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Thread: How Did We Come To LF?

  1. #51

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    Dec 2018
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    Re: How Did We Come To LF?

    For my portraiture class in community college, a minimum of one assignment was required to be taken with a 4x5. I paired up with a fellow student, and we muddled through with photos of each other.
    When I got my chrome back from the lab, the "fuse was lit".
    My next semester, I had a "Commercial Photography" class...(same instructor) and conveniently, a good friend of mine had just inherited his grandfather's Ansco 5x7.
    I shot my first assignment for the Commercial class on 5x7 Ektachrome 64 and left my classmates in the dust.
    I traded my Nikkormat FT3 for a Calumet CC-400 at a camera swap, got a great deal on a used 210mm f/6.1 Xenar, and off I went.

  2. #52
    Peter De Smidt's Avatar
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    Jan 2001
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    Fond du Lac, WI, USA
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    Re: How Did We Come To LF?

    My father lent me his Contaflex I for a year I spent in Germany. After that, I started using his Rolleiflex Automat. Someone, I came across a Zone VI catalogue when I worked in a camera store during Grad school. A biology professor came in one day, and he mentioned that he had a Sinar kit that he used for taking pictures for his text book. I asked if he wanted to sell it, and he said, "Yes!" That's a I acquired my first LF camera, a Sinar P Expert set.
    “You often feel tired, not because you've done too much, but because you've done too little of what sparks a light in you.”
    ― Alexander Den Heijer, Nothing You Don't Already Know

  3. #53

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    Sep 1998
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    14,183

    Re: How Did We Come To LF?

    Went to the USAF Photo School run by Yale at Lowery, AFzb.
    End of the first week we we split into pairs, given a hard press camera case with a floppy wood tripod and were sent out to document the base.
    Came to processing and no short top so we were sent to the kitchen to get vinegar.

    That was the introduction.
    Couple of weeks later we paired up with an old floppy Deardorff and that same wobbly wood tripod and sent to preserve the base on 810. Again no short stop so back to the kitchen again,

  4. #54

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    Re: How Did We Come To LF?

    Got my first sheet film camera at age 12... Photog mentoring me insisted I get a SG, and found a baby graphic... Started teaching me, and told me I wouldn't make a dime in the industry unless I could shoot babies and weddings... Then made me practice "the Pressman's hand" (a way of rapidly "motor driving" holders and camera operations, perfect for shooting burning Hindenburgs)... Made me practice them like a student playing piano scales... Almost burnt out with this "boot camp" approach...

    Saw a tiny image in a library book (Laslo Moholy Nagy) of "Berlin/radio tower" that set me on fire... Photography can be this!?!!! Could now move away from pet photography... :-)

    Found a Graphic View II 4X5 at a flea market I could afford, and took it into the backyard for hours every day for weeks learning how to make every movement work with a natural look (but didn't have film to shoot yet), so had to sharpen my eye to see every detail on the GG... Worked at labs, studios, on location to learn as much as I could, then off to more learning... Assisted at many major studios (used most all pro cameras, lighting, and formats), and printed for masters, collections, and museums etc... Read, studied, asked questions, tested materials often all night long... And developed my own eye in the world...

    Still shoot the Graphic View regularly... Non-modular, but a dream to apply complex movements to... (Got lucky with my "first" 4X5!!!) Many thousands of chromes shot with it...

    Lesson learned was one can take any piece of gear, learn it inside out, learn to "dance" with it, and go to heights you never imagined...

    Maybe all that "piano scale" tedium paid off??? ;-)

    Steve K

  5. #55

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    Jun 2019
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    Western Massachusetts, USA
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    304

    Re: How Did We Come To LF?

