PDA

View Full Version : Reducing 8x10 camera shake from wind?



Rodney Polden
8-Nov-2008, 21:03
I've taken some steps to make my 8x10 setup as easily portable as possible over distance in the field. Light weight also translates into a greater possibility of unsharp negs from wind-induced shake however.

I push the tripod feet down to solid ground, hang some weight (rocks, other equipment etc. in a small bag or pack) from the tripod centre post, or sometimes substitute a bungee there with a foot-loop to step on before exposing.

Particularly when shooting with longer lenses - 480mm & 600mm - wind affects the extended bellows. The wind stabiliser kit that someone devised for wooden 8x10 field cameras is another possibility, but seems cumbersome to set up and adjust, and is another pound or two to carry. I already use a monopod/bipod sometimes for additional stability under the lens position, when at full extension.

Maybe adding mass right at the lens standard and at the rear standard would dampen vibration from any wind movement of the bellows? On top of the lens standard perhaps?

A small cloth bag filled with lead shot was one solution sometimes used in a studio situation for that purpose, so I've been thinking about a ZipLock filled with sand/gravel (inside a zippered cloth bag, since sand+lenses=:eek: ). It would have the advantage of being filled (and emptied) on-site, rather than having to haul all the mass up and down the hills.

What tips, techniques and gizmos have you discovered that help the camera sit really still, when the breeze keeps breezing? .....and waiting hasn't worked :) ?

Erik Larsen
8-Nov-2008, 21:19
Carry a little umbrella to block the wind, works like a charm:)

C. D. Keth
8-Nov-2008, 21:34
The umbrella works like a charm. If you want to add weight under the sticks, carry a little bag just for that and fill it in the field. Don't use it for other stuff lest it get all dirty. A good way to dampen the bellows is to stuff something soft between them and the bed/rail. A sweatshirt works great.

Kirk Gittings
8-Nov-2008, 21:44
See this previous thread:
http://www.largeformatphotography.info/forum/showthread.php?t=20467

I prefer a light disk because it serves multiple purposes in the field.

Eric James
8-Nov-2008, 22:14
I carry a 6 by 8 foot blue tarp. The primary roll of the tarp is to keep things clean and dry - I designate a ground side and a clean side and fold the clean side in when I relocate. The tarp can also be used as a wind block. Managing this is a bit of a challenge: I position myself upwind and stand on two (6-foot side) corners; then I extend the tarp above the camera to block the wind - this is when things get interesting: holding the cable release and one corner of the tarp with one hand; maximizing wind blockage while avoid vignetting with the other; waiting for the right moment while maintaining a slack cable release. It works, but I'm waiting for a clever designer to offer a lightweight, tall self-supporting tent made with Silcoat and carbon fiber poles. What do you say Mr. Walklet:)?

Don7x17
8-Nov-2008, 22:24
I've taken some steps to make my 8x10 setup as easily portable as possible over distance in the field. Light weight also translates into a greater possibility of unsharp negs from wind-induced shake however.

I push the tripod feet down to solid ground, hang some weight (rocks, other equipment etc. in a small bag or pack) from the tripod centre post, or sometimes substitute a bungee there with a foot-loop to step on before exposing.

Particularly when shooting with longer lenses - 480mm & 600mm - wind affects the extended bellows. The wind stabiliser kit that someone devised for wooden 8x10 field cameras is another possibility, but seems cumbersome to set up and adjust, and is another pound or two to carry. I already use a monopod/bipod sometimes for additional stability under the lens position, when at full extension.

What tips, techniques and gizmos have you discovered that help the camera sit really still, when the breeze keeps breezing? .....and waiting hasn't worked :) ?

Keep repeating the mantra "the wind is my enemy"

Kirk extension arm from a tripod leg to underneath the front standard. This forms a secondary support triangle to stabilize the lens standard.

AWB Enterprises wind stabilizer kit - works very well and is quick to setup. weighs very little.

Umbrella to spill wind around the camera -- get one of the really large golf umbrellas. Cheap and works wonders in all but gale force winds. get the umbrella close to the camera and hold it against the wind.

Prop up the bellows midway between standards, particularly if you have extended the bellows for a very long lens (I regularly use 1200T nikor and 1100xxlFineArt on my Arca 8x10(latter requires double bellows and the use of a meter long rail, plus two tripods.). This deadens the vibrations. Arca's have a nice plastic bellows prop (contact Rod Klukas as he sells these non-arca accessories). For my wood cameras I built a little adjustable prop out of mount board pieces.

TMY instead of TMX for those windy days....

don't for a moment leave your camera on a windy day, as it will tip over when you are out of reach .

and last but not least:

Appease the wind gods by appropriate sacrifice (a friend once watched his KB Canham carwheel off the top of one of the cliffs at Canyon de Chelley....as this person said with a texas twang, "I watched my Canham disappear into the depths of the Can-yon, and it was not aero-dy-nam-ic (he lengthed the word for emphasis)" Instead of sacrificing your gear to the wind gods, take such a friend with you.

Vaughn
8-Nov-2008, 23:19
Keep repeating the mantra "the wind is my enemy"

Appease the wind gods by appropriate sacrifice (a friend once watched his KB Canham carwheel off the top of one of the cliffs at Canyon de Chelley....as this person said with a texas twang, "I watched my Canham disappear into the depths of the Can-yon, and it was not aero-dy-nam-ic (he lengthed the word for emphasis)" Instead of sacrificing your gear to the wind gods, take such a friend with you.

