Large Format photography group - From "zero to hero!"

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On Thursday of next week, I should be making my first ever visit to a camera club, to give a talk on large format photography. My understanding is that the meeting will effectively have two halves with a tea break in the middle; the first half will be my chat, and the second will be showing some of my LF snaps.

Clearly, one hour (max) for a chat is a bit limited given the scale of large format as a subject. I've made a sketch of what I intend to cover (but NOT a full script) and if anyone would care to comment on bits missing/superfluous I'd be grateful. You can pick up the text and illustrations here:

https://1drv.ms/u/s!AvzjN1vsy206grs_0Ga8uKHdUaXYxA?e=FQZVCd

The photos are all mine, except for the different camera types lifted from the internet. On the text, red text indicates photos to show, green things I intend to do/perform/demonstrate and in the one case of italics I explained what I intended to someone who was already looking at the text. This section on distortion could be easily dropped if time presses - it's near the end.

I was intending to take a number of cameras and lenses along, together with fogged film and holders for people to play with, so this is also to be factored in for the time.
Good luck! I can't comment on the timings, but the two hour length (inc. tea break) is the same duration as the talks at my local club. Be prepared for questions - those might affect your timings too.
 
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On Thursday of next week, I should be making my first ever visit to a camera club, to give a talk on large format photography. My understanding is that the meeting will effectively have two halves with a tea break in the middle; the first half will be my chat, and the second will be showing some of my LF snaps.

Clearly, one hour (max) for a chat is a bit limited given the scale of large format as a subject. I've made a sketch of what I intend to cover (but NOT a full script) and if anyone would care to comment on bits missing/superfluous I'd be grateful. You can pick up the text and illustrations here:

https://1drv.ms/u/s!AvzjN1vsy206grs_0Ga8uKHdUaXYxA?e=FQZVCd

The photos are all mine, except for the different camera types lifted from the internet. On the text, red text indicates photos to show, green things I intend to do/perform/demonstrate and in the one case of italics I explained what I intended to someone who was already looking at the text. This section on distortion could be easily dropped if time presses - it's near the end.

I was intending to take a number of cameras and lenses along, together with fogged film and holders for people to play with, so this is also to be factored in for the time.
It's a very comprehensive list of topics to be covered Stephen, but an hour seems like quite a short time to do all of this justice, especially with a killer teabreak midway. I visited the local camera club here a couple of years ago as a guest, and it was quite difficult to get the members settled back down after the teabreak, plus there's always someone who has to nip to the toilet just as you are starting back.

Don't be put off by this though, since I'm assuming there will be some kind of MC from the club to get them all back in line. Similarly I would forget your own cuppa, as members will come to ask questions about the kit during the teabreak and that's when you can identify the really interested ones. Depending on how things go timewise, I think getting the info from 1-9 across is the key, since 10 in particular is quite a complex subject to get across to those who've never set up an LF kit before. It's even a bit complex for me, and I've dabbled in it over the years and read the books. :asshat:

The main thing is to enjoy it yourself, as your enthusiasm for the subject will surely engage them and be appreciated. Getting invited back another time to cover the processing side might even be a bonus, so go for it!
 

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My thoughts, @StephenM ... that's a great ambition, but IMHO everything takes longer to explain than you think, and rushing to get more in (my usual style in the past) tends to mean people miss things and are thus confused. Personally, I'd go for a LOT less, and give a flavour rather than aiming for completeness. This also helps those who really aren't at all interested!

For similar reasons, I'd be inclined to move section 8 to much nearer the beginning. Then perhaps you can hook them in to your passion (sorry, over-used hype word) for the subject, and they might also understand why they should care about some of the things you're telling them.

I hope this doesn't offend; definitely feel free to completely ignore the above comments.
 

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Have you rehearsed your presentation with a clock to check the timings. I do that when I have to present during a meeting at work asit's often easy to underestimate how long your presentation will take.
Yes, and that's what worries me. My opening intro should perhaps ask who's watched the great British bakeoff, and then ask someone to shout out 30 mins left etc. :)
 
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Ask the chairperson to sit in the front row and indicate timings to you, loudly if necessary!

