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Thread: "Machine-gunning"?

  1. #1

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    "Machine-gunning"?

    Hi Folks,

    I've been using a LF camera for around 18 months and am still learning lots. This will probably go on for some time I guess!

    Anyway, previously with digital equipment I was never a "machine gunner" - I waited for the light to be what I thought I wanted etc. But, I've just been away for 4 days in the northwest Scottish Highlands (not really that remote - 1 hour flight from home, 3 hr drive) and over those four days took 12 images on sheet film. The thing is I am sure that not all 12 of these will come out technically perfect nor exactly what I envisaged (still learning after all) and so won't necessarily be 12 "keepers". Does that still make me a "machine gunner"? I guess I'm just after re-assurance!

    Here's the sort of image I took (a minute or so after pressing the shutter from a different perspective so only one mountain in the background and taken on my phone so please don't judge the quality!!):


    https://flic.kr/p/ocLqD5

    Cheers

    Graham

  2. #2
    bob carnie's Avatar
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    Re: "Machine-gunning"?

    Richard Avedon took 17000 exposures on 8x10 film, and ended up with approximately 140 prints for his show. In the American West. So I think you can be assured you are not a machine gunner.

  3. #3

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    Re: "Machine-gunning"?

    Only 12 sheets in 4 days -- you're not shooting enough, perhaps.

    Regarding the sample image -- nice; very nice!

    Stop worrying and have fun.

  4. #4

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    Re: "Machine-gunning"?

    Well I don't process the images at home - 17,000 would be one hell of a processing bill!

  5. #5
    8x10, 5x7, 4x5, et al Leigh's Avatar
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    Re: "Machine-gunning"?

    If I'm shooting a subject I like, and it took some effort to get to it, I'll take several exposures, because sh*t happens.

    These usually involve different speed/aperture combinations to change DoF, and over/under bracketing (usually over).
    I also love to play with filters, to see what effects I can achieve.

    If I really like a shot and think it's a seller, as opposed to just a keeper, I'll take a safety exposure in a different film holder. I think that ensures the safety of the shot to the greatest possible extent.

    All of my holders are numbered, with the sides labeled A and B, corresponding to my shooting log entries.

    I always process the A sides first, then all of the B sides in a separate run.
    That way if there's a process problem of some sort I'll still have some of the images.

    I don't consider this "machine-gunning" or "shotgunning". It's experimentation and learning.

    - Leigh
    If you believe you can, or you believe you can't... you're right.

  6. #6

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    Re: "Machine-gunning"?

    No. You'd need something like a Fairchild K-17 9-1/2" roll film aerial camera with electrical motor drive (with the current supplied by an attached B-29) to "machine gun" large format.
    I steal time at 1/125th of a second, so I don't consider my photography to be Fine Art as much as it is petty larceny.
    I'm not OCD. I'm CDO which is alphabetically correct.

  7. #7
    bob carnie's Avatar
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    Re: "Machine-gunning"?

    Yes this type of project is extremely daunting , there was another thread going on about Mr Avedon and this project. Lots of slamming of his work.
    I only have huge respect for the man and his work.

    Getting a deep tank system going in a laundry room can be had for under $500 UK pds, by processing yourself you can offset a lot of the costs. Very easy to do btw.

    Quote Originally Posted by Meekyman View Post
    Well I don't process the images at home - 17,000 would be one hell of a processing bill!

  8. #8
    bob carnie's Avatar
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    Re: "Machine-gunning"?

    I take two exposures on each holder like Leigh and I hold back one in case sh*t happens , or I want to adjust my process.
    In my case I do a slight bracket , very minimal and I try to keep track which is the slight overexposure and I hold this one back.


    For Solarization work.

    I load two holders with 4 films , and slightly bracket each holder. One holder I process only one sheet normal in ID11 and keep a back up.( this negative is then for consideration of print solarization only) The other holder I will process both sheets and solarize half way through the development, and choose the image with the best maki line(black on Print) and then solarize the print to give me the white maki line.



    Quote Originally Posted by Leigh View Post
    If I'm shooting a subject I like, and it took some effort to get to it, I'll take several exposures, because sh*t happens.

    These usually involve different speed/aperture combinations to change DoF, and over/under bracketing (usually over).
    I also love to play with filters, to see what effects I can achieve.

    If I really like a shot and think it's a seller, as opposed to just a keeper, I'll take a safety exposure in a different film holder. I think that ensures the safety of the shot to the greatest possible extent.

    All of my holders are numbered, with the sides labeled A and B, corresponding to my shooting log entries.

    I always process the A sides first, then all of the B sides in a separate run.
    That way if there's a process problem of some sort I'll still have some of the images.

    I don't consider this "machine-gunning" or "shotgunning". It's experimentation and learning.

    - Leigh

  9. #9

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    Re: "Machine-gunning"?

    I figure that after 50-some odd years I should know how to use a light meter. Special things like solarization, or very odd lighting situations aside, I take one shot per image. If its odd I'll take 2, 3 or whatever it needs. I understand wanting to take a lot off images, being somewhere new and wanting to make the most of it.

    However, I can take 20-24 images in a full day. Yes, it turns out they are all well exposed and developed. I often shoot about 12. It depends how much I like where I am. There are plenty of places where I want to photograph something everywhere I turn my head. It's a good thing...

    I find that it isn't the number of shots that increase the "keepers" but the more times I get to go to a place. I have to "understand it" to get below the superficial level.

    Lenny
    EigerStudios
    Museum Quality Drum Scanning and Printing

  10. #10
    ROL's Avatar
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    Re: "Machine-gunning"?

    Lots can go wrong between loading and developing, some if it, like "dust" in monotonal regions (i.e., sky), seemingly unavoidable. Even good light meters "lie" once and awhile, like a coyote trickster, defeating the most accomplished practitioner. I kick myself early and often for not doing backup exposures and treating each holder as a single unit. But, like you, developing is costly for me in terms of time, if not actual expense. And then there is an element of committing to the moment and the measure of your skill, which I find a necessary lacking component of photography otherwise. Has one authentically committed to the moment, "decisive" or otherwise, if there is a backup to rely on? It's kinda like being at the top of the rapid – you are committed to your decisions and then must react to the chaos the river dishes out. Can photography be appreciated as an extreme sport? For me, that is likely a necessity.*

    I don't find your 'haul' small, especially not knowing your goals. Often I come away with nothing, particularly with LF, after days. Sometimes, as conditions and previsualization align, 10 holders are not enough for a single day. So, I applaud your selectivity. When matched with aesthetic and skill, a yes a bit of luck, one's sense of accomplishment can be great, not to mention, the weight of one's wallet being undiminished. Through your apparent focus you will learn, are learning, or have learned to hone your visualization and skill. But, I also scold you (and me too) in a 'do as I say, not as I do' manner, to do backups, whenever possible.







    * I know, it's all to philosophical. Just trip the damn shutter.

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