Large Format Photography : Lessons from the field #6

Large format is expensive. Large format is slow. Large format is unforgiving. However I've always loved the slow and meditative process. I've been a long time film user and recently started using film again. My last attempt (circa 2005) to do large format work was a mixed bag and ended on a sour note (no pun) as I tumbled down a cascade. And so did my camera and lens on a tripod which I tried to hold on to in panic. It took about 12 years to recover and start large format photography again. This is an attempt to write about the thought process, technical aspects and lessons learned eventually.

My approach and composition choice at the location for large format. I decided to go with Rodenkstock Sironar S-150mm . Click to view large.

Chamonix 45N2 with Rodenstock Sirnoar S 150mm/f5.6. Ilford fp4+ exposed at ISO100. Largest triangular sea stack at Zone 3 and developed for 6min in Ilfosol at 21C. Click to view large.

Our week long trip to north Cornwall was a family holiday, mostly enjoying the ocean / coastal area with loads of Cornish Pasty and cream tea. Most of the images I made were for family album and ended up using GoPro Session the most.

Most of the evenings this beach was deserted. High tide in the evening meant endless possibilities. I settled with this composition. I used my Rodenstock Sironar-S 150mm lens. This is the first landscape image made with my large format camera that I'm quite happy with. It will certainly be part of my platinum palladium print portfolio.

So here are the lessons I learnt.

  • Keep it simple. Strong compositions do not rely on color.
  • I went again the next day to this place and the sea rocks in the foreground were arranged completely different due to another round of low and high tide.
  • Keep making images with LF. When it works it is amazing.