Rehearsing can be good (though I rarely did it), but everything changes when you have a live audience. For example, you may become aware that something you demonstrated confused people, so you may have to stop and explain. All sorts of things like that can happen, that's why I suggest having less content rather than more. You're not really trying to teach the whole of LF in an hour, perhaps instead you're trying to persuade a few that this is an interesting thing to try. You can go for details later at something more like a workshop. More important to be interesting rather than complete!

Again, only MHO!
 

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I'm very inclined to agee with you, both above and in 1963. My last "public talking" was actually lecturing for a diploma course, and lecturing is rather different (or should be) to giving a sermon (done that, too) or a camera club talk (never done that).

Perhaps I'd be more at home if I announced my "text" from say Ansel Adams and expounded that :)
 
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I'm no expert on Large Format, but I teach a fair bit. A very brief glance at your plan shows 12 topics. If you have an hour, that's 5 mins on each topic which is very doable as long as no one interrupts you and you don't get sidetracked with details. If you get a question, you can end up down a rabbit hole instantly and your time will be gone. Suggest you rehearse your timings so you can fill the time, and don't go over. The last thing you want is for the hour to be up and you're halfway through with a million unanswered questions.

I'd suggest:
- Being clear up front about questions: "if we have time" or "do them at the end", or get someone to make a note of them for you so you can answer them another time or after tea? I find that questions turn the event into less of a lecture and more of a community thing, however you've got to be on top of your timings to cut things if neccessary.
- Break the hour down into 15 minute segments and put those times on your crib sheet. If you're behind or ahead you can skim or flesh out the bits you haven't done yet, or tackle the questions.
- Don't pass anything around while you're talking. Whoever has the thing isn't listening to you, and I very often get two people talking about the thing between themselves while you're trying to talk. This distracts me (and my students who are trying to listen) so I don't do it. Your mileage etc etc...
- If you over-run, that's OK. You can finish off after tea and cut your show 'n' tell short by a bit.
- Get something to present your images in the order they're needed. Time dissappears if you can't find that one image you're looking for. Also summary bullets in something like powerpoint can be useful because you can tell your audience to use their phones to photo the screen (assuming you're not doing handouts).

Insofar as content goes, some comments/questions (you don't need to answer here):

- Developing: Do you have to do it yourself or can you send it off? How does that work for sheet film? You cover developing at the end, is this part of it?
- Section 10 is very technical (or appears to be). I'd leave it till the very end as a filler if you need it (I doubt you will, you'd be more engaging as a speaker if you took questions and got a bit of audience participation going)
- The layout looks good and covers things in a logical order. Intro>Cameras>Lenses>Film>Techy stuff>Output
- You don't cover metering - something that DSLR users and 35mm SLR users might take for granted (I know this is a topic all to itself, but it might be worth mentioning)
- Film: Is there a difference between shooting HP5 at 35mm vs 8x10 or 4x5? Presumably HP5 at 800 "appears" much less grainy on LF because the neg is so much bigger?
- Lenses: Aperture and depth of field and the differences between large format and the smaller formats (typically 35mm or "full frame")

Apologies if there's any egg-sucking here, this ended up being an overly large brain dump... Take what you like & leave the rest etc etc...
 
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StephenM

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A lot to think about, and some valuable suggestions. Thanks very much, Ian.
 
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Also, you might want to cover buying one, what to look out for and common issues (maybe in section 2/3). What's good, what isn't, what's a bargain, what's overpriced tat. Repairs?

lol. I'll shut up now. I'm just adding to your talk :)

Oh, and video it so you can add it here as a resource!
 

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You're not the first to suggest a video; but -

Due, I believe, to the EU jealously protecting the European video recorder industry, I understand that to avoid a massive import duty, still cameras that have a video function cannot be allowed to record for 30 min or more continously. Hence, unless I can manage to speak at a Patrick Moore rate, I fear the second, third and fourth halves:) of my talk would pass unrecorded. Whatever the actual reason, there is a 30 min limit anyway.

Not to mention, recalling the words of the apostle Paul to the Corinthians, my words are weighty and powerful but my bodily presence is weak; hence better left to text rather than speech. You haven't actually met me - others have had that misfortune :D
 
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Another thing to consider...

Do you know the audience? Not in a personal sense, but in terms of their photographic interests?

The club I'm a member of for instance has no one besides myself that shoots film. While I know that my fellow members would still find a lecture on film interesting, I'm not sure that any of them would give serious consideration to using anything other than their digital kit, so interest may be general rather than active. I don't know if many of them would have interest in some of the more technical aspects of LF photography, but I can also imagine them being fascinated by the effect that different camera movements can have on the resulting photograph.

