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JamesDean
07-17-2011, 07:24 PM
Hi all,

A few weeks ago my daughter was born 3 months premature. She was given very small odds for survival but is defying them all and going from strength to strength. She is still tiny (980g or just over 2 pounds) and she has another few months in her incubator at the hospital to get through, but she looks like she is going to make it.

Cards and presents have been pouring in from friends and relatives, and I have a plan to thank them. I've just started platinum printing and thought a small print of the little one in each card would go down well.

The problem is, what camera do I shoot on to get a good neg? I have discounted all of my cameras and need some new ideas...

Deardorff - neg too big.
Zone VI - can't use a tripod in the hospital.
Cambo 5x4 - camera too big.
Rollei - close focus no good.
Mamiya RZ - shutter too loud!
Bessa - close focus no good.

Any ideas? Hand holdable, quiet, small, good close focus / macro potential, large neg.

Maybe the simple answer is to send a print of the delighted mum and dad instead!

J.

David A. Goldfarb
07-17-2011, 07:32 PM
Mine was never afraid of the Bronica shutter sound as a newborn, or even the mighty 5x7" Press Graflex (okay, that one sounds more like a window blind rolling up). I'd go with the RZ.

tomalophicon
07-17-2011, 07:33 PM
Can't you lock up the mirror with the RZ?
Hand-held speed graphic?

Sirius Glass
07-17-2011, 07:46 PM
I thing to avoid with new borns is a flash or strobe because their eye are not able to adjust quickly enough. There may be enough time since birth to use a flash, but the physician should have the final word. As for the sound of the camera disturbing the infant, do not worry about that. If the child response to the sound then the hearing is good.

Been there, done that. Now I am taking baby photographs of the next generation. :)

Steve

JamesDean
07-17-2011, 08:04 PM
Thanks all,

The biggest problem is that she is still in an incubator on a neonatal ward. Everyone talks in hushed tones and tries not to wake the newborns. I think the mirror clunk of an RZ might get me thrown out! Photography is not strictly allowed, but everyone does it using digital. I'd hate to push my luck by doing something silly with a film camera.

I like the idea of MLU. I can't remember how it works on the RZ, but will look into it. The downside is that focus will be tight (macro shooting in low light) so getting it right without the mirror might be hard...

Worker 11811
07-17-2011, 08:20 PM
Get the baby accustomed to the sound of a real camera at an early age. You know, imprinting! :D

She is your child. You should be able to photograph her in any reasonable way you want. The sound of a camera is not unreasonable. I don't think it would be any louder than the sounds of the hospital clatter that already exist, even in a quiet ward. It probably just seems louder with all the hush-hush.

Flash would be right out. Bad idea and just plain rude. However... If you make a bit of a fuss about the fact that you are NOT going to use flash by the time anybody notices a half dozen shutter clicks the whole affair will be over.

I think the main thing that will or won't cause problems is your manners and demeanor while you are doing the deed rather than the camera you use and what kind of sound it makes.

Sirius Glass
07-17-2011, 08:20 PM
Everyone talks in hushed tones and tries not to wake the newborns. I think the mirror clunk of an RZ might get me thrown out! Photography is not strictly allowed, but everyone does it using digital.

Not to worry, they are used to dealing with new stressed parents.

MattKing
07-17-2011, 10:12 PM
Shoot with the Rollei (I'm assuming a TLR) and enlarge from a portion of the negative.

tkamiya
07-17-2011, 10:22 PM
Um... how about keeping it simple and use a 35mm something? Hobby side of photography aside, you'll be working in constrained environment. Small and quiet 35mm may be the best gear to use. If you don't have one, one can be purchased very inexpensively. Maybe a small and slim tripod will be permitted for a quick use? You'll be shooting through two layers of plexiglass anyway, so quality is compromised already.

Congratulations and I'm so glad she'll going to make it. I'm sure she is a beautiful baby!

mabman
07-17-2011, 10:55 PM
Rollei made the "Rolleinar" accessory close-up lenses for their TLRs, so if you really want a close-up, that might be an option.

