A list of possible errors
I thought it might be fun to compile a little list of all the things that can go wrong – and have! – shooting large format film. Rather than list them in categories, I thought I’d list them roughly in order of the mistakes I’ve made, perhaps to provide a more organic description of the development of skills. Some of these are specific to particular film stocks, but most of them are more generally applicable(!!)
After three… One, two three… doh!
This is vignetting proper: another similar instance can be caused when you use a Lee lens hood incorrectly. I have also done this on more than one occasion.
Use spikes on your tripod feet. This seems a no-brainer and I can’t quite understand why I hadn’t been doing this until recently.
Have a little piece of tape stuck to the camera reminding you to ensure all controls are locked down before making an exposure.
Use a geared tripod head, where the majority or all of the controls are self-locking.
Avoid shooting longer exposures in strong winds.
Forgetting to reset iphone reciprocity timer app to delete bellows extension dialled in. Result: overexposure. This has happened twice, really annoyingly. A good reason to wean myself off using the app.
On one occasion I decided that I should meter my scenes with black and white filters properly, by metering through the filter. Why I then went ahead and dialled in more time into the app for the filter is a mystery! Result: overexposure. In practice, it seems a good idea to meter through the filters directly, especially with a polariser when shooting slide film: getting those highlights right in running water is crucial. Another reason not to cling to using the app.
There’s also likely to be whole load of other errors which are common that I haven’t made yet(!) or which I’m not likely to make not because of my own competence but because my Linhof Technikardan is in general sturdy enough not to create these issues. These would include light leaks between the camera back and film holder when pulling the dark slide – good practice here is to pinch the two together with the left hand while pulling out / reinserting the darkslide with the right hand. However, this list of 16 is comprehensive enough for me! Hopefully I won’t be making too many more errors!!
Large format Workshop in Glencoe
I’m recently returned from a great few days in Scotland in the company of Richard Childs, Tim Parkin, and some other like-minded large-format folk. Though I’ve never been on a dedicated photography workshop before, I think one can safely judge the quality of the experience by the quality of the images that were enabled during the time. (more…)
The Costs and Success Rates of Shooting Film and Digital
Backpacking with large format kit: an evolutionary work-in-progress (more…)
Setting up the Arca Cube; large-format equipment and tools (more…)
#15. Gear update
A major gear update today: the purchase of a new tripod head (more…)
#14. Filters for Slide Film (more…)
#13. Creative use of Google Earth and angle of view/ lens choices for large format. (more…)
#12. Mixing large format and digital.
Some recent experiences shooting large format alongside DSLR have firmed up my impression that this is more difficult than it might at first seem. One might presume, given that large format is a very different working experience than the convenience and speed of working with digital, that shooting the same scene on both systems side by side wouldn’t cause too many problems. However, some recent shots, taken on both digital and on large format, have had problems because of the lack of concentration or rather confusion in the thinking required for good practice in either. Either something goes awry with the large format shot, or with the digital. Here are my thoughts – others’ experiences may of course differ – but this is intended as an aide memoire to myself and a guide to others. (more…)
A revised digitising setup for 5×4 film. Previously I did a four frame stitch entirely manually, aligning frames by sight by moving the lightbox around. (more…)
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