I guess what I'm saying in a somewhat long-winded way, is to try and tailor your lecture to the level of your audience.
 

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No idea at all what they are like. A group of them came to the Foredown Tower camera obscura which is how I came to meet their programme secretary, who is the only one I've spoken to. I didn't do the camera demo so I don't know what they're like.

Judging from most people on TP outside the F and C, I would probably pass out from shock if any of them were even prepared to consider film, let alone something as inconvenient as large format. I think I was only invited because I would be a novelty, and not "more of the same". I know from writing a monthly magazine article that it's difficult to keep coming up with something new, that can be fitted into the space allowed. I expect clubs have the same problem with their programmes.

I'll try to be interesting and encouraging - after all, there's a reason I use large cameras in preference to a 42 megapixel Sony a7rii - but I'm too much of a realist to be optimistic in thinking any of them would try it. Although there's a thought - set up a 10x8 and have a holder with film, and get someone to actually take a portrait of a member...
 

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Yes I wondered about you doing a portrait, but there's a lot of complicated faff that could result in people starting to chat amongst themselves. Maybe in the tea break?
 

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If I really wanted to fill in time, I could actually take a portrait or 4 on 5x4 direct positive paper, and develop on site - if they can have a tea break there must be water available - using a Paterson orbital processor.

Many years ago I did actually take a 35mm camera to an evening class loaded with E6 film, photograph the class and then process it on the spot just to show how simple it was. Just calculated back - 40 years ago!

I was actually thinking along the lines of letting them use the camera, and taking the film away to process later. Nothing like using a camera in earnest to concentrate the mind.
 

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I'm really taking the first part of the title of this thread to heart in writing this post. I found myself this afternoon commenting on a Tim Layton post about large format photography... unlike the other folk explaining how uplifting they found the practice, maybe zen-like (my words though), I was moaning about the fact that I've had my Chroma now for just over a year (ie from just before the Onich meet), and I'm still only just in double figures of shots taken, if that. Plus, there's only been one subject so far (Kenilworth Castle... which is worth shooting, but surely not the only thing). Effectively all I've shot are test shots.

In that time I've shot over 50 135 films (and 3 medium format shots!). So it's not simply lack of visual inspiration. (Tellingly, I was going to write "visual imagination" there, but realised that my normal style is to hunt for images rather than think them up...)

As a result I've got probably £600+ of gear and films sitting around, not being used. That bugs me. But it bugs me even more that if I don't find a way to crack out of this particular patch of doldrums, I'll end up selling the gear without ever really getting into it!

So what did I want?

A lot of folk want medium format and even more so 4x5 for increased image quality. For me the limiting issue with image quality isn't the camera or the lens, it's my ability as a photographer. Too often I'm rushing around, and forgetting the basics. That doesn't matter so much around here, when I can always go out and try again when I stuff things up. But if I'm in the Lake District or (even more so) Slovenia, then going back to try a failed shot again just isn't on. I well remember a throwaway comment by Nick @RaglanSurf in a thread about something else, when he said "You just have to be a bit more organised, Chris". And I thought, that's just so true about a lot of my photography.

I think the idea of getting into LF was to try to force myself to BE more organised, since it's quite essential to take LF shots. I was hoping that this would then spill back into my smaller format work.

So what's stopping me?

I'm not really sure, but I'm guessing it's a combination of the sheer level of faff involved, and the cost (in £ and time) of making images. So it only really feel worth while if I'm going out to shoot something with the potential to be really good. The "hero image" idea. And that's coupled with a problem with time available for shooting (which is a ludicrous excuse for a fully retired person). Except I really mean, perhaps, time and opportunity to go off elsewhere in search of hero images on my own.

Anyway, enough of the moaning self pity. What I'm really looking for, folks, is advice to get me going a bit, to move off the zero button and bit towards the hero. Please send help!

Thanks, Chris
 

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I've had my Chroma now for just over a year (ie from just before the Onich meet), and I'm still only just in double figures of shots taken, if that.
n that time I've shot over 50 135 films (and 3 medium format shots!).
Perhaps LF and indeed MF simply aren’t for you given how much 35mm you’ve gone through.


