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View Full Version : Shutter Tripping - Or how LF has slowed me Down



photomc
07-08-2007, 12:24 PM
Decided to take the new(to me) 7x11 out this morning to check out the new bellows that I installed. Took 2 holders, and spent about 3 hours looking for a subject and arrived home without a single negative exposed.

Now, this is actually OK as far as I am concerned, but it got me to thinking - when I shot 35mm, it was easy enough to snap away - though I usually never finished a roll at one time. The move to MF, gave me about the same results - but with fewer frames, could finish a roll of 120 almost every time.

Next move was to 4x5 - and things became much slower, and each trip of the shutter was done with more purpose, but I could usually find something to expose. 5x7 was much the same as 4x5, but I carried fewer film holders. 8x10 was the first BIG slow down, I might carry 4 8x10 holders and would return with 2-3 sometimes all 4 holders without using them (but might expose 4-6 5x7's). When the 8x10 was the only format used, 2 holders would be a big day.

Soooooooooooo...after all that,

How many of you that use 8x10 or larger find that you are much more selective with the subject matter when you are out?

I set the camera up a few times this morning, but in the end did not "see" anything on the GG that made me head for the film holders. Either the light was just not right or it was a subject that I had visited before and did not feel fresh - which made me think about the thread started by Eric (Rose) related to not feeling inspired.

Would be interested in how others approach changed after moving up in format.

Will try again this afternoon, after the mid-day light has passed.

Pinholemaster
07-08-2007, 12:56 PM
What's nice about shooting 8x10 is that it makes me much more selective and patient when shooting smaller format.

Doyle Thomas
07-08-2007, 01:55 PM
At $15 per click I do 810 with great intent.

Doyle

juan
07-08-2007, 01:58 PM
8x10 slowed me down a lot. I find the slow down carried over to smaller formats, too.
juan

HerrBremerhaven
07-08-2007, 02:09 PM
Sometimes a different approach with 4x5, but it really depends upon what I am shooting. I did some fashion and lifestyle shooting earlier this year, and the pace was fairly quick for 4x5. However, I would still tend to shoot more frames when using 35mm, and sometimes with 120 roll film. Sometimes having any camera on a tripod is enough to slow the approach.

Ciao!

Gordon Moat
A G Studio (http://www.allgstudio.com)

User Removed
07-08-2007, 02:30 PM
At first, shooting 8x10 and larger slowed me down by the way of the number of photographs I was creating. However, now that I've made it exclusively my only camera that I use, I've really loosened up with it and now photograph ALOT more. There comes a point where the gear no longer should slow you down from creating. The cost of film should not even cross your mind when going to make a photograph. The reason is, with every picture you make, you learn something new and even if it's a bad picture, you will have learned something from making that picture to apply to the next one you make that will be better. Make as many photographs as possible, because it will only make you better.

Now I'm not saying that I'm not really selective about what I photograph, but using the 8x10 has really let me see just all the millions of photographs that are all around us, wherever you are!

The only reason a camera should slow you down is because your spending more time LOOKING at the ground glass, and not more time messing with the gear and equiptment. With that in mind, you should be making just as many pictures with the bigger camera as you are with the smaller ones if your time spent is with looking. If you are not, then there is something slowing you down that should not be.

Shawn Dougherty
07-08-2007, 02:44 PM
I tend to agree with Ryan, when I first made the switch to LF it really cut the number of images I was producing. Now that I'm comfortable with the equimpment and, more importantly, secure in my vision I find I rarely come home with unexposed film. That's not to say I'm not selective but that I'm able to see more deeply than I have in the past.

Ryan, I wouldn't say anything except that you use it so often in your writing (and actually capitalized it)... "ALOT" is not a word. ;)

Shawn

David Brown
07-08-2007, 02:52 PM
... you should be making just as many pictures with the bigger camera as you are with the smaller ones if your time spent is with looking. If you are not, then there is something slowing you down that should not be.

Respectfully disagree. This statement is too absolute.

I think what Mike, and I, and others have found is that shooting larger formats is just different, and it creates a different "feel" that can (but may not) make one slow down and be more contemplative. (Cost can be a factor, too, so I wouldn't just blow off someone's else's finances, either.)

But even eliminating the other factors, gear does make a difference. I regularly shoot with 4 other large format photographers. I could run off a whole roll in my 35mm SLR before they could get their 8x10 or larger even set up. ;)

photomc
07-08-2007, 03:13 PM
Great feed back, and I do appreciate each persons thoughts.

