How light tight do I need it when...

Discussion in 'Large Format Cameras and Accessories' started by ggriffi, Jul 25, 2005.

  1. ggriffi

    ggriffi Member

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    I load the sheet film holder? Thanks, to jimgalli, disfromage, and few other fine folks here I am about ready to step into lf. I have pretty much everything I except a focusing cloth, but I really want to go out and give this a try. I read an earlier post where Ole mentioned using a black and white t-shirt together. Can I just use pretty much any old blanket that I have lying around or do I really need something that fits around the gg and blocks as much light as possible so as to not pre-expose the film? :mad:


    TIA
    g
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 25, 2005
  2. Bob F.

    Bob F. Member

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    Viewing and focussing is done on the GG screen, usually under some kind of blackout cloth. Once you have focussed, you then insert the film holder. At this point the holder is seated in the camera so as to make a light-tight seal around the film holder. You then pull the darkslide and expose the film, replacing the darkslide before removing the film holder from the camera.

    Check out www.lfphoto.info for a LOT of info on how to use a view camera.

    Good luck, Bob.
     
  3. ggriffi

    ggriffi Member

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    Bob,

    So after the focussing is done can I then take whatever cloth,tshirt,etc. off and then put in the holder with NO cover on the back of the camera, pull the slide and then take the shot?

    g
     
  4. David A. Goldfarb

    David A. Goldfarb Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    Yes. The focusing cloth is for focusing. It doesn't protect the film from stray light (unless you have holes in your bellows, and then some people will throw the darkcloth over the camera during the exposure for safety's sake, but it's better just to patch the bellows).
     
  5. ggriffi

    ggriffi Member

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    Thanks David. I just wasn't sure about that part of it. And I am sure I going to make some mistakes anyway. :confused:

    g
     
  6. Frank Petronio

    Frank Petronio Inactive

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    You could interpret your question many different ways. Before opening up any film boxes, do yourself a favor and do a "dry" run, without any chance of ruining your film.

    Set up your camera as if to take a photo of something with lots of light, ideally with the light source (the sun) to your side. If you open up the lens and have the camera set up right, you should be able to focus on the ground glass. ANYTHING will serve as a darkcloth, but obviously the more opaque and dark it is, the better it will be at shielding your eyese from extraneous light, allowing you to see the image on the ground glass easier. Some of us buy $100 handsewn contraptions - others of us use an old black t-shirt. Great photos have been made with both.

    Practice composing, focusing, and moving the camera. Pretend to insert an (empty) film holder and make an exposure. Doing it without knocking the camera of out position or doing something silly takes some practice.

    Once you are semi-proficient, learn to load film. The best way is to find another photographer to show you how, but baring that, try this:

    1. Find an 99.999999% dark room. Like a windowless bathroom on a cloudy night with no nightlights or light beams sneaking through keyholes or door frames. Use towels, tape, black construction paper, whatever to hold you. Many famous photos have been developed in hotel bathrooms.

    2. Clean and dry a flat working area the size of a small desktop. Hopefully you bought a ten sheet box of film instead of a fifty, because you don't want to screw up 50 at a time...

    3. Turn off the lights...

    4. Open the box. There are three layers of boxes. Note how they stack into themselves to provide a light tight seal. Inside the innermost box will be a foil paper envelope containing the film. Usually there are cardboard peices on the top and bottom of the film, and some brands may have interleaving tissue. Film feels like film, paper feels like paper.

    Withdrawn TWO peices of film and set them aside. Put the rest of the film away exactly the way you withdrew it. Close up the box. Turn on the lights.

    5. Immediately tape the opened box of film shut with TWO pieces of tape, and make on the outside in Roman numerals "II" to show that you removed two sheets.

    6. Take your now fogged and worthless two sheets of film and use them to practice loading your film holders. Read the rest of the internet to find out how to load the bloody holders.

    7. All of this sounds intimidating. It's not. You will screw it up at first, but with practice remember that barely functional idiots have been using view cameras for almost 200 years now.

    Finally, a good changing "tent" (not a limp bag) will more practical than waiting for a cloudy moonless night. Calument (online) sells one for $50 or so that is decent.