Otherwise, for handheld capability, minimal-to-no mirror slap, and macro/close-up capability, I'd say a Mamiya C330 TLR would fit the bill. In addition to being a TLR (so no mirror slap), it has integrated bellows, so you can get quite close-up. It also supports interchangeable lenses, with the 180mm lens being popular for portraits. The leaf shutters on the lenses tend to be pretty quiet as well.

paul_c5x4
07-17-2011, 11:19 PM
I have discounted all of my cameras and need some new ideas...

Deardorff - neg too big.

Solargram of the wee thing....

Joking aside, how about a supplementary close up lens on the RZ ?

tomalophicon
07-17-2011, 11:24 PM
Um... how about keeping it simple and use a 35mm something? Hobby side of photography aside, you'll be working in constrained environment. Small and quiet 35mm may be the best gear to use. If you don't have one, one can be purchased very inexpensively. Maybe a small and slim tripod will be permitted for a quick use? You'll be shooting through two layers of plexiglass anyway, so quality is compromised already.

Congratulations and I'm so glad she'll going to make it. I'm sure she is a beautiful baby!

Does Platinum printing involve a contact print? I wouldn't be happy sending out a contact print of a 35mm negative.

lxdude
07-17-2011, 11:37 PM
Um... how about keeping it simple and use a 35mm something? Hobby side of photography aside, you'll be working in constrained environment. Small and quiet 35mm may be the best gear to use. If you don't have one, one can be purchased very inexpensively. Maybe a small and slim tripod will be permitted for a quick use? You'll be shooting through two layers of plexiglass anyway, so quality is compromised already.

I agree. At the print size you want I don't see 35mm compromising image quality appreciably. Fast lenses with DoF advantages work for you, too. A 50mm will focus to about one and a half feet, about 1:6 magnification. A "macro" zoom could give you needed flexibility, though with a smaller maximum aperture.

If you really want MF, then I can tell you my 6x4.5 Bronica ETRSi has low mirror slap noise, considerably less than the earlier ETR series cameras, and the older 100/4 macros, which go to 1:4, are not expensive and easy to find. Or an extension tube can be used with a longer lens. The 6x6 SQ series is another option, with the older 110 macros also going to 1:4.
The Pentax 645 is fairly quiet, particularly the mirror slap, though it does have the winder noise.



Congratulations and I'm so glad she'll going to make it. I'm sure she is a beautiful baby!

I second that!

Vaughn
07-17-2011, 11:46 PM
I have three 3-month early preemies (well, they were born at 28.5 weeks, perhaps not quite 3 mos -- and they are now 14 year old).

The NICU (Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, for the uninitiated) is not a typical hospital ward -- talking with the nurses would be the thing to do -- perhaps they'll have some ideas of when the best time is -- and might provide some help. Our boys were in the NICU for 8 weeks

But I would not hurry things. No one expects a new parent to provide platinum prints of a newborn so soon! Take it slow and perhaps it might be better to wait until she gets even stronger and can be held outside the incubator for extended periods of time. A image of mom holding her, taken with the Rollei, might be the way to go...no need for the close-up work then. Those negs make for nice little platinum prints. Crank off 12 shots, and gang-print all twelve on a single sheet of coated pt paper and cut them up for the cards.

A digital image or two for now would be more than enough for friends and family. I have a great photo of one of my boys wearing my wedding ring as a bracelet!

I wish your daughter the best. But take care of yourself, also! The NICU can be a scary situation -- it certainly had it tough moments for me, even with everything going well!

Vaughn

PS...while triplets were a little bit more of a handful than a single babe, take advantage of this time. While the boys were in the NICU, I got a lot of darkroom work done. Once they got out (I was a stay-at-home-dad) all I time for was SX-70's! HINT -- and take advantage of the time before she learns to crawl! Until then, one can have a lot of fun with photos as one can place the babes anywhere and photograph without having them crawl off!

lxdude
07-17-2011, 11:48 PM
Does Platinum printing involve a contact print? I wouldn't be happy sending out a contact print of a 35mm negative.

Oops, I think you're right.

jnanian
07-18-2011, 01:41 AM
borrow a speed graphic or graflex slr.
a 4x5 pt/pd print would be perfect,
and a press camera ( or older press camera ( slr ) )
would work perfectly in that situation ...
hand held, available light and push your film ..

congratulations, good luck !( and have fun)
john

Rudeofus
07-18-2011, 02:59 AM
Since the topic "flash and newborns" came up again - *SIGH!!! *

Flash does not hurt your baby unless you do something seriously wrong. No eye can adjust to flash - remember it discharges within a milli second! It doesn't make a difference whether you flash a new born or an adult. If flashes were a problem, all these P&S camera toting folks would have vision impaired kids by now (most of them don't know how to turn off their in camera flash).

