Photo Notes

May 23, 2012

Back to the Big Camera

Filed under: Large Format Photography,Marketing — John Siskin @ 7:34 am

I’ve been giving a lot of attention to my new page at facebook: facebook.com/JohnSiskinPhotographer. I’ve added more than a dozen albums filled with images from my article and book projects. I hope you will check out some of this. In addition I have started tweeting; frankly I don’t know how I feel about this pastime yet. So, with all of this, I seem to have neglected the blog. I’m back.

I’ve tried for a while now to get back into shooting 8X10 inch film. I used to really enjoy this. It is extremely challenging, but when you do it just right the results are sublime. I’m not going to attach any images made with the 8X10 camera to this blog, because you might get the idea that a print of a large format image looks like what you see on your screen. It doesn’t, it’s much better. Film is essentially an information storage medium, as is digital. A large piece of film stores information in a more continuous way than a small negative or digital capture. In addition there is a quirkiness to the way large format lenses represent the world. Every current Nikon 50mm f1.8 lens sees in the same way. There were many different large format lenses, and even two of the same brand and design didn’t always see the same way. I mention all this because I recently acquired one of the most marvelous large format lenses ever built: a 14 inch Gold Dot Dagor, built by Kern in Switzerland for Schneider Corporation of America. The lens is the last generation of the famous Dagors, first designed in the 19th century. Let me tell you folks there is a lot of history here and a wealth of fabulous images. Anyway the lens is inspiring me to set up the equipment to develop sheet film. I’m sure I’ll be writing about this in future blog posts.

I’ve added pictures that I made with lenses I assembled. For more about this please check the article I did for view camera. These lenses inspired me to see differently.

One more thing I want to say about the difference between shooting a big camera and a digital camera. When you shoot digital you try to make a good capture and then you have almost infinite opportunity to interpret that capture in post-production. If you shoot film for a traditional print, say a silver gelatin print, you have too make decisions about the final image when you shoot. You can’t, for instance, change the color of the filter you use to make black and white image when you print the image, you can only do it when you shoot. This means you need to think more about the final image when you shoot, not just when you edit. I don’t think this is better or worse, but it is different.

Thanks for paying attention the blog. I’ll be back soon. Here are the usual reminders.
Please check out my books and classes:

Understanding and Controlling Strobe Lighting: A Guide for Digital Photographers

Photographing Architecture: Lighting, Composition, Postproduction and Marketing Techniques

An Introduction to Photographic Lighting

Portrait Lighting on Location and in the Studio

Thanks, John

Getting Started in Commercial Photography

Thanks, John

 

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