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Thread: Cut Out Cards aka Viewing Mask

  1. #1
    Tin Can's Avatar
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    Dec 2011
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    14,726

    Cut Out Cards aka Viewing Mask

    I have never used one, YET

    and read Howard Bond's tutorial about it right her on this Forum last week I WILL

    but not easy to refind on this page https://www.largeformatphotography.info/

    search is always hard

    Fortunately Alan Ross is easier to find and below is his treatise

    https://www.alanrossphotography.com/...o-composition/
    sin eater

  2. #2
    Land-Scapegrace Heroique's Avatar
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    Nov 2008
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    Seattle, Wash.
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    Re: Cut Out Cards aka Viewing Mask

    I don't leave home without my 4x5 viewing card.

    I use it for just about every composition I plan.

    It's the single most under-valued field tool among LF photographers. I've made this claim before, and I'll make it again. It's the single most under-valued field tool among LF photographers. ;^)

  3. #3

    Join Date
    Oct 2015
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    970

    Re: Cut Out Cards aka Viewing Mask

    I used viewing cards for about 35 years, but, nowadays, I use an app on my iPhone that also allows me to record a snapshot of the composition. I've found this to be quite handy when back in the darkroom, looking at a neg, and thinking... "Hmm, I don't remember that branch/rock/partial tree/whatever being right on the edge of my composition." I'll look back through the snapshots on my phone and, yep, there it is; just didn't see it at the time. Always have to remind myself to pay better attention to the edges of the frame!

  4. #4

    Join Date
    Aug 2000
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    California
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    Re: Cut Out Cards aka Viewing Mask

    A viewing card was good enough for Ansel, it's good enough for me. I am never w/o one for each of the formats I have with me. They do more than help me choose an image, they tell me which lens will do the best job of presenting my vision.

  5. #5

    Join Date
    Sep 1998
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    Oregon now (formerly Austria)
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    2,626

    Re: Cut Out Cards aka Viewing Mask

    My viewing tool of choice is the good old Zone VI viewing filter. I use it less for the filtration (the Wratten #90, which is supposed to render tones in a similar way to b&w film) and more as a compositional aid. It really helps me find the right camera position and focal length (viewing frame distance to eye) as well as helping predetermine what movements I might need (you can tilt and swing the viewing frame easily). All a real time savings in actual set up time (or convincing me I don't want to set up at all). I rarely move the camera/tripod after my initial set up position, determined while using the viewing frame.

    Best,

    Doremus

  6. #6
    Mark Sawyer's Avatar
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    Jul 2004
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    Stuck inside of Tucson with the Neverland Blues again...
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    Re: Cut Out Cards aka Viewing Mask

    I used to use an old window mat that was too scuffed up to be presentable, or an empty 4x5 negative carrier. These days I just use my eyes. I think it mostly depends on how your brain sees, and what mood it's in.
    "I love my Verito lens, but I always have to sharpen everything in Photoshop..."

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