Large Format Diaries

#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…)


Large Format Diaries


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…)

Large format Diaries




It’s always fascinating to watch others begin the large format process, now that I’ve been doing it for over a year now, and spent many months avidly following Ben Horne’s YouTube videos before finally biting the bullet myself. Matt Lethbridge has blogged about large format experiences here, and well-known photography YouTuber Thomas Heaton has just started also. (more…)

Down Time

What do photographers – perhaps especially large format photographers? – do when they’re not shooting? (more…)

Large Format Diaries

# 9

Benefits of Bellows

Rather a long time since I last wrote a post about my experiences with large format. As you may have seen from the gallery, things have been going rather well. Trips over the last 6 months or so to Glencoe, Wales, and Derbyshire have provided numerous and various opportunities for the growth and development, and enjoyment, of the skills required and insights provided with this very different method of shooting. My plan for this year was to work harder with film, and I estimate that over one third of the successful images I’ve made this year have been on film – that is a pleasing statistic given the radical difference between the speed at which one can work with digital and large format – though the Canon A-1 has had a few outings recently too.

The present post is an introductory explanation of one of the benefits of shooting with a large format camera (or indeed any camera that uses bellows focusing), and an aspect of it that is not very often mentioned.

And some more.

More uploads…

Made some more uploads to my large format gallery page today. Check them out!

Botanicals Edit

A set-by-step process through the various stages of post-processing that the majority of my D800E colour images go through. (more…)

The many ways of skinning a black and white cat (aka digitizing a 5×4 negative)

Backlit Botanicals 2

The latest in the ‘Traces of Botany’ Album series, “explored” today on Flickr.

What I really like about these images is that the polythene seems to “press” the leaves as if in a herbarium, except that it doesn’t prevent the decay, though the moisture of the condensation appears to slow it down. The photograph captures a moment in this process.

Shot with D800E and 85PC-E.  It’s taken me a while to process this shot (or rather shots, since it’s a stitch of 2 vertical frames, to allow a wider view close-up, esp. since I don’t have a normal DSLR lens apart from the 60 micro).  I wondered about entirely removing the detritus – all the black specks – but chose not to in the end: I did do a little bit of retouching, especially around the edges of the frame, but nothing too drastic.  I felt – I think rightly – that the detritus is part of the point, part of the balance between beauty and decay which is essential to the success of these shots and fundamental to their character.  I may, if I have time, do a post on how I went about the processing for this from the raw files to the output.  With a flat RAW file from the D800E, I find there’s a lot of proccessing to do to get it to feel right, especially now that I have got used to comparing my digital output against what large-format film can achieve.

When the time and lighting are right, I MUST shoot these on large format!!



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