Sunday, July 1, 2007

Update on LF photography

I noticed it's been awhile since I updated my Large Format blog. That's for a variety of reasons and excuses, but mostly because I had to wait to buy a scanner for the 4x5 film. That's done and I've scanned the images using the film holders provided with the scanner. In addition I've been learning to print larger size (8x10) black and white with my printer. I have several printed along with some color prints of the 4x5 slide sheets.

Well it's hard to show prints on-line, so I converted my first 4x5 image to a viewable jpeg, above. I wrote about this experience. To state the obvious, it's a long learning curve to learn 4x5 photography, from the camera and film to the scanning, processing and printing, so I was happy with the results of the first two dozen sheets of film. There were the obvious errors in exposure, a few overexposed, and setup, too much front tilt, but overall I wasn't too bad.

But then I have some years with film and photography, so it's expected I should do better than a beginner. Some aspects aren't necessarily predictable as expected from experience, but it helps. For example? Exposure for one, but it's a matter of sorting out the confusion. "And?", you ask. Well, when you get the exposure readings, providing you have a good light meter, you can get a host of readings, the incident light and the reflected light for the scene's dynamic range along with any camera readings you have (spot, averaging, evalutative, etc.).

I learned to trust the incident light reading the most, as I noticed from my notes. These readings often split the dyanmic range near the middle and was the final setting for most the the shots, only going up or down one half to one f-stop capturing more of one side of the range or the filter effect. I did miss accounting for the polarizing filter effect with one image, so I've learned something from the mistakes too.

I also learned that I need to work with tilt a little more and better. Some of the images could have used some front tilt to get the whole scene in focus, the Scheimlpflug rule. And one image had too much tilt so the building tilted away from the film plane and makes it look odd to say the least. Such are the small things you have to not only learn but keep in mind. LF photography requires a plugged in brain and active participation, otherwise you blow $4-5 per sheet on your own stupidity.

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