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Thread: Your method for matching lens to landscape composition

  1. #61

    Join Date
    Dec 2010
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    Maryland, USA
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    4,222

    Re: Your method for matching lens to landscape composition

    I use a Linhof Multifocal viewer, but for selecting scenes, not lenses.

    In an outdoor environment there are usually many different views that can be captured.
    I find it instructive to look through the viewer at different FL settings to isolate images.

    Perhaps a more experienced artist would not need such assistance. I've only been
    shooting for 50+ years, so I'm still learning.

    - Leigh

  2. #62

    Join Date
    May 2006
    Location
    SF Bay Area
    Posts
    264

    Re: Your method for matching lens to landscape composition

    Decades ago as a 35mm SLR photographer carrying several different fixed lenses, I got pretty good at just looking at a scene and knowing which lens to grab. As a LF photographer due to the weight I only have a 90mm, 150mm, and 300mm so now it is even more obviously easy. Also carry a small digital compact that I will sometimes take quick for the record pics to evaluate frame aesthetics in order to return when light is optimal. In any case in my old age, maybe 80% of my shots are with the normal 150mm Nikor because I prefer natural looking images in all ways. Thus usually work to find a way to get an image with that perspective. There are times nonetheless when only a wide angle lens is capable of getting all a scene and will immediately go to work with my 90mm. Often I figure out perspectives in areas I haven't yet visited by doing my topo map work beforehand using clear plastic angle of view protractors and trigonmetry for what can be viewed. In mountainous areas, one does not want to be hefting heavy gear up and down terrain inefficiently. And time good light is worthwhile does not last long so one does not want to be wasting time in the wrong places.

    http://www.davidsenesac.com/Informat...e_of_view.html

  3. #63

    Join Date
    Jan 2010
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    292

    Re: Your method for matching lens to landscape composition

    Just to be sure we are talking about the same app, this is the one I meant: https://play.google.com/store/apps/d...V3ZmluZGVyIl0.

    It's not free, but it works. You get to the menus through the menu key of your phone.

    Stefan.

    Quote Originally Posted by Geraldine Powell View Post
    I downloaded the ViewFinder for android app, but I cannot get it to work. How do you input data? My screen is showing mo popups or indication of how to use it. I did not get asked for money when I downloaded it, maybe that is the problem somehow.
    Thanks
    Geraldine

  4. #64

    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Posts
    292

    Re: Your method for matching lens to landscape composition

    Well, yes, you said it: BUY a cheap DSLR, BUY the lenses, and carry all the stuff with you; don't you have enough to carry as it is with your LF gear ? As I said in my first message: IF you have a smartphone ...

    Stefan.

    Quote Originally Posted by Old-N-Feeble View Post
    Smart Phones... iPhones... ehhh!!!!!!!!!!

    I'd rather buy a cheap DSLR and cheap lenses that span all the equivalent angles of view that my film cameras/lenses offer. Phoney-babies can't offer that much versatility. Not yet anyway.

    The above stated... Thirty years ago I'd have said I don't need no steenkeen visual aid!! But, after these many years and significant sight loss, I might. We'll see soon enough.

  5. #65

    Join Date
    Sep 1998
    Location
    Oregon and Austria
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    1,222

    Re: Your method for matching lens to landscape composition

    Two things are important in composing/arranging an image for me. 1. The spatial relationship of the elements in the scene. 2. Placing the borders of the image. Ideally, the spatial relationship is a direct function of camera position; the placing of the borders then determines lens choice and cropping.

    To assist in determining borders, I usually use a Zone VI viewing filter. It is small, fits easily in a pocket and has the added benefit of rendering the tones in their approximate relationships, which helps in filter choice. Once the scene is framed as I wish, the distance from the viewing filter to the eye is directly proportional to lens focal length. After a while, one gets a pretty good feeling for which lens to choose based on how far the viewing filter is from the eye. One could do some tests and make a knotted string or the like to indicate the exact focal lengths one has; I've never felt the need.

    I normally have determined camera position and framing and know which lens I'm going to mount on the camera before I start to set up. If I do have to change to a different lens, it's only the next focal length up or down, and usually because I'm making some compromise (like changing camera position, or having to crop more because the closest focal length is just a tad too long for the camera position).

    I'd recommend the Zone VI viewing filter unreservedly. However, since these are getting rarer and rather expensive on the used market, I would also recommend a small viewing frame. I have used a 4x5-inch card with a rectangle cut out of the center then folded in half and stuck in my shirt pocket (I made one out of the bottom of a Kodak 4x5 film box; nice and black). There's no reason the hole has to be the same size as the film to do its framing/lens choosing job, and I see no reason to lug an unwieldy 8x10-inch piece of mat board around in the field. Small is better.

    Best,

    Doremus

  6. #66

    Join Date
    Jul 2004
    Location
    NY area
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    1,023

    Re: Your method for matching lens to landscape composition

    Quote Originally Posted by ROL View Post
    Method, shmethod.

    IMO, composition/viewing/framing devices indicate a distinct lack of experience and/or aesthetics (i.e., "seeing") of landscape composition.

    Well then I guess after 35 years I don't know anything about aesthetics or composition because I still use croppers every time I shoot and every time I examine a contact print. To me a pair of L croppers is absolutely a must.

  7. #67

    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Location
    NYC
    Posts
    320

    Re: Your method for matching lens to landscape composition

    Often times I will see a subject in a certain dimension (or aspect ratio) and rather than forcing it into fitting the film size I will change the dimensions of the frame to match how I see the subject. This is why I started stitching several images together to create something like a 4x10 equivalent.

    www.john-sanderson.com

  8. #68

    Join Date
    Sep 1998
    Location
    Oregon and Austria
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    1,222

    Re: Your method for matching lens to landscape composition

    Quote Originally Posted by johnmsanderson View Post
    Often times I will see a subject in a certain dimension (or aspect ratio) and rather than forcing it into fitting the film size I will change the dimensions of the frame to match how I see the subject. ...
    For me, the subject determines the final aspect ratio. The world just doesn't come in 4x5 or 1.6:1 packages. I plan my image borders carefully when composing and almost always crop to get a final aspect ratio that suits the subject. All this full-frame stuff and printing black borders to prove you can use a full frame of film to photograph with is just pretentiousness IMHO...

    Best,

    Doremus

  9. #69

    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Location
    South Texas
    Posts
    820

    Re: Your method for matching lens to landscape composition

    Doremus... I agree with your belief that the subject, and our interpretation of it, affects aspect ratio. However, I don't think those who force image framing to fit their full film format are being pretentious. I think they're just boxing themselves in.

    Heck, I made that mistake several times. I was trying to use every square mm of the film to retain the best image quality possible from the film. I finally realized "maximum image quality" doesn't always equal "maximum image aesthetic". I think I eventually learned my balance and, I hope, once I start shooting again, that I've retained at least some of the few skills I once had so very long ago.

  10. #70
    I use the Viewfinder Pro iphone app. It can show masks/gridlines for any format/lens combination.

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