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Thread: LF Conference Thoughts

  1. #1

    LF Conference Thoughts

    I just got home from the LF conference this weekend and, as requested, here are some thoughts:

    Overall it was a great time. There are some phenomenal photographers out there. Getting to see their work and hear their thoughts was wondeful. In particular: Kerry Thalmann's and Quang-Tuan Luong's talk on backpacking with LF gear was great. I have no idea how Quang-Tuan manages to carry a 70+ pack around, it must be close to half his body weight. =-O; Dick Arentz's, Brad Hinkel's and Jan Pietrzak's presentation on alternative processes was also outstanding. Brad is doing some very cool things with ink-jet negatives, Jan gave a very informative overview of a variety of processes and Dick's Pt/Pd prints are just beautiful; Gordon Hutchings gave 7 or 8 of us a tour of the new Cooke Optics convertible lens. I WANT ONE, I WANT IT NOW, GIMMIE, GIMMIE, GIMME!

    There were also a few glitches in the weekend (given that this was only the second time they've had this conference, it's hard to imagine that it would be problem free). Some of the sessions had way too many people interested in going for the size of the space allocated. People got shut out of the digital darkroom session on the first morning and there were usually people left standing in the sessions I attended. There also seemed to be the occasional disconnect between what the speakers were presenting and what the session was titled. For example, the Presenting your work to Galleries, Museums and Publications session didn't have anything to say about Galleries or Museums, but did have quite a bit to say on the history of Arizona Highways magazine... Generally the problems that did occur were minor and barely detracted from the enjoyment of the weekend. I'm sure that they'll all be worked out by the next one.

    The best part of all, of course, was the trade show. That's where Jim from Midwest Photo hooked me up with a beautiful Canham woodfield and a Nikkor 400/9 to facilitate my jump from 4x5 to 8x10. Now I just need to figure out what the heck I'm going to do with these bloody, big negatives. :-)

    Again, great to meet those of I was lucky enough to run into and hope to meet some more of you at the next one.

  2. #2
    Tim Curry's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2003

    LF Conference Thoughts

    The conference was wonderful. There were many vendors of all stripes and a good selection of speakers and shooters. Nice to see a community in one place and not spread all over the states (and world for that matter). Fortunately, Bin Laden's thugs didn't get wind of this high powered meeting, or we might have lost Aggie and some lesser visionaries.

    What I found refreshing was the nanter about digital vs. traditional printing. It was nice to hear the exchange of two passionate, articulate proponents standing toe to toe and trading broadsides in true naval fashion. It was almost as fun as reading the exchanges here about Aggie, but certainly not as dangerous or colorful. The outcome was, at this point, a draw.

    "To Crop Or Not To Crop, that is the question" was another of those lower keyed exchanges, although the proponents of both schools have the common sense not to directly confront about the subject. Suffice it to say, I found merit in both opinions (now, where the hell did I leave my cropping slide). One very interesting and promising FACT that should be of interest to all here, was the best news I heard in three days. Tina, the Ilford rep, stated that last year was the first up-tick in B&W sales in many years. This is great news folks. Perhaps those few dedicated shooters and print sharers, who have stubbornly held on to film, have withstood the digital onslaught and are still alive and kicking. In fact, it looks like the "Big Boys" may have finally taken notice and gotten the idea that there is still a market place for film.

    Kodak and Fuji's release of several more transparency films, which Kerry Thalman wrote about in View Camera, is a good omen. J&C is still having growing pains, but birth is a painful process and labor pains are truly painful.

    Just a quick note of thanks to Steve Simmonds for his faith, staff, vision and planning. For those who think him just a shameless self-promoter, I say "Fooey On You." I am proud to have shaken hands with him and thanked him for a wonderful time. (Copy from my APUG post)

  3. #3

    LF Conference Thoughts

    Dean, some of the seminars had switched rooms.. that may have been part of the confusion.

    I was very disappointed that I did not get into the landscape seminar, but I had arrived at the conference about 10 minutes late.

    It was tough making the decisions on which seminar to go to, since they were being held simultaneously. But the ones that I did make it too were great. I got lots of ideas and advice. One thing that made the seminars a great way to learn is that you could ask questions about the details which may have been left out in a book.

    The trade show was also informative. Being able to see many products and publications first hand was great.

    After the conference I was able to drive around and expose some 4x5s. Monterey is really a beautiful area. I saw some of you out there as well. Unfortunately 2 of my shutters went bad during shooting. My rapax shutter died, but I was able to get it back to life Saturday night. (I brought all my tools with me). The Seikosha that my 90mm SA is in jammed, so I moved the elements into a copal press shutter and guestimated the aperture scale. I hope some of the film turns out. I cant wait till they are developed.

  4. #4

    LF Conference Thoughts

    I also had a great time at the conference. One of the wonderful things about an event like this is the chance to meet and socialize with so many people who share a common passion. I wish I could have stayed longer, but I had a family commitment on Sunday morning that I simply could not and would not miss. Therefore, I had to fly back Saturday evening. Although the trip was short, it was definitely worthwhile. I enjoyed chatting with several old friends, and making some new ones as well.

