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  1. #11
    Leigh B's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cliveh View Post
    Levelling a field camera - I don’t understand this concept, as surely image making is not about levelling.
    It's pretty simple actually.

    You adjust the camera supports so that the support platform is level, then adjust the
    ground glass and the lensboard so they're both vertical.

    Those adjustments are important in some types of photography, not in others.

    If you need it, do it. If not, ignore it.

    If you don't understand the concept, you need to study basic photography.

    - Leigh
    “Wise men talk because they have something to say; fools, because they have to say something.” - Plato

  2. #12

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    Quote Originally Posted by David A. Goldfarb View Post
    It's relatively unusual not to have to pan the camera a bit, so I like having a level platform to pan from, although one can always make a final adjustment after panning.
    Agree fully. That's why I have a Manfroto 138 leveler between tripod and head. If I make it level, there's no need to adjust after panning.

  3. #13
    markbarendt's Avatar
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    The film is the thing that matters the most.

    So if the back standard (the film) is level right to left and "flat" in relation to the face of the building, in the sense that if you walked up to the building you could paste the film to the face of the building without changing its orientation; then the verticals and horizontals should look exactly vertical and horizontal right to left. Lines leading away from the camera into the distance will still converge.

    This happens regardless of how the front standard (the lens) or the base of the camera are oriented, just the orientation of the film to the subject.

    Front shift, rise, and fall change what the film sees. Rise for example is used to make the camera see up and is very normal for shooting tall buildings from street level, a cliche example is a church steeple. Fall is regularly used for portraits, it allows the back/film/ground glass to be head high, level, and square but with the lens lower the framing can be from toes to hair with little wasted film. Shift works the same just sideways.

    Front tilt and swing manipulates the "plane of sharp focus". For the face of a building you simply square up like was described above for the back, that church steeple or a standing portrait can then easily be focused to be sharp top to bottom without stopping down to f/64. If the subject is a ridge that crosses your composition at a diagonal you can swing the plane of sharp focus to match, schliemflug works in both horizontal and vertical.

    Generally the biggest limit to these movements is the image circle the lens projects.
    Mark Barendt, Beaverton, OR

    "We do not see things the way they are. We see things the way we are." Anaïs Nin

  4. #14
    Kevin Kehler's Avatar
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    I am using a Manfrotto 3-way head so it is very easy to adjust and generally speaking, while the bubble levels in the head are fairly accurate, I don't rely on them. I was more uncertain if I should trust a spirit level resting on the camera or image projected on the ground glass.

    David, I also never considered whether the ground glass is straight when it was installed - something for me to check tonight.

    Clive, I agree the aesthetic is more important than the technical but flaws in technique detract from the aesthetic. I know when I have a good image, I want to make sure I am capturing the image as I see it so I don't have more work than necessary in the darkroom.

    Really enjoying this discussion. Thanks all!
    Once a photographer is convinced that the camera can lie and that, strictly speaking, the vast majority of photographs are "camera lies," inasmuch as they tell only part of a story or tell it in a distorted form, half the battle is won. Once he has conceded that photography is not a "naturalistic" medium of rendition and that striving for "naturalism" in a photograph is futile, he can turn his attention to using a camera to make more effective pictures.

    Andreas Feininger

  5. #15
    markbarendt's Avatar
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    Glad I could help.
    Mark Barendt, Beaverton, OR

    "We do not see things the way they are. We see things the way we are." Anaïs Nin

  6. #16

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    Convergence

    Quote Originally Posted by cliveh View Post
    Levelling a field camera - I don’t understand this concept, as surely image making is not about levelling. The photographer decides on the composition, which may mean putting the horizon or whatever, horizontal, or at an angle. The eye determines this, not a spirit level. How can you let science dictate the aesthetic?
    When photographing a conventional building, with vertical parallel lines, it is a convention of Western art (see Caneletto for superb paintings that show this) that the vertical lines not converge. This is why one makes the film plane/ground glass vertical/plumb. What is most annoying is a slight convergence, which looks careless. Strong convergence can be used to exaggerate height, e.g., shooting a tall building wall lying on the ground, for effect. Convergence of horizontal lines indicates perspective (strong or weak).

