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Thread: Hello!

  1. #1

    Join Date
    Jun 2020
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    Utah, USA
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    14

    Hello!

    Hello everyone!

    This is my first post in the forum, so I apologize beforehand if the above post is not in the right place.

    I recently took the plunge, and bought an Intrepid 4X5 camera. I am still waiting for it to arrive, while I am saving up for some lenses and film stock. I was hoping if you guys could give me some advice in going about shooting large format. I went through the resources on the forum and I am trying to find any online resources/books I can. Also, I have been shooting and developing film since the last couple of years, although its been 35mm and Medium Format. I am really excited to shoot LF. I would really appreciate it, if you could drop me a few notes on certain habits/things I should be doing/following to learn the medium better and hopefully get some good exposures.

    Thanks,
    A

  2. #2

    Join Date
    Apr 2015
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    Purcellville, VA
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    Re: Hello!

    A good book, such as Ansel Adams's The Camera, or Steve Simmons's Using the View Camera, is a very good way to work through camera movements, which are one of the most essential differences of LF photography. There are some useful videos on You Tube, of course; you just have to find them. There's an Art of Photography channel there that you may wish to look over, and also Tim Layton's site, among others.

    Otherwise, since you have experience with medium format, just be prepared to slow down, take your time, get to know your camera's controls by feel and location very well, and begin to establish workflow habits, i.e, accomplish procedures in the same way, in the same order, as a habit; it will save you lots of trouble, since there is nothing automatic like an auto diaphragm or film wind. Fred Picker, a well-known LF photographer and author, advised packing your camera and tripod, putting it in the car, then removing it, setting it up, taking a photo with no film, packing back up and putting it back in the car -- 50 times in a row. No less. It's good advice. You learn a lot about what works.

    The Zone System is available as a tool for creative expression, but I would concentrate on making friends with your equipment first. Be prepared to make plenty of mistakes. Take it in stride and learn from them. Take notes! The investment of time and care now will reward you.

    Have fun, and you'll find all the help you need here.
    Philip U.

    Sine scientia ars nihil est. (Without science/knowledge, art is nothing.)
    https://www.flickr.com/photos/156933346@N07/

  3. #3

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    Jun 2020
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    Utah, USA
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    Re: Hello!

    Quote Originally Posted by Ulophot View Post
    A good book, such as Ansel Adams's The Camera, or Steve Simmons's Using the View Camera, is a very good way to work through camera movements, which are one of the most essential differences of LF photography. There are some useful videos on You Tube, of course; you just have to find them. There's an Art of Photography channel there that you may wish to look over, and also Tim Layton's site, among others.

    Otherwise, since you have experience with medium format, just be prepared to slow down, take your time, get to know your camera's controls by feel and location very well, and begin to establish workflow habits, i.e, accomplish procedures in the same way, in the same order, as a habit; it will save you lots of trouble, since there is nothing automatic like an auto diaphragm or film wind. Fred Picker, a well-known LF photographer and author, advised packing your camera and tripod, putting it in the car, then removing it, setting it up, taking a photo with no film, packing back up and putting it back in the car -- 50 times in a row. No less. It's good advice. You learn a lot about what works.

    The Zone System is available as a tool for creative expression, but I would concentrate on making friends with your equipment first. Be prepared to make plenty of mistakes. Take it in stride and learn from them. Take notes! The investment of time and care now will reward you.

    Have fun, and you'll find all the help you need here.
    Thank you so much! I really appreciate the advice. I have been studying the Ansel Adam's The Camera and The Print, and I will look for the book 'Using the View Camera' for sure, and invest more time and study into learning for sure. Youtube has def been a huge help and videos from channels like Ben Horne's channel have been an amazing guide and a source of inspiration!

    I am not sure if this is the right place for this question, but I was hoping to ask for a beginner like me, if there are any specific gear items where I should invest more than others. I am on a bit of a budget, and wanted to buy smarter. My current list of things to buy (that I am saving up for) are 2 lenses (150 mm and 90mm), a dark cloth, some film (I was looking into Formapan 100) and a set of 3 film holders.

    Thanks

  4. #4

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    Sep 2008
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    Oxfordshire UK
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    Re: Hello!

