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  1. #1
    vic vic's Avatar
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    People photography with ULF ?!

    hi all,
    can u share your experience of photographing people with ULF, 11x14, 12x20"...
    people photography - staged, location, environment, scenarios, or even closer portraits.
    ---
    obviously, it will be bulkier than 8x10" - camera, tripod, lens, film-holders. more expensive too.
    i guess it will be more elaborating with lighting - slower shutter speed, aperture etc.
    suppose one can handle this, with assistances on the set, by blending this bulk in other production needs (such as lighting on location, which in itself might be even bulkier sometimes than ULF kit), and the flaming passion for a pure contact print (platinum etc) may ease the endeavor.
    ---
    but...
    are there other hidden challenges that i cannot properly imagine and estimate without actually experiencing the ULF ???
    for example, i can imagine that the controls of the camera are physically less accessible, and the whole process must be slower... how much it may stand in the way of photography compared to 8x10.
    other unique challenges ?

    thanks, victor

  2. #2
    Bob Carnie's Avatar
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    I have a 11x14 enlarger which is as easy to work with as my 4x5 and 8x10 enlargers.
    but I have never shot 11x14 film.


    i would think the real issue would be weight and set up , other than that I think it would be easy to use.

  3. #3

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    At one time 11x14 was almost the "standard" studio portrait format as the rival to 8x10. A nice big
    retouching surface and shallow depth of field. Mostly stand cameras, not field folders. I've seen a lot
    of classic Hollywood portraits done this size, including color work.

  4. #4
    vic vic's Avatar
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    bob and drew, thanks. 11x14 overall kit should be about twice bulier/heavier compared to 8x10. im not into holywood style studio or retouching. just platinum contact prints that fascinate me. 8x10 is great in the hand, 11x14 will look better on the wall usually, but the bulk may turn a limitation during the principal photography.

    jonielvil, thats an interesting point. the lens issue can be felt on 8x10 already, and a bit on 4x5 too (even with 150 lens), though not as dramatic as u described in the case of 11x14. i actually like that aspect.

  5. #5

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    It's funny, it's a bit like your TV...you get used to what you have. With wet plate, I started at 4x5, then moved to 8x10 and progressed to 11x14. Now I'm starting 24x32 and I find the 8x10 small in comparison. If you're prepared and experienced with what you do, you know what to expect. That only comes with time. Anything seems intimidating before you take it on.

    I think you'll eventually work out your own limitations and they might be different to other peoples experiences. Common things are....be prepared to take time to prepare and to carry a lot of gear in the field (I have a dedicated caravan darkroom that makes it easier). Be ready to fail at times and push through those failures. Above all...have fun!

  6. #6
    Vaughn's Avatar
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    You start appreciating larger table/working areas with 11x14.
    At least with LF landscape, a bad day of photography can still be a good day of exercise.

  7. #7
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    If you want to have fun worrying about depth of field, try using a 450mm lens on a 14x17. A head shot is 1:1 or even higher magnification. At f22 depth of field is the ear. In a profile portrait. So your margin for error is about -1. But when it pops, it really pops!

  8. #8
    vic vic's Avatar
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    craig, vaughn, the flying camera... thanks...
    8x10 will be a lot of fun, for sure.
    8x10 print in the hand is about perfect.
    bigger is even more fun when the hand made print is on the wall, and the world is on the groundless, with unique optical charm of mammoth lens.
    but, the weight and the bulk doesnt look fun at all, and, since im not experienced with ULF, im not sure if these inherent limitation will stand in the way of photography and fun, or will give the work a new dimension or character.
    contact prints can be done with inter-negatives from 4x5 or 6x6, being less limited regarding the final size, but im wondering where the fascination for a puristic ULF will take me?

  9. #9
    TheFlyingCamera's Avatar
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    Vic -

    at least half the reason to shoot ULF is the total experience of working with the ULF camera - the giant ground glass, the two-handed focusing, etc. If you can get your hands on something bigger than 11x14, even if only for a day, try using one before you invest money in a system, to be sure you enjoy the experience. It isn't for everyone. As you said, you can always make an interneg from a smaller piece of film if you just want to print big.

  10. #10
    vic vic's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TheFlyingCamera View Post
    Vic -

    at least half the reason to shoot ULF is the total experience of working with the ULF camera - the giant ground glass, the two-handed focusing, etc. If you can get your hands on something bigger than 11x14, even if only for a day, try using one before you invest money in a system, to be sure you enjoy the experience. It isn't for everyone. As you said, you can always make an interneg from a smaller piece of film if you just want to print big.
    i have no access to ULF at the moment, but yes, i will not be jumping into it without at least basic experience.
    one thing is the investment into the ULF (financial and labour), and the other, even more important is the art-project - being with the "right tools" that inspire and will make the endeavor possible :-)

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