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Thread: What are the options for the ultra large format color photography?

  1. #1

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    What are the options for the ultra large format color photography?

    For quite some time I have been tinkering with an idea to get into the ultra large format photography one day.

    What troubles me is limited options for the color film. I love color photography.

    I understand that the possible options are

    1) Kodak Portra up to 11x14 (or more?) but this requires either very large investment (to order the minimum quantity) or luck to somehow get some from somebody who has made this investment.

    Does anybody know what is the current state of this affair? Would it be realistic to acquire true color ULF film in small quantities?

    2) Color paper negatives. I have seen that some people have gotten very good (in the sense of the color reproduction) results (with smaller formats).

    Has anybody tried this with larger photo papers?

    3) Trichromatic photography. Are there practitioners of this in ULF? It would probably provide a more easy path to correct colors (compared to the photo papers) if the subject is cooperating (edit: unless a special camera with 3 films is used). Is my thinking right here?

    4) Finally it should be at least theoretically possible to make a home made color film based on layered black and white films and color filters. Chromatic aberration would be probably problem with this method because of the film thickness. Is this thinking way of the base?

  2. #2

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    Re: What are the options for the ultra large format color photography?

    Hi,

    Talk to Keith Canham about starting or joining a group purchase of Kodak PORTRA 160|400 or EKTAR 100 film in 11x14 or what ever size that you want to use:

    http://www.canhamcameras.com/kodakfilm.html

    Namaste,
    Daniel

  3. #3
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    Re: What are the options for the ultra large format color photography?

    Keep in mind that 11x14 Portra will cost around $30 per sheet before processing, more still in larger sizes.

  4. #4
    Drew Wiley
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    Re: What are the options for the ultra large format color photography?

    You could do tricolor ULF as big as you can acquire FP4. TMax 100 would be better, but I doubt anything larger than 8x10 is available. But it takes quite a bit of experimentation and fussing with a densitometer to calibrate a matched sets on a predictable basis. Then you still have to learn an appropriate contact sequential printing process. The simplest one would be pin-registered RA4 chromogenic paper using a vac blanket. You can spend a helluva lot of time and $$$ just getting to the same point as what can be figured out in half an hour using smaller film and an enlarger. But if you're more ambitious you could try color carbon printing or dye transfer.

  5. #5
    SE Penna. chassis's Avatar
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    Re: What are the options for the ultra large format color photography?

    What size is ultra large format for you? Maciej Markowicz is using rolls of RA4 paper in a camera obscura with interesting results.

    http://www.obscurab.us/motiongraphs

  6. #6

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    Re: What are the options for the ultra large format color photography?

    Quote Originally Posted by erian View Post

    3) Trichromatic photography. Are there practitioners of this in ULF? It would probably provide a more easy path to correct colors (compared to the photo papers) if the subject is cooperating (edit: unless a special camera with 3 films is used). Is my thinking right here?
    There is another choice: lumiere autochromes.

    Perhaps it may not be interesting to you but it has to be mentioned as a possibility.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Autochrome_Lumi%C3%A8re

    http://www.autochromes.fr/english/def.html

    There are some "Neo-Autochromists" around, personally I like that way: DIY emulsion + potatos = unlimited beauty. This equation is not easy to solve, but succeding in that should be really great.


  7. #7

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    Re: What are the options for the ultra large format color photography?

    Bob is a friend of mine and makes up to 30"x40" color prints
    http://robertcalafiore.com

  8. #8
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    Re: What are the options for the ultra large format color photography?

    Quote Originally Posted by Greg View Post
    Bob is a friend of mine and makes up to 30"x40" color prints
    http://robertcalafiore.com
    and the other link to Markowicz’s work made this weekly pingin worthwhile.


    to OP may I suggest:
    solve problems that keep you from your goal rather than introducing ones that keep you from going toward it.
    More directly: if you are told of a problem without a solution, take it with a truck load of salt and doubt.
    --------
    jen / more than one type of clock. more than one timescape

  9. #9
    Eric Woodbury
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    Re: What are the options for the ultra large format color photography?

    How about Lippmann photography? You should be able to go as large as you want, but like a Polaroid, it is a one-off process.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lippmann_plate

    I never seen one, but I hear they are fabulous. Lippmann got the Nobel prize for this.

  10. #10

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    Re: What are the options for the ultra large format color photography?

    Thank you everyone for the great replies!

    Quote Originally Posted by DolphinDan View Post
    Talk to Keith Canham about starting or joining a group purchase of Kodak PORTRA 160|400 or EKTAR 100 film in 11x14 or what ever size that you want to use:
    Thank you Dan! I had forgotten about Keith Canham. His opinion was that ordering anything but Portra is not realistic in small quantities (my interpretation of his answer) because it would be hard to complete the minimum order that is around $15,000 (approximately 500 sheets based on my calculation).

    Perhaps ordering Ektar is possible but it would then require a larger organized campaign (my speculation).

    Quote Originally Posted by Oren Grad View Post
    Keep in mind that 11x14 Portra will cost around $30 per sheet before processing, more still in larger sizes.
    Thank you Oren! It will be at least $34 for Portra 400 according to Keith Canham. It also appears that minimum package size is 50 sheets.

