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Thread: a very large project

  1. #1

    a very large project

    The project: to photograph a lake/ranch in New Zealand over the summer. The ultimate idea is to cover a 12 X 45ft wall with print(s) creating one large picture of the lake. Money not being an issue, I am asking anyone's advice regarding camera, processing, etc. Thanks for all who respond. You can also email me personally, amandaglynn@comcast.com. Again, thanks for your help.

    Amanda

  2. #2

    Join Date
    Dec 2001
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    San Joaquin Valley, California
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    a very large project

    Amanda,

    A 12'x45' mural? FWIW, I'd start by going to galleries and museums that are displaying photographic work the size you're contemplating. The overall effect of prints that size would probably require some rethinking of your own personal style. I don't know if you're into razor sharpness or pictorial fuzzy-ness or somewhere in between but I think an image of that size, no matter what style, would look very different and feel very different from your normal preference for a 16x20 or even a 20x24 print. The distance from where this huge print will be viewed is also important to consider. Take a look at a billboard: close up they look very different than when viewed from the road. Visit a Williams-Sonoma or Eddie Bauer and look at their displays, which I think are shot with 4x5 cameras and digi backs. Often times government buildings, airports, train stations, special interest museums and corporate headquarters will display huge murals too. You might find a different style or look (I'm referring to contrast, sharpness, saturation, etc...)that will better compliment the size of the finished work, then you can work "backwards" from there. My 2 cents.-----Good Luck and congrats on that commission!
    I steal time at 1/125th of a second, so I don't consider my photography to be Fine Art as much as it is petty larceny.

  3. #3

    Join Date
    Oct 2003
    Location
    Ottawa, Canada
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    646

    a very large project

    Well, this is not a large format answer, but you could have a look at:

    http://www.tawbaware.com/maxlyons/gigapixel.htm

    This would be one possible solution to capturing the image.

  4. #4

    a very large project

    i'd rather stay away from digital--but i'll definately end up dividing the wall into multiple images and "stitching" them together. how large can you go, yet retain sharpness, with a large format?

  5. #5

    Join Date
    Sep 2003
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    511

    a very large project

    You may want to read Ansel Adams's thoughts on printing large in 'The Print', it may help you decide how to approach your subject.

    CP Goerz.

  6. #6

    a very large project

    Are you doing this project in b&w or color?

  7. #7

    Join Date
    Sep 2003
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    New Jersey, USA
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    269

    a very large project

    You said that money isn't an issue. Well, I could then provide you with a fre suggestions.

    First, this would be an utterly HUGE print. The diagonal would be 47 feet if it was done as one print. If you're talking about 'stitching' them together, how many prints would you do? I'm not sure if they offer any LF panoramic heads, but that could get complicated.

    Ok, now to the point. I usually consider an enlargement of between 6x to 12x the 'standard' that I find to be acceptable. Once you are going up towards 20x it gets a bit grainy. Then again, I've done some 65x enlargements from 2 1/4" without a LOT of grain problems.

    Let's assume you do three prints - each 12x15'. That would take three widths of 50" rollpaper to get the 12' width, and each would be a 15' long segment. Process them in an automated machine like a Kreonite. The only problem with this is that you need to find a darkroom which has the capability of doing 12x15' prints.

    As for camera, you want the largest format possible. An 8x10" film would give you about 1:20, or a 20x enlargement. If you shoot with the finest grain film you can find (think TMX, Pan F+, Tehc Pan, maybe some ortho copy films), it might not be THAT bad. Jump up to an 11x14 neg, that's only 14x. But you need a horizontal 11x14 mural enlarger, like a durst.

    (I'm not sure if there are even many or any commercial labs that would do this).

    If you really care about quality, here's the way to go: Collaborate with a camera designer, or do it yourself and have a metalworker help. Get an old process camera bellows, about 25"x25"x6'. Build a horizontal 20x24" enlarger. Get a light grid from Aristo, or build a head yourself - the idea of an LED head looks good). Shoot the project on 20x24" film. You get a 7x enlargement, which I consider near optimal.

  8. #8

    Join Date
    Dec 2000
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    a very large project

    Hi Amanda. Color? B&W? I think I understand that you will be making a patchwork of several smaller prints to make the whole. If you use a high quality 210mm and Fujichrome Velvia you will have grainless positives for drum scans and you can output to a Light Jet 5000 print with amazing quality. I've seen things get to 40 X 50 inches from an extremely good 4X5 original and still be tack sharp. I recommend the 210 or longer because you won't have any barrel distortion along the edges that will be meeting each other. Don't forget also that a normal viewing distance for an image even 40X50 adds to the over-all feeling of crispness. 40 X 50's 3 tall X 10 long of a single whole would have a huge impact. Something I'd love to see.
    He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep..to gain that which he cannot lose. Jim Elliot, 1949

    http://tonopahpictures.0catch.com

  9. #9

    Join Date
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    Seattle, Washington
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    a very large project

    You could shoot with a Cirkut camera to get a negative of the same aspect ratio as your final print, and then have it scanned in a drumscanner and printed digitally in large strips. I'd look into billboard printing techniques.

  10. #10

    a very large project

    We'll most likely end up doing black and white.

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