4 X 5: So Little Time, So Much Practice Needed

Still Having to Crop

Not much to say here, except stating the obvious; I need practice with the 4 x 5.

I need to shoot enough with it so that its use becomes second nature.  Practice setting it up quickly.  Practice calculating – in seconds – the correct exposure when the bellows is extended beyond infinity. Practice the sequence of focus, load the film, close the lens, set the lens aperture and time,remove the dark slide, shoot, put the dark slide back, then make sure you don’t do a double exposure on the same film. (Although my accidental double image of Lilli – see a previous blog – was a wonderful accident.)

The above does not even include loading film dust-free in the darkroom without scratching it and developing it without scratching it.

When all of the above is second nature, then I can concentrate completely on the human subjects in front of the lens.  At my present 4 x 5 skill level, I easily make mistakes if I am too engaged with the subject.

I’m lucky to have a patient granddaughter.  Rainna is closing in on 15, and she’s been my “model” since she was a baby.   She’s patient, and I don’t have to push her to pose.

The advantage of shooting loved ones is I don’t have to worry about failures – no pressure.  And at the very least I get failed images of loved ones.  Along with that, there is the memory of the time frame surrounding the making of the image.  I remember what I was doing and where I was for every photo made in my entire life.

As Rainna was in front of a black door, I cropped the image as an afterthought.  I slapped the wet image up against the spot-lighted Plexiglas in the darkroom. Using two L-shaped pieces of mat board, I played with the image, and below is what I came up with.

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