Wind! : LUSENET : Large format photography : One Thread

I am suffering from wind! NO, not that kind of wind - gale-force wind!

Any advice on how to cope? My darkcloth (and me) very nearly flew away.

Thanks and good wishes.........

-- Stephen Vaughan (, February 22, 2002


Get a Brightscreen or Beattie intenscreen and do away with the dark cloth... just a thought that works for me.

-- Scott Walton (, February 22, 2002.

Use an umprella sideways to block the wind and time of exposure.

-- Andy Biggs (, February 22, 2002.

High winds are a problem here in Colorado. Very sturdy tripods are a necessity. I am reminded what Ansel Adams told me over dinner in Honolulu, in 1956....on the subject of tripods. He said the ideal tripod..."is a cubic yard of concrete with a 1/4" X #20 bolt sticking out of the top". With regard to setting up an umbrella to shield the winds, I am reminded that you might want to have an assistant hold on to it.... as he yells,..."Toto..this must be Kansas"! (:-)

-- Richard Boulware (, February 22, 2002.


How does an umbrella block time of exposure?

-- Jeffrey Scott (, February 22, 2002.

Ha ha ha. It blocks the wind! Won't help you with length of exposure. Maybe a larger aperture will! he he he.

Seriously, my umbrella is a necessity here in the San Francisco bay area. Wind wind wind. My umbrella blocks the wind at the time of exposure, so my bellows doesn't get a chance to act like a sail. And to keep my tripod on the ground, I have been using a Gitzo 1228 with a center column. Not the greatest, but i bought it for my 35mm gear a while back. Saving for a Ries. Anyway, I hang my backpack or Domke satchel on the hook on the column to keep it anchored.

Hope this helps.

-- Andy Biggs (, February 22, 2002.

At the moment of writing this, the wind outside in the night is yawling with some forty knots and the snow is flying horizontal. The forecast predicts that same weather continues. Despite this, I'm not gonna leave my 8x10 at home tomorrow. I have a van car with a slide door, and I'm making a lot of my photography from inside this car. When I want to take a picture, I mark the place exactly, and try to get the car in the right position so I can have the camera used from inside. May sound funny, but in many, many cases this works surprisingly well. More than half of all pictures on my pages in are taken from inside a car. And I'm sure you can't tell which one these are. And of course, this works well in rainy or very cold weather too. But you have to enjoy merely urban scenes, though I've been doing this in the tundra and the windy shores around the Northern Ice Sea. Jan

-- Jan (, February 22, 2002.

Jan, do you have some sort of stabilizing struts on your van that can be extended into contact with the ground (like those found on lifting cranes) to keep it from rocking in the wind?

-- Sal Santamaura (, February 22, 2002.

Sometimes in heavy weather, I have to stabilize the car with knocking a piece of timber under the lee side. Mostly I'm having one of the tripod legs outside the car, this gives more spatial room for composition.

-- Jan (, February 22, 2002.

I also try to dispense with the dark cloth in high winds. Composing carefully before you set up will help, then you don't have to see everything on the gg, just enough to focus accurately and make sure you have the edges in the right place. a loupe with a black barrel blocks a lot of light too, obviating the need for the focusing cloth to some extent. To hold my (lightweight) tripod down in the field I carry one of these nylon backpackers buckets. It's basically a waterproof 2-gallon nylon bag with handles. This weighs only an ounce, but I can fill it with rocks, sand, snow or whatever and hang it on the tripod for extra stability. My film holder bag hangs on the tripod as a matter of course. I haven't tried the umbrella bit, but I do use my body and jacket spread wide to shield the camera at time of exposure. It works pretty well, especially if you can set up low. The other side of wind is the subject movement it causes. I do a lot of waiting for that 1/4 second of still. Sometimes, a multiple exposure of faster speeds during the rare still periods works, i.e. three or four 2-second exposures to get the 6-8 seconds you need, taken over a longer period but when the wind dies down momentarily. Adjusting plane of focus carefully helps keep the shutter speeds up. Sometimes you just have to open up/change to a wider lens/back off to get a usable shutter speed. Sometimes you just have to walk away. Regards, ;^D)

-- Doremus Scudder (, February 22, 2002.

Umbrellas? ha! Two umbrellas that I have bought opened up and bent their struts back at gusts of wind. One of these is a rather heavy umbrella with special additional struts to prevent it from doing just that. Does any one know of an umbrella brand that is small and portable that can withstand gusts of wind? In my experience, umbrellas help when the wind is no more than a breeze. Shooting from inside Vans? Oh yeah? is every good viewpoint accessible from a car legally and safely parked? Let's face it, when the wind is strong enough to make a kite from a camera it is time for 35mm loaded with fast film, not for LF photography!

-- Julio Fernandez (, February 23, 2002.

Keep the camera as low as possible and be prepared to wait a loooong time for a lull. As well as increasing the stability of the pod, the strength of the wind can drop off dramatically when you're nearer the deck.

I'm reminded of an interview with Japanese film-maker Akira Kurosawa I heard year's ago. A propos the spectacular battle scene in his film "Ran", the rather naive young interviewer was asking (at great length) whether the choice of very low camera position had been a deliberate ploy to maximise the dramatic tension and increase the sense of immediacy. After thinking for a moment, Kurosawa smiled and answered "well, no not really, it was just very windy that day and the tripods were blowing about too much..."

Oh and ditch the dark cloth - I took one on my last trip to the middle east and after a few days of looking like a prat under this ridiculous sail, I threw the cloth away and stuck to using the folding hood on my wista. Even in the desert sun, I found it was OK

-- Stuart Whatling (, February 23, 2002.

FWIW - I have an old circus tent that I bought at auction, (i literally stole it for $850.00US)and although it has a cracked centerpole,and a few missing rebar pegs, and degraded hauser ropes, it is quite effective for wind control when the large format bug bites! I have found that by erecting the tent with the main entrance facing my subject matter, I install the plank flooring with the "cracks" perpedicular to my plane of focus. I simply position the tripod spikes in the appropriate floor cracks (for maximum rigidity), and lash the main entrance flap to the extended joists of the flooring. Now, mine has a hole in the canvas at an optimal height to protrude the front element,(secure with gaffer tape) however you could always cut your own hole if none was there (ouch! my tent!) Anyway, I have found on numerous occasions that this arrangement cuts down a significant amount of wind, and any remaining elements could easily be controlled with a large wind-break constructed outside, out of the image area, of course. On one ocasion, I painted the 30X35 foot windbreak 2 coats silver roofseal, and presto! instant reflector.

I simply meter my scene normaly, capture the moment, and the move on to my next exposure, proud as a peacock with my climatic victory. That guy with the van door open_ what a kook!

-- Davo (, March 03, 2002.

Moderation questions? read the FAQ