So what's stopping me?

I'm not really sure, but I'm guessing it's a combination of the sheer level of faff involved, and the cost (in £ and time) of making images. So it only really feel worth while if I'm going out to shoot something with the potential to be really good. The "hero image" idea. And that's coupled with a problem with time available for shooting (which is a ludicrous excuse for a fully retired person). Except I really mean, perhaps, time and opportunity to go off elsewhere in search of hero images on my own.
Chris tbh I think that the only thing that is stopping you is you!!

I get a feeling that you are aspiring to go out with LF and come away with that perfect result..... why such hi expectations?
Why not simply enjoy the experience, even the use of the gear when light etc doesn’t come good and you actually pack away without exposing a sheet of film.....something I do regularly!
If the whole process of obtaining an exposure on LF really is a faff then i cannot see how you are ever going to get satisfaction from the format or the kit.
In addition, trying to penny pinch is imo going to add to your frustrations.
I agree that £ 600 is a fair amount of money sat in any gear doing next to nothing but tbh in LF it really is peanuts however it does now allow many folk to dabble in the format for whom it would typically be very difficult without cheap outfits such as the chroma and intrepid.

In brief, LF is imo not for togs who:

Find it difficult to slow down with their photography.
Who find paying a couple of quid for each exposure too expensive for each frame ( even though surface area of film 4x5 is approx 14 times that of 35 mm)
Who wish to shoot in a similar fashion to how one can shoot with smaller formats ( eg 35mm)
Who find carrying / setting up the necessary kit a chore.

From a practical POV I would suggest buying yourself a box of 50 sheets of fomapan 109 at a cost of about 39 quid.
Going out where there is a selection of subject matter such as city center
Expose the whole box on a whole mix of scenes, using the movements to obtain different effects even if they may not appeal initially when viewed on the ground glas
Dev the lot
View and see what can be done that no other format of came can offer.
Put to one side then view again in several weeks when you will likely see the images in a different way / frame of mind.

If you can find a like minded tog to join you with LF then maybe that will help too but ultimately it is down to you..... if you simply aren’t fitting into it then there’s not much more you can do but to give it up and return to what it seems you enjoy most..,.. 35mm!
 
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There's a couple of key nuggets of info in your well articulated post, Chris, that for me point to why it's perhaps a bit more of a struggle than perhaps it could be. I shall try and explain myself in a way that is equally articulate. I should state that this is just my opinion, so please do feel free to ignore me!

"Too often I'm rushing around"

This is, I would say, the most critical aspect. I fully understand about some things being time critical, or even location critical if you're not going back there in a while, but for me personally the key to LF photography - landscape specifically, as that's what I shoot by far the most - is giving yourself the time, and putting the photo first. Be critical, if the scene is worth a frame of LF, then really prioritise the photograph. I personally will wait hours standing beside the camera waiting for the light to once again be like how I first saw it or imagined it. I have a shot from Holywell bay in Cornwall on Acros that I stood there for 90 minutes in minus 5 degrees so that the clouds, light and wind conditions were just right. My point here being that if the scene is good but the light is not (for example), then you can take your time setting up the photo. You can relax, take it slow, be methodical and get ready so that when the light is good again, you can simply meter and fire the shutter.

I hope I have explained my point there. In short, give yourself plenty of time. With landscapes, I will always turn up at a location one to two hours before the light starts to turn nice, or what ever event I want to capture happens. This way, it's a relaxing process to get the camera set up, chose compositions, scout around a bit, etc. Then once the camera is set up, I can relax and take in the scene.

" The "hero image" idea"

Anyone can plan the hero image, and it seldom happens as planned. But in any case, as above, time is the key. If rushed, everyone makes mistakes, with the possible exception of Hernandez Valley-esq photos!

It also strikes me that you have built LF up to be this higher form of photography that commands reverence. It isn't, and does not, just in of itself. Sure, it can be something pretty special, especially when it's used to it's best effect, but try and forget this and think of it just as another camera with a bit of extra faff, as you put it. Don't get me wrong, when I think I've nailed a photo on LF, I get excited! But this is only a small part of the entire process. I like being out there, taking in a scene, waiting for great conditions and taking some time to relax and think a bit. Taking it slow setting up the camera doesn't detract from this, and then taking the photo in the long run only heightens my attachment to the final photograph.

