Ansel said to hang the big print over the piano.
Originally Posted by Thomas Bertilsson
Originally Posted by Allen Friday
The trouble is, for all depth-of-field calculations using a CoC a proportional distance from the print is assumed. If you like to print large, you cannot satisfy the sharpness criteria of people having their noses on your print, no matter how hard you try, unless you stick to contact printing.
First of all thank you to everybody for joining in this interesting discussion. For me it brings a lot of things I have to think of.
To Mr. 23mjm, I´m sorry for my somehow enraged reaction to your statement. Don´t intented to attack you personally and I hope i didn´t. I just did not want that the discussion looses focus on my question.
Originally Posted by Allen Friday
That is a good point. Someone sees an interesting thing as a whole. Maybe it is a painting or a photograph or even a nice car or an old rock. If it is really interesting then it´s common that the viewer comes closer to see the details. Only photographers come (too) close to the prints because they want to judge their own or another persons technical craftsmanship. The average person comes closer because of the curiosity to see more, smaller details. In the real world you can always come closer to something and then you see more details up to the limit from that the human eye still can focus sharp.
Could that be one aspect of the fascination of sharp photographs especially in comparison to other arts that are not as "highly resolved"? I find this close-up effect very fascinating.
An example: A few month ago in my hometown´s art school, where they teach photography among other subjects, I looked on a very large colour photograph (about 7 x 10 feet) of a big modern building in an urban scenery. The building had many small balconies, maybe 50. What a surprise for me when I stepped towards the picture: I could see all the things that were deposited on each single balcony. I looked from the closest distance from that my eyes still could focus the photograph sharply - this colour print was perfectly sharp. I don´t know how the photographer did this, if he used ultra large format or digitally stitched the picture, but even with 8 x 10 inch I think it is impossible to make such large and sharp prints.
Maybe someone can imagine the technical fascination of that masterwork. The technical craftsmanship perfectly corresponded with the sujet.
i am not interested in sharpness at all but just the same i always find these discussions great.
Nuthin's perfect, Andreas.
"Truth and love are my law and worship. Form and conscience are my manifestation and guide. Nature and peace are my shelter and companions. Order is my attitude. Beauty and perfection are my attack."
- Rob Tyner (1944 - 1991)
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I think that one of photography's most enduring attributes is its ability to recreate a view so that it can be appreciated later. The cameras ability to resolve detail allows us to explore an area at a later time, often giving us an opportunity to see things that we didn't see in the first place.
Look at this photograph, and check out the "Original Size". http://www.flickr.com/photos/move_la...n/photostream/
Each balcony tells a story.. the detail seems infinite... it is literally as though we are transported to where the photograph was taken, and allowed to stare at it unendingly and without fear of it changing.
This is one of the camera's most astonishing abilities in my opinion. Obviously it's not the only route to explore as a photographer, but in some way I think that these photographs will only get more amazing with age; that is, we will be able to relive an environment that is gone forever... time travel!
Small detail, the ability to endlessly zoom in and yet still see more... this is what fascinates me as well! It is probably a strange fascination, most would rather take in the whole I think, the feeling, the mood, the story, rather than tiny details.
Though at the same time I often enjoy a 35mm Delta 3200 shot enlarged big, lots of grain. The grain gives a level of detail as well, similarly fascinating at times, how the picture comes together from far away and yet close up comes apart.
1. Thomas, I do not assume they are examining the sharpness of the print. But, sharpness is one element of the print which will affect how they view the portion of the print they examine up close. When I look at large works, I am often drawn into the print and I want to examine small parts of the print. It is almost as if I am looking at an 8x10 crop of the larger work. I am drawn into the print for many reasons, sharpness alone is not the primary factor.
2. Ralph, Your response goes to the heart of the issue. Depth of field calculations are where this issue always arises. The assumption underlying the calculation is based on a proportional distance. But, this is where I believe there is a central disconnect for photographers who desire to work to a very high standard. They will do many things which others deem "obsessive." Nevertheless, in this area, they throw up their hands and say the DoF charts are good enough to follow. As long as there is enough DoF to make a sharp 8x10 enlargement, then they can go as big as they want because the viewing distance will change. But, for critical viewers, the viewing distance doesn't change.
The Jeff Foxworthly test:
If you have ever printed a step wedge or used a densitometer, you might be obsessive.
If you've ever tested the effect selenium toner has on paper D-max, you might be obsessive.
If you've ever use a spot meter, you might be obsessive.
If you are a member of APUG, you might be obsessive.
Shooting contact prints is the easiest way to satisfy the critical viewer. If it is sharp on the ground glass, it will be sharp on the print.
You can satisfy the critical viewer with enlargements. It takes a different approach to image making, however. DoF charts are set up for "I'm using this camera, what f/stop do I need to get everything in the frame acceptably sharp." I approach it the other way around. If I want to be able to make a sharp 20x24 inch print, I ask which camera I should use to accomplish that. Often it is simply a matter of shooting larger film, and making sure I have enough DoF to print big without sacrificing other aspects of the image. This is often as easy as choosing to shoot 8x10 instead of 4x5 or MF and stopping down from f/16 to f/22 or f/32 (being careful not to stop down too far which will degrade the image). Experience is a good teacher. I have enlarged numerous 8x10 negatives to 20x24 and they are sharp and have very good tone.
If you want to delve deeper into the science behind all this, I recommend Image Clarity, High Resolution Photography, John B. Williams, 1990 Butterworth Publishers. It is a bit dense, but worth the read.
The film Blow up by Michelangelo Antonioni is the best illustration of how a photographer (a psychically normal one) is normally obsessed with high resolution. If it's a bug, it's a common one. And it's a bug of mine as well