    $34 is approximately x2 the price of 8x10, it definitely is not cheap, 3 shots for 1 hundred, but this is also what I expected.

    Spending $34 on color film would be also probably more economical and/or easier to work with than alternatives.

    Quote Originally Posted by Drew Wiley View Post
    You could do tricolor ULF as big as you can acquire FP4. TMax 100 would be better, but I doubt anything larger than 8x10 is available.
    Thank you Drew! Why are you suggesting FP4 instead of Delta 100 when you prefer TMax 100? What would be the benefits of FP4?

    I presume that it could be possible to order TMax by Keith Canham (I did not ask about it).

    Quote Originally Posted by Drew Wiley View Post
    But it takes quite a bit of experimentation and fussing with a densitometer to calibrate a matched sets on a predictable basis. Then you still have to learn an appropriate contact sequential printing process. The simplest one would be pin-registered RA4 chromogenic paper using a vac blanket. You can spend a helluva lot of time and $$$ just getting to the same point as what can be figured out in half an hour using smaller film and an enlarger. But if you're more ambitious you could try color carbon printing or dye transfer.
    I guess that it makes sense to start printing with smaller formats. But I have not thought that far. I think that in either case it makes most sense to process files digitally because it would allow more precise and controlled alignments.

    Quote Originally Posted by chassis View Post
    What size is ultra large format for you?
    Thank you chassis! I understand that anything larger than 8x10 is considered to be an ultra large format here in the forum.

    Reinhold Schable from http://re-inventedphotoequip.com considers regulars format like 11x14, 14x17, 16x20 to be a very large format and only really large sizes like 24x30 to be ultra large format.

    While I tend to agree with this classification, I considered everything over 8x10 to be ultra large format for my question (in some point it makes sense because everything over 8x10 is much harder to obtain so the term "ultra" is not out of the place).

    Quote Originally Posted by chassis View Post
    Maciej Markowicz is using rolls of RA4 paper in a camera obscura with interesting results.
    He has a boat camera (and a van)! This indeed is a ultra large format. But he does not appear to be interested about the color accuracy, only the size.

    Quote Originally Posted by Pere Casals View Post
    There is another choice: lumiere autochromes.

    Perhaps it may not be interesting to you but it has to be mentioned as a possibility.

    There are some "Neo-Autochromists" around.
    Thank you Pere! No, it definitely is interesting. I have seen the exhibition of Edward Steichen autochromes and these were really fabulous.

    I just did not think that it may be viable.

    The work of Frédéric Mocellin (http://www.autochromes.fr/) is very promising. I am wondering what may have went wrong with his process that the photographs are very spotty. Unfortunately he does not evaluate this.

    Unfortunatelly the plane is not one of his autochromes. It is on the original autochrome from the WWI era.

    It is also fascinating that variants of the autochrome were also produced based on the film. Even the 120 format film was produced.

    Quote Originally Posted by Pere Casals View Post
    Personally I like that way: DIY emulsion + potatos = unlimited beauty. This equation is not easy to solve, but succeding in that should be really great.
    I am wondering if using something else than potato starch would produce smaller grains. About 4 million grains per square inch would produce about 2 megapixel resolution on the 35mm film (of course it would be quite plentiful for the large format (and the resolution is not everything).

    Autochrome is very much like a screen where single color dots are mixed in the close proximity. So everything that can provide this mix and emulsion that is panchromatic should do the job. No?

    I am not chemist myself so this is only a pure speculation on my side.


    Quote Originally Posted by Greg View Post
    Bob is a friend of mine and makes up to 30"x40" color prints
    http://robertcalafiore.com
    This is also interesting. But like Maciej, he is also not about correct colors. Quite opposite, but his work is of course very interesting.

    Quote Originally Posted by hornstenj View Post
    to OP may I suggest:
    solve problems that keep you from your goal rather than introducing ones that keep you from going toward it.
    More directly: if you are told of a problem without a solution, take it with a truck load of salt and doubt.
    Thank you Jen! In principle this is what I am doing. But I am not fully sure what do you mean by this. I would appreciate if you could extend on this.

    Quote Originally Posted by Eric Woodbury View Post
    How about Lippmann photography?
    Thank you Eric! I was not aware about the Lippmann photography before. It is very fascinating process. It really looks to be a capture of the light itself.

    I found out about Hans Bjelkhagen and Filipe Alves (http://www.lippmannphotography.com/) who have successfully reproduced this technique. Hans Bjelkhagen should be also thanked for finding a way to produce a Lippmann photographs without liquid mercury.

    It is also interesting that Kodak made spectroscopic plates that would have been suitable for the Lippmann process. I am wondering if these are still made (or available).

    Quote Originally Posted by Eric Woodbury View Post
    You should be able to go as large as you want, but like a Polaroid, it is a one-off process.
    Well, these days, thanks to the digital, nothing is one-off process.

    Quote Originally Posted by Eric Woodbury View Post
    I never seen one, but I hear they are fabulous.
    Filipe Alves (http://www.lippmannphotography.com/) has many examples of his photographs. He has also a video http://www.lippmannphotography.com/First-sucesses that would also give an idea how a Lippmann photograph could look in real life.

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