LF Photography and companions

Discussion in 'Large Format Cameras and Accessories' started by photobackpacker, Oct 2, 2005.

  1. photobackpacker

    photobackpacker Advertiser Advertiser

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    When I was shooting medium format, I took my father along on a short jaunt. When we returned, he announced it was about as interesting as watching paint peal.

    My wife loves to travel with me and is content to sit in the car reading a book or magazine while I shoot. My problem is, I can't ignore the fact that she is there an I hesitate to wait for that one fluffy cloud to obscure the blazing sun just long enough to get the contrast range I am hoping for - so I rush the shot and walk away frustrated.

    I have reached the opinion that to be an LF photographer, one must be self-centered enough to ignore the physical needs and comforts of loved ones -subordinating their needs to the need of silver halides. So what does that say about me?
     
  2. David A. Goldfarb

    David A. Goldfarb Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    My wife is also happy to sit and read while I'm waiting for the cloud to move, and if I wasn't shooting, she'd still sit and read wherever we were, since that's what she likes to do, so I have no problem waiting for the cloud to move and neither does she.
     
  3. waynecrider

    waynecrider Member

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    Maybe you need to carry a book, like one of Ansel's? But I understand where your coming from. I think it's just a loner's art; Unless you have a model.
     
  4. Marv

    Marv Member

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    "Daddy will only be a minute", (piercing gaze, dripping with sarcastic inflection, combined with a tapping of the foot) oft quoted by my wife. You have realized your addiction is hurting others and you must make amends. Let me know what you come up with, I could use it. I pretty much travel alone now or with a co-conspirator in LF.
     
  5. jovo

    jovo Membership Council Council

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    My wife, a painter and an excellent photographer, knows full well that if a cloud need be waited for there's nothing else to do but wait. She will either join me with her camera, or do whatever she's prepared herself to do while I take the requisite time. The problem, therefore, is me! I can't let myself ignore the fact that she may end up on hold for longer than I can allow myself to feel comfortable. Scotch would help, but, of course, that can mess up the shot and create a dicey driving situation as well. So....more often, it comes down to companionless photography ...not what I'd most prefer, but, sometimes, the only considerate thing to do.
     
  6. grahamp

    grahamp Subscriber

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    I think it is obvious that your companion(s) should have a compatible activity. My wife and I often photograph on the same trip, and invariably with different formats and different interests - even stood side by side and looking the same way the results bear little resemblance.

    The main thing is we each understand the needs of the other and have a compatible sense of time. We also share some interest in the same terrain. But I have worked alone when it seemed best, just as she has.
     
  7. mark

    mark Member

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    Nah just leave them at home where they will be more comfortable. If they want to come along tell them exactly what they are in for, then they can't complain while you wait for that cloud or wind to stop.

    Of course if you take this advice you are obligated to go out without your big camera on occasion and put their needs first. Kind of fun at times.
     
  8. roteague

    roteague Member

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    I'm not married, so I just go wherever the whim takes me.
     
  9. MurrayMinchin

    MurrayMinchin Membership Council Council

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    He he he...just wait guys...in couple years he'll be lamenting, "I'm married, so I just go wherever the Wife takes me". :wink:

    My Wife is patient and happy to wait, it's the 4 year old who needs to keep moving.

    Murray
     
  10. Dave Parker

    Dave Parker Inactive

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    My wife, just grabs her gear and heads on out with me, by time its said and done, normally I am looking for here as she is taking pictures of tree, flowers or rocks....

    Dave
     
  11. John Kasaian

    John Kasaian Member

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    The images I want to shoot are ones I want to share with others, but it is almost impossible to shoot when I'm also concerned about my bride & kids getting bored. I guess I don't have faith that whatever it is that grabs me and forces me to look at the landscape in real time will do the same to my companions, though I am pretty sure---sure enough to bet an 8x10 piece of film---that the same image in print form will garner endless ooohs and ahhhs. Funny. Anyway LF is a solo sport for me, though I always enjoy the brave tourist who timidly approaches and asks: "Pardon me, is that a Hasselblad?"

    Cheers!
     
  12. c.d.ewen

    c.d.ewen Subscriber

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    Sigh. Sight unseen, I envy some of you your wives.

    A true and accurate quote from mine: "Why can't you take ordinary pictures, like everyone else?"
     
  13. Baxter Bradford

    Baxter Bradford Member

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    Presume you have complimented her in her excellent choice of marrying an extra-ordinary man?

    My camera and family don't usually mix. I go out in the dark and come back with the breakfast on our holiday. At other times, I go out alone, but never in a way that has an adverse impact on the rest of the family. There's always another day when you can go and shoot, it might even be a better one!
     
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  15. Whiteymorange

    Whiteymorange Member

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    Making art has alway been and will always be a selfish activity. As a painter I need to "go in my studio and make stuff." As a photographer I need to shut my ears in order to fully open my eyes. Even when folks speak of having companions with them for photo trips, you'll notice they speak of that person being absorbed in that other great selfish activity - reading. It's the in-between moments, when the shot has (we think) gone well, or the time has come for a coffee break that we appreciate coming up for air and seeing somebody else who has been nearby but also absorbed by an activity. It's great when you have somebody nearby to help you reconnect after diving into the artmaking process, but they're not really there with you.

    I've never shot a model, but I can imagine that that might be more like dance or music making or drama, where it's the combination of your energies that produces the artwork. Landscape photography requires a little alone time. If somebody else wants to come along, you can only hope that they understand the process and can stand being alone in your company for awhile.
     
