Bring a chair and something to read. :)

Patrick Gauthier
28-Nov-2016, 14:53
I guess there are three major problems with wind in your situation:
1) moving leaves (as willie has touched on), and
2) moving camera.
3) both 1) and 2).

If understand correctly you want a large depth of field (i.e., small aperture) which pushes your shutter speed to dangerous speeds for either 1) or 2).

1) Can you not tilt to achieve your depth of field, or do you have a lot of near, far, and middle subjects requiring tilt and small aperture?

1) a wide lens may help with depth of field depending on your composition and proximity to your near subjects.

2) patience until wind dies down just long enough to grab your shot.

I'm typically shooting at high altitude with a lot of exposure and most of the time . . .wind. Stand between your camera and the wind to block it as much as possible. Extra bodies help if you have them. Getting low helps a lot too. I wait while checking the level bubble on the top of my wista 45sp (a pretty good indicator of camera shake). When the bubble stops moving, and I sense I have a enough time before the wind comes back, I open my shutter. I get away with robbery using a flimsy dolica proline, even with a 250 mm of extension shooting up to 1 sec (but I usually try to keep it below 1/30 in those situations).

Patrick

jp
28-Nov-2016, 15:06
Stand upwind of the tripod if wind is causing camera movement/vibration.

Mark Sampson
28-Nov-2016, 15:17
A big umbrella, held upwind of the camera, will do a lot to reduce wind-caused vibrations in your setup. Doesn't help with subject movement, I know, but it helps. Exposure for HP5+ in sunlight should be something like 1/60@ f/16 or so, which seems reasonable enough.

LabRat
28-Nov-2016, 16:22
One practical thing to do is the stronger the breeze, the shorter the FL you use while shooting... More than that, the smaller the format...

Steve K

Leigh
28-Nov-2016, 16:29
Exposure for HP5+ in sunlight should be something like 1/60@ f/16 or so, which seems reasonable enough.
Huhhhh???

HP5+ is ASA 400, so the exposure would be nominally 1/400 @ f/16 in daylight.

- Leigh

faberryman
28-Nov-2016, 16:31
Are you steadying your tripod by hanging something heavy (like your camera bag or backpack or bag of rocks) from the center column?

Maris Rusis
28-Nov-2016, 17:15
If you use a lens in a self-cocking shutter on your camera you can make long exposures as the sum of many short exposures. For example if you need 1 second set 1/15 on your shutter and press the release 15 times. The result dramatically reduces subject motion blur at the expense of multiple superimposed sharp images; could look interesting.

Two23
28-Nov-2016, 20:59
I live in South Dakota, Northern Plains. We get wind here that blows semi-trucks off the highway! My solution? Don't fight the wind motion. I will actually slow down the shutter speed to accentuate the blur of moving grass etc. It comes out looking cooler than if it was motionless, most of the time. To keep camera from blowing around I will block the wind with my RAV4, or sometimes from inside a tent.


Kent in SD

Bob Salomon
29-Nov-2016, 05:49
Shutter speeds have nothing to do with depth of field. Depth of field is solely dependent on the aperture, the point that you focused on, the desired circle of confusion and the desired degree of magnification and the viewing distance.

The only thing that shutter speed will do is allow you to change your aperture based on the shutter speed you need. If you need a different speed then your chosen aperture requires you use a faster or slower film or you push or pull your film.

Camera movements will not change your depth of field, they will change your plain of sharp focus. That is quite different then DoF and the two work together as tilts or swings only control the sharpness in a single plane, to widen that plane of focus you stop the lens down.

David Lobato
29-Nov-2016, 06:41
Rocky Mountain National park is nice. I've done a lot of mountain photography. If a scene is good enough, it's worth a try. I observe the wind patterns, its ebbs and flows. Watch for brief moments where it's still, and be ready. Have the dark slide pulled, shutter cocked, cable release in hand. When the leaves settle down, quickly take your shot. I've waited patiently and gotten sharp photos when it seemed it wasn't possible.

Use camera movements to optimize depth of field. Only stop down far enough while getting things just in focus, which allows the shortest shutter speed possible.

Then there are the windy days where you simply appreciate being out there. Leaving the camera in your pack is okay, there will be another day to expose film.

Jac@stafford.net
29-Nov-2016, 08:12
Bring a golfing umbrella to shield the camera during exposure.