I second the 35mm camera suggestion. You want this shooting to be done quickly and without interfering with the work of the hospital staff. Autofocus, TTL flash and a versatile camera are your best bet. Once the baby is back home you have all the time in the world to make all the 20x25" negatives if you ever wanted.

2F/2F
07-18-2011, 03:47 AM
I am very happy to hear that your daughter is beating the odds.

I'd use a 35mm SLR with a fast lens for this project. They are easy to use, unobtrusive, and quite capable in this situation. And the image quality they can produce is more than adequate for this use.

When my father died, I shot his body in the hospital. I got along very well with my father, and his death came as a shock. I decided it was probably a twice-in-a lifetime photographic opportunity (one for each parent), and that as hard it is was, it would have some artistic and emotional utility for me at some point. So I decided to seize the moment for raw material and sort it all out later. The camera helped me cope with the shock of the moment by giving me some sort of specific task to focus on. I stopped by home on the way to the hospital, and, preparing for the worst possible lighting, I loaded up my Canon F-1 with Fuji Press 800 and put a 55mm f/1.2 lens on it. I didn't have a meter, so I guessed. Ended up using f/2.8 at '60. I wasn't sure what to do with the pix, but as I expected, I figured something out some time later, and the project I did really touched some of my family members, and also made it into a juried show and won me a scholarship.

The point is that I couldn't have imagined being able to get the pix I wanted with any other type of camera. RF focusing and framing wouldn't have been good enough. Medium format would not have been as easily hand holdable, and likely would have been noticed by hospital staff. SLRs provide very accurate framing and focusing, which helps you out immensely in tricky situations. And small format gives you an unobtrusive package that excels in low light, and it gives you more D of F at a given f stop. You have to be fast, accurate, and fairly unobtrusive, all at close distances hand held in poor light. It's the perfect job for a small format SLR in my opinion.

I am glad that in this particular case, you are making art out of a new life, instead of out of death. Good luck with your daughter and with the project!

P.S. Other great options could be discussed at DPUG, such as a high-quality point and shoot digital camera like the Canon S95, and then inkjet negative transparencies. They are incredibly unobtrusive (completely silent, and smaller than a wallet), and provide great depth of field and good low light ability (S95 has an f/2.0 lens).

2F/2F
07-18-2011, 03:54 AM
Does Platinum printing involve a contact print? I wouldn't be happy sending out a contact print of a 35mm negative.

Contact printing need not be done with in-camera negatives. It can also be done with enlarged negatives. It is the way I do it most of the time, actually, for VDBs and cyanotypes. I've made them from the in-camera film, but most of the time I enlarge them and then use the enlargements to make the contact print.

Sirius Glass
07-18-2011, 12:14 PM
Since the topic "flash and newborns" came up again - *SIGH!!! *

Flash does not hurt your baby unless you do something seriously wrong. No eye can adjust to flash - remember it discharges within a milli second! It doesn't make a difference whether you flash a new born or an adult. If flashes were a problem, all these P&S camera toting folks would have vision impaired kids by now (most of them don't know how to turn off their in camera flash).

I second the 35mm camera suggestion. You want this shooting to be done quickly and without interfering with the work of the hospital staff. Autofocus, TTL flash and a versatile camera are your best bet. Once the baby is back home you have all the time in the world to make all the 20x25" negatives if you ever wanted.

This is not true. The new borne's eyes cannot handle the flash. My son-in-law discovered that when he used his p&s digital camera. His new borne son immediately screamed in pain. The doctors in the room explained to him why he should not use flash on a new born.

Furthermore, while I was doing bioengineering, the topic came up and the doctors we worked with stated that new bornes and very young babies cannot handle either flash or strobes.

I can go on with other occasions when this has come up with optical surgeons, peditricians, ... and the medical research that I have read on the subject which was tangently related to the work I was doing, but unless you can point to an vetted, accepted article in a well respected medical journal that states otherwise, you do not have a leg to stand on.


Steve