View Full Version : 4x5 Betterlight images from Angkor Wat

Jim collum
12-Oct-2005, 19:35
Am currently in Cambodia, then on to Thailand again, shooting with both a Canon 1dsmk2 and an Ebony and a Betterlight scanning back (as well as their pano adapter)

i've started a blog as i've been travelling.. images are pretty much straight from the cameras right now, and will need some more work when i get back, but

collum.omniblog.com (http://collum.omniblog.com)

the Color IR images are taken without the normal IR blocking filter. the pano's are with the panao adapter and are up to 26,000x6000 pixels

i'll add more as i get them


12-Oct-2005, 19:47
I'm sure that the images are wonderful and unique. But they're so big that it's a total waste for me to bother with them. And have a nice trip.

Jim collum
12-Oct-2005, 19:51
ok. a warning.. images are 1280 in width. if you can't handle large images, then don't go to the link

personally, i rarely see anything in images that are less then 1024 on the web... escpecially from large format work. there's little to seperate them from a 1Mp cell phone camera.


Frank Petronio
12-Oct-2005, 20:02
I think they are wonderful. While it is always helpful to warn people who might be on a dial-up or small monitor, I have to thank you for providing such luxuriously large images than I can tell the difference -- that they weren't made with a cell phone.

I hope no jerks rip them off...

Jim collum
12-Oct-2005, 20:42
i'm not as worried in getting them ripped off. most of what i sell is printed at 16x20 or larger (up to 40x40), or i make negatives for platinum printing.


Doug Dolde
12-Oct-2005, 22:17
Fantastic shots Jim.

David Luttmann
12-Oct-2005, 23:43
Thanks for the update Jim. Superb shots. I was just reading about Mark Dubovoy, in the March/April issue of Photo Techniques. He tested an early model of the Better Light Super 6K-HS scanning back. He feels it delivers more detail and is also noticeably sharper than an 8x10 transparency. I'll be interest in getting some crops from this to verify myself.

Keep us up to date Jim.

QT Luong
12-Oct-2005, 23:50
I particularly like the panoramics. I hope you will write something about the logistics of working there as well. By the way, I assume the image with the monks was made with the Canon ?

John Berry ( Roadkill )
13-Oct-2005, 01:24
I now have your blog in my favorites. Beautiful shots. One of the places I dream about going to. Just so the dream doesn't have me landing in Vietnam again.

Jim collum
13-Oct-2005, 06:58
well.. it used to be a lot harder with the big Sony monitors.. but now with the LCD's it's an easier lift.



(have to agree.. there's nothing like holding up a chrome to a window... which is why i still take film along with me as well as the digital)

Frank Petronio
13-Oct-2005, 07:10
Hey, this is some of the best work I've seen from this forum. I know that a large part of it stems from the exotic subject matter, but what a perfect subject for the techniques employed.

Please tell us more about your trip, the logistics and what it is like to use the back in the field.

Better Light should sponsor you - I think you just sold more BL backs than all the ads and other promotions they've ever done.

Nothing against ULF, but this is the digital equivilant. And for him to be posting while he is on the trip itself is simply awesome.

Scott Davis
13-Oct-2005, 07:57
John Berry-

you can get there via Bangkok or Singapore now. It's actually pretty easy and painless - just a bit pricey. On Singapore Airlines I got a R/T from Washington DC to Siem Reap, Cambodia with a stop in Singapore for $1400 back in 2003. You can take some gorgeous pictures there with a pinhole, if you know what you're doing with it.

Jim -

Those are really gorgeous photos - I see you shot most of them at Ta Prohm. Did you have any problems with the rain while you were shooting them (I see a lot of puddles)? What kind of exposure and processing times were you having with those shots? What about the portability of the scanning back? Did you have to shoot tethered, or is it a standalone?

Rich Morgan
13-Oct-2005, 08:00
"what it is like to use the back in the field."

