Exercises for begginers?

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Hello, Im new to LF but not to photography. Does anyone have any suggestions as to a set of assignments for starting in LF? I wasted 20 polariods this weekend trying to shoot under difficult lighting. This was frustrating and expensive. I would like to first be able to verify my equipment, then demonstrate the advanced capability of LF. For instance is landscape a better starting point then, say, a close still object? What is the easiest lighting to work with first? Bright natural back light?

I have a 150mm lens on a 4x5, a polaroid and regular back. Thanks!

-- Barry Charles (bcharles@mrclos.com), July 03, 2000


You don't mention a light meter. I'm assuming you have one,but if you don't,you'll need a meter in order to figure out correct exposure. Without a meter you'll be wasting both time and money. Wil

-- Wil Hinds (Ytb@aol.com), July 03, 2000.

Either landscapes or close-ups make good starting points. Close-ups may cause you to factor in bellows extension into your exposure; for simplicity and for ease of getting to know your equipment try a landscape. Direct or diffuse lighting should not make much of a difference. When you put camera on tripod and open it up place all controls at the zero position. Nothing tilted, swung or shifted. Then compose; move tripod some as needed. Then use focus and think as you study the ground glass about the possible movements you might have to make to get what you want or to improve what you see. Move one at a time. Rise, then Shift, etc. Study the groundglass each time to see the effect. If the focus goes south as you tilt or swing then play with the focus as you tilt/swing to see what happens. After using those movements stop the aperture down to see how that improves sharpness. For openers make the changes dramatic so you can easily spot them. Later on you will find that a little movement goes a long way. If you can, focus, meter and polaroid each step in your process. Try Type 54 film--or whatever it is now labeled. Mark each shot on the back to define the movement you made. This can be a slow process but at the end you will have a group of images that you can study. Steve Simmons View Camera text provides lots of examples of using the movements that you could emulate or adapt. He uses alpha blocks and practices movements with them. Hope this helps. BobM

-- Bob Moulton (bobmargaretm@home.com), July 03, 2000.


Some of the view camera instruction books (maybe Simmons or Kodak) have exercises that if you follow along you can learn the camera movements. They are also nice as the accompanyibg images describe what you should be seeing.

Good Luck


-- Kevin Kemner (kkemner@tateandsnyder.com), July 03, 2000.

Hi Barry,

As frustrating as "bad" polopans might be, they are a lot cheaper (and more educational) than using tri-x etc... I was out this weekend too, buring through a box of polopan 100... and learned how sensitive the film is to development time when it is cool.. as in 55F (heh, summer in san francisco). I know it may sound trite, but all the frustration you may be feeling as you learn about exposure ocntrol is, in fact, incredibly valuable learning. No print is a bad print, even if dark and muddy or burned snow white, if you can learn from the process and understand why it happened. Good luck and dont get discouraged...

-- michael carboy (mcarboy@pacbell.net), July 03, 2000.


Just a silly thought but you do know that polaroid acts like slide film, the more you expose it the lighter it gets right? If not slap your head and go buy some more polaroid and try again.

Don't worry it's not something that you should have known.

-- altaf shaikh (bshaikh@nyc.rr.com), July 04, 2000.

Go out and find yourself a copy of "Photo Know-How" by Carl Kock and Jost J. Marchesi. It's kind of like a textbook/workbook in that it contains "assignments" as well as space to put your photographs and observations. It's got some very good information and, though it is heavily biased towards the Sinar system, it is a very useful learing tool. Good luck.

Just a thought...

-- Dave Munson (orthoptera@juno.com), July 04, 2000.


Being new to LF and trying to make a difficult lighting exposure on Polaroid (color) is a depresssing and costly venture. This sounds like exposure problems(asuming you understand that what you see on the Glass is what you will or should get) so the comment about the meter is important and with the film don't forget time and temp. as well. I just started using one of the new 545PRO holders and it helps a lot with the color, as it does all of the developing time adjustments for you. As far as practice I still like buildings with a lot of texture for learning the corrections. And you don't have to make an exposure to practice focus and set up. I was talking to a friend who is new to LF but also a very accomplished 35mm press photographer and he has been photographing his LF camera set up with a 35mm after he makes his exposures and says it helps to remember what he did in the field. You mention that you first want to verify your equipment, I would suggest you try with a simple hight contrast subject, no extreem movements, and simple light. And above all if you must, mortgage everything and don't give up!

-- R. (Mac) McDonald (rmacsteam@aol.com), July 09, 2000.

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