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dazedgonebye
18-May-2009, 07:53
I had my first opportunity to take the Gran View out to shoot since I fixed the early issues.
I ran in to a few problems, all related to my inexperience with large format. I exposed 12 sheets of film and lost 3 to obvious mistakes and 2 to what might have been film holder problems...or just less obvious mistakes.

Overall, the camera was easy to use. I even found the little loupe built in to the back to be pretty useful. I was able to use it to (roughly) confirm focus on the ground glass. Very handy really.

I was even able to use the limited rise available in the vertical orientation for both of the vertical shots shown here. It was enough to get these shots without correcting for perspective in post processing.

The location for these shots is along the Mogollon Rim about 30 miles East of Payson Arizona.

Film is TXP 320 developed in Barry Thornton's 2-bath formula.

http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2239/3541607618_c1e3d76434_o.jpg

http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3360/3541607416_8195f3d2a0_o.jpg

http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2316/3541542696_aec8bdcc43_o.jpg

I'm happy enough with the results, but continue to be unsure if large format is really right for me. The amount of time and effort that went in to these shots was many times what would have been necessary for medium format, which would probably satisfy my needs.

goamules
18-May-2009, 08:09
I like the third one best. But all three look nice. Good to see another was out doing AZ landscapes this weekend. I shot my first LF other than wetplate myself...but on paper negatives. I'm trying to make those early mistakes on something cheap.

Donald Miller
18-May-2009, 08:33
I thought that these photos looked very familiar...then I read the location and knew that they were. I think that I have been near a couple of these.

Nice results.

Gene McCluney
18-May-2009, 09:21
Of course it takes longer with LF, even if you are using a hand-held camera. But, the results can be so much more satisfying. If you can't see the difference, then perhaps you would be happy with medium-format.

Bruce Watson
18-May-2009, 09:32
...continue to be unsure if large format is really right for me. The amount of time and effort that went in to these shots was many times what would have been necessary for medium format, which would probably satisfy my needs.

The reason many of us continue using LF is because of the time and effort it takes to do it right. We find LF much more fun than smaller formats for just this very reason! This makes LF more contemplative than smaller formats; it makes you think about what you are trying to accomplish because you can't blast through a bunch of frames hoping you'll get something you like. You have to know in advance what you are trying to accomplish and work the camera to achieve it.

If you don't like it at all there's no point in punishing yourself -- if LF isn't your cup of tea, so be it.

However, if you do like it somewhat but find it frustrating, perhaps you should stick with it a little longer. Like anything worth doing, competence with a view camera takes practice. It often takes several hundred sheets of film before people really feel comfortable with LF to the point that they can quit worrying about the craft and worry more about their art.

To paraphrase and old saying, there are many paths to the pine trees. No one can pick the path you should follow but you.

dazedgonebye
18-May-2009, 09:39
The reason many of us continue using LF is because of the time and effort it takes to do it right. We find LF much more fun than smaller formats for just this very reason! This makes LF more contemplative than smaller formats; it makes you think about what you are trying to accomplish because you can't blast through a bunch of frames hoping you'll get something you like. You have to know in advance what you are trying to accomplish and work the camera to achieve it.

If you don't like it at all there's no point in punishing yourself -- if LF isn't your cup of tea, so be it.

However, if you do like it somewhat but find it frustrating, perhaps you should stick with it a little longer. Like anything worth doing, competence with a view camera takes practice. It often takes several hundred sheets of film before people really feel comfortable with LF to the point that they can quit worrying about the craft and worry more about their art.

To paraphrase and old saying, there are many paths to the pine trees. No one can pick the path you should follow but you.


The extra time shooting isn't the most tiresome part, it's the time loading/unloading film and developing. Of course, that slows down shooting as well because those shots are far more precious in time/money/effort than 10 shots I'd get off a quickly loaded roll of medium format film.
I do recognize the value of that approach. It's part of why I'm trying my hand at large format. My problem, that I'm sure many share, is all about time. It's hard to come by and it's the most expensive component of any thing I do. That gives LF a huge value deficit to overcome and I wonder if I'll be able to make it work well enough to make sense.
I will stick with it a little longer, as you advise. The hard parts will become easier with practice and I'll be better able to make a good decision.

