I Love 4×5


It’s a beautiful day out here. The sun is playing with the clouds. Bob Dylan’s “New Morning” is playing in my mind, and I’m at Alpine Lake trying to take semi-macro shots of the grasses playing with the reflections and ripples of the lake. And what am I using to capture these difficult-to-compose images? A 4×5 view camera. How inefficient, and what fun. When shooting macros, you usually want a telephoto lens to get close to your subject matter. The longest lens I have is 300mm, which is equivalent to a 90mm on full frame digital. I look over the lake and see lots of possibilities but most of them are too far away. A digital SLR with a 70-200mm zoom would be a smarter solution than what I’m using. I don’t care. Maybe one day I’ll be able to afford a 450mm lens, but I’m having so much fun. So what if I can’t get that shot. So what if I don’t get anything this morning. It’s so beautiful out here and so good to be alive.

A view camera consists of a front standard with a lens mounted on it, a bellows and a rear standard that you focus on and then put in your film in to make an exposure. With the exception of lighter-weight materials and better lenses, the technology hasn’t changed in 150 years. You open the shutter of your lens and open the diaphragm to focus. You move the front and rear standard to get everything that you want to be in focus, in focus. Then you close your shutter, stop down your lens and put in film and make your exposure.

I put in a film holder, remove the dark slide, take a light meter reading and attempt to make an exposure. But the shutter doesn’t seem to work. Oops, I left the shutter open. That means a wasted sheet of film. I need to be more quiet and focus more on what I’m doing. With 4×5, you’re working without a net. You have no LCD or histogram to let you know that you’ve done things right. You must be quiet and focused or you’ll leave something out.

One can put a DSLR camera viewfinder up to one’s eye and then zoom in and out to make compositions. With 4×5, I need to look at my subject and imagine certain compositions. Then I have to work with a camera with fixed focal length lenses to try to realize those compositions.

I’m looking at the wind playing with the grasses trying to see if there’s a photograph there and … Oh, it’s so beautiful out here I can just get lost watching the grasses sway.

I’m not a technophobe. I hope to have my first iPhone program submitted to Apple’s App store this month. But I have no waiting calendars or books that need images. No stock agency to supply. So, I’m happy to just be out in nature and hopefully I’ll get lucky and produce a nice photograph.

The above image was taken at Alpine Lake a couple of years ago. Hopefully I’ve gotten another to go with it.

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~ by danbaumbach on June 6, 2009.

3 Responses to “I Love 4×5”

  1. […] I have no waiting calendars or books that need images . See the original post here:  I Love 4×5 « Dan Baumbach Photography This entry was written by Julianna, posted on June 6, 2009 at 11:18 am, filed under general and […]

  2. Sounds like an enjoyable morning no pressure just endless photographic opportunities.

  3. Hi dan I hate it when i forget to close the apeture first on mine too 4×5 is awsome I think we all make that miske ever once in a while and like the way you make light of it you have incredible works. I hope to have my site with even half as many awsome works as you have. Bill

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