Going Larger

"The best camera is the one that you have with you." Don't know who said it but I like it a lot. Hence I always carry my best camera. So I did this past weekend when I went to Geneva to see Ota and his lovely family. The side purpose was to test my new Linhof Techno kit that I put together after struggling two months. Yes, even in today's internet times (or perhaps because of them) I had troubles to learn what bits and pieces of equipment I need to make the Techno work. And I'm yet to be delivered with cables to connect it to my Phase One. For some time already, I wished to go larger (6x9 or better 6x8) to open up fresh horizons by using the potential of controlling the perspective via moving standards. I take this as an entry ticket to a completely different world. A world that is bigger, slower and more intimate and detailed than everything I tried so far. From what I was doing with my camera for the past few years, I found out that I liked the process somewhat more than a result. I had a feeling I could not do anything else than move to this format to significantly increase the joy from a process.

Camera: Linhof Techno 6x9, Lens: Schneider Apo Digitar XL 5.6/47mm, Film: Fuji Velvia 50, Exposure Time: 1/2s, Aperture: f/11, Filters: Singh-Ray Warming Polarizer, Lee Graduated ND 0.45

I had to leave the digital home to wait for cables (that I regretted later because the learning curve could have been less steep should I have the back with me to see attempts instantly but this is a story for some of the future posts :-)) and packed few expired Velvias that seemed suitable for testing. Ota showed me one of his favorite places at Geneva Lake that was surprisingly close to the inhabited area yet seemed remote enough for landscape shooting. The early morning light was definitely far from spectacular but I was not too concerned this time. The sky looked interesting enough.

Diving into the dark cloth was frustrating and amazing at the same time. In a matter of second, it brought me miles away from any reality for long minutes. The darkness and completely inverted image viewed on the ground glass triggered my flight to a different planet where time and space plays no role. I caught myself couple of times waiting much longer than needed with returning back. I was done with composing and focusing and still staring fascinated at the glass. Frustration came out of not having the exactly right gear (dark cloth and loupe) that would help getting my focus right but this is now solved. The image shown here is one of the few I took this morning taking an advantage of a simple yet strong subject combined with what I thought was quite powerful angry sky. The overcast weather added a bit of dark-side mood and interesting color cast, slightly modified off being too bluish by the use of warming polarizer.

This is all just the beginning of an exciting journey for me. Despite having been equipped with some theory from Mr Dykinga's excellent book (Large Format Nature Photography) and from the web, I now know it will take years to master the technique of the large format if at all I will get there. But I can't wait to experience more with this set up, much more!