View Full Version : Twice Infinity?

11-Apr-2008, 17:49
So, I can't seem to figure it out... Hiroshi Sugimoto's architecture studies are nice and fuzzy. On his website and in his book he says he extended the bellows to twice infinity. When I tried this with one of my lenses, it was just a big mess. Does he literally mean twice the focal length? As in shooting with a 150mm at 300mm? Because more bellows extension means focusing closer. And by his images it seems like maybe he went the other way, like 150 down to 100. Can anyone shed a little light on this subject for me? It's moderately mystifying.



Mark Woods
11-Apr-2008, 17:58
Per haps, in reference to the inverse square law. If he had a 150mm lens, he would extend is half of the 150mm (or add 75mm) to 225mm. This is a theoretical thought and I haven't looked at it, but it makes sense to me.

Mark Sawyer
11-Apr-2008, 18:52
No clue, but perhaps he also uses the aperture closed way down to clean up the mess?

We have a 4x5 at the high school named "Buzz Lightyear", because it focuses "...to infinity, and beyond!"

11-Apr-2008, 20:26
Where are all these high schools with 4x5s? Seriously, I thought my high school had an amazing program because they had 4 years and in your 3rd year you could do color. But medium format was little known to even people in their 3rd year...

I'm kinda jealous.

11-Apr-2008, 21:46
Looking over images here:

I think that he is being figurative, not literal. While the images here are definitely defocused, they do not seem as much as you would get at twice infinitely, i.e., focused at 1:1.

11-Apr-2008, 23:41
It appears that in a photographic sense infinity is closer than "farther than far away" but in the strictest sense twice infinity is still infinity as is half that distance. There must be a law which defines how far away that is but I can't find one. I suppose it would be related to the COF , where any movement of the object further away from the film plane causes a change in focus less than that, making it undetectable. As for "extending his bellows" to get there, I find that odd, as bellows extension after focusing on something far away enables me to focus on closer objects rather than those more distant. I think he is just extending his poetic license. Or am I missing something fundemental here? Anyway, I like the images.

Dave Parker
11-Apr-2008, 23:47
Its a play on words boys...

Peter Collins
12-Apr-2008, 03:39
Yeah, a play on words, an attention grabber. The rules of math say 2*infinity = infinity. Maybe the next fella's promo will be for work done at thrice infinity.

12-Apr-2008, 04:00
Talk of multiple infinities is guaranteed to give me a far away look,
producing results not unlike Sugimoto San's gorgeous work-

Although Rudy Rucker wrote an entertaining little novel dealing with these concepts, called 'White Light'

I almost felt like I understood it, while I was reading it...


Peter K
12-Apr-2008, 04:41
I've tried it in both ways: a 150mm lens with 300mm bellows extension and f/45 and the same lens with 75mm bellows extension at f/45. The later one looks more like Hiroshi Sugimoto's architecture images. And the exposure times are shorter because of the bellows extension shortening factor.

Peter K

Christopher Breitenstein
12-Apr-2008, 11:11
2xinfinitey=1 (or some other finite number). I realize that Zeno's Paradox does you absolutely no good here, but i figure i need to use my degree for something...right.

What f/stop are you and Sugimoto working at? Try framing the photograph, focusing to 2x infinity, and then stopping all the way down. Are either of you using camera movements in order to increase depth of field?

Remember that when you are work at 2x infinity you will need to account for bellows factor, which will be pretty easy to figure out. Just double you exposure and it will be perfect.

Interesting idea. I wish you the best of luck. Post some pieces when you finish!!!


tim atherton
12-Apr-2008, 11:27
I tried it one time, just to try and figure out how he did it (it's actually harder than it looks to get a picture that actually works well with this - something Sugimoto succeeds at - his "Architecture" book of Modernist icons is quite lovely).

(and architect had seen the Sugimoto stuff and wanted me to try and replicate the look...)

But now I'll have to drag the camera out and try and remeber how I did it.... I know I remember using a 150/165mm ish lens on the 8x10.

Chauncey Walden
12-Apr-2008, 15:50
I was just down at Barnes and Noble looking at a large book on Edward Curtis. It was obvious from some of his pictorial type shots that he had focused on the close foreground instead of his midground subject. Of course, he had a lens with good bokeh. I would think that with a lot of lenses today that would yield a very harsh out of focus image.