View Full Version : One of my better group shots....

10-07-2008, 10:23 AM
This is an image that was taken with a #10 Cirkut camera in Harbin China in 1985.

The entrance to the Harbin Boiler factory seemed like a great place to do a quick pan shot of a small group of Chinese people in front of very awkward signage typical of the time. It was the end of September and late in the day. The sky was yellow from all the burning coal that really made your eyes water. Anyhow, just as I was ready, a huge steam whistle signaled time for ten thousand boiler makers to quit work and exit through the main gate that I was blocking with my camera gear.

The camera took about 40 seconds to pan. People in the back moving to the left side of the image are squished and people going to the right are very much stretched. I thought the photo was going to be a mess and didn't develop the image for about six months but boy was I surprised.

This photo is big (9.5 inches by 55 inches) because it is a contact print.

The image included is way too small and soft because of the file size limitation, But here is a link to a bigger version on my own website.


or here for a even bigger version


Hopefully you can see the big version and let me know what you think.


Ron Klein
Juneau, Alaska

10-07-2008, 10:48 AM
Nice shot! I was able to view both with no problems. I'd like to try my hand at pans some day.

David A. Goldfarb
10-07-2008, 10:55 AM
Nice. How do you contact print something this size and filter the light source for color? Is it neg or slide? And what are the logistics of processing the film and the print?

Richard Wasserman
10-07-2008, 11:06 AM
Very, very nice! Thanks for sharing it.

Richard Wasserman

10-07-2008, 11:12 AM
Color printing of cirkuts is easier than you think.

Light source is four coffee cans with light bulbs inside and 6 inch color gels over them. The lights are pointed up to the ceiling that is painted white so it softly puts filtered color light to the negative. And please, don't say it won't work because of the four different light bulbs burning at a slightly different color etc. I've heard this from a lot of "professionals" but done it this way for over twenty five years and it works just fine.

The four lights can be shifted, turned off individually, or grouped to balance out the amount needed, sometimes I make tinfoil reflectors to put extra light in a small area for burning. You can even use different filter colors at opposite ends of the negative to help balance the print. The dodging part is done with masking. Sometimes I use mylar overlays and with careful shading I can lighten just eyeballs in a group shot of 500 people if needed.

I've seen guys use enlargers for their light source, but that doesn't put out enough light and makes for long exposures. My average exposure is 2.5 - 3.5 seconds and I print full rolls of Fuji paper (275 feet) with a roller feed take-up device I made. It takes about 20 minutes to expose all the paper then it is processed in a roller transport Kreonite.

I'll talk about film developing later, it's even easier.

Hope this helps


10-07-2008, 11:17 AM
Wow... I'm struggling with 7x17. Can't imagine the logistics involved. My hat is off to you. If it wasn't an intentional composition, it must have been a very big smile when you saw the result.

10-10-2008, 11:55 AM
What a beautiful shot.

I always figured the reason you don't see more artistic effects in Cirkut shots is price of film, and fear of wasting an exposure to an "experiment." But yours is an absolutely gorgeous photo.

Thanks too for the color info. It doesn't sound terribly hard, but I can see I have much to learn.

10-10-2008, 01:56 PM
Real good, I’m interested in how you process your film as well.

Thanks for sharing.

10-10-2008, 02:15 PM
Really interesting image. Thanks for sharing.

jamie young
10-11-2008, 09:12 AM
I loved seeing this image when you showed it at the NAPA IAPP convention. All the the photos you showed were great, and that was my absolute favorite among them, and still think about it. I love the way some people are blurred as they go about their business, and others stopped for the shot, but also that it is so clearly a wonderful view of the everyday scene in china at that time. The print was just amazing!

Jeff Kubach
10-11-2008, 09:34 AM
Wonderful shot!


10-12-2008, 11:26 PM
Great shot! Thank you so much for sharing!

10-13-2008, 12:02 AM
A very cool photograph....but whats cooler is the ingenuity that went into making it happen. Coffee cans! We in the photographic community who aspire to this kind of image making but are technically and innovatively challenged are in deep debt to you Ron, for sharing your techniques and optimism with the rest of us. Commercial labs are disappearing and money is getting tight. Self reliance and "home grown" techniques will be the order of the day. Looking forward to the next lesson.
Hats off to you Ron.