Ryan & Shawn, think I understand where you guys are coming from. When you go out, do you do so with a purpose in mind? Do you 'know' what you intend to shoot that day? Or do you go out with nothing in particular and wait to see what you find?

David, you are quite right. In my case it is not so much the cost per sheet (this is open to ones finances) but more the change in vision. This mornings outing is a good example. There were a couple of stops, that I would have tried to shoot, even though I did not find the light quite right. Instead, I saw the potential for the location but decided to come back at another time.

This may just be a difference in how LF has changed the way I work. Maybe I should have gone ahead and exposed some film to see if I was correct about the light. It is also about trying to break out of the project mode I think, as David knows there is a group of us that have been working the church project and I think we have all 'needed' to photograph other subject matter.

Thanks again for the input, as I find it very interesting and valuable.

Oh, and Shawn - afraid I have been quilty of using the none-word as well (good catch though).

User Removed
07-08-2007, 03:16 PM
Respectfully disagree. This statement is too absolute.

I think what Mike, and I, and others have found is that shooting larger formats is just different, and it creates a different "feel" that can (but may not) make one slow down and be more contemplative. (Cost can be a factor, too, so I wouldn't just blow off someone's else's finances, either.)

But even eliminating the other factors, gear does make a difference. I regularly shoot with 4 other large format photographers. I could run off a whole roll in my 35mm SLR before they could get their 8x10 or larger even set up. ;)

I edit that statement with one word change...

... you should be SEEING just as many pictures with the bigger camera as you are with the smaller ones if your time spent is with looking. If you are not, then there is something slowing you down that should not be.

In reality, the large format camera does slow you down, if your used to working fast with the smaller camera. But really, you should come to accept the speed of working with a view camera as the normal speed and working with the roll film cameras will become working too fast.

I never go out LOOKING for something, but rather just SEEING what's around me. I've been out with several photographers who go out LOOKING for something, and they end up not making any pictures because they never found what they were looking for, all the while they passed up tons of outstanding photographs that they did not see because they were to busy looking for something that may not exist. If one goes out photographing with a completely clear mind and an open eye, you will see amazing photographs to be created all around you that you've never seen nor made before. Those are the pictures that you will learn most from, not the ones that you already know of in your head.

David Brown
07-08-2007, 03:19 PM
I edit that statement with one work change...

... you should be SEEING just as many pictures with the bigger camera as you are with the smaller ones if your time spent is with looking. If you are not, then there is something slowing you down that should not be.

OK, I'll go with that. :)

Cheers!

c6h6o3
07-08-2007, 03:20 PM
How many of you that use 8x10 or larger find that you are much more selective with the subject matter when you are out? Would be interested in how others approach changed after moving up in format.



When I began to use larger cameras in earnest, my throughput became slower but that has nothing to do with the size of the camera. It's because I began to spend more time making photographs by looking at the only place where they can be created - the groundglass. I am just as slow and make just as few pictures per photographic outing with my Hasselblad now as I do with the 8x10.

I am also not selective at all with the subject matter, as it has nothing to do with whether or not I will see a photograph. I find them in any subject.

Nick Zentena
07-08-2007, 03:28 PM
I tend to only haul out the bigger camera if the smaller camera has already visited. I'm too lazy to just wander with the big camera.

Shawn Dougherty
07-08-2007, 03:32 PM
[QUOTE=photomc;489747]Great feed back, and I do appreciate each persons thoughts.

Ryan & Shawn, think I understand where you guys are coming from. When you go out, do you do so with a purpose in mind? Do you 'know' what you intend to shoot that day? Or do you go out with nothing in particular and wait to see what you find?[QUOTE]

I go out and see what I can see. As Ryan has said in a near direct MAS quote, I simply go out looking. Recently I've been working on a project photographing Pond Scum around Campbell's Farm. Even then I'm simply walking around the area where Pond Scum is but I'm still open to photographing ANYTHING, whatever it happens to be.

