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...
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...
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.
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!
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.
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!
that is ALWAYS the best way dave ;)
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.
I pushed Humpty Dumpty.
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
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...