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Thread: Greetings from snowy Boston

  1. #1

    Join Date
    Mar 2018
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    Boston,MA
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    13

    Greetings from snowy Boston

    Hi everyone,

    My name is Radu and I live in Boston, MA. I'm really excited to part of this lively community and learn more about large format.
    I was a wildlife photographer for several years (Nikon gear, digital whatever) but as the years went by, I noticed being more drawn to nature photos. Turns out that was just a segue into landscape photography, because as soon as I took my first deliberate landscape photo I felt I found my subject (even though it came out looking terrible). Obviously my wildlife centric gear, with long lenses, crop sensor, fast everything was not helping much. Though I bet it was probably the cammo outfit that was making the landscape nervous not my gear

    After logging numerous hours of Youtube and forums documentation, I was ready to go full frame... but that seemed incremental from what I already had...
    Around the same time, I found a gentleman on Clist (former art student) who was selling pretty much all the multigrade paper he had, plus a few darkroom knick knacks. It was a looot of paper. A few days later I stumbled upon a Nikon FE2, broken but I fixed it. Finally the engineering degree paid off Since it's Nikon, everything I was using on digital, like lenses and flashes, were working perfectly fine on the film camera. A day or two later, an enlarger fully equipped, ready to go. In a matter of 10 days or so, darkroom related things were basically landing in my hand one way or another and I took it as a sign.

    After running a couple of rolls through the FE2, taking my sweet time metering and composing, then printing in my improvised darkroom, lo and behold I found it! Everything just clicked. I knew I wanted landscape photography on film. Since then, I ditched my digital gear and have never looked back. I actually fell in love with film in the dark(room)
    My full-frame days were short because a retired gentleman gave me a good deal on a Hasselblad kit, which I adapted for landscape (traded some lenses, ditched items I don't need, got filters, etc.). Medium format is my current setup and even though I love the feel, the sounds, the kick of a MF camera, I keep hearing a distant call of an 8x10.

    Recent events proved to me that life's too short to keep saying "one day". So here I am; ready to learn, ready to take on a new chapter in my photography journey. I'm currently looking into a field 8x10 and although I understand the basics, I'm not familiar with brand names, camera architectures, etc. That's one side I would need some help from this great community, since it's quite the investment. Money is obviously a factor but I'm aware it'll be over 3-4 grand, so no surprises here. I was doing some research about Chamonix, Shen Hao and Ebony (not in production anymore). They seem to be well regarded cameras but I'd love your input here. I definitely prefer getting something used in decent condition, just like pretty much all gear I ever had, but I can't seem to find any good resources other than the big auction site. Do any of you know someone looking to sell a field view 8x10?

    Thanks for letting me be part of this community and look forward to hearing back from you.

    Warm regards,
    Radu

  2. #2

    Join Date
    Jul 2016
    Posts
    2,010

    Re: Greetings from snowy Boston

    Hello Radu,

    You start a very nice trip, congratulations !!!

    I'm a newcomer to LF so I can speak about what you will find soon.

    First in LF BW you have the opportunity to develop each sheet separately, with a custom development, this is not a common with rolls, to take advantage of that you may read "Beyond the Zone System" book. With rolls you easily can bracket for uncertain situation, in LF you tend to meter very accurately and (for important shots) to take 2 shots with same exposure so you have a backup, so in general metering and processing requires extra attention, with a failed shot you waste an entire roll, but also a great effort. ...and burning a Velvia 8x10 is like a car crash you remember that for years to come.

    You can buy your 810 when you find a good opportunity, but I'd advice to also start with a cheap 4x5 monorail, this will prevent you make mistakes in the purchase of expensive 810 gear, you will learn what kind of glass you want, and you will waste less film while learning movements an custom sheet processing, so the 45 pays back those $200, and later you can always sell it.

    Also you may easy get a 4x5 enlarger, while an 8x10 enlarger it's something very big, you may end making a 810 DIY enlarger, but this takes time and with 8x10 you have to start with contact prints or scanners, while 4x5 allows you to enlarge from the beginning.

    Selecting 810 glass it's not easy, and it's also something very personal, by experimenting with 45 you may learn cheaper what you want from glass, so you will make less mistakes in your 810 acquisitions.

    Also a 45 monorail has all movements and unlimited bellows draw, so you may learn what limitations you want to allow in a field camera.

    Something it's also true, when you make the mistake to look throught a 810 ground glass you won't able to go back

  3. #3

    Join Date
    Mar 2018
    Location
    Boston,MA
    Posts
    13

    Re: Greetings from snowy Boston

    Thanks Pere,

    You hit the nail right in the head. The thing I don't like the most about MF is the roll film. More often than not, I concentrate on getting everything squared up in the first frame or two, but then there are 10 more to go. A fellow "landscaper" knew exactly what I'm talking about so he suggested dedicating a whole roll on a single subject. Maybe bracketing, maybe a different lens, a different perspective, etc. It's a great idea and that's what I'm doing now, but I would love to take that photo on a slide, process it and learn how to make it better the next time.

