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Thread: Focus Stacking with 8x10 Large Format Film...Ben Horne

  1. #11

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    Re: Focus Stacking with 8x10 Large Format Film...Ben Horne

    Quote Originally Posted by Dan Fromm View Post
    I can only speculate about why he used the rear standard, suspect that using a focusing rail to move the camera/lens assembly might have created worse problems of stability etc.
    I think that you are right on with your post. Many years ago I tried to do some focus stacking with my 4x5 Sinar Norma. I was shooting between 1:1 and 1:2. On the first few tries, I ran into the problem of the rail rotating when I moved the whole camera back and forth. Solution was to use a custom fabricated Sinar rail clamp (image attached) which prevented the camera from rotating on the rail. Tried a few more times and just kept running into other equipment problems, and I was shooting only 4x5. I'm sure shooting 8x10 only exacerbates things. Gave up shooting film and shot digital images with my then Nikon D700 to focus stack with. My final print size was 8x10 so I rather doubt one could have seen any differences in the final prints.

    This guy's technique to most would be overkill, but to him the technique is just his way of accomplishing to capture certain images. Have been there in the past, and there's an amazing feeling of satisfaction to completing something without taking the much easier "normal" way.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails SinarClamp.jpg  

  2. #12

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    Re: Focus Stacking with 8x10 Large Format Film...Ben Horne

    Quote Originally Posted by Dan Fromm View Post
    Sorry, Kumar, focusing by moving the rear standard changes extension. Changing extension changes magnification. If you don't believe me and don't want to read a book on closeup work, try the experiment.
    You're right. For focus stacking, is front focusing better or rear focusing, given that both approaches would change magnification?

    Kumar

  3. #13
    Tin Can's Avatar
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    Re: Focus Stacking with 8x10 Large Format Film...Ben Horne

    Here, my expandable Horseman Optical Bench, which features worm carriage drive on bottom and top

    It is way more sturdy than any other rail camera, very heavy

    I use it all the time for various tasks

    I will try 4X5 and Digi focus stack with it, when I get around to it...maybe 8X10

    I have fixed custom Horsemen rear standard 8X10 and normal

    Not climbing any mountains ever again

    It all locks down very well
    Horseman Optical Bench by TIN CAN COLLEGE, on Flickr

  4. #14

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    Re: Focus Stacking with 8x10 Large Format Film...Ben Horne

    Nothing says "welcome to large format" like a bunch of old curmudgeons saying that someone should go digital because they're not doing it "right." Even if that person attains their goal of making a better image, they're wrong. Ben started out as a digital photographer so his focus stacking video is hardly bait, it's just someone taking what they know and applying it to their current workflow. Though I find focus stacking as onerous sounding as, say, pin registration, I don't feel the need to shame someone for doing either.

  5. #15

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    Re: Focus Stacking with 8x10 Large Format Film...Ben Horne

    Arguments about practicality, cost, PR, etc. aside... rear focussing in this case serves a purpose. He's relatively close to the subject, so any fore-aft movement of the lens will result in significant parallax errors between shots. By keeping the the lens fixed, viewpoint/perspective remains the same, and he only has to deal with changes in magnification which is easily handled in Photoshop.

  6. #16
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    Re: Focus Stacking with 8x10 Large Format Film...Ben Horne

    I am also thinking the subject shape is a consideration

    What if I studio shoot the inside rings of a round cup or saucer

    or basketball

    why 3 negs? shoot 3 times on one film build by 1/3 exposures

    I don't want DIGI salvation

  7. #17

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    Re: Focus Stacking with 8x10 Large Format Film...Ben Horne

    Quote Originally Posted by pjd View Post
    That's what I guessed. I don't think 15,000 views makes much money on Youtube, probably not enough to cover the film cost alone. I wish these Youtubers well though. Are there any youtube channels dedicated to LF photography on the cheap? With beaten up cameras and x-ray film? Most (not all) of the photo stuff I've seen on youtube is high on expensive gear, low on inspiration.

    A while back I met a couple of youtubers trying to build a Youtube channel related to life in South Korea. Their aim was to make enough to support their lifestyle, so they had to wander all over looking for any and every "interesting" thing to get enthusiastic and wide eyed about. I wondered how they made any money - turned out they didn't really, or not enough. They relied on the bank of mum & dad.
    Hi PJD! If a youtube channel is monetized, you are correct that 15,000 views makes very little money at all. I don't monetize my channel though, so I receive nothing from Youtube. I also turn down all commercial sponsorships to keep it entirely ad-free. I do this so I can focus just on can be true to myself and focus on the photography side of things.

  8. #18

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    Re: Focus Stacking with 8x10 Large Format Film...Ben Horne

    Quote Originally Posted by Drew Wiley View Post
    He's sure doing things the hard way .... and the slow way, which means he can't be all that intelligent, up there on the summit road just below a bare knoll in a lightning storm (I know the exact spot). Could have well been the last thing he ever did. I'd be getting out of Dodge City as fast as I could under those conditions. Did he even notice that practically every tree around there bears lightning scars? ... Or maybe the lightning front had moved away enough, and he just had to contend with the wind? I dunno. He's obviously still alive. But that's exactly the kind of conditions where a nice solid heavy Ries wooden tripod makes way more sense than a carbon fiber one. One rogue gust and his expensive camera could have become ancient history itself.