Willie
29-Nov-2016, 08:17
Are you steadying your tripod by hanging something heavy (like your camera bag or backpack or bag of rocks) from the center column?

Leaning the camera bag against one leg of the tripod works better for me. Tried it compared to the hanging bag with a cup of water on the tripod head and the damping one leg worked better. Fewer vibrations in the water when I would tap or bump the tripod.

I will second with David Lobato says about timing wind gusts and shooting during short lulls. Constant wind - you can't do it. But gusty wind you can often work around. Some I have photographed with set up and spend a bit of effort timing wind gusts and seem to be able to find the 'in-between' quiet few seconds to shoot the 8x10.

On the other hand, use small apertures and a Neutral Density filter and make the wind work for you with deliberate motion blur as an element of your composition.

Drew Wiley
29-Nov-2016, 12:20
I've gotten tack sharp 8x10 shots in wind so severe that it would have actually lifted up the whole thing - bit wooden tripod and all - and tossed it like a kite, if I
were not actually laying on the ground holding the legs down, having a very long cable release. Yes, that kind of gamble might cost you an expensive sheet of film from time to time. I repeated one such shot, a remarkable "snow flower" out on a frozen early-season high country lake, and had them both come out perfectly. It wasn't luck. Intense steady wind, but no brief gusts when I tripped the shutter. Far more often, I deliberately want a tad of motion in the scene, like a bit of grass making a subtle soft blur, while the rocks remain hard-sharp. It's all a big, fun, creative, cat-and-mouse game. You'll soon get accustomed to it. When the wind or rain is apt to be hopeless, then I admittedly default to something like a Pentax 6x7. You can't win every time.

Doremus Scudder
30-Nov-2016, 03:58
I assume you are trying to stop subject movement and that the aperture needed to get your desired DoF just won't allow a shutter speed fast enough to stop the moving trees from blurring.

If that's the case, you have a few options. First, wait... Often there will be a calm spot in the wind that will allow you to get the shot. I spend a fair amount of time doing this myself. Sometimes I'm lucky, other times I have to just abandon the shot or rethink what to do with the subject motion. As others have mentioned, blurred moving subjects are not always objectionable; they just have to be part of your visualization.

If you have a really long exposure (several seconds), you can use multiple exposures to build up to the total needed during still periods. Add 10-15% more exposure than you would use in a single long exposure to compensate for the intermittency effect. I've had good luck with this technique as well, especially for situations where people are walking by or the wind starts and stops a lot.

Using movements to help optimize aperture will often get you an extra stop of shutter speed. Of course, this only works in certain situations; sometimes you may have to rethink your composition in order to take advantage of this.

As Drew mentions, you can try to stop motion at the strongest point of a gust where all the moving objects have reached a point of maximum stretch before springing back the other direction. With lots of trees, this is really difficult, but it can be useful for single branches, etc.

Of course, if this is something that happens regularly, you can try to use a faster film (if you aren't already). I simply couldn't deal with an ISO-100-speed film; I need to stop movement to often.

If you're within a stop or so, try a shot at your desired shutter speed and aperture even if it results in underexposure; the neg might be printable anyway, especially if you have a bit of a safety factor built into your metering/film-speed rating. Remember, AA's Hernandez, NM was severely underexposed...

And, if you need to stabilize your tripod, weight it. I routinely hang my filmholder bag from my tripod when setting up. I also carry a nylon stuffable bucket, like backpackers use to carry water. It folds into a small pouch, but expands to hold a gallon of water or several pounds of rocks. I can hang it from the center column or a tripod leg by the handle.

Best,

Doremus

jmontague
30-Nov-2016, 06:16
Thank you to everyone who has responded. I have a lot of excellent techniques to try. This is a great forum - so many experienced photographers willing to share. Thanks, again.


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Kirk Gittings
30-Nov-2016, 10:40
Around here the wind never seems to stop except between Nov and Jan, though not this year! The heavier the tripod, the better, preferably a wooden one. Throw away a ballhead if you have one. Otherwise, HP5 should make it easy. It's all in the timing. You just have to learn through experience the difference between a gust
and a steady wind push, and how to catch that mere second or so when it stops. Name of the game. No need to underexpose and "push" film and waste the whole tonality that large format gives. If anything, you should rate HP5 a tad slower. So if you don't like the answer of "waiting", guess my own experience of it working day-in/day-out for decades now won't help you much. Large format isn't for snapshooting.