    Hi and welcome

    Your 'aims and goals' re initial gear is spot on imo, a very good place to start

    Simmons book is (again) imo a really good starter book - not overly complicated but with more than enough to get one's teeth into

    Good luck and regards and as Philip has already said there are plenty of members on here who can assist you with virtually all and everything

    Andrew

  5. #5

    Join Date
    Jun 2020
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    Utah, USA
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    Re: Hello!

    Quote Originally Posted by Andrew Plume View Post
    Hi and welcome

    Your 'aims and goals' re initial gear is spot on imo, a very good place to start

    Simmons book is (again) imo a really good starter book - not overly complicated but with more than enough to get one's teeth into

    Good luck and regards and as Philip has already said there are plenty of members on here who can assist you with virtually all and everything

    Andrew
    Thank you so much again Andrew and Philip! I am so so excited to start shooting with LF and hopefully share my experiences and results for more advice in the future!

  6. #6

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    Apr 2015
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    Re: Hello!

    For gear, two additional things come to mind.

    1. A magnifier for fine focusing on the ground glass. There are many solutions at different price points. An inexpensive 6x or 8x will keep you on budget for now. Eventually, you may choose to invest in one with well-corrected optics. Now and then good ones show up for $50 or so. Or, there are plans here and there for using elements from a discarded or yard-sale camera lens in PVC pipe.

    2. The composing card which Ansel Adams recommended, with a 4x5 opening. Some prefer a smaller, even pocket-size card with an opening of the correct dimension ratio. Either way, some of the greatest LF photographers use one after decades of work, which tells us something.
    Philip U.

    Sine scientia ars nihil est. (Without science/knowledge, art is nothing.)
    https://www.flickr.com/photos/156933346@N07/

  7. #7
    Joe O'Hara's Avatar
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    Jul 2007
    Location
    Marlton, NJ
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    622

    Re: Hello!

    Save some money for film and paper for printing. Experience is the best teacher! The materials are not getting any cheaper, but they are less
    expensive than your time, and you can't buy any more of that.

    Bruce Barmbaum's "The Art of Photography" has a great deal of good advice and general information as well, both technical regarding exposure and processing, and what goes on inside the photographer's head during the process.
    Where are we going?
    And why are we in this handbasket?


    www.josephoharaphotography.com

  8. #8

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    Apr 2015
    Location
    Purcellville, VA
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    707

    Re: Hello!

    Bruce Barnbaum's book, yes! Should have thought of it myself.
    Philip U.

    Sine scientia ars nihil est. (Without science/knowledge, art is nothing.)
    https://www.flickr.com/photos/156933346@N07/

  9. #9

    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Location
    New Jersey
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    1,341

    Re: Hello!

    Two thoughts on equipment: your list is very good, but while you will ultimate end up with at least the two lenses you mention, I would save money at the front end and just get the 150mm, which for me and many others is our most used lens. You want to gain experience using the equipment to learn the process, so one lens is sufficient. Also, many of us just use a heavy duty black tee shirt as a dark cloth (I stretch the neck over the GG, and stick my head inside the larger open end). You may ultimately prefer a dedicated dark cloth, but again, this is one money saver to start. Lastly, all the books mentioned so far are excellent, it can be a little overwhelming. Since Philip mentioned Fred Picker (I took one of his workshops and still have lots of his ZoneVI equipment in my darkroom) has a very thin book, “The ZoneVI Workshop” which is available used on Amazon at low prices (you don’t need a pricier new copy or an expensive used copy, you just want a copy that you can read.)

  10. #10

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    Jun 2020
    Location
    Utah, USA
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    Re: Hello!

    Thank you so much again for all the advice! I will probably be going for a single 150mm lens for now and save the 90mm for another time. I have ordered the books and I am looking forward to getting started on them! Still almost a month to when I am expected to receive the Intrepid (the lead time now is quite a bit 6-8 weeks sadly) but I guess it gives me some time to study and collect the other necessities

    I was curious about if there are any cons in developing 4X5 film at home? This was something I was looking into saving up for as well. I develop my 35mm and 120mm rolls at home since I shoot mostly black and white, so I kind have most of the setup ready except for the tank. I was wondering if that over a long run makes 4X5 a bit more affordable? I will def not be approaching developing color film anytime soon, but I was curious if developing at home makes a difference without compromising quality.

    Thanks!

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