    He had to gamble 3 sheets of 8x10 Velvia (a hundred bucks worth of film) for one garden variety shot, and still had to resort to PS it to make it work? Not my cup of tea. Maybe it was just a stunt shot for sake of his web audience, and he had to use the expression "focus stacking" to get attention from the younger set. Sorry, Tin Can. I'm totally unimpressed. He went through a "counterproductive convoluted contortions" - you could probably make a poem out that, not me.

    With a 240 lens, that shot should have been a piece of cake in terms of depth of field management. Fiddling with rear focus just changed the actual magnification somewhat each time; so that's one reason I call it counterproductive. His setup was hardly stable enough for it not to move a bit between exposures, plus the wind issue, another minus. Obviously, not much of a high altitude veteran yet in terms of wind technique. But if he was having fun and can actually afford to use film as if it was as cheap as toilet paper, so be it. Or maybe toilet paper is more expensive these days.
    I'll also expand on the technical side of things to clear up a few things you mentioned. I first photographed this scene back in 2012 with a 300mm lens and even when stopped down a ton, the DOF was extremely narrow. This was partially due to a front-focusing camera that was at its limits. When you focus closer, you change the distance between the lens and the camera, and it's tough to get a sharp photo because you can easily overshoot your focus. When I returned to this scene, I photographed it with a 240 lens to allow a bit more flexibility. This lens is also known for having a very flat field. I used rear focus so the distance between the lens and the subject doesn't change, and marked on the rail the focus positions for the three shots. You wrote that with a 240mm lens, the depth of field should have been a "piece of cake", but if that was the case, I could have used just one of those transparencies... but that WASN'T the case. Just as I had planned, each of those transparencies has key parts of the subject in focus. The depth of that scene is quite significant, and there was no way to get it all in focus with a single photo. Heck, it would have even been difficult with a digital kit. It was a rather straightforward process stacking the three images and getting all the necessary parts of the subject in focus.

    It's very easy to denigrate other people on an internet forum, and to call them unintelligent, or to claim they don't know how to do things properly, but doing so is not beneficial to anyone, including yourself. There is a multitude of ways of approaching photography. Just because my method isn't what you would have done doesn't make it any less valid. I think the results speak for themselves, especially for such a mundane and garden variety subject. :-) Please know that what you say has an impact on others, especially when you put it out there for the whole world to read it. Please be kind to others.

  9. #19
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    Re: Focus Stacking with 8x10 Large Format Film...Ben Horne

    Thank you Ben


    Quote Originally Posted by Ben Horne View Post
    I'll also expand on the technical side of things to clear up a few things you mentioned. I first photographed this scene back in 2012 with a 300mm lens and even when stopped down a ton, the DOF was extremely narrow. This was partially due to a front-focusing camera that was at its limits. When you focus closer, you change the distance between the lens and the camera, and it's tough to get a sharp photo because you can easily overshoot your focus. When I returned to this scene, I photographed it with a 240 lens to allow a bit more flexibility. This lens is also known for having a very flat field. I used rear focus so the distance between the lens and the subject doesn't change, and marked on the rail the focus positions for the three shots. You wrote that with a 240mm lens, the depth of field should have been a "piece of cake", but if that was the case, I could have used just one of those transparencies... but that WASN'T the case. Just as I had planned, each of those transparencies has key parts of the subject in focus. The depth of that scene is quite significant, and there was no way to get it all in focus with a single photo. Heck, it would have even been difficult with a digital kit. It was a rather straightforward process stacking the three images and getting all the necessary parts of the subject in focus.

    It's very easy to denigrate other people on an internet forum, and to call them unintelligent, or to claim they don't know how to do things properly, but doing so is not beneficial to anyone, including yourself. There is a multitude of ways of approaching photography. Just because my method isn't what you would have done doesn't make it any less valid. I think the results speak for themselves, especially for such a mundane and garden variety subject. :-) Please know that what you say has an impact on others, especially when you put it out there for the whole world to read it. Please be kind to others.

  10. #20

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    Re: Focus Stacking with 8x10 Large Format Film...Ben Horne

    Quote Originally Posted by Drew Wiley View Post
    I, and others, might sound old and grumpy to you, but I'm still alive. And it's certainly not because I started out smart. I've learned a lot of things the hard way myself. Atop a ridge in those conditions (at least as perceived, over the web), a hundred feet away from the truck might as well be ten miles. The lightning doesn't care where you are parked. And even if one hypothetically survives by being in a truck, it's questionable if the electronics in all these newer vehicles, that they depend on, would equally survive. Practically every tree or tree remnant around there has signs of lighting strikes over the past. It's a very susceptible zone in inclement weather. One person died this summer up there; not in that exact area, but elsewhere on the ridge crest.
    You keep going back to that and making it seem more dramatic than it was Drew. There was a cloud approaching a long way out from the south and you could hear an occasional rumble. I kept an eye on it, and when I saw it was heading my direction, I did the responsible thing and got out of there. Once it was gone, I went back. That's it. It was blue skies before and after that. This was on my visit in 2012, not the visit in 2020. You're painting the picture to be far more dramatic than it actually was.

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