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Thread: Technique for focusing "into your scene"

  1. #41
    Vaughn's Avatar
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    Re: Technique for focusing "into your scene"

    I use every movement the camera can make for every image I make -- it just happens I use many of the movements zeroed out a lot.
    "Landscapes exist in the material world yet soar in the realms of the spirit..." Tsung Ping, 5th Century China

  2. #42

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    Re: Technique for focusing "into your scene"

    I'm guessing there are distinctions in use: many amateurs now concentrate on landscape or perhaps portrait LF photography. While in the days when LF photography was a heavy professional tool and students were reading Stroebel's book for photography classes, there was likely a lot of training for product and architecture photography, where perspective and focus control via movements is more commonly needed.

    I also think that reading a book like Stroebel or Steve Simmons is generally helpful, also to keep around as a reference.

  3. #43
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    Re: Technique for focusing "into your scene"

    Quote Originally Posted by reddesert View Post
    I'm guessing there are distinctions in use: many amateurs now concentrate on landscape or perhaps portrait LF photography. While in the days when LF photography was a heavy professional tool and students were reading Stroebel's book for photography classes, there was likely a lot of training for product and architecture photography, where perspective and focus control via movements is more commonly needed.
    Bingo!

  4. #44
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    Re: Technique for focusing "into your scene"

    Quote Originally Posted by Oren Grad View Post
    I've been at this game for 25 years now. It's been many years since I last used any swing or tilt. The kinds of pictures I take have things sprouting all over the place, and the main effect of applying non-parallel movements is to introduce distracting focus artifacts.

    I think the emphasis on movements as the hallmark of large format photography is unfortunate and a disservice to beginners. They are not a general solution to depth-of-field problems; they're a specialized tool for specialized situations.
    Owen, could you explain why in more detail and the kind of pictures you take? Any samples we can see?

  5. #45

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    Re: Technique for focusing "into your scene"

    No...the main effect of applying non-parallel movements is whenever one's vision/intent/interpretation requires it, and thank goodness that we have the tools which allow us to do this!

    I now feel compelled to re-post my earlier "example" image. Now, go back and read my setup text...and ask yourself - "how would this image be different...without any movements?" Answer...hugely different - and for me, a failure to be faithful to my intentions and a complete waste of my time. But for someone else? Could be completely different (no movements, extreme movements, whatever) and work for them, and be a powerful statement for the rest of us also. No rules here, but just try to respect that we are all different...and thank goodness!

    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	Lighthouse Quarters, Pemaquid.jpg 
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ID:	214441

    ...yet another example - utilizing an "extreme" front tilt:

    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	Dunes, Stovepipe Wells.jpg 
Views:	21 
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ID:	214443

    (does not appear nearly as "bitingly sharp" here as the actual image...which I've enlarged to 30x40, and will soon go to 40x60. Bringing the focal plane congruent with the object plane allows me, especially here - seeing as how I really didn't need to introduce much extra depth to this, to utilize my lens' "best" aperture - very important to me in this for this specific image).

  6. #46

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    Re: Technique for focusing "into your scene"

    Quote Originally Posted by AdamD View Post
    Michael R, I bought the book.
    Good! Itís a very good resource.

  7. #47
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    Re: Technique for focusing "into your scene"

    Quote Originally Posted by Oren Grad View Post
    ...
    I think the emphasis on movements as the hallmark of large format photography is unfortunate and a disservice to beginners. They are not a general solution to depth-of-field problems; they're a specialized tool for specialized situations.
    And brakes on a car are specialized tools for specialized situations...such as stopping. I use them when I need them. And certainly do not use them when I do not need them. I am glad we teach beginners how to use them...and place great emphasis on them.

    Most beginners in LF have experience of using film cameras or digital cameras. They have been using cameras that have no movements and usually have a ton of experience creating images without movements. Teaching beginners about movements from the first time they handle a LF is like teaching student drivers where the brakes are and when to use them before they even leave the curb.
    "Landscapes exist in the material world yet soar in the realms of the spirit..." Tsung Ping, 5th Century China

  8. #48

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    Re: Technique for focusing "into your scene"

    The second photo (very nice, by the way) is one of those classic tilt examples. Indeed when you have a relatively “planar” receding object field it makes perfect sense.

    At the same time, I think the points made by Oren and reddesert are good ones, especially for someone relatively new to view camera technique. In more situations than one might assume, tilts/swings are at best solving/lessening one problem at the expense of creating/worsening another problem. There are some real “gotchas”, especially when using tilt and swing at the same time as they are not independent in their effects.

    Quote Originally Posted by John Layton View Post
    No...the main effect of applying non-parallel movements is whenever one's vision/intent/interpretation requires it, and thank goodness that we have the tools which allow us to do this!

    I now feel compelled to re-post my earlier "example" image. Now, go back and read my setup text...and ask yourself - "how would this image be different...without any movements?" Answer...hugely different - and for me, a failure to be faithful to my intentions and a complete waste of my time. But for someone else? Could be completely different (no movements, extreme movements, whatever) and work for them, and be a powerful statement for the rest of us also. No rules here, but just try to respect that we are all different...and thank goodness!

    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	Lighthouse Quarters, Pemaquid.jpg 
Views:	14 
Size:	204.4 KB 
ID:	214441

    ...yet another example - utilizing an "extreme" front tilt:

    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	Dunes, Stovepipe Wells.jpg 
Views:	21 
Size:	232.7 KB 
ID:	214443

    (does not appear nearly as "bitingly sharp" here as the actual image...which I've enlarged to 30x40, and will soon go to 40x60. Bringing the focal plane congruent with the object plane allows me, especially here - seeing as how I really didn't need to introduce much extra depth to this, to utilize my lens' "best" aperture - very important to me in this for this specific image).

  9. #49
    Peter De Smidt's Avatar
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    Re: Technique for focusing "into your scene"

    When I look back on my large format technique, I often use front rise and a very small amount of tilt, and that's about it. Sure, there are exceptions.
    May tomorrow be a better day.

  10. #50
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    Re: Technique for focusing "into your scene"

    I didn't say, and don't believe, that there's anything wrong with people who understand how tilts/shifts work using them to produce visual effects that they want. My point simply was, and remains, that they are of much narrower utility than is usually implied, and in particular, that they are not a general solution to depth of field problems, and that it is a disservice to convey to beginners, either explicitly or by omission, that they are. On the contrary, an important lesson is that many pictures that you can see with your mind's eye cannot be made in reality with these tools. (Think also of Dan Fromm's cautions to newcomers who want to use LF for macro work.) For someone who values deep focus over all else, and who works with non-planar subjects well short of effective infinity, focus-stacked digital captures will be the medium of choice. But everything has tradeoffs: that technique is limited to subjects that sit still enough to allow for multiple captures similar enough to be stackable without obvious artifacts. (Or if you like overt digital processing artifacts that's fine too, but then you're playing a different game.)

    On a separate note, although my gripe here is about tilts and swings, I should add that I employ even parallel movements much less than I used to. After a while I started to get tired of pictures that scream "look how stretched I am!" For my taste, special techniques are usually most effective when they don't call attention to themselves. (But again: if you *want* obviously exaggerated effects, have at it!)

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