Viewing Filters or How Do YOU Compose Your Photograph

Discussion in 'Exposure Discussion' started by photomc, May 14, 2004.

  1. photomc

    photomc Member

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    With all the deep discussions going on, this may seem a little trite, however I was reading a muse by Tillman Crane
    ( http://www.tillmancrane.com/musings/musings.html ) today about changing your point of view. While reading the article, it occurred to me that a viewing filter (like those sold by Calumet) might be a good way to change the way I compose a photograph.

    Do you ever wonder why you stopped where you did and set the tripod down, why that was 'the spot'?

    Was wondering if the members would mind sharing the process they go through to end up with the perspective (why that location, view, lens, etc.)?

    Thanks in advance...
     
  2. mobtown_4x5

    mobtown_4x5 Member

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    I use a piece of mat board with a 4X5 hole, yes I probably look like an idiot walking around with it up to my face, but it really seems to help me- actually I'm lost without it...

    Matt
     
  3. Ole

    Ole Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    I use a Linhof Universal zoom Finder... It was fortunately included when I bought one of my cameras, as they're far too expensive for me to have thought of buying separately.
     
  4. jovo

    jovo Membership Council Council

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    i almost bought one of those in the calumet store in new york, but the salesguy talked me out of it confiding that i could do just as well using a viewing card as mobtown describes. closing one eye helps to flatten out your stereo perspective; you can learn at what distance to hold the card relative to your available lenses by comparing viewfinder/groundglass image to the held card. if you're shooting b&w, the important thing is to then assess the values in your prospective image...and that's the harder part. picasso said: "if you run out of red, use blue." what he meant was that, for him, the value was more important than the color in some situations. in b&w, that's always true.

    now i never leave home without my viewing card and usually wonder just what people must think i'm doing walking around looking at stuff that way. so far, no one's ever summoned help!
     
  5. Tom Duffy

    Tom Duffy Member

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    Ole has the perfect, if most expensive answer.

    Now that I'm shooting 8x10 again, instead of 5x7 (my year long experiment), I've resurected my Linhof finder from a previous 4x5 Technica purchase and carry that around to preview from different angles. Given that my 8x10 equipment weighs about 45 lbs., this is unbelievably liberating.

    The finder has a real zooming optic so near/far relationships, e.g., telephoto compression effects are clearly shown in the viewfinder. This is something a viewing card won't do.
    Take care,
    Tom
     
  6. Leon

    Leon Member

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    i have a "monovue" viewing filter from a uk company called SRB. It is a deep almost olive colour, but it is remarkably good at reducing the colours in a scene to tonal shades giving a fair idea of what the scene will look like in monochrome. THat said, it is too dark to use in subdued light, and i find i have, to some degree learned to "see" in mono now anyway so dont use it a lot. It is sometimes helpful as an aid to choosing a filters for contrast though.

    As for composition, I find the general area I want to photograph, then i use my viewfinder, and walk around until I find the shot i want. I dont think this would be overly practical with the LF cameras though!
     
  7. Dave Miller

    Dave Miller Member

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    I ask my wife!
     
  8. Leon

    Leon Member

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    that is ALWAYS the best way dave :wink:
     
  9. blansky

    blansky Subscriber

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    photomc finally admitted;

    We thought it was you but the question still to be answered is were you working alone or with others. The prevailing theory is that there were others, many others.

    It's going to be a tough egg to crack.


    As for looking stupid walking around looking through mattboard cutouts and lenses etc, remember all the great "auteur" film makers constantly wander around framing their shots before shooting them. The more annoying ones ever use their hands (one in the inverted position) to wander around and do it.

    People just will think you are a super creative "artiiist" and stay out of your way. Maybe


    Michael
     
  10. photomc

    photomc Member

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    Actually, it was an accident.

    There he was, just sitting on the wall and (yes there was a group of us) we were trying to get the perfect shot, so I jumped up on the wall and there he was - this silly egg.

    Well, as you all know the rest is History....

    Thanks for the input guys...
     
  11. mwtroxell

    mwtroxell Member

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    We realize that there have been rumors floating around that Humpty Dumpty was pushed. This is a blatant falsehood perpetrated by radical fringe elements who wish to discredit this administration. This administration has, and always will, support the right of any egghead to sit on the fence. The allegations that Humpty Dumpty's opinions were becoming a danger to this administration and that his ultimate and untimely fall was perpetrated by agents of this administration is complete rubish. I repeat, Humpty Dumpty was not pushed. Any opinions to the contrary are blatant attacks against this administration and all that it stands for and will be dealt with as we deem fit.
     