  16. jp80874

    jp80874 Subscriber

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    I’ve found that the only artists that take as long with an image as I do are other LF photographers or painters and sketchers. My wife says she enjoys being with me, seeing the views I love to photograph and enjoying the quiet. Sometimes she will read, relax and admire the scene as she sees it. Sometimes she will sketch or use her point and shoot to document the scene for a later watercolor. Sometimes she simply starts a watercolor. This summer we spent ten days in the mountains of North Carolina and 21 days in Maine doing just this as well as taking week long workshops in our respective mediums. As the pictures have evolved since are return we have enjoyed the experiences again and again. That is how we do it.

    I would suggest that you are among the fortunate whose wife understands and loves to be with you. Photography has nothing to do with it. I would also suggest that you discuss your concerns with her. My guess is that she doesn’t know the problem is going on for you and would simply bring a longer book so you two could have that quiet time together.

    After driving the 1,000 miles to Maine we talked to one man who said he made it in 15.5 hours not including the time he slept in rest stops. We took three days, three planned museums, and 12 bookshops noticed in transit. The other man thought he would like to try that next time.

    It only took me 65 years to learn this. I’m sure my parents told me because they did similar things. I didn’t hear them, but it must have registered when I was ready.

    John Powers
     
  17. luvmydogs

    luvmydogs Member

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    I usually go out alone. With two dogs and a baby, it just doesn't make sense to haul everyone with me while I go shooting. This may of course explain why these days, I just don't photograph as much as I'd like to. Having said that, my husband is generally very willing to babysit should I go shooting.
     
  18. Claire Senft

    Claire Senft Member

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    I find having anyone along to be distracting. Probably the most distracting is the presence of another photographer. As far as I am concerned a photo buddy is for conversation when there is no phitgraphy taking place.
     
  19. rrankin

    rrankin Member

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    My 13 year old step-daughter and I used to go shooting every Saturday morning in Australia. She used 35mm and I used my Wisner 4x5. Either one of us could, and did, yell 'stop' for a place to explore and photos to take. She has an excellent eye for images, although I'm probably technically more proficient. We never, to my memory, ever shot the same scene or saw the same things within a scene. It was great fun and a great bonding experience and maybe even a learning experience. Now that she is 10,000 miles away, those days are over, but I can certainly recommend a companion based on my experiences. Even if I had a sullen teenager who sat in the car and read or listened to an iPod, I still think there can be a sharing there that adds to, rather than detracts from the photographic experience.

    Cheers, Richard
     
  20. BradS

    BradS Subscriber

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    Your wife comes with you and reads in the car while you shoot....hey, at least you got to go out and shoot. Count your blessings and quit worrying about it.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 3, 2005
  21. colrehogan

    colrehogan Member

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    I'm lucky if I can get my husband to go to a family function or a holiday, much less out with me to go take pictures. If it's a nice day out, he's usually out fiddling with one of his several old vehicles and their motors or whatever he does. I don't worry too much about it. I just go. Our cats don't mind either. They just sniff the camera and holder bags when I come home.
     
  22. climbabout

    climbabout Member

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    A good friend and fellow photographer once told me "large format photogrpahy is not a spectator sport" - no truer words have ever been spoken.
    Climbabout
     
  23. k_jupiter

    k_jupiter Member

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    Well, it's interesting. Just yesterday, I was out on the beaches and rocks near Pacific Grove CA with my significant other. I had spent the weekend in Monterey with my daughters, never pulling out the real camera, just shooting snaps of the family in action, and then not many. Since I had taken the goils back to school Sunday afternoon, it was just my SO and I. I asked if she minded if I took out the 3x4 Graphics SLR and she said no, she noticed I hadn't used it all weekend. All she wanted to see was the images in the viewfinder before I shot. While I set up the images, she wandered off and watched seals and otters with the binocs. When there is understanding on both sides as to the needs of the family as a whole, life goes well.

    My daughters? They roll their eyes, make some suitable comment about Dad, the camera guy, then mug it up as much as they can.

    tim in san jose
     
  24. Clueless

    Clueless Member

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    Rich, rich, rich

    This Friday "we" go shooting. I asked her just a year ago but something happened. She is 45 years my junior, a vulneralble if not fragile person with an artistic orientation. Her parents gave her a digital camera /printer set up that assures success, but for now she is overwhelmed by the by the 79 page manual and small print with many symbols to appreciatate. We are headed for a small "company town" that has a "company" cemetery on a slope where giant trees shed giant leaves and a picket fence runs up and falls down the perimeter. She has had brain cancer and is doing well after treatment. Her conscious attention comes in waves as does the spots where there is no emulsion. I am embarrassed by how many times I want to try and fill in the blanks of her conversation, by having to learn to "stop" and wait until she comes back into time. I have always wanted a gal to do photography with and while I will take gear and may shoot some my best shot will be seeing that she gets over her discomfort and finds the trouble worthwhile. She does well with a Canon A1 so she has the background.
     
  25. Jim_in_Kyiv

    Jim_in_Kyiv Member

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    I'm as much pack mule as photographer when Herself goes shooting with me, so I normally leave the LF gear at home. Now that she's seen 4x5 slides, I've been informed that this will change. The shoulder pain will be a miniscule price to pay.

    When we're out together doing other things, we discuss lighting and composition. Not that she's seriously into photography, but she looks at being a linguist as being someone who puts things in certain perspectives, who puts things in frames, and she carries this over into her everyday world.
     
  26. df cardwell

    df cardwell Subscriber

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    Go shooting with a knitter.

    Totally oblivious. Completely content to be there, and if you are really, really good, you might get a pair of socks out of the shoot.

    .