View Cameras in the Wind

Discussion in 'Exposure Discussion' started by sanking, Sep 3, 2004.

  1. sanking

    sanking Member

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    Few things are more frustrating for a photographer working with a view camera than windy conditions. Yet in practice we can often work in such conditions and get satisfactory images by waiting for lulls in the wind. And it appear the lulls repeat themselves with some pattern, depnding on conditions. This leads to a couple of questions.

    1. If you photograph often in windy conditions with view cameras what solutions do you have for minimizing the impact of these conditions.

    2. Does anyone know of any lay sources that discuss wind cycles and how they differ according to atmospheric conditions?

    Sandy
     
  2. Silverpixels5

    Silverpixels5 Member

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    A large umbrella usually helps...point it in the direction of the oncoming wind and it should sheild the camera pretty well.
     
  3. bmac

    bmac Member

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    I shoot 75% of my images in windy conditions on the beach. What I do is try to stabalize the tripod as much as possible. I burry the legs about 8-10" deep in the sand, and hang my bag under the camera. I also stand off to the side of the camera between it and the wind and try to pur my beer belly to good use (ala SilverPixels' umbrella).
     
  4. mikewhi

    mikewhi Member

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    When the wind blows, I point my camera at a rock.

    -Mike
     
  5. Loose Gravel

    Loose Gravel Member

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    I don't know many secrets. A friend of mine did a time exposure in the wind. He opened the shutter and when the subject moving, he'd block the lens with the dark slide. He did this over several minutes until he got his exposure. I have my darkcloth velcro'ed around the outside of my groundglass in a sort of tube. If it get's real windy, I hang my camera bag on the tripod, mostly to keep the camera from blowing over.

    The biggest wind pattern is the fall (autumn). Fall is the calmest part of the year everywhere. A great time to get out and photograph. I think morning is better, too. If the wind is gusty, then I'm guessing its speed has a guassian distribution and would be random. If you wait long enough, fall will come.
     
  6. Tom Duffy

    Tom Duffy Member

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    I use a Sinar P2 as a field camera. It doesn't move much. :smile: Being tall, I also use a darkcloth or jacket held behind my shoulders to block the wind from the bellows. There is also less wind in the early morning than around dusk.
     
  7. David A. Goldfarb

    David A. Goldfarb Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    If I know conditions are going to be windy, I'm likely to use my Tech V 4x5", which holds up pretty well in the wind, but if I'm out there with the ultralight Gowland 8x10" box kite and the wind kicks up, I'll usually shield the camera with my body and sometimes even rest my arm on it during the exposure and wait for a lull, and maybe make an extra exposure to be safe.
     
  8. juan

    juan Subscriber

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    I suspect I'm about to find out more about view cameras in the wind than I ever wanted to know.
    juan
     
  9. KenM

    KenM Member

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    I'm with David. My MT is very sturdy, and hardly moves at all in the wind. 'Course, the longer the lens, the more flex the camera has simply due to the extension and the increased surface area of the bellows. Not much you can do except to shield the camera as best you can using your body, an umbrella, a friend, anything you can get your hands on.
     
  10. Alex Hawley

    Alex Hawley Member

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    OK guys, here's my two cents from Kansas, a place famous for its perennial wind.

    We never have a calm season. We have a few calm days interspersed throughout the year. Most of the time, there is wind of some magnitude. Knowing that premise:

    Trying to use an artificial windbreak is fruitless. Its just one more piece of gear to have to tote and one that can come loose and break everything. On a breezy day (most of the time throughout the year) I just wait for a lull. Sometimes this can be several minutes.

    Local direction and magnitude can vary from minute to minute. These local variations are affected as much by the topography as anything. Tree stand, hills, and draws cause currents local which in turn cause local updrafts, downdrafts, ect.

    For a general idea of what conditions may be like, I look at a weather map to see the high and low pressure areas and the relative separation between isobar lines. Wind moves from high to low. A stationary high or low pressure area means a rare calm day. That's my entire expertise in meteorology in one paragraph.