    In high school I took a photography class where we were taught on 35mm cameras. In my senior year we were given the project of experimenting with something new. The school had a few medium format cameras, but none of them were very good, the teacher had a Zone VI field camera though, and the school had a single beseler 4x5 enlarger. After seeing what the "great" photographers were able to create with large format cameras, I (somewhat naively) decided that's what I wanted to do for the experimental project, and bought a Graphic View II off eBay. I didn't know much about large format when I got it, and I probably should have done more research, but I fell in love with ground glass focusing and what not. Pretty soon after getting that camera, I realized a monorail isn't the best for shooting landscapes, and I began looking for a field camera. I was lucky and came across a semi beat up 8x10 for a good deal, which I purchased and restored over the following summer, and I think that's going to be what I stick with. I like big prints and 8x10 is the largest which can be (semi) easily enlarged, but maybe some day I'll build an ULF enlarger and go bigger.

  6. #56

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    Dec 2001
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    San Joaquin Valley, California
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    Re: How Did We Come To LF?

    In the 50's went spent part of every Summer at Camp 16 in Yosemite. My Dad bought film for his Brownie TLR and double 8 Kodak Cine from Ansel Adam's store in the old Yosemite Village. The very first time I saw Ansel Adams outside was one trip on our way home to Fresno. I would have been 5 or 6 years old. It must have been during one of his workshops and he had two 8x10 cameras set up at the Tunnel View, where we always stopped for one last look (this never gets tiring.)
    It impressed me. The next year in Yosemite I saw one of Ansel's prints---I don't remember the name but there was Yosemite Falls and a bunch of blossoms. I though the image was enchanting. I asked why our Brownie TLR didn't take pictures like that and Dad told me the Brownie didn't allow for perspective control like those big cameras I saw last year could do.
    That planted the seed.

    Fast forward to around 1982 or 83, I was a reserve 2LT at Ft Huachuca, AZ, serving as the last Director of Industrial Operations for my 2 week summer camp as the Industrial Operations Directorate's duties were being contracted out to Pan American World Services.
    My job was to basically to "turn out the lights." Perfect duty for a reserve 2LT One afternoon was spent accompanying the Base Photographer around, shooting images of the real estate where Pan Am would set up business. I mentioned that I've always wanted to try shooting a View Camera and his advice was to just get one and go have fun.

    Sadly, the equipment was just too rich for my blood, so once again my ambition lay dormant (although the ads for $200 Nagaokas ---from an outfit in Honolulu---in Popular Science magazine were mighty tempting I had no idea what else I'd need or even how to load those mysterious film holders!) Soon all the Pros, all the world embraced digital cameras and good professional quality large format cameras and lenses, even entire studios were selling off items at prices I could at last afford.
    A copy Steve Simmon's Using the View Camera supplied most of the information I needed to get started
    so I bought my camera, a lens, a tripod, three film holders, a box of film and went hunting for Ansel's tripod holes.
    I never did find those tripod holes.
    "I would feel more optimistic about a bright future for men if he spent less time proving that he can outwit Nature and more time tasting her sweetness and respecting her seniority"---EB White

  7. #57
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    How Did We Come To LF?

    At 15, I spent time one summer in Colorado with a much older gentleman who was a retired printer and photographer. I learned about offset printing, setting type in lead using a Linotype machine, making lithographic plates, bulk-loading 35mm film, and using a darkroom. My reward for a summer of hard work was a Yashica Lynx 5000e. I became a “camera nut.”

    As a freshman in architecture school, a local photographer showed me two prints, one from his Nikon F and the other from his Yashica 635 (a cheapie Rolleicord ripoff). The latter print was noticeably better—smoother tones, better gradation. I bought the Yashica from him to go with my (by that time) Canon F-1. That’s when I realized that format matters more than just about anything. My school loaned me their architectural camera, which nobody else wanted to mess with. It was a Linhof Kardan Color, and I spent lots of time with that camera. I started working mostly in 4x5 and medium format for paid work, using a Mamiya C3 and that borrowed Linhof. I did everything from weddings to magazine covers to custom report covers to color processing for local pros, with lots of graphic arts work mixed in. I had free access to a large-format darkroom, too.

    That Mamiya (and a couple more like it) was my for-money camera for 25 more years, before switching to a Pentax 645 system for paid work a coupla dozen years ago.