    As for film holder cleaniless, try your best but don't get anal, at least at first. Work towards get proper exposures and processing, and shoot alot so you don't bog down or lose enthusiasm too quickly.

    Later, you can get lazy and use Readyloads like sane people. They are easier than film holders and always clean, but they cost twice as much. 4x5 Polaroid is also a great learning tool, but it is also $$$.

    Have fun and good luck. Ask stupid questions here ;-)
     
  7. Bob F.

    Bob F. Member

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    Yup - that's all par for the course :wink: - After 2 years of 4x5 I still manage to mess-up about 1 in 4 shots one way or another - there are just so many things you have to do at the right time and in the right order - great when it all comes together though!

    Cheers, Bob.
     
  8. ggriffi

    ggriffi Member

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    Frank,

    Thanks for all the info, especially the above. I have done numerous "dry runs" for a few days now, and I feel pretty good about loading the film. I was more concerned with the issue of how light tight is it once the film holder is placed in the camera and did I need to keep the gg covered.

    Bob,

    Thanks for the encouragement. I really can't wait to start working with lf (4x5)



    [/QUOTE]Have fun and good luck. Ask stupid questions here ;-)[/QUOTE]

    Believe me I have asked plenty already.

    Thanks again all,
    g
     
  9. jovo

    jovo Membership Council Council

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    hehehe....yup.....losing enthusiasm because of the schmutz that ends up making a mess on your negatives is foolish. Keep in mind there's a whole new hobby awaiting you: learning to retouch your prints...and then...if you're really courageous...your negatives as well.

    Actually, I have been recently excited beyond my expectations looking at some retouching guides my wife bought for me on ebay. There really is a way to do all the stuff that seems so easy in photoshop. It's all been done before though you'd never know it given the seduction of easy digital manipulations. Now I think there's no negative I can screw up so badly with dust et. al. that I can't ultimately learn to repair with retouching techniques. It really is very encouraging!!!
     
  10. blaze-on

    blaze-on Member

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  11. Frank Petronio

    Frank Petronio Inactive

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    They actually used to make retouching tables that vibrated the negative slightly so that the retoucher could hold the brush (or blade!) in place and make a very fine fix.
     
  12. jovo

    jovo Membership Council Council

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    Yes..and they're available on ebay for not very much considering...I've already been sorely tempted. Not to get into a d vs a rant, but you can't imagine the relief I've actually felt realizing that it's all been done before. We've just not been aware (or, more accutately, I've not been aware.)
     
  13. Paul Sorensen

    Paul Sorensen Member

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    We have one of these beasts at our school but no one has used it in many years, from what I know. I was told that it was specifically for using a blade, and I couldn't imagine it being of any use. I can see if you used a brush how it could be useful. Unfortunately, it does not have the capacity to magnify, so you are still challenged in trying to see what you are doing.
     
  14. Robert Kennedy

    Robert Kennedy Member

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    Remember this -

    You will screw up the first few times.

    After 30 years of doing it, you will STILL screw up once in a while.

    Hell, I have "Darkslide?" on a piece of paper hanging from my lights when I work....
     
  15. David A. Goldfarb

    David A. Goldfarb Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    I have an Adams Retouching Machine. It can be used with blades, pencil, and dyes. With dyes, you would usually leave the vibrator off. With blades and pencil, you can adjust the speed of vibration so the pencil blends smoothly.

    Etching is tough. It will be a while before I think I'll feel proficient at it.

    Pencil on a neg to be contact printed is an excellent technique. It really blends nicely. Dyes are better for smaller formats.

    I've also managed to reinvent Kodak Abrasive Reducer. Hot spot on the neg? Sand it down! Crush brown tripoli abrasive and add some fine mineral oil until it's a thick paste. For larger areas apply with a Q-tip. For smaller areas, cut the stick on a Q-tip at an angle and use the stick as a stylus to rub down areas of excessive density.

    Do all abrasive and knife work before pencil or dye work, so if you take off too much, you can pencil it back in.
     
  16. Charles Webb

    Charles Webb Member

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    David did not mention which side of the negative to retouch, this is extremely important. Very little should be done on the emulsion side! Why you might ask? Think about it a bit then you will understand!