    In this region, there are many days when its just too darn windy to shoot. Generally, that's about when the gusts or sustained wind speed get up to 20 knots or more. Just ain't worth it to even try on those days.

    Finally, the longest lens I currently have is 12 inches, so that doesn't stretch the bellows out too far on the Deardorff. Obviously, the shorter the bellows extension, the less surface area (and less force applied) for wind to work upon. I haven't had a problem with camera stability yet (keeping in mind my 20 kt cutoff windspeed) but sometimes the bellows shake gets noticeable.
     
  11. wm blunt

    wm blunt Member

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    I find I can stop the wind from blowing simply by packing up my camera, never fails!
    Wm Blunt
     
  12. Alex Hawley

    Alex Hawley Member

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    I forgot. That usually works for me too!
     
  13. mark

    mark Member

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    The wind starts as soon as the darkslide is pulled. To stop it I usually put the darkslide back in.

    Then again if I actually want to take photo I go out early in the morning, or look for pictures in areas where there is a natural wind break.
     
  14. raucousimages

    raucousimages Member

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    I use a heavy tripod when practical. My main tripod is a Bogen 3236 but for wind I use a 3058 if I dont need to cary it to far it is a real beast and tie it down to what ever i can or I cary a small canvas bag in my car to fill with rocks, sand or even water (not nice to dig up a public park) if i line it with a garbage bag first.
     
  15. livemoa

    livemoa Member

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    Wind seems to act like waves which come in patterns of seven. After each seventh gust it gets calm.

    Down here in New Zealand it gets a tad windy. I carry a water container with me and hang it from the tripod. This seems to work in keeping the setup steady. I then wait for a calm moment.

    David
     
  16. photomc

    photomc Member

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    Interesting info here so far Sandy...I was wondering if you might have also questioned the wind blowing from the other end of the camera..i.e. what you are photographing. Since LF/ULF tend to give long exposure times, what - other than waiting for a lull, can you do to get a really sharp image? Leaves, trees, grass all will be moving with the slightest breeze.
     
  17. John McCallum

    John McCallum Member

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    Tend to use the same method. The camera bag hanging off tri-pod works well. I definately prefer to wait for a lull in the wind. Then I can be more confident that there won't be camera shake from the bellows. Of course shutter speed all has some bearing as well.
     
  18. George Losse

    George Losse Member

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    Sandy,

    If I'm going to shot local subjects, I have found the best thing for ME to do on windy days is to stay home with the cameras and file negatives.

    When I'm on location and I might not ever see the subject in front of me again, I do a number of things. First I use a heavy wooden tripod. People have laughed at me using it on normal days, but I use it all the time. I also use a solid tripod head, I use the Majestic gear head.

    I don't use umbrellas to try to block the wind. For me, they have just been one more thing to bring that gets blown into the cameras. What has worked for me on really windy days is to position my Jeep as a wind block and have a shooting position right next to the Jeep.

    This past Spring I was in North Dakota and the wind had to be blowing about 20-30 mph. I was driving along enjoying the afternoon with my wife, the roads were empty, it was a bright sunny day. I saw a nice scene off to one side of the road, I stopped to get a better look. I stepped out of the car and almost got blown past the back of the car. I quickly got back in the car, my wife was laughing about the fact that I almost was blown over, she thought I fell down or something. Again, if this had been a local subject, I would have gotten back in the car and gone home, but it wasn't. So went back out into the wind and selected my shooting location. Then I positioned the Jeep right next to it. I set up the 8x20 camera as close as I could to the Jeep and still get behind it to focus and made an exposure.

    I ended up making about a dozen 8x10 and 8x20 exposures that way that afternoon at various locations. Was it fun? No. Are those negatives among my best ever? No. Did they capture what was in front of me and what I was feeling that day? Yes, I think so.
     
  19. georgeg

    georgeg Member

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    Gitzo tripod and patience.