    But after college, I lost access to large format for about a year, and also to the darkroom. Then, I ran across a Newton NueView at a used camera store in Austin. That nearly ruined me on large format—just torture to use. But I traded it on a Calumet CC-400–a big improvement. By the mid 80’s, I had upgraded to a Cambo SC in Calumet trim, and that was my main 4x5 camera for 20+ more years. I moved to San Antonio, built a darkroom, and made the old missions there a multi-year large-format project—some of the most satisfying work I’ve ever done. But after 1992 when my work moved me to Dallas and put me on the road a lot, I ran out of inspiration and just stopped making serious photos.

    By the mid-aughts, I had come to a dead end playing with crap cameras as a junque hobby instead of making serious photos, and decided it was time to be more serious for avocational photography. My good digital cameras (Canon 5D) were fine except for making big prints, which I missed. (My current Pentax 645z rectified that). I bought a Pentax 6x7 in 2007, and joined this forum in 2009. Soon after I switched to Sinar with an F that I morphed into an F2, and more recently a P. I wish I’d made that move years before.

    Time is scarce but when I pull it out I do it intentionally. I have to make every photo count. I am ready to do it more. Maybe this will be the year.

    Rick “print quality and flexible image management brought me to large format” Denney

  8. #58
    Jim Jones's Avatar
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    Aug 2006
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    Chillicothe Missouri USA
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    Re: How Did We Come To LF?

    I bought an Anniversary Speed Graphic in the early 1960s to shoot Polaroid film, followed by a NeuVue (me, too. Yuk!). Next came Burke & James 5x7 flat beds and monorails, and a few other cameras from 4x5 to 8x10. The convenience of digital and a move from the family farm to a smaller house in town a few years ago meant the end of a darkroom and film. Tomorrow night comes a digital shoot digital color in the old home town gym which should produce far better images for far more people than any film ever did. It is sometimes better to sacrifice the print quality of LF for convenience and for public service.

  9. #59
    bob carnie's Avatar
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    Jan 2004
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    Re: How Did We Come To LF?

    I moved to large format film - 4x5 and 8x10 later in life, I am working on a now 20 year project loosely based on Consumption , I solarize all my work and at the beginning of the project I was hesitant to do film solarizations as Man Ray and Lee Miller set the bar and I wanted my work to not look anything like theirs. After about making a few hundred print solarizations and being very comfortable with the methodology I concluded I did not really like the white maki lines but actually wanted black maki lines on my finished work. I therefore switched to 4 x 5 and large and using the old hanger system and a point light source above the developing station I am able to get the types of prints I was dreaming of. Shooting Roll film was not an option any more for me. Click image for larger version. 

Name:	BLB 5 005Sample.jpg 
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ID:	223781Click image for larger version. 

Name:	BLB 2 002 copySAMPLE.jpg 
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ID:	223782 These images are my tests from this past weekend, they are my dogs bones that they would chew on or Consume over the last 14 years.

  10. #60
    Tin Can's Avatar
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    Dec 2011
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    Re: How Did We Come To LF?

    Awesome!

    Quote Originally Posted by bob carnie View Post
    I moved to large format film - 4x5 and 8x10 later in life, I am working on a now 20 year project loosely based on Consumption , I solarize all my work and at the beginning of the project I was hesitant to do film solarizations as Man Ray and Lee Miller set the bar and I wanted my work to not look anything like theirs. After about making a few hundred print solarizations and being very comfortable with the methodology I concluded I did not really like the white maki lines but actually wanted black maki lines on my finished work. I therefore switched to 4 x 5 and large and using the old hanger system and a point light source above the developing station I am able to get the types of prints I was dreaming of. Shooting Roll film was not an option any more for me. Click image for larger version. 

Name:	BLB 5 005Sample.jpg 
Views:	41 
Size:	27.4 KB 
ID:	223781Click image for larger version. 

Name:	BLB 2 002 copySAMPLE.jpg 
Views:	38 
Size:	23.2 KB 
ID:	223782 These images are my tests from this past weekend, they are my dogs bones that they would chew on or Consume over the last 14 years.

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