    That was my thinking too, get a 4x5 because enlargers are readily available, significantly cheaper everything and when it's time to move on, move on. But then again, I can always get directly 8x10 with a 4x5 conversion back; 4x5 darkroom work, 8x10 color work with a scanner, photoshop and pigment printer. 4x5 enlargers keep popping up in my area every now and again. A few years back I remember seeing an 8x10 enlarger and holy-moly what a machine that was. Dare I say bigger than the industrial drill press at my dad's machine shop.
    I think you raise a great point about starting soft in LF. That's why I wanted your inputs since you already know the ropes. Actually, there is a 4x5 (I think) monorail camera here at work. It's a decorative piece but I definitely remember someone saying to just take it and bring it back when I'm done. Have to look into that, it has a lens on it but no film back.

    R.

  4. #4
    Joel Edmondson
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Yatesville, Georgia
    Posts
    231

    Re: Greetings from snowy Boston

    I assume that by "film back" you are referring to film-holders. If that is the case, pick up a couple of used film-holders and give the monorail a spin. Can't hurt and you may find that large format isn't quite what you envisioned - on the other hand you may love it! At worst you will acquire some ideas about how movements work and which movements you consider essential.
    Peres' statement about "not being able to go back" is (at least in my experience) very true. For over thirty years I used only 8x10 and loved every minute of it (still do) but at 75 I am also aware of the validity of a comment made by Ansel Adams not too long before his death. He was asked what format camera he preferred and replied " the largest one I can carry." Bottom line is that you have the opportunity to experience the 4x5 at very little cost and, despite the monorails' shortcomings you will soon discover whether LF is something you wish to pursue.
    Joel

  5. #5

    Join Date
    Mar 2018
    Location
    Boston,MA
    Posts
    13

    Re: Greetings from snowy Boston

    That was what I meant, yes. It didn't even register to me until you pointed it out; force of habit from MF.

  6. #6
    jp's Avatar
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    May 2009
    Location
    Maine
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    4,699

    Re: Greetings from snowy Boston

    Once you've been here for about a month, you will have access to the sales forums... Lots of great lenses and cameras changing hands. I use both 4x5 and 8x10 and they are very different, and I use 4x5 a great deal more.

    If you can do a workshop or outing with other LF photorgraphers, it's a great opportunity to check out the options for cameras as everyone has something different and wants to do something different.

    If you're in the market for new, add Canham to your list. They are sometimes available used as well.

  7. #7

    Join Date
    Mar 2018
    Location
    Boston,MA
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    Re: Greetings from snowy Boston

    Quote Originally Posted by jp View Post
    Once you've been here for about a month, you will have access to the sales forums...
    Wonderful, I didn't know the forum has a sales section. Will be looking forward for that.

    It would be great to go for an outing somewhere within 200mi of Boston. Right now my go-to place are the Dunes in Cape Cod. Not as much for vistas but it's so quiet and peaceful, specially in the winter. Love it.

    Is there any particular reason you reach for the 4x5 more? Or it's just about the gear weight...

    Radu,

  8. #8
    Nodda Duma's Avatar
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    Nov 2014
    Location
    Brookline, NH
    Posts
    635

    Re: Greetings from snowy Boston

    Hi Radu,

    Welcome aboard from New Hampshire!

    Are you aware of the upcoming PHSNE camera show in Newton MA?

    http://phsne.org/photographica-87-is-coming/
    Newly made large format dry plates available! Look:
    https://www.etsy.com/shop/Pictoriographica
    .. because my wife is happy when I can cover my photography expenses!

  9. #9

    Join Date
    Mar 2018
    Location
    Boston,MA
    Posts
    13

    Re: Greetings from snowy Boston

    Quote Originally Posted by Nodda Duma View Post
    Hi Radu,

    Welcome aboard from New Hampshire!

    Are you aware of the upcoming PHSNE camera show in Newton MA?
    Greetings! I actually did not. Thanks for the tip, Iíll definitely go check it out.
    Parallel parking extraordinaire

  10. #10
    multi format
    Join Date
    Feb 2001
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    local
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    3,797

    Re: Greetings from snowy Boston

    Quote Originally Posted by Nodda Duma View Post
    Hi Radu,

    Welcome aboard from New Hampshire!

    Are you aware of the upcoming PHSNE camera show in Newton MA?

    http://phsne.org/photographica-87-is-coming/
    Quote Originally Posted by radu_c View Post
    Greetings! I actually did not. Thanks for the tip, I’ll definitely go check it out.

    he radu
    great to see you here !

    the phsne show is a good one, lots of stuff !
    make sure you have enough room to haul it all home
    i remember the last time i went ( im in RI ) i left with stuff
    under both arms ...

    john

    ps the salt and pepper shaker bridge is open again !!

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