    The one universal constant that really stood out was the enthusiasm for large format photography. It didn't matter if it was someone with decades of experience like Clyde Butcher or Gordon Hutchings (who started shooting large format when I was still wearing pajamas with feet), or a beginner looking to buy their first large format camera, the enthusism was obvious and contageous.

    I would also like to thank all those who attended my presentations. While I enjoy the intimate nature and personal interactions of presenting to a smaller group, it is very rewarding to ocasionally look out over a room packed front to back and side to side with people who share the same interest and passion. The size of the crowd for the landscape photography seminar was simply amazing.

    To all those I had a chance to meet in person, it was a pleasure. To those I didn't get to speak with one-on-one, I appreciate your attendance and hope to get a chance to meet you at a future conference.


  5. #5

    LF Conference Thoughts

    I certainly enjoyed myself. Yes, many if not most of the seminars were filled to capacity. There were several last minute moving around to accommodate the crowds. But it just goes to show the wonderful interest and enthusiam for large format.

    It was great to run into old friends and make new ones. I met quite a few people whose name and work were well known but had never connected a face to. I had some great conversations with Clyde -- what a nice, friendly guy. I even got a "not too shabby" from him when he saw some of my images.

    Roy Harrington

  6. #6
    Founder QT Luong's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 1997
    San Jose, CA

    LF Conference Thoughts

    I also enjoyed meeting and talking with a variety of people.

    It was interesting to me to see, as a sign of changing times, how much digital was present at the conference. I think almost at any time, there was a talk involving digital in one of the rooms, even with titles such as "landscape photography" and "alternative processes". Yet, in the LF world, almost nobody uses digital capture.

    I got a chance to hold in my hands a large number of prints by Michael Smith. After reading so much about them in this forum, I was very curious, especially since viewing his images on the web never did anything for me. I found the prints to be fascinating. For me, the images are about information density, complex structural 2D relationships that are often subtle because they depend on very fine tonal nuances, or small texture elements. There was also a sense of the more you looked at the prints and moved your eyes around, the more you would see, something emphasized by the panoramic format. All this requires and extremely fine level of detail, and a great tonal scale. I cannot judge whether other methods of working would achieve that or not, but for sure, Michael Smith's method did it.

    Regarding the filled-up rooms, it might be useful in the future to ask to participants at the time of registration which sessions they plan to attend to get an idea of the sitting needs. This might not even eliminate the problems: this approach was used at NANPA, however for some sessions you still had to stand.

  7. #7

    LF Conference Thoughts

    Interestingly enough, very few attended the studio techniques seminar. I found it was very informative and, more importantly, very inspirational.

  8. #8

    LF Conference Thoughts

    I really enjoyed the conference, it was a great opportunity to see old friends and meet new ones. They’re where of course some glitches but that is to be expected at an event of this magnitude. Some of the rooms were over crowded and had standing room only, I hope this gets ironed out before the next conference. Steve did a wonderful job and I hope he continues with more conferences in the future. From my observations it appears quite a few 8x10 cameras found new homes. Unfortunately mine was not one of them (my wife went with me!). Oh well, what do I need a second 8x10 for anyway? We had a beautiful morning Friday, at Pt. Lobos, tripods and large format cameras as far as the eye could see. As for the seminars most were pretty good, some were not quite as advertised, such as the "Presenting your Work to Galleries" seminar. It was still enjoyable and useful information was gained from it. While all of the presenters did a good job, Michael Smith and Gordon Hutchings were particularly interesting. When Gordon gets going his enthusiasm is tremendous and his seminars were some of the best. There were only six or seven of us in his seminar on the new Cooke triple convertible lens as most were attending the Future of Large Format Film seminar, so we went outside and played with the lens on his 8x10 Deardorff. Now if I can only talk my wife into letting me get one.

  9. #9

    Join Date
    Dec 1999

    LF Conference Thoughts

    Thanks for the comments. We are always open to constructive criticism and we learned many things.

    Yes, some of the rooms were full but we usually had two sessions scheduled for every topic. The digital darkroom session on Firday was full but we had a second session schedued on Saturday. Some of the people who were not able to get in on Friday showed up late and that was part of the problem.

    There are a couple of criticisms I would like to respond to.

    The sessions were just ad pitches. I would like to know which ones. The session on selecting equipment used a Horseman as an example in talking about camera movements but I came in several times and did not feel it was a Horseman sales pitch. Some brand of camera always has to be used in a session such as this.

    The sound was bad in the seminars. This is new and not something we were told, as far as I know, during the weekend.

    There was nothing for beginners. This is probably a valid criticism. We did have a session on selecting equipment but we did not have one on camera movements and metering techniques. We will do this next time.

    There were many requests to do this conference again next year. OK, where? We are looking for suggestions.

    steve simmons

  10. #10

    Join Date
    Nov 2001
    Chester, UK

    LF Conference Thoughts

    Steve, if you want suggestions as to where to hold this next year, would you consider a European venue?

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