Photographer's Note

After observing the methodical process of setting up a large format camera, I politely asked the photographer if I could capture this interesting type of photography in action.

Additional information on large format photography from Wikipedia:

Large format describes large photographic films, large cameras, view cameras (including pinhole cameras) and processes that use a film or digital sensor, generally 4 x 5 inches or larger.

Most large-format cameras have adjustable fronts and backs that allow the photographer to better control rendering of perspective and depth of field. Architectural and close-up photographers in particular benefit greatly from this ability.

Aside from the focusing action common to all formats, the special movements of many large format technical and view cameras allow the front and/or back of the camera to be tilted out of parallel with each other, and to be shifted up, down, or sideways. Based on the Scheimpflug principle, these movements make it possible to solve otherwise impossible depth-of-field problems, and to change perspective rendering, and create special effects that would be impossible with a conventional fixed-plane camera.

A number of actions need to be taken to use a typical large format camera, resulting in a slower, often more contemplative, photographic style. For example, film loading using sheet film holders requires a dark space to load and unload the film, typically a changing bag or darkroom (although users of the most common formats, 45, may now use ready-loaded pre-packaged films, which are more convenient than regular film holders).

A tripod is typically used for view camera work, but some models are designed for hand-held use. These "technical cameras" have separate viewfinders and rangefinders for faster handling.

In general large format camera use, the scene is composed on the camera's ground glass, and then a film holder is fitted to the camera back prior to exposure. A separate Polaroid back using instant film is used by some photographers, allowing previewing of the composition, correctness of exposure and depth of field before committing the image to film to be developed later. Failure to "Polaroid" an exposure risks discovery later, at the time of film development, that there was an error in camera setup.

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