Photo Notes A place to talk about making images.

December 4, 2015

Train Trestles, Indianapolis 2015

Filed under: Large Format Photography,New Photographs — John Siskin @ 4:37 pm

I’m starting something different with this blog with this post. I’m going to post an image and talk about that image in the blog. There are a couple of reasons for this, and I’ll be discussing them at the end of this post.

Train Trestles, Indianapolis 2015

I made this shot with my Toyo 810M and a Dagor 14 inch Lens. The lens is one of the last Dagors, made by Schneider Corporation. Actually the lens is made by Kern in Switzerland. This is the only large format lens I’ve ever seen from Kern; mostly they made movie camera lenses. Dagor lenses were first made by Goerz in the early part of the twentieth century. They are legendary large format lenses because of the way they handle sharpness, model subjects and for the bokeh. Although bokeh is often used now to refer to a lens that throws the background out of focus it used to refer to a lens that retained detail in the background and created a good sense of depth and shape. The print shows the quality of the lens in a way this digital reproduction can’t. The camera is a metal field camera that shoots 8X10 film.

The position of the camera, and the photographer was precarious, clinging to the side of a hill. I use Ries tripods for location work with my large format cameras. This shot is a good example of what a Ries can do. I’ve attached a phone shot here of my position.

Setting up the camera and tripod

Setting up the camera and tripod

The image was composed as a panorama, rather than being cropped after it was shot. I often make two negatives, roughly 4X10 inches each, on one sheet of 8X10 film. I use have a dark slide to keep one side of the film from being exposed. This system works surprisingly well. The film is HP-5+, developed in ID-11 for recommended time plus 50%. I think of this as my normal development because I like a denser negative and because I like to see full development in the shadows.

The word trestle reminds me of San Onofre where I went surfing as a kid. The family went to that beach about every other week all summer. Trestles is the name of one of the breaks at San Onofre.

If you’d like to buy a digital print of this image, mounted and mated on archival cotton rag board, please use the PayPal link below. The image will be 14 inches long mounted on 16X20 board. Price include shipping in the United States, for other countries please ask first.

You can buy one of my books at these links:

I’m going to be using my blog to add information about images on the fine art pages of my site. This part of the site isn’t functioning yet, but it will be. These posts will enable me to put up information about the shot and to add details about buying prints. I think it’s very useful to talk about the details of creating specific images. I hope to hear from you about this-use my e-mail to let me know: Of course I hope you’ll also want to buy some prints. I’ll be offering more types of prints in the future.

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