Capturing Santa with LF : LUSENET : Large format photography : One Thread

For many years I have been trying to capture the "Jolly Old Fellow" and have, as yet, been unsuccessful... seems I always fall asleep too early, and he arrives during my deep slumber! But this year I WILL manage to stay awake and capture him with my 8x10, and I need a little advice so that I don't blow the opportunity.

Has anyone else been able to capture this gentleman on film yet? If you did could you give me some advice on what camera-lens combo, film type, aperture-speed combo, processing details, and printing information, would assure me of excellent results?

As always, any and all advice from the great bunch participating in this forum is welcomed, and best Holiday wishes to you all. Now all I need to do is catch a short nap before I get the camera ready... Hmmm

-- Dave Richhart (, December 24, 2000


While I haven't gotten Santa on film with LF yet, I have gotten some interesting video footage of the elusive man. Last year, I implanted a small but powerful video camera, cleverly disguised as a chocolate chip, into a cookie I left for him. Before he ate the cookie, I got some good footage of him distributing the gifts around the tree in a fashion one would expect him to. After he ate it, however, I got some even more interesting footage. It seems that year after year of Christmas-related stress has given the man one hell of an ulcer- not a pretty sight! As I type this, I'm in the process of rigging my Nikon F4 (hidden in a large glass of milk) with several infrared triggers placed around the tree and above the plate of cookies. I've got it rigged up with a 250 exp back and everything to be sure my three cat's don't use up all the film by tripping the shutter multiple times before the man arrives. I'm thinking that this should work well. I'm already working on my plan to get Santa on 8x10 next year- it revolves around a very large Christmas tree ornament and possibly some very strong egg nog.

-- Dave Munson (, December 24, 2000.

"cats," not "cat's"

Maybe I need to lay off the egg nog....

-- Dave Munson (, December 24, 2000.

I would suggest a Hobo or a Granview with as many Norman flash units as possible - 45 heads aught to do it. Try to disguise the flash heads as ornaments or drunken relatives. Maybe coat racks.

Make a few tests on Polaroid to make sure you have the exposure right - but wear sunglasses and SPF 83 or so.

Paint the walls of the room white. The floor too. Get one of those hideous artificial aluminum trees - the kind that look like shredded aluminum foil stuck on pipes.

Mount the camera in the corner, at the juncture of two walls and a ceiling and use the new 150 Symmar XL. Affix the camera to a remote which you attach to your home security system. This assumes the fat ol buger hasn't disarmed it in years past.

You may have a few misfires - the dog or a cat or a young-un that can't wait. But with all that flash power, you can bet they'll never get up at night again.

-- T. Grinch (, December 25, 2000.

Merry Christmas all: As for capturing the Jolly Ol' Fellow on LF, I have discovered that since Santa is so much of a traditionalist, only the most traditional cameras and equipment will work. Coated lenses, expecially multicoated lenses, filters out the image as the wave length of the light reflected from Santa is exactly the wave length the lens coating filters cut. Also, metal cameras seem to interfere with the image. Wooden cameras, rapid rectilinear lenses and wooden film holders are a must, preferably loaded with glass plates. Flash powder is also required. I got my best shot so far with this combination last night. Unfortunately, the flash powder went off just as Santa was leaning behind the tree to put a present in place. Examining the still dripping freshly developed glass neg this morning, I believe I can make out the heel of Santa's boot sticking out from behind the tree. Unfortunately, the flash powder set the tree on fire and we are dealing with a bunch of very wet Christmas presents, as the Fire Department was not careful enough when they put out the fire. The flash powder also removed a lot hair from the cat and fried the canary. However, I am most encouraged and believe I am on the right track. I am already planning for next year and plan to purchase a 12 x 20 banquet camera with Super-Extreme-Double-Wide-Most- Amazing 20 mm wide angle lens (uncoated) for the Santa shoot. I will post the results.

Merry Christmas,

-- Doug Paramore (, December 25, 2000.

Maybe a big cargo net rigged with a deadfall? A shark cage dropped from the ceiling?

-- T. Grinch (, December 25, 2000.

I support the idea of using older cameras and lenses. You should also choose your film with great care. I've had good luck with Kringle-Pan 400 developed in egg nog. You can vary the contrast by adding or removing brandy from the mix....the more that goes in you, the lower the contrast. Be aware that this film suffers from skeptic- reciprocity failure, which means that the films sensitivity varies as a Yule log function based on the proximity of unbelievers (and bad little boys and girls). One smirking little kid and you get NOTHING.

Happy Holidays. You're all a bunch of nut-balls (and I'm one, too).

-- Kevin Bourque (, December 25, 2000.

A friend who successfully captured St. Nick on film (though sadly, not processed archivally, and hence now lost) says that the only way to get him on film is by using a camera he brings you...

I'm still waiting for the old boy to deliver my Master Technica with appropriately factory cammed Super-Symmar XL lenses, and a Schneider vacuum back.

-- Mani Sitaraman (, December 25, 2000.

You know, I think I've seen some pictures of the old guy with the beard with an 8x10" Deardorff. I've heard that after the season, he tosses the red suit in the laundry, puts on his wide-brimmed hat, a plaid shirt, long shorts, black socks and sandals, tosses a few boxes of Tri-X in the sleigh, and heads for the Southwest.

-- David Goldfarb (, December 25, 2000.

South west, or South east?

-- Sean yates (, December 25, 2000.

That's him, Sean! In one of his summer casual jobs. Thanks for the laugh with this thread!

-- Paul Schilliger (, December 26, 2000.

That's Bubba Claus, his first cousin from the South Pole.

-- Kevin Bourque (, December 26, 2000.

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