In addition I always carry a smallish Lightdisk with me that I hold upwind of the camera at an angle so the wind skates over the camera. I have been successful at shooting at a few seconds in strong winds. Of course while the image is sharp trees and such will be moving. BUT I consider that aesthetically before ever making an exposure. I have been doing this for decades and never fear a wind in terms of camera movement. And I shoot FP4+ at ISO 64. https://thumbs.dreamstime.com/z/light-disk-reflector-isolated-white-17599553.jpg

Drew Wiley
30-Nov-2016, 11:34
That's a good idea, Kirk. Sometimes I'll pull out my big Goretex parka, which is always in my pack for emergencies, put it on, and spread-eagle my arms as a
windbreak when tripping the shutter. But my darkcloth itself is a big slice of heavy-duty Goretex, and I'll sometimes remove it from and camera and use it instead.

Kirk Gittings
30-Nov-2016, 11:42
That's a good idea, Kirk. Sometimes I'll pull out my big Goretex parka, which is always in my pack for emergencies, put it on, and spread-eagle my arms as a
windbreak when tripping the shutter. But my darkcloth itself is a big slice of heavy-duty Goretex, and I'll sometimes remove it from and camera and use it instead.

For a 4x5 I use about an 18" light disk which is very light and compact. It also comes in handy occasionally for other purposes as well, so it justifies being carried always.

Drew Wiley
30-Nov-2016, 12:14
Hmmm. Come to think of that, I often carry one of those fold-up discs myself, which I don't generally use as a fill-reflector, but as a flashing aid to correct for
excessive blue in Ektar shadows. I use it in combination with a warming gel and diffuser sheet in a gel holder over the lens, prior to the main exposure. My disc
has gray on one side, a rather accurate metering gray in fact, and white on the other.

Eric Woodbury
30-Nov-2016, 15:15
Jim, I'm with Kent from SD on this. Life is too short to fight the wind. Instead, photograph the wind.

If the wind in sporadic and still problematic with long exposure, a friend of mine opens the shutter, but covers the lens with the darkslide. As he'd get moments of stillness, he'd uncover the lens, counting the seconds, then cover for a little gust, then uncover for a moment of stillness, etc., until enough exposure has accumulated. He has a photograph of a plant that had a minute exposure and sharp as a tack.

Happy shooting. EW

Drew Wiley
30-Nov-2016, 16:35
Movement is just another creative tool which can either make or break a photo. Sometimes I'll set up a time exposure with the 8x10 behind a tree of big rock
acting as a windbreak and just let the grass blur, while the rocks stay crisp. It's just a matter of how much is right, and how much is not. More often, I want everthing tack sharp. But even if that is routinely impossible, and a few leaves or blades of grass do move, it's nowhere near as distracting as enlarging the scene
and having a soda can itself acutely in focus somewhere in the background, that you didn't notice at the time. Sometimes those last minutes surprises can come
out positive, however, like afterwards discovering interesting wildlife hidden in the scene.

Sasquatchian
2-Dec-2016, 07:05
"HP5+ is ASA 400, so the exposure would be nominally 1/400 @ f/16 in daylight. "

A more realistic ISO would be half that. Then add three stops more for a 25A and you're down around 1/30 for a real world correct exposure.

Drew Wiley
2-Dec-2016, 10:04
Hmmm. I've shot a lot of boxes of HP5 sheet film. And it was darn rare I ever used an exposure as fast as 1/30th.

Andrew O'Neill
6-Dec-2016, 11:42
If it's windy, and the camera is not bouncing around, I just go with it.
Here's an example. It was VERY windy!

158334

Willie
6-Dec-2016, 14:54
http://www.largeformatphotography.info/forum/showthread.php?41487-Post-your-churches/page84

In looking at the Churches section another Andrew O'Neill image came up that shows a very good job of motion and stillness working in windy conditions.

Seeing where he lives I know wind is part of his creative challenge. As I type this we have 14 degrees, snow, 25-30 mph winds and gusts over 60. Not a blizzard, just a severe winter storm. Difficult to keep an 8x10 still enough in these conditions outdoors.

bob carnie
6-Dec-2016, 14:56
If it's windy, and the camera is not bouncing around, I just go with it.
Here's an example. It was VERY windy!

158334

If one item is sharp works for me a very beautiful image Andrew.

jmontague
6-Dec-2016, 18:26
Beautiful image, Andrew. Really well done.


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