It is a PITA, but I've only been using 4x5 for a few months...after a hiatus of about 10 years. Things would undoubtedly be better if I didn't have so much difficulty seeing my sh*tty LCD screen in the field, I had more recent 4x5 shooting experience, I didn't use a 58 on my Toyo CF so frequently, and people would stop approaching me and asking about the equipment. I ordered a Walker Titan which I should have soon. Hopefully that will help...I have a much easier time using my Cambo monorail, but that weighs over 13 lbs and will be the end of me if I continue to hike with it and the other 30+ lbs of gear. Note that the betterlight gear only weighs about 8 lbs (including 1 battery), but you'll need a laptop, and probably a heavier tripod and head than you normally use.

Also, there's plenty of stuff you can't shoot with the Betterlight. So you'll also bring some film or a dslr along.

When I think about using the Betterlight, I am reminded of a quote from a longtime friend..."No one said this sh*t would be easy!"

Jim collum
13-Oct-2005, 08:47
thanks all for the kind words. still in the field (just arrived in Bangkok.. will be heading up to Sukothai in a bit). The monk shot was done with the Canon. As soon as I get back i'll be writing up a more detailed article on the trip/logistics... maybe submit it to View Camera and see if they might be interested.

There are a lot of images from Ta Phrom... but also a good number from Bantary Srie (the pink sandstone). I have a number from the Bayon that i haven't posted yet, but will once the internet becomes a bit more reliable (Cambodia was actually better than where we are in Bangkok)

Laptop LCD can be a pain.. but i find if i use my focusing cloth as i would on my ground glass, i can get a good idea of what's going on. what's really nice is the verification that the shot is good.. focus,exposure, development.. before i leave the site. It does take a bit of extra time to do that. i take full scan slices in different areas to ensure focus is on. i've found that even with a loupe, and with all corners looking sharp in the ground glass.. you can still get slightly out of focus corners. with this setup, that doesn't happen.

only spent one morning in Ta Phrom.. and yes, there was rain the night before, and a bit of the morning we were there. it stopped at about 7am.. which was great. wet temple, overcast sky, and no tourists.

more to come as i get the time


Ron Marshall
13-Oct-2005, 10:09
Thanks for posting your wonderful images. I was there two years ago, but a month earlier, so it was almost deserted. Unfortunately I hadn't yet started doing LF.

I can't get over the detail in your images, even though the web image shows only a fraction of what must be there.

QT Luong
13-Oct-2005, 12:10
By the way, if you look in the local bookstores in Siem Reap, you might find a fine coffee-table sized book about the Angkor Ruins. It was shot in 4x5. Your panoramics are something I haven't seen before, and I think that format works wonderfully at the ruins. When I was there, unfortunately it was sunny all the time, so I concentrated on
travel-esque shots (http://www.terragalleria.com/theravada/cambodia/angkor).

Graham Patterson
13-Oct-2005, 13:21
There is an excellent sense of scale from these pictures. Something that is often missing from pictures of these temples. Possibly the panoramic format helps in this respect.

You certainly did not waste your time or energy!

Craig Wactor
13-Oct-2005, 17:13
Man, those are fantastic! Inspiring. The third one down is my favorite.

Jim collum
16-Oct-2005, 08:41
Mike Collette from Betterlight has been *very* helpful with this project. I've owned a Betterlight back for a number of years now. i've recently upgraded to their new lightweight USB unit for this trip. He allowed me to borrow the pano adapter for it.

i'm currenlty in sukhothai, thailand, and have just added some new images from todays shoot


Paul Butzi
16-Oct-2005, 10:27
Just awesome. Please, continue to keep posting. This is fascinating stuff.

David Luttmann
16-Oct-2005, 13:38
Thanks for the updates Jim. Now it appears I'll need to be setting aside some $ for the Betterlight as well. Oh well, I could probably do without a few meals once in awhile ;-)

Utomo Tjipto
5-Nov-2005, 00:50
Jim, great pictures. Really prove the quality of Better Light. Have to persuade Prima Imaging here in Indonesia to sponsor a trip like that. Cheers..