I did just what you said, Don...but I still blew it -- I had lent him my TLR Rollei. So I guess in the end I did sacrifice my camera, someone else just pre-formed the rites...

Vaughn

Rodney Polden
9-Nov-2008, 04:02
Thanks everybody for the great suggestions, and thanks for the link to previous comments on this issue too, Kirk. I've summarised the main ideas I've seen suggested so far as:

* umbrella (golf or compact)
* wildlife blind / ice-fishing tent
* home-made wind baffle (thin poles, tent pegs, guy-lines, cloth?)
* shield camera with tarp / reflector / body / vehicle / land features
* press down tripod (weights / bungee / stake in ground)
* lightly touch camera with fingertips to damp vibration
* work as low to the ground as possible
* auxiliary extension lens support arm (Bogen / Kirk etc)
* long rubber bands between standards, & between standards and tripod
* monopod / bipod / extra tripod
* lightmeter case / darkcloth / sweatshirt / small prop to support sag in bellows
* wind stabiliser kit
* faster film
* bubble level on rear standard to show vibration
* meter in case velcro'd onto top of standards before shooting
* shoot into wind when possible, rather than to side
* pull down lightly on front of camera bed

and (everyone's favourite)....
* Include the word "Wind" in the title of the print.

(No-one has suggested shooting LF underwater yet, to help dampen vibrations, but maybe that would just lead to problems of camera movement from tidal surge and so on.):)

Anyone got other - even better? - methods that have worked for them?

cjbroadbent
9-Nov-2008, 04:41
Wasn't the aerial camera invented just for that? I had a look at Gowland's 8x10 and the Fotoman. They seemed just the ticket except for no front rise. In the end I saved money and made my own box with fixed front rise (and drop, if you attach it upside-down).

Gem Singer
9-Nov-2008, 08:24
If waiting for the wind to die down is not an option, and you have done everything possible to stabilize your camera and tripod, try using a faster film, a faster shutter speed, and hope for the best. You will probably need to use a larger aperture than you are used to using, in order to obtain the faster shutter speed, so focus carefully to compensate for the shallow depth of field.

jon.oman
9-Nov-2008, 10:05
Wasn't the aerial camera invented just for that? I had a look at Gowland's 8x10 and the Fotoman. They seemed just the ticket except for no front rise. In the end I saved money and made my own box with fixed front rise (and drop, if you attach it upside-down).


Christopher,

Would you be willing to share your plans? Interesting concept!

You have some really nice images on your site.

Jon

cjbroadbent
10-Nov-2008, 02:58
Christopher,
Would you be willing to share your plans? .....
Jon
It really just a bird-box.
http://picasaweb.google.com/cjbroadbent/Birdbox?authkey=VWGtZaQ8t2Q#
and
http://web.mac.com/cjbroadbent/Site/fivebyseven.html

jon.oman
10-Nov-2008, 10:43
It really just a bird-box.
http://picasaweb.google.com/cjbroadbent/Birdbox?authkey=VWGtZaQ8t2Q#
and
http://web.mac.com/cjbroadbent/Site/fivebyseven.html

Thanks for the information. I assume you shift the lens as high as possible to get more of the sky in the image? Just as you would do by using the front rise on a normal camera.

Jon

Daniel_Buck
10-Nov-2008, 10:59
* long rubber bands between standards, & between standards and tripod
I haven't thought of trying rubber bands, I may have to try that! I've used small bungie cables before, that seems to work better than without the bungie cables.

cjbroadbent
10-Nov-2008, 11:17
....I assume you shift the lens as high as possible to get more of the sky in the image? .....
Jon
Not more of the sky - less of the foreground. My camera is usually somewhere below center under any circumstance. I guess that most of my LF set-ups have the lens shifted up. However, on top of a building I just mount my birdbox upside down. And there the wind blows fiercely.

Rodney Polden
12-Nov-2008, 18:20
One suggestion I found interesting was from Christopher Nisperos in a related thread from 2006 :

http://www.largeformatphotography.in...reply&p=142255

Quote:
Originally Posted by Christopher Nisperos
.........
>A long time ago a friend of mine did something like this, even though he was only shooting 'little' 4x5 (therefore, I don't know how much of a difference it made).
>
>Basically, he set-up a kind of open-faced tent by sticking four poles into the ground and surrounding three sides AND THE TOP with some cloth (I don't remember >what kind it was or how it was attached). He also used tent pegs with guy-lines to keep the whole thing upright...........
>
>........He swore it was great, even citing the advantage of easier focussing and less chance of flare due to the shading effect of the thing............
>........... I once told him he ought to commercialize the idea, but he was never interested. Then, I thought about it too, but there didn't seem to be a need at the >time....

Though it might be time-consuming to set up, I guess that in some circumstances this would be the item of gear that made a shot possible. Now the question is how to come up with rods, pegs, guys and connectors holding a cloth/sheet material of some kind that's compact and light enough to be worth taking along on the hike.

One previous post recommended the Ameristep hunting blind, but at 22 lbs, that's more than I want to add to my pack. I'm not familiar with other duck-blind products available, so I don't know how light they are, but I'm looking for something with less weight than a tent ideally. Strong enough to resist a small gust, light enough to pack with the 8x10 and all its gear ....hmmm?