I think, Mike, that you might enjoy reading Mark Citret's essay titled, "Where to Stand and Where to Put the Edges". You can find it for free on his website, www.mcitret.com Hope the work is going well for you! Best. Shawn

Thomassauerwein
07-08-2007, 03:50 PM
It is an interesting contrast in "mindset", The tools are essentually the same IE; Fstop, shutterspeed,optics and film but the personality for each tool seems to change the approach. With each there are merits that guide the days inspiration. I never shoot larger than 4x5 but find that on those days I'm very specific about what I'm after. The focus on these days is more about the study of a specific location or concept and it's integration with light. The days where I head out with smaller formats I call them "sketch runs" It is still about light but far more immediate gratification of the moment and blazing a trail through the day. An adventure if you will. There are so many tools, 35mm pano, medium format collapsable or hassy square that are so easily carried and brought forward to capture a response to the moment. Larger format by it's very nature has the same elements, is very interchangable and offers more tools for perspective control and creates a more refined perspective towards the subject of interest. More thoughtful and selective. So depending on the mood, Smaller is more intuitive larger is more profound.

photomc
07-08-2007, 04:11 PM
I think, Mike, that you might enjoy reading Mark Citret's essay titled, "Where to Stand and Where to Put the Edges". You can find it for free on his website, www.mcitret.com Hope the work is going well for you! Best. Shawn

You were quite correct Shawn, the article describes exactly where I found myself today. Very uncanny, because one place I stopped left me in the middle of a road, another needing a different lens than the one I had with me.

Thank you very much for the link...I will bookmark it, and read (re-read) it as a reminder.

scootermm
07-09-2007, 11:34 PM
interesting thread... felt somewhat compelled to comment, even though I was getting alot from this thread just reading. Actually felt I may have something to add.
I had a semi similar experience on saturday morning. I woke up around 4am, loaded my 3 12x20 holders, packed the truck, loaded the maya dog and drove nearly 175 miles to an old abandoned sulphur factory near houston. A location that was a gold mine discovery a few weeks back. I spent the better part of the day walking around hauling my camera.... I saw loads and loads of images that moved me, yet felt compelled to expose only two negatives. Even knowing full well that more than likely they wouldnt capture what I "saw". But felt worth the effort, even if for only the lesson being reaffirmed that I dont "have to shoot".
My point, I have found that I still see just as many shots as I always have. When I was shooting 35mm and 120 I shot damn near ALL of the shots I saw. It was invigorating to so eagerly capture all that resonated with me. But the fact remains that as I would go through a 120 roll with 12 6x6 negs on it... there was inevitably ONE negative I wanted to print.
To compare it with my present working methods, Ill shoot possibly 2 or 3 12x20 negs in a day and more often than not (barring any technical errors) Ill get 2-3 negatives that I feel worth printing (I'm finding exposing all three of my 12x20 holders in a day is a LONG day). So its an interesting comparison... even though Im still "seeing" the same number of shots as when I shot roll film, it seems to have distilled itself down to only capturing that 1 in 12 shot when I bother to expose a 12x20 neg. This doesnt feel like a fully conscious thing either, as I can't say that its something I do deliberately. It just seems to have occured somewhat naturally.

Mateo
07-10-2007, 01:09 AM
hey Mike,

I go slow with the bigger cameras too. Maybe it has to do with the purpose of using the big camera in the first place. For me big negatives are for smooth tones and textures and I slow down to see those things. Small negatives are for things that don't rely on texture or go by to fast to catch with big slow tools. Lately I've been making allot of 5x8 inch prints either using a splitting dealy on 8x10 or enlarging 35mm and the funny thing is that nothing jumps out at you as better just different textures and a different way to get there. And I do blow through quite a bit of 35mm all at once, but that has to do with trying things with motion that you don't know for sure you got until you print it. So...maybe what you're trying to do makes a difference in how many exposures you make.

Thomas,

Really like what you say about intuitive and profound, never thought of it that way.

walter23
07-10-2007, 02:06 AM
4x5 helped me realized that while there are many opportunities on every photo expedition, one should really direct most of one's efforts into a select few of those opportunities, even if it means missing the others.

With my digital SLR (and even my 35mm film SLR before that), I spent all my time madly snapping away trying to realize all of the possibilities.

photomc
07-10-2007, 08:24 AM
Well for someone that does not do that much navel-gazing, this has been great.

Thomas, 1st great to see your post - hope all is well. As Mateo said, have not considered the intuitive/profound as you put it - I really like how you stated that.

Matt, it's good to know that others have the same thoughts - and yes driving for miles and hours for 1 or 2 or no negatives does happen, but I wonder how often we actually do see images in our subconscious.

Also like the way you described the purpose with the larger formats, Mateo (good to see you too!!). You may be right about what is wanted from the outing having to do with the equipment - let's face it you don't find many LF/ULF cameras at sporting events, but you sure hear a lot of shutters.

Walter, think that the select opportunities were exactly what I was after that day and when I did not find them, went on my way - well put.