Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Update on LF Photography

Canon 5D image

I wrote about the opening of the new Jackson Visitors Center at Paradise, Mt. Rainier National Park (NP) see blog entry. Well, it was a day of using the 4x5 camera along with testing the 17-40mm f4 lens I bought recently for my Canon 5D. I'll comment on the lens in another entry, but this one is for the day with the 4x5 camera.

Since I only got the camera around New Years 2007, I'm effectively still learning it (and ok, I don't use it as often as I should, but that's life, it keeps jumping ahead of plans to grab my attention to do something else). I have learned that from my longtime, and part-time, experience in 35 mm film photography, I didn't have to learn the basic of photography, just the application of it to 4x5 work and the camera.

And that's always more than enough for me. Anyway, what did I try and what did I learn that day at Paradise?

Well, for one, it was cold, damn cold. At least my hands told me. I have Raynaud's Syndrome where my hands become cold and stiff within minutes of exposure to cold (<40+ degrees) temperatures and turn white not long after that. Because you use fingers to manipulate the camera, I use a fingerless glove and put my hands in my pockets when just standing and/or thinking.

I've always had cold hands, exacerbated by cold weather, but it wasn't a problem until about 1990 when during a winter field trip in the Olympics (for work) where there was a foot and more of snow and subfreezing temperatures. Not long into the first day my hands literally stiffened to where the fingers wouldn't move from the position they were during the streamgaging. It's been a problem ever since, something the doctor said I likely had the predisposition and this event initiated the onset of it.

Ok, onward. I set up in the position above, but using a 120mm lens, similar to the above image, except the snow hadn't fully melted. I really wanted Mt. Rainier to appear in the background, but alas, the clouds continually drifted around from the north and in front of the view. After about an hour waiting with everything set up, I took some exposures (sheets) and packed up the stuff.

And just as you would think, the clouds parted to see the whole mountain. Anyway, from there I went up one of the trails originating at the new visitors center. I saw this scene.

Canon 5D image

I wanted to learn simultaneous swing and tilt, where the focus plane went right up the hillside. Easier said than done. Swing was so much the problem, but tilt. It only takes a few degrees of tilt to work, but the Horseman HD is a top-tilt front movement, so you have to keep readjusting the focus after moving the tilt.

It's easier to focus for the foreground and completely lose the distance focus, and that's what took the time. but eventually I think it all worked. Anyway, the slide (sheet) turned out really nice as did the visitors center slide. Unfortunately it was so cold and I was a little frustrated I didn't write anything down.

Some days and work are like that, but the results turned out pretty good. I'm smilin'.

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