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Thread: Tripod Holes

  1. #21

    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    southeast Idaho, Teton Valley

    Re: Tripod Holes

    Quote Originally Posted by Vaughn View Post
    It ends up mattering a great deal to me. I contact only, no cropping, so one reason to retake it in a larger format is to have a bigger print of a scene and its light. Since I often include the film's rebate as part of the image, my personal working assumptions are much different than yours. Moving from a 4x5 to an 8x10 when 'retaking' an image requires a longer lens in order to maintain similar perspective (spacial relationship between near and far) and framing (edges and corners that define the center) of the original image.

    But rarely can I improve upon the original seeing. It is difficult enough to be in the same place in the same part of the season, at the right time of day with the same wind and light conditions. So I tend to treat each use of a different format from the same spot as a different image. The closer the retake is to the original, the more I am usually dissatisfied with it. After two or four decades, one would hope I have learned a thing or two about a thing or two, and see some improvement or hint of maturity in my images.

    Photographing along Prairie Creek for the last 40 years has been long enough to appreciate the many changes it has gone through in such a short time. A fallen giant and an opening to the sky created...the trunk of the fallen slowly becoming an elevated forest of berries and conifers. A scrawny 100 year old redwood in direct sunlight for the first time starts to stretch upwards. A bench of gravel left by the floods of Dec. 1964 slowly fills in with ferns, grasses, berries, then alders. The 250 year old maples standing proudly on the back of this bench against the backdrop of redwoods, have been collapsing one by one as they near their three century age limit. Each one was a vertical forest of lichen, moss and ferns, from the bottom of the trunk to the end of each branch, and weighing more than its leaves. Young maples are standing near-by.

    That is the sort of thing I am trying to say using the light falling through centuries of redwoods.
    I figured format would matter a lot or you, as you contact print. My reply was meant to be more generic. As for a retake being close to the original, I have noticed that many people find the similarity in old versus new uninteresting; they want to see change.

    Focal length determines field of view, but does not affect perspective; whatever is common to both images will have the same spatial or geometric relationship, or perspective. But I think you know this too, even though you say otherwise above.

    Many years ago I visited Prairie Creek, a beautiful and maybe challenging place to do repeat photography due to few stable landmarks visible through the forest. The small-scale changes you mention would be interesting.

    The usual approach for repeat photography for scientific purposes is very monkey-see monkey-do, and there is no real incentive for "improvement", because this would confound interpretations. I did not think there would be much interest in it on LFPF because it is is so un-artistic.

    I really appreciate the various perspectives on this topic, so thank you.

  2. #22
    Vaughn's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Humboldt County, CA

    Re: Tripod Holes

    Quote Originally Posted by mmerig View Post
    ...Focal length determines field of view, but does not affect perspective; whatever is common to both images will have the same spatial or geometric relationship, or perspective. But I think you know this too, even though you say otherwise above....
    Aye, but I see it as the image driving the process...the image determines field of view, perspective and all that stuff. If I want a certain image, then the focal length lens I pick will determine the perspective, because to photograph the image, I will have to place the camera closer or farther away from the scene to achieve the image. Changing camera position changes the perspective. A common example of this is a head and shoulder portrait. The shorter the focal length, the closer the camera has to be to the subject -- to the point of having perspective problems in the form of rather large-looking noses relative to the rest of the head.
    "Landscapes exist in the material world yet soar in the realms of the spirit..." Tsung Ping, 5th Century China

  3. #23
    Drew Wiley
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    SF Bay area, CA

    Re: Tripod Holes

    Quite often the possibility of falling over a cliff or into a river, or having a tree in the way, or having to do drastic front rise to overcome too steep an angle of view pretty much limits the options of distance and focal length. Even in Kansas, where it's allegedly flat, there might be a bull in the pasture not allowing you to set up your tripod closer.

  4. #24

    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    southeast Idaho, Teton Valley

    Re: Tripod Holes

    My quote, as posted in post #22, leaves out an important aspect that I figured was obvious, that is, in repeat photography with a purpose of rigorous comparison, the standpoint needs to be the same for all scenes. I mention this aspect in post #18. If, as Vaughn says, a certain image is preferred, and it results in a different standpoint, then a rigorous comparison of the scenes is not possible, no matter what focal length is used. The term standpoint (borrowed from W. H. Jackson), is not quite precise enough, as it implies a two-dimensional location, whereas the height of the lens matters too. Perhaps "camera station" for a 3-dimensional location, is a better term.

    So, using a constant camera station, which determines perspective, field of view only needs to be as wide or wider than the original scene's (again, assuming cropping in the printing process).

    As Drew Wiley alludes to, occupying the original standpoint may not be possible, or practical, due to an obstacle, but "distance', which I assume means moving around to capture the scene, is not very relevant or ideal for reasons stated above. Occasionally, I may move the camera slightly to see around a tree that grew up since the last scene was photographed (shift could work too in some situations). Some of the standpoints I have visited were inches from a cliff edge, and I had to be extra careful. Two original scenes (out of 192 so far) now have a dense stand of trees in front of the camera station, and the repeat image is just a "wall of trees" instead of a wide scenic view. But generally, the camera location process is quite straightforward. But exact placement is difficult, and I will post a scene demonstrating how being a few feet away from the original camera station can make a difference.

    Most of the early photographers, whose images I am repeating, did not use cameras with movements, so I usually avoid using movements so that perspectives match better. Sometimes I use a little forward tilt so that the foreground vegetation is in focus, but have noticed no significant change in perspective due to this, but theoretically, there should be. This is largely due to vegetation that obscures sharp boundaries, thus masking the discrepancy. My camera's tilts and swings are on the lens axis, by the way.

  5. #25

    Join Date
    Jan 2019

    Re: Tripod Holes

    Quote Originally Posted by Alan Klein View Post
    Yes, the big boulder in the arch. That is a person standing in the hole which is now 77 feet across about double what was there before. So that was a big boulder that fell out. Did it roll down the hill subsequently? Or moved by the park rangers? You might ask them if you're there and let us know what you found out. I'm curious. Thanks.
    Sandstone is pretty fragile and friable. The boulder is probably in a lot of little pieces somewhere below the arch. Even granite typically breaks up during rockfall - that's where all the talus fields at the feet of those majestic rock walls in Yosemite come from.

    Here's a neat then-and-now display of historic and current photos of rock formations in Arches National Park, although the tripod holes have mostly not been exactly matched:

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