So I hope that makes sense. The key is slow down, and give yourself plenty of time before taking the photo itself. This will make the actual photo taking much more enjoyable. If you're not sure about setting up technique; practice! Forget movements for now, just get used to getting a lens on the camera; point it in the direction you want and focus; close the lens; meter; cock the shutter; dark slide; fire; dark slide. Do this over and over until you are confident. Ultimately, if the notion of setting up the camera is beyond what you're prepared to do, or you are happy with your own shooting style and are unwilling to change it, then perhaps LF is not for you. If however you are prepared to practice, and give yourself the time you require to take it slow, you can make some incredible images. Please understand I'm not trying to put you off, or suggest you give it up, but you do have to be honest with yourself.
 
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Thanks both... I'll take time to re-read what you've written tomorrow. Indeed, LF may not be for me, but I'd rather not give it up without trying a bit harder. I'm not sure I'm quite ready for the waiting around for 2 hours for the light bit yet (I'd have to convince myself the potential image was worth it, first). But I do take the point that I need to just try it. I already have the Fomapan, plus a bit of HP5, and even a box of Ektar. Maybe I should load a couple of sheets of the latter, and take the whole caboodle down the local woods (in the car... that's one of the annoying parts), and just try and find and take some shots, whether Ektar or Foma!

BTW it's not so much the cost really, after all I'm the bloke who runs a whole roll of film through a camera while waving it about, all for the possibility that one or two frames might be interesting! But nevertheless, cost per shot is certainly somewhere in the impediment...

Time for bed...
 

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I'm not sure I can offer any real advice - other than get out and do it - but I'm also not sure that LF does necessarily involve much extra "faff" than is involved in using a tripod. If we're out and I think I might use a LF camera, after the first opening up, I leave it with lens attached on the back seat of the car ready. All that's then needed on stopping is attaching to a tripod, and fixing the position - no different to using a medium format camera on a tripod.

My metering has always been basic, but works for me - a reading from the palm of my hand and open up one stop.

I'm also not one for waiting for light (except for the sun to come out, or the clouds to take up a more pleasing position) and generally just amble around to see what catches my eye. Quite often, something does...

I've been going through my files selecting photos for the talk tomorrow, and quite a lot of them were actually taken in a layby or a car park; a couple were taken by walking all of 20 feet from our caravan in a camp site. Since I've sorted out a number of photos that haven't been posted anywhere before, I might later on add the ones taken from car park, layby or front door to the photos from film thread. All were ridiculously easy to take, with very little trouble having to be taken - other than seeing something, and putting the lens in the right place.
 
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I've not exposed a single sheet of LF since this time last year, and I sent @Woodsy a Whatsapp on the day to show I was doing it. I've certainly had the camera bag out ready to go on several occasions, and even had it away on holiday with me, but never actually used it. Buying the MF ZeroImage pinhole in the spring has also meant my 5x4 pinhole remaining unused, so I certainly understand your position Chris.

The late, great Barry Thornton said that one of the biggest improvements you can make in quality is to always use a sturdy tripod, and he went so far as to suggest that we should spend as much on the tripod as we would spend on a good lens. I hold my hands up and say that I have a poor record of carrying and using a tripod, even when there is no barrier to doing so. Since I would obviously need a tripod for LF and pinhole, I have been consciously training myself to use a tripod for MF, 35mm, and digital as well. That doesn't mean all of the time, but it has resulted in better quality shots from the same kit, so very much a positive. I've also got into the habit of using a shutter release when the camera is on the tripod, so again it's a step towards normalising the way I take photos of stationary scenes/objects. I still love the freedom of handheld photography, but the 2 can exist side by side. As with Stephen's post, I'm not the most patient in waiting about for the ideal light, but that's my problem with any format.

In the past year I have bought an Ensign Selfix 16-20 and a Rolleicord Vb, both of which require manual metering then aperture and shutter speed to be selected. They both require the shutter to be cocked manually before making the exposure, and that was a consideration in choosing the Rolleicord. Once I have reliably mastered the sequence of doing this, my plan is to swap out my tripod-mounted Bronny, Rolleicord, 35mm or digicam for my 5x4 in the coming year, and to have at least one FPOTY entry on 5x4.