Gene McCluney
18-May-2009, 11:06
I agree that loading and unloading a pile of film holders is the least interesting part of LF photography. However, the "idea" behind LF photography is to learn to "SEE" and just shoot one shot, a shot that you have already visualized in your mind. The hand-held camera you have is somewhat contrary to this philosophy, as I think it encourages you to shoot more images than you really need to. When I set up my tripod and focus on the ground glass, if I don't like what I see, I move the camera, or I don't shoot. I don't fire off a shot just because I am there. Some people go out for a full day of photo activity and only shoot 5 sheets of film. It is a different philosophy than roll-film. You distill everything down into a "shot". In other words you edit your shots before you take them, rather than editing your shots on the light table after you process the roll of film.

Brian Ellis
18-May-2009, 11:47
With respect to loading holders, hang in there. It becomes much faster and easier as you gain some experience. I got to a point where I could load 40 4x5 sheets in about 15-20 minutes once the film and holders were set up. The key was to not think about what I was doing, which comes with experience.

I don't know how you're developing your film. I used the BTZS tubes for 4x5 and processed 6 at a time. I probably could have done as many as 12 at a time if my sink was big enough and I had 12 tubes. The Jobo system allows at least 10 at a time I think, maybe more (only used Jobo a few times in workshops so I'm not very familiar with it). I only used trays for 8x10 and that was slower.

I never have just fired off shots with any camera, from digital to 8x10, so the "LF forces you to slow down" benefit of LF escapes me. To me the pleasure of any form of photography, whether it's digital or 8x10, is MAKING photographs, not just snapping away. LF has the particular appeal of making them on a nice big ground glass.

But if you give it a fair try and just don't like LF, forget it. There's no inherent virtue in just using a LF camera. And today Photoshop allows you to do with a digital camera or scanned roll film most of what can be done with a LF camera so other than the pleasure of working with a LF camera and a big negative there isn't a huge reason for an amateur to use it (in my opinion of course).

dazedgonebye
18-May-2009, 11:50
I agree that loading and unloading a pile of film holders is the least interesting part of LF photography. However, the "idea" behind LF photography is to learn to "SEE" and just shoot one shot, a shot that you have already visualized in your mind. The hand-held camera you have is somewhat contrary to this philosophy, as I think it encourages you to shoot more images than you really need to. When I set up my tripod and focus on the ground glass, if I don't like what I see, I move the camera, or I don't shoot. I don't fire off a shot just because I am there. Some people go out for a full day of photo activity and only shoot 5 sheets of film. It is a different philosophy than roll-film. You distill everything down into a "shot". In other words you edit your shots before you take them, rather than editing your shots on the light table after you process the roll of film.

It may be that I am not meticulous/patient enough for that philosophy.
I would say that I've very seldom fired off a shot just because I was there, except perhaps with a digital camera. I wouldn't mind a second shot using a different exposure though, to give me some room for error and as insurance for those pesky "I only buy cheap old gear" failures. Insurance shots come very dear in LF and it would ruin my day to walk away from a rare shooting opportunity with an almost good shot I ruined because I metered wrong or loaded the film backwards.

I'm not trying to have an "Is LF better than MF" sort of debate here. It's too subjective an issue to ever resolve. My only question is whether or not LF is right for me. It'll take some time for me to answer that one, but this last weekend's experience falls against LF. We'll see what next weekend brings.

Juergen Sattler
18-May-2009, 12:18
I totally understand where you are coming from - I have had (and sometimes still do) these same doubts myself. MF gear and frankly high end DSLRs really fullfill my need quality wise - I have never printed anything bigger than 13x19. The slowing down part really does not apply either - I always take my time taking a shot - no matter what format I shoot. I can't explain what exactly it is that draws me to LF (yes, the movements allow for different effects, but that alone is not it) being under the darkcloth blocks out the rest of the world and all my senses are focused on the picture I am about to take. Is that picture better than any I might have taken with other formats? Sometimes it is and sometimes it is worse. I love my Canon 5D and the freedom it gives me in composing and trying out new stuff and view points. Luckily I don't have to decide one way or the other, but get to enjoy them all.