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Thread: An 8x10 Architectural Learning Experience

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    Peter De Smidt's Avatar
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    An 8x10 Architectural Learning Experience

    Awhile ago, I was on a commercial shoot at MOWA, an art museum in a small Wisconsin town. While waiting for the talent, I took some quick snaps of the building, which turned out well. Being interested in architectural photography, I decided to go back in the evening for a twilight shot, which I did with my dslr. The shot was challenging, as the angle I wanted to shoot from required being partly down a hill, which means shooting up, which leads to extreme converging vertical lines. But it turned out ok. Wanting to do better, I went back the other night with my 8x10, whereupon I learned a number of important things:

    1) Take the lens cap off when making an exposure.
    2) Wind sucks with big cameras. Just keeping the BlackJacket from covering the ground glass was a real challenge! I have a lot of respect for people who use 8x10 out in the field.
    3) People lie, especially about when they'll turn off lights.
    4) People don't care about what you're doing, even if you explain it to them. They won't walk a few feet to the right, for example, to stay out of your picture. Staff of art museums don't care about helping local artists make art, even when there have been no visitors to the museum in over 3 hours.
    5) If you're doing a long exposure, say 2 or 4 minutes, make sure to keep a lens cap handy in case people walk into the shot. No one may have walked by for hours, but when the light is right....
    6) Don't listen to experts that tell you to leave your tripod head at home. Yes, a camera fixed to the tripod directly will be more stable than one attached to a head, especially with big cameras, but you might not be able to get the camera in the best location and aimed correctly without a head. If I hadn't had sandbags along, I'd have been out of luck. As it was, I had to shoot from a lower position than I would've liked.
    7)It would be wonderful to have a really tall tripod.
    "Why can't we all just get along?" President Dale, Mars Attacks

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    Re: An 8x10 Architectural Learning Experience

    Quote Originally Posted by Peter De Smidt View Post
    1) Take the lens cap off when making an exposure.
    Even better: Take it off to compose and leave it off.

    Quote Originally Posted by Peter De Smidt View Post
    2) Wind sucks with big cameras. Just keeping the BlackJacket from covering the ground glass was a real challenge! I have a lot of respect for people who use 8x10 out in the field.
    Wind sometimes even knocks over the camera. Especially if you try to get by with a tripod that is a little to small for your camera. :-(

    Quote Originally Posted by Peter De Smidt View Post
    4) People don't care about what you're doing, even if you explain it to them. They won't walk a few feet to the right, for example, to stay out of your picture.
    They also park their car right in front of the camera as you're just ready to get the shot.

    Quote Originally Posted by Peter De Smidt View Post
    6) Don't listen to experts that tell you to leave your tripod head at home. Yes, a camera fixed to the tripod directly will be more stable than one attached to a head, especially with big cameras, but you might not be able to get the camera in the best location and aimed correctly without a head.
    Those are the same experts who recommend a lens that has extraordinary image quality, but a focal length that makes it totally unsuitable for the shot.

    Quote Originally Posted by Peter De Smidt View Post
    7)It would be wonderful to have a really tall tripod.
    Unless you have to carry it for long distances. Then a smaller, lighter tripod becomes far more attractive. See 2).

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    Peter De Smidt's Avatar
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    Re: An 8x10 Architectural Learning Experience

    Regarding the lens cap, I usually take it off and leave it off, but in this case I was setup hours a head of time, as framing, movements and focusing was much easier in full daylight. The camera was a Sinar P2 8x10. The tripod was a Gitzo Series 5 with a sand bag on highest leg. Even with heavy equipment, a moderate breeze was a pain, especially as it made using the dark cloth a real challenge.
    "Why can't we all just get along?" President Dale, Mars Attacks

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    Foamer
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    Re: An 8x10 Architectural Learning Experience

    Quote Originally Posted by Peter De Smidt View Post
    7)It would be wonderful to have a really tall tripod.


    I drilled a hole on the top "step" of a wooden step ladder, ran a bolt up through the hole, and attached my AcraTech ballhead. Really tall tripod with built in steps. Problem solved.


    Kent in SD
    Die Gedanken sind Frei

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    Re: An 8x10 Architectural Learning Experience

    Quote Originally Posted by Peter De Smidt View Post

    2) Wind sucks with big cameras. Just keeping the BlackJacket from covering the ground glass was a real challenge!

    Maybe you've forgotten about the BlackJacket link to working in wind:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZJyw7gvkXPc

    7)It would be wonderful to have a really tall tripod.
    Here's an option, used by Ezra Stoller:
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Ezra Stoller.jpg  

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    Peter De Smidt's Avatar
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    Re: An 8x10 Architectural Learning Experience

    Quote Originally Posted by Two23 View Post
    I drilled a hole on the top "step" of a wooden step ladder, ran a bolt up through the hole, and attached my AcraTech ballhead. Really tall tripod with built in steps. Problem solved.


    Kent in SD
    Except on the side of a hill.
    "Why can't we all just get along?" President Dale, Mars Attacks

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    Foamer
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    Re: An 8x10 Architectural Learning Experience

    Quote Originally Posted by Peter De Smidt View Post
    Except on the side of a hill.

    Depending on slope:


    1. block up under the gap
    2. Drive two stakes into hill opposite the ladder top, tie ropes to ladder, drive stake at ladder base to keep it from slipping.


    Kent in SD
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    Peter De Smidt's Avatar
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    Re: An 8x10 Architectural Learning Experience

    I could also have had cement pilings installed....
    "Why can't we all just get along?" President Dale, Mars Attacks

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    Re: An 8x10 Architectural Learning Experience

    Quote Originally Posted by Peter De Smidt View Post
    I could also have had cement pilings installed....

    That would be your best bet. Perfectly stable, even in high winds.


    Kent in SD
    Die Gedanken sind Frei

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    Re: An 8x10 Architectural Learning Experience

    https://web.wpi.edu/academics/librar...y/Woodbury.PDF
    pages 12-15 describe a portable 120' tower the Woodbury and Company would erect in 1908ish to take a photo. (They were leaders in making birds-eye view illustrations of factories)

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