Picking a theme from the list when it is published, how about you maybe committing to shooting it in 5x4 as well Chris? (y)
 
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Too often I'm rushing around, and forgetting the basics. ...
I think the idea of getting into LF was to try to force myself to BE more organised, ...
... I'm guessing it's a combination of the sheer level of faff involved, and the cost (in £ and time) of making images. ...
So it only really feel worth while if I'm going out to shoot something with the potential to be really good. The "hero image" idea. And that's coupled with a problem with time available for shooting (which is a ludicrous excuse for a fully retired person). ...
Being in such a rush that you make mistakes isn't going to work. Buying a bunch of equipment that requires a more measured technique might change how you approach things, but not necessarily.

The hero image thing was won by Ansel Adams years ago.

I may be adding 2 + 2 to get 5, but I find myself wondering if things are maybe a bit too results oriented and yet being tripped up by a perception that there isn't enough time to actually do the photography. Make time. Slow down. It's not a race or an emergency. Embrace the doing of it. Aim for half decent rather than hero.
 

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Athough this veers away slightly from Chris's dliema, it is nonetheless related to slowing down,or more precisely how being in a rush is simply a non starter with LF ( and indeed not particularly great for many things but THAT is going off topic!)

So bak in the summer of this year, I found myself being requested by a sculpture to photograph some of his work on LF.
Upon receiving the results, he was very pleased and subsequently requested a portrait of himself and one of his mther in law.
Now even though bth had seen the process and the time required in setting up and obtaining "still life" photos, when it came to their portraits, they were both quite lacking in their understanding of how it was not simply a matter of point and shoot!
Nonetheless I naturally persevered and exposed the frames, praying that the results would be acceptable. ....The were by them ( thankfully) but less so by myself personally as I felt that I had had to rush and thus not achieved the best that I know was possible from my abilities.

During the same period, whilst shooting the still life, I was approached by a couple on holiday in the village asking if I would be willing to do a portrait of the husband.
Explaining that I typically decline work as I do my togging for pleasure not as a business, he practically pleaded….So of course I took pity.
Now again, I sat down and explained in detail that the whole process was not a 60econd affair and ndeed given the light we had available along with filter compensation etc, he would have to be able to stay still for possibly a 1/4 or 1/2 second.
"Oh yes I understand it is a slow process and requires each step to be done methodically etc " he says.
Fair enough, we made headway into taking the photograph.
Guess what, not even half way through composing etc he was showing clear signs of being "irritated" by the amount of time it was taking after just maybe 10 mins which was very frustrating for me and indeed put me under a certain amount of pressure to try go at a faster pace which is a sure gateway to making a complet b*lls up of the whole affair.
The exposure was made and, not unlike the sculpture, he was pleased with the result .....I have held onto the negative purely in case he recontacts me for additional prints but in all honesty I would bin it!!!

My appologies for a long winded post which is simply expressing a recent personal experience that really has put me off offering or accepting requests to do portraits ( or indeed possibly other work) for other folk......A shame in some ways but it appears that most people are simply in too much of a rush even in areas of their lives that are, imo, supposed to be relaxing and enjoyable.

I look on LF in a similar way to how I view life itself, it is a journey with a begining and an end.
Some ( many) folk set off from A and can't get to Z fast enough missing out the majority of what the journey has to offer.
I prefer to view and attempt to enjoy each step and thus arrive at Z with a much more fulfilled sensation of satisfaction ......but maybe I'm just wierd!
 

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I've been going through my files selecting photos for the talk tomorrow, and quite a lot of them were actually taken in a layby or a car park; a couple were taken by walking all of 20 feet from our caravan in a camp site. Since I've sorted out a number of photos that haven't been posted anywhere before, I might later on add the ones taken from car park, layby or front door to the photos from film thread. All were ridiculously easy to take, with very little trouble having to be taken - other than seeing something, and putting the lens in the right place.
Having viewed the photos in the show us yer film shots, it could be said ( possibly as an excuse for not shooting anything !) that you were already in a beautiful area (countryside) and thus not necessary to walk more than a few yards to obtain a decent scene / subject to photograph.
Much as this may be true to a certain extent, there are potential photos everywhere, even without moving from our present position be it indoors, at work, at home, in the garden, in town, inside a shopping center, absolutely everywhere!
Fair enough sometimes a tripod / LF requires permission to be used depending on location but for the best part we can do as Stephen says,
 

