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Thread: Why LF doesn't seem to be working for me

  1. #1

    Join Date
    Aug 2008
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    142

    Why LF doesn't seem to be working for me

    Since September I've managed to expose only 6 sheets of LF film. Work is killing things. Constant 10 to 12 hour days leave me so tired and with so little time for photography. What little time i do have on weekends I just find it impractical to shoot LF. I lack motivation to deal with the hassle of the format. Trying to shoot LF often stresses me out whereas I get a big buzz shooting my slrs (film and digital). Shooting lf is time consuming and expensive. I lack inspiration for projects or themes that I feel merit the use of LF. Last week i had a week climbing Scottish hills, a welcome break from work stress. A beautiful landscape but not one easily photographed in lf unless there with the express purpose of photography. I was there to climb and hike. No way could I have hauled lf kit all week in Highland winter conditions. Thank goodness for big pockets in goretex jackets and a canon digi p&s. I wonder what the point of having 150 sheets of 5x7 in the fridge is if I never get round to shooting it. As for printing? It's been months since I've been in the darkroom. I haven't even scanned the few sheets of LF that i have shot this year.

    Perhaps when I retire i'll have the time and patience for large format. Right now I feel about ready to sell my LF film to someone who'll shoot something worthwhile with it. Cameras and lenses i'll keep as one day I might get to really use them properly. In the meantime I'm just not feeling LF.

    For all the forum members here shooting great stuff inLF. I don't know how you manage it. Credit to you.

  2. #2
    unexposed darr's Avatar
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    Apr 2005
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    1,806

    Re: Why LF doesn't seem to be working for me

    The film processing and scanning got the best of me so I went and bought a digital back. I still keep a 4x5" field around and b&w film in the freezer, but I dread all the film required workflow after the shoot. I can understand and sympathize. We all have our comfort zones.

    Best,
    Darr

  3. #3
    Drew Wiley
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    Sep 2008
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    SF Bay area, CA
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    Re: Why LF doesn't seem to be working for me

    I understand the feeling. After a week of work stress and recognizing that my 4x5 does not
    really dovetail with my addiction to climbing steep hills on days off, I solved that problem
    by switching to 8X10. Makes a better workout.

  4. #4

    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Location
    London, UK
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    Re: Why LF doesn't seem to be working for me

    I find large format photography takes up less time than digital. Sifting through 100s of photos on a computer (that I've already spent best part of 8 hours during the day in front of) and then spending time editing them to make some reasonable sense of the image as opposed to shooting three or four sheets, developing them in the bathroom and scanning them in. It takes far less time in my opinion and mostly keeps me away from the damn screen.

    Certainly there isn't the immediacy of sticking a digital P&S in your pocket and heading out but then I'm not sure, for me, if that's much of an advantage.

    If you do decide to sell up your film and have anything in the way of 4x5 film, give me a shout! 4x5 down here isn't cheap and a little difficult to get hold of!

  5. #5

    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Location
    Virginia, USA
    Posts
    539

    Re: Why LF doesn't seem to be working for me

    Feeling your pain here. Of course, what you should do is what you enjoy. That should be what it's all about, if photography is just a passtime.
    If I can't...or don't feel like hauling the 5X7 or 8X10 gear, I take a TLR or 35mm.
    I just don't "enjoy" shooting digital anymore. Probably because I use it professionally (semi-professionally...thanks economy).
    I don't shoot a lot of large format, but I go through a box or two of film a year. When I finally get my standard down for film/dev combination and move away from neg scanning back into darkroom printing, I'll do more.

    Just do what you like. No guilt - no condemnation.

  6. #6

    Join Date
    Jul 2007
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    California
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    224

    Re: Why LF doesn't seem to be working for me

    Quote Originally Posted by Drew Wiley View Post
    I understand the feeling. After a week of work stress and recognizing that my 4x5 does not
    really dovetail with my addiction to climbing steep hills on days off, I solved that problem
    by switching to 8X10. Makes a better workout.

    Funny and succinct

  7. #7

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    Aug 2008
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    Southland, New Zealand
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    1,794

    Re: Why LF doesn't seem to be working for me

    Using a LF camera should be relaxing, stress relief, if it isnt for you then sell it and find something that is. You might enjoy FP100C if you have a 4x5 back, I find it very inspiring to use.
    David

  8. #8
    Drew Wiley
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    Sep 2008
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    Re: Why LF doesn't seem to be working for me

    Actually I switch it up quite a bit. I like a good knee workout and the cardio of steep hills
    with a heavy pack. It's essential training for serious backpacking, esp at my age. I average only a shot a week with the 8X10, and only a few of those will ever get printed. Sometimes I carry the big camera without ever taking a shot. But if I want to move quicker on easier ground for that kind of exercise, esp if my wife wants to tag along, I just tote a Nikon. It's also sorta cleanses the palate esthetically, so to speak, and actually complements my large format composition ability. But I'd rather have one good keeper 8x10neg than a hundred small ones, even if it might be several years or more before I get a chance to print it. I don't think too many of us can afford to machine-gun LF film anyway.

  9. #9

    Join Date
    Aug 2008
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    142

    Re: Why LF doesn't seem to be working for me

    Lol! I should wear my photo backpack during my morning pull ups routine to keep up with Drew!

    I certainly enjoy shooting 35mm above all. For me a keeper is a keeper whatever the format. Below are the 2 keepers I've made in 2012. Neither on LF. Neopan 400 on my F6 and color shot from dslr.

    I just don't think that at heart I'm really a very effective LFer. Small format's where i get my kicks.
    Fre Syria Demo by Riverman___, on Flickr


    Thames Dawn by Riverman___, on Flickr

  10. #10

    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Location
    North Yorkshire, UK
    Posts
    20

    Re: Why LF doesn't seem to be working for me

    I have similar feelings and frustrations sometimes but I'm determined to keep going as I enjoy the process and the end results.
    The one thing that changed my mind was that LF is a different way of shooting - stating the bleedin' obvious I know.
    LF, for me, isn't about walking around and finding a shot the same as I can with DSLR or MF it's about going out with the LF camera to shoot something - having a purpose and planning for it.
    I find I work better if I do a walk (taking DSLR or MF) and then head back at a later date to use the LF on a particular subject and then I maybe only expose 6 sheets, if that.
    I think I was brought up on scatter-gun shooting on a digital and started out with LF applying that approach.
    YMMV
    cheers, Tony

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