How does Larry Wiese get that beautiful effect? : LUSENET : Large format photography : One Thread

Lenswork has some beautiful pictues by Larry Wiese. Take a look at I can't find a website or an e-mail for him. Does anyone know how he gets that beautiful quality of light in his prints? Thanks in advance

-- Yaakov Asher Sinclair (, September 07, 2001


It seems to me that "Arches and Columns", "Water Works", and "Trees" were shot using a "softar" filter.

-- Victor Randin (, September 07, 2001.

IMHO he's using a diffuser at the printing stage (ie under the enlarger lens) rather than on the camera.

Hence the way the shadows 'bleed' into the highlight areas. An old trick but one that can look gorgeous with the right subject matter and especially with a high-key treatment.

-- Stuart Whatling (, September 07, 2001.

I've only seen a few black and white zone plate images, but they have the same kind of look, to my mind. Is it possible these could be made with a zone plate?

-- Katharine thayer (, September 07, 2001.


Perhaps he uses a Rodenstock Imagon soft focus lens. I used these before during my days in advertising/studio photography and the effect is similar acheived by spreading the highlught outlines into the shadows.


Peter Brown

-- Peter L Brown (, September 07, 2001.

I don't know what Larry does, but you can get similar effects by exposing through the back of the printing paper. Loooong exposure! Or, another diffusion method is to place a piece of frosted glass on top of the paper (emulsion side up this time).

-- Sandy Sorlien (, September 09, 2001.

According to the _Lenswork_ website, there is an interview with him that discusses technique in the current issue. Why not order it or find a library that has it? _Lenswork_ is a really fine publication.

-- David Goldfarb (, September 10, 2001.

David has is right. The current issue of Lenswork has the answer to the posted question. Buy it and read it.

-- Joe Lipka (, September 10, 2001.

Thanks for your comments. One of you got it right. The effect is accomplished in the darkroom. A diffuser is used under the enlarging lens. Using a split printing process, the actual amount of diffusion is relative to the f-stop and the amount of diffused exposure (split) for the "hard" light. In most cases, all of the "soft" light is diffused, although there are some exceptions. The ratios of diffused and undiffused exposure depends on the contrast range of the negative. Negatives for this process perform better when the overall contrast is higher. Hope this was helpful. If I can answer additional questions, don't hesitate to ask.

Thanks again for your interest.

Best regards,


The "hard"light is split into two exposures, one diffused and the other not diffused. For those who may not be familiar with the split printing process; maximum "hard" and "soft" light are used rather than "dialing-in" a paper grade.

-- Larry Wiese (, September 10, 2001.

Larry, one question. I was hesitant to beleive that it was darkroom difussion since the blacks tend to bleed into the light areas, are you difussing only when printing the "soft" light? Your images seem to glow with the whites and I was unable to aprreciate any dark bleed into them. Anyhow it was very nice of you to answer this question, congratulations on your talent!

-- Jorge Gasteazoro (, September 10, 2001.

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