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Well, I persuaded myself to take the Chroma out into the local woods as promised, today. I did pick up the pack of Ektar and thought about loading a couple of sheets into my empty film holders. Glad I didn't, as I'd forgotten how little I knew about how to handle this beast, and how much I might have known, that I'd forgotten. I ended up shooting a couple of sheets of Fomapan 100; I think I got most of the lens oriented bits right (although I was surprised when the lens started to rotate when I cocked the shutter for the last time). But loading the film holders into the back was a right mess. I couldn't work out how far to push the darn thing in, I'd forgotten about those spring clip thingies, and couldn't work out what to do with them when I did remember. I'd put the stupidly massive dark cloth over the camera so as to reduce the possibility of light leaks, which made everything hard to see, and I couldn't get the dark slide back in place for the second shot! I also had to push a passing stupid little curly tailed dog away to stop it peeing on my camera bag!

I've some hopes for the first exposure, but the second is almost certainly more light leak than scene.

I think as Asha suggested I need to do a bit more dry setup at home with empty film holders until I've worked out how to actually use the camera!

Thanks for your words of encouragement, everyone...
 

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Good to hear you made the effort Chris. Well done!
I think it was Woodsy who suggested the dry runs with kit tbh but either way yes that would be a very good idea and tbh won’t take much practice to become second nature.... even make pencil notes of each stage for when out in the field.
Practice is everything but don’t aspire for perfection, just enjoy yourself including the cock ups
 
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I contacted TLI Processing, and they replied "We now only process for our local customers. We couldn’t keep up with the demand for mail order processing. If you are local please pop in and we’ll sort it for you." So, anyone near Shrewsbury...
 

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I contacted TLI Processing, and they replied "We now only process for our local customers. We couldn’t keep up with the demand for mail order processing. If you are local please pop in and we’ll sort it for you." So, anyone near Shrewsbury...
That’s a real shame unless you live in Shrewsbury.
 

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... I was surprised when the lens started to rotate when I cocked the shutter for the last time...
So the lens is definitely rotating on the lens board. ISTR that someone mounted the lens onto the lens board for me at Onich (for which much thanks). AFAICS I don't have a lens wrench. They used a flat plate thingy; the alternative seems to be the highly alarming thingy with 4 bars, points and knives (well, screwdriver heads, anyway). Which is better?

TBH looking at the mounted lens I'm not sure how either of them would work!
 
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So the lens is definitely rotating on the lens board. ISTR that someone mounted the lens onto the lens board for me at Onich (for which much thanks). AFAICS I don't have a lens wrench. They used a flat plate thingy; the alternative seems to be the highly alarming thingy with 4 bars, points and knives (well, screwdriver heads, anyway). Which is better?

TBH looking at the mounted lens I'm not sure how either of them would work!
Maybe put up a photo showing the rear of the lens? I'd definitely go for the flat spanner and spend the bit extra on a genuine one that does all shutter sizes.
https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/Rodensto...417509?hash=item4d9f23fc65:g:2dMAAOSwmLlYAPfl
 
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No idea at all what they are like. A group of them came to the Foredown Tower camera obscura which is how I came to meet their programme secretary, who is the only one I've spoken to. I didn't do the camera demo so I don't know what they're like.

Judging from most people on TP outside the F and C, I would probably pass out from shock if any of them were even prepared to consider film, let alone something as inconvenient as large format. I think I was only invited because I would be a novelty, and not "more of the same". I know from writing a monthly magazine article that it's difficult to keep coming up with something new, that can be fitted into the space allowed. I expect clubs have the same problem with their programmes.

I'll try to be interesting and encouraging - after all, there's a reason I use large cameras in preference to a 42 megapixel Sony a7rii - but I'm too much of a realist to be optimistic in thinking any of them would try it. Although there's a thought - set up a 10x8 and have a holder with film, and get someone to actually take a portrait of a member...
I can't be the only one waiting to hear how this went, so come on then Stephen, don't keep us wondering any longer! :)
 
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I can't be the only one waiting to hear how this went, so come on then Stephen, don't keep us wondering any longer!
Maybe he's still there :)
 

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I've promised Asha to do a write up. The short answer is that I survived - and so did the half dozen LF cameras I took along (5x4, 5x7 and 10x8). A full report will follow - perhaps in its own thread.
 

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