View Full Version : Starting From Scratch,...Almost

Marc Akemann
11-Apr-2008, 10:45
Well, here I go. Into the world of LF photography. Can't believe it's taken me so long to do this. I've been predominately a 35mm color transparency shooter but have been steadily losing interest in that. I'm even losing interest in shooting color.

Last year I was given a 5x7 B&J camera that looks exactly like an old 5x7 Watson Commercial View camera. It's got a clean & working Watson Modico Anastigmat f7.5 lens. I figured the lens' focal length to be about 165mm. The bellows need some minor repair in the corners. A couple of days ago I picked up a 5x7 Elwood SP-2 enlarger with lens. Should be here today or tomorrow.

The equipment is the easy part. The challenge of properly learning the various aspects of photography, in the field and in the darkroom, is what I'm looking forward to. Between this site and the other site I belong to (I'm FilmSprocket on APUG) there seems to be an enormous amount of knowledge floating around and I feel like I'm in the right place(s).

I have no interest in digital but sometimes it's unavoidable in the work I do. Also, I have nothing against photographers who use that tool. :) For full disclosure, I do have an Epson Perfection V750-M Pro scanner that I use for work.

Sorry for the length of this message and thanks for letting me in.


Nathan Potter
11-Apr-2008, 13:51
What kind of photography do you intend to do with the 5X7? What's your vision and does the 5X7 fit that vision? These are ultimately aesthetic questions and sometimes can be answered best by focusing on a theme. To get your feet wet in LF mechanics get Steve Simmons book on "Using the View Camera". His book also has a section at the back with dandy examples of different subject matter - some contributed by members of this forum. 5X7 is a great format and I used to shoot it for B&W contact prints. I used Panatomic X and contacted on Ilford Galerie paper. The somewhat strongly rectangular format fits certain linear scenes better than the more conventional formats.

Photography is intensely personal so your images should reflect the peculiar way that YOU see subject matter. I'm a fan of minimalist approaches to a scene - get rid of any distracting elements that do not relate to what you are trying to show. Your image should be a sort of icon of what you see. That's just my take on it anyhow. I hope it's all a fine trip for you. Best of luck.

Nate Potter

John Kasaian
11-Apr-2008, 15:36
Welcome Marc!

11-Apr-2008, 16:16
welcome to the forum Marc.
I jumped into LF last december and it's great!

Ralph Barker
11-Apr-2008, 17:17
Welcome, Marc.

Peter Collins
11-Apr-2008, 18:24
another welcome from this guy, too, Marc.

A suggestion: Q-T Luong's article on 5x7. You can access it from the home page.

At the View Camera conference in June 2007 in Louisville, the photog from HABS/HAERS (Dept Interior, I think) showed his work, which is all 5x7, and I immediately wished I was working in that format!

I found the VC conference very helpful in formal and informal sessions. You might consider this year's conference in CO.

best wishes!

Marc Akemann
11-Apr-2008, 20:41
Thanks everyone for taking time out to post your welcome messages!

Very helpful post, Nate. Good questions to ponder and great info. Thanks for sharing.

John, the two quotes in your signature are great!

Sounds like you're enjoying LF, Hector. I like your website.

Thanks Ralph! And Peter, I think we're practically neighbors. I'm just north of you in Pinckney. I'm in A² just about every day. I'll be sure to read Q-T Luong's 5x7 article and thanks for the tip on this year's VC conference. Unfortunately I can't make that, but, fortunately I hope to up at Bill Schwab's shindig up in the Cross Village area. June is going to be a really busy and fun month for me. Well, every month is fun. Anyway, maybe we can meet up some day?