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  1. #1

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    Rhode Islander seeks 1-on-1 expertise for Large Format

    Hi New Englanders!

    I'm a Southern Rhode Islander who posted a general "hello" to APUG users a couple of hours ago and I already have responses. Wow!

    I am looking for local resources. Somebody suggested I repost in this forum so here goes ...

    I am very familiar with 35 mm and digital cameras but despite having spent almost 3 years reading about medium and large format, I don't know whether I know how to load a 4x5 film holder yet -- I might know but I'm sure I could use some tips -- and though I expect to be sending color work out, I would like to learn at least basic B&W darkroom processing.

    I need a hobbyist friend or hired gun to get me started.

    Are there any Rhode Islanders (preferably in South County) who can volunteer or trade some time, or charge me $$$ to show me how to use my borrowed Speed Graphic and test it (if you think the shutter sounds okay) by taking a picture or two?

    If you have a darkroom I'd also love to be able to watch you develop my film at a time when you're doing your own .. but I could also send my film out so that is not essential.

    I need to see if the camera and lens I borrowed work at all and learn just enough to go shoot some film. It's not practical for me to commit to weeks of courses 45 minutes away right now due to time constraits.

    A March workshop on Cape Cod sounds great, but that's three months away!

    I probably only need from one to three visits to a large format person to get me going.

    As I mentioned, I would be amenable to paying, or perhaps taking someone out for a meal or something like that. Maybe that's the way to do it... Teach me some evening while you're doing your own large format work, and I'll buy us the fish and chips or something equivalent later.


    Desperately hoping for a tutor,
    SM


  2. #2
    Bill Hahn's Avatar
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    SeascapeMan,

    Hope you find a mentor - when I started in LF, I didn't know anyone doing it, and made all kinds of embarrassing mistakes. I learned how to load 4x5 film from this helpful article on Paul Butzi's site:

    http://www.butzi.net/articles/filmload.htm

    Hope this helps....
    Good luck
    Bill H.

    P.S. There are a lot of really neat and talented people in the NE APUG group - be sure to come to a workshop/meeting/whatever....
    "I bought a new camera. It's so advanced you don't even need it." - Steven Wright

  3. #3
    papagene's Avatar
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    Hello Seascape - Welcome to APUG from western Mass.
    The nice thing about LF photogy is that you see what you get with movements and stuff. And loading film is real easy... even I can do it without too much trouble!
    Unfortunately I live a little too far away to help and am a little too busy at the moment also. Good luck with finding a tutor. I am sure you will be successful.

    gene
    gene LaFord


    Long live Ed "Big Daddy" Roth!!
    ---------------------------------------------------------------------
    "I don't care about Milwaukee or Chicago." - Yvon LeBlanc

  4. #4

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    Feb 2005
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    Hello Sea...I think the closest person to you is John in Warwick. He is kinda busy though. Lets see if he responds and if not, maybe we can meet up somewhere (in Prov?) and go over everything. I use ready loads but can remember how to load holders without too much trouble. Oh, also, winger is in the Franklin, MA area and maybe she can get involved. ...and don't forget, some members are going to meet up north of Boston "next" weekend...the 7th I believe and can show you all the ropes.

    drew

  5. #5
    winger's Avatar
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    Oh, also, winger is in the Franklin, MA area and maybe she can get involved
    I could be up for a shooting trek, but I haven't ventured into LF, yet.

  6. #6

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    Bethe, if you want to borrow my 4x5...for a week or so, be my guest. You'll need a tripod though as it will be difficult to rip mine from my steel cold grip!

    drew

  7. #7
    winger's Avatar
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    Bethe, if you want to borrow my 4x5...for a week or so, be my guest
    isn't that a little like a drug dealer giving a free taste? I'll think about it.

  8. #8

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    Quote Originally Posted by winger View Post
    isn't that a little like a drug dealer giving a free taste? I'll think about it.
    That is exactly how I got into LF - my brother loaned me a Speed Graphic. I fell in love, upgraded my darkroom to be able to handle 4x5 just started to get a few decent images, and then he reclaimed the camera. Good thing I had some cash in savings or I would have sold one of my children to replace the LF camera and lens!

    SM - I am a bit far from you to help, just north of Portland Maine, but I do have a suggestion. There is a good intro workshop into LF where they will teach you to load film holders, set up the camera etc. It is in the summer, in New Brunswick where there are some great locations to shoot as well. I don't know if he has scheduled 2007 yet, but check out Jamie Wilson : http://www.jameswilson.ca/

  9. #9

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    As daunting as it seems, I say buy a ten-pack of B&W film and just give it a go.

    I followed the basic instructions from Henry Horenstein's B&W Basics book. Although not specifically an LF book, it shows you how to load holders, etc. Developing can be done a couple sheets at a time in disposable tinfoil pans from the grocery store, assuming you have a reasonably dark place to do it. B&W film is prety forgiving for temperature and time during developing. It might not produce a masterpiece, but it's certainly no harder than baking cookies (not as tasty though).

    I've been doing it for several years in my tiny apartment, mostly through semi-informed trial and error. I continue to find new mistakes, but I consider it progress to not make the old mistakes . . . too often.

    As for figuring out the camera, you can find the basics over at www.graflex.org . Chances are the shutter is a little "off", but I have yet to find one that wasn't close enough to make a few photos right off the bat.

  10. #10

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    Quote Originally Posted by Terence View Post
    As daunting as it seems, I say buy a ten-pack of B&W film and just give it a go.
    Developing can be done a couple sheets at a time in disposable tinfoil pans from the grocery store, assuming you have a reasonably dark place to do it.
    +1 on the Graflex.org site, those guys are great.

    Tinfoil pans are not great for developing though for a couple of reasons - the aluminium may react with some photo chemicals, and there is no good way to seal them. I prefer to use tupperware like containers, which you can just close up between developing sessions (you can reuse fix and stop, although I like to use the developer 1 shot). I made a plastic basket with a bottom made out of plastic cross-stich fabric which fits inside the tupperware and allows for easy handling of the film. I no longer use that method (now develop LF film in a Jobo), but for small numbers of negatives, in a small space, it worked great.

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