  7. #17
    Kevin Kehler's Avatar
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    Now that I am at home, playing with the back and the ground glass, there is about 1-2mm of play on both horizontal and vertical positions. So, when the back is put on the camera, the ground glass moves which could account for my difference. However, I will need to try it out before I can "close the file".

    Mark, you need to copyright your response, it is one of the better explanations of camera movements I have read. I haven't adequately learned camera movements yet, partially due to not using the camera enough but also because I am not really sure what I am doing.

    Another quick question, my camera has rear swing but not front swing. If I wanted to shift a diagonal plane-of-focus from far away left to close to the camera right, I would swing the rear standard right-closer-to-lens-board and left-farther-from-lens-board to use schliemflug to create my plane of focus. However, haven't I now altered the shape of the image and would perhaps be better off stopping down? I realize aesthetic considerations triumph and it wouldn't matter much in an irregular shape (like tree roots) but thought I would ask. What I really need to do is shoot paper negatives, so I can practice and not feel bad about wasting film.
    Once a photographer is convinced that the camera can lie and that, strictly speaking, the vast majority of photographs are "camera lies," inasmuch as they tell only part of a story or tell it in a distorted form, half the battle is won. Once he has conceded that photography is not a "naturalistic" medium of rendition and that striving for "naturalism" in a photograph is futile, he can turn his attention to using a camera to make more effective pictures.

    Andreas Feininger

  8. #18
    markbarendt's Avatar
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    Thanks again Andreas.

    Ok on to your question.

    Yes you can swing the plane of focus with the rear standard, yes you alter the shape and geometric relationships in the composition, and yes for many subjects it doesn't matter.

    Personally I try to think of scheimflug as a tool to control what's in focus, not necessarily a tool to get everything into focus.

    Shifting requires that lens and film remain parallel, if your camera can do rise and fall, you could turn those movements into shift by tilting the camera 90 degrees. The lens and film don't care but that may not be practical.

    By all means get out and practice.
    Mark Barendt, Beaverton, OR

    "We do not see things the way they are. We see things the way we are." Anaïs Nin

  9. #19
    Leigh B's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by markbarendt View Post
    By all means get out and practice.
    Absolutely. Experience is the best teacher.

    View camera movements are a rather unique subject. Even basic movements require insight and understanding.

    Complex and combined movements can be very involved, and can achieve some wonderful effects.

    Do it and learn. Take one movement at a time; learn it and understand it, then move on to the next.

    - Leigh
    “Wise men talk because they have something to say; fools, because they have to say something.” - Plato

  10. #20
    Diapositivo's Avatar
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    In my experience, using small format, levelling the camera with bubble levels of the kind which are commonly used in photography, i.e. with a small base, there easily is a mistake up to 0.2° or 0.3°. That might not be noticeable with most subjects, but it is with certain architectural subjects and, in general, it is if you draw rulers on the image.

    I think one should first level the camera (or both the tripod and the camera if more than one picture is to be taken with a different angle) and after that, if the subject has a certainly vertical line which can be used as a reference against a ruler, fine-tune the levelling.

    Finding a suitable vertical line in the frame is not so easy though. Lamp posts are very unreliable, just like any pole in general. Outer edges of old buildings are also unreliable as they might have some scarp, albeit small. In Paris I saw innumerable XVIII century buildings with a very pronounced scarp and windows following it, so that basically there is no element on the façade to be relied upon. Water drains are also not necessarily very vertical.

    Fabrizio

    PS It goes without saying that while using small format the vertical line to be taken as measure is to be on the exact centre of the frame.
    Fabrizio Ruggeri fine art photography site: http://fabrizio-ruggeri.artistwebsites.com
    Stock images at Imagebroker: http://www.imagebroker.com/#/search/ib_fbr

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