View Full Version : Hello from Austin, TX

27-Jan-2007, 08:10
My name is Dave Re, and I'm based in, well, Austin, TX. I'm pretty new to the forum, and to LF photography, in general. I know what most of the gear is, but don't know a whole lot about how to use it :D I've taken some LF shots in the past, but only after someone else set up the camera.

My grandfather passed away last year, and left me quite a large amount of photo gear - including a bevy of large format equipment. I'm still sorting through the whole kit, trying to determine what's in good shape, what needs repairs, what's useful, what's not, etc. And.... how do I set things up and use them... :D

Like, my current question is - how do I accurately find the infinity focus point for a given lens...?? :D I'm sure the answer is on the forum somewhere, just haven't had a chance to dig it out yet...

I'm an avid photog - but I've been mainly shooting digital for the past few years, and the film experience I've got is basically limited to 35mm. I don't have any wet darkroom equipment or knowledge, though I have dipped B&W film before in daylight tanks (will that even work for 4x5?? hmmm). Integrating LF into a digital workflow will be key item for me, so that I can use these things a bit more efficiently.... You can see my website here - http://daverephoto.com - under the "About" section, the two fireworks pictures there are both taken from 4x5 negatives (though you wouldn't know it from the small JPEGs...)

Anyhow, I look forward to researching and talking, and I hope my questioning doesn't get burdensome (I'm a quick learner, though... ;)


27-Jan-2007, 08:43
Welcome to the forum Dave. I love horses too. :)

Jim Rice
27-Jan-2007, 09:02
Welcome Dave. I'm actually scared of horses (there was a childhood experience, please don't ask).
Large format isn't rocket science, but it is by God photography. Enjoy, Sir.

27-Jan-2007, 09:05
Jim, they intimidate me some, too, but I'm getting a little more used to them. They're really my wife's thing - I rely on her to protect me from doing anything truly stupid around them... :D They make interesting subjects, though, if they're being cooperative... ;)

Jim Rice
27-Jan-2007, 09:13
A fearless wife is a good thing.

Jeremy Moore
27-Jan-2007, 11:55
Hi Dave, you're in good company in Austin with Matthew Magruder, an amazing photographer working with a 7"x17" camera (and soon adding a 12"x20"!). If you're looking for a little bit of instruction on how to work with the LF, I'm sure Matt would give you a good deal on an afternoon workshop of shooting. I'm up here in Denton, TX, an hour north of the Dallas/Ft. Worth MetroMess.

Ralph Barker
27-Jan-2007, 16:56
Welcome to the forum and to LF, Dave.

As to your infinity focus question, when the bellows are extended to about the same measurement as the focal length of the lens, it will be focused at "infinity". Note that the actual focal length of the lens may be slightly different than its marked focal length, and measuring from the lens board to the ground glass is acurate enough for most purposes. In practical terms, focusing on something a few hundred meters from the camera will be close enough to infinity, even though it is really out there near the edge of the universe. ;)

28-Jan-2007, 23:21
Welcome to the group, Dave!

I rode and packed horses and mules for ten years -- for some reason I never thought to photograph them much. By the time I set up a lf camera, they'd be at the other end of the pasture anyway!

Have fun!


Joe Forks
29-Jan-2007, 13:40
Welcome Dave,
I'm about an hour south of you in San Antonio. If you've got a free weekend sometime I'll go burn some film with you.


30-Jan-2007, 07:37
Thanks, Joe - let me get my stuff squared away over here and figure things out, and I'll likely take you up on it :) Wildflower season is coming up quick....

Pat Kearns
30-Jan-2007, 11:27
Welcome Dave, as far B&W in daylight tanks, there is a good artilce on the large format homepage using a unicolor tank and motor base. I've been using the beseler tank and motor base and it works quite well. These come up on the online auctions frequently. There is also hard rubber tanks and tray developing as well. You just have to see what suits you.