  12. hitcher

    hitcher Member

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    I have always just used my eyes and what I saw in the viewfinder of the camera, and previsualization. The only viewing frames I have ever owned were the ones around the prescriptin lenses on my face. " Trust your instincts.... and may the force be with you."
     
  13. mwtroxell

    mwtroxell Member

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    I've been using one of the Zone VI viewing filters since the late 1980's. I realy don't use it for composition much anymore but the filter material really helps to visualize what the scene will look like in b&w.
     
  14. mwtroxell

    mwtroxell Member

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    "Trust your instincts.... and may the force be with you."

    I always thought that was "and may the schwartz be with you". I always get that mixed up, oh well.
     
  15. Joe Lipka

    Joe Lipka Member

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    I started with the zone VI viewer and that was a pretty good help. After a while the strangest thing happened. Once I got under the dark cloth and really started looking at the image on the ground glass, the colors just disappeared from the image on the ground glass. Have no idea why my mind was playing these tricks on me, but I just play along and everything works out just fine.
     
  16. photomc

    photomc Member

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    Joe, that reminds me of a story I read about John Sexton..seems he was working on a shot of some frens, I think and someone was interviewing him and ask him about the color and he said something like - Oh! They are green!! Some folks just see in Black and White and that is a good thing, in my mind.

    Would love to have it happen to me, darn colors keep getting in the way.
     
  17. Thomassauerwein

    Thomassauerwein Member

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    Was humpty dumpty pushed One stop Or More?
     
  18. KenM

    KenM Member

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    Regarding Humpty Dumpty, it was a two stop push, he was overprocessed, and eventually turned into scrambled eggs :-D

    Regarding the question, I used to use a viewing frame. I found that I spent more time looking through the frame than photographing. I think it had something to do with the fact that my previous camera was pretty slow to operate. Now that I have a camera that is much faster to use I find that I explore with the camera as opposed to the viewing frame.

    I will use my forefinger and thumb to form a rough framing square tho. I'll occassionally look through it too :lol:
     
  19. mwtroxell

    mwtroxell Member

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    I think most people who work in b&w with a view camera eventually get to the point where they ignore color. When I'm looking at the ground glass, I know that the color is there but my mind just kind of refuses to recognize it.
     
  20. mwtroxell

    mwtroxell Member

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    Press release: We continue to hear allegations that Humpty Dumpty was pushed by agents of this administration. Once again, this is a blatant lie. Humpty Dumpty is one of this administrations closest supporters. He in no way was pushed. He is simply taking a long overdue vacation in an undisclosed location.
     
  21. KenM

    KenM Member

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    Yeah, a frying pan.

    Mmmmmm, eggs. 8)
     
  22. Jan Pietrzak

    Jan Pietrzak Member

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    Mike 'C',

    After looking back at the start of this thread you said 'that a viewing filter might be good to hepl me compose' to me a viewing filter is a post composure tool. A viewing filter helps to tell me that some colors may look the same to B/W film. Not as how they work as shape texture and form. When I make a photograph I am drawn in to the space and shapes and the things that make a image work. Not wheather the red and green on the wall be the same tone of gray. A viewing frame will help to isolate the items that you want to put in to your photograph. I have worked for along time with the view camera and finally got one that has the image right side up and a magic button to turn off the color. It just comes from doing and seeing. I hope this helps.

    Jan Pietrzak
     
  23. Jorge

    Jorge Inactive

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    Then again even with the zone VI viewing filter I loose my composure when the f$%&$ people dont get out of the way and out of the shot...:smile:
     
  24. photomc

    photomc Member

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    LOL..Jorge, glad to hear I'm not the only one that does that...

    Or yes it is a really old camera, but that's OK, I'm really old so we work well together.
     
  25. mwtroxell

    mwtroxell Member

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    "Or yes it is a really old camera, but that's OK, I'm really old so we work well together"

    I was in the Smoky Mountains National Park last month with my 8x10. I'm used to the 'old camera' remarks but I was left spechless when someone came up and asked me if my 8x10 was some type of movie camera.