Tag Archive: photography

(Camera) Format Wars

One of the most popular and perhaps famous camera formats out there is 6×17. This is medium format film, which is 6cm tall that is shot in a really wide camera and a big lens, producing a 17cm wide image. Nor surprisingly, it’s very panoramic in appearance. Many famous photographers have used cameras that shoot specifically in this format. Thomas Mangelsen, whose photos adorn our walls at our apartment, is the first that comes to mind.

Most of these cameras come in at a minimum of $1500. And that’s for a chinese company (Fotoman) – the “name brands” are thousands more.

I wonder if there is something about shooting a camera that is a particular format that makes one compose differently.  Would I compose a specific way, looking through a viewfinder on a 6×17 camera than if I were looking through one with a much bigger frame and trying to imagine cropping?

Recently, I found a homemade 6×17 camera that looks very intriguing.

credit the guy who made this - image basically taken off ebay

In case you read this after the ebay link goes away, essentially it’s a 6×6 camera (common format) that has been cut in half and expanded, an enlarger bellows (the expanding part which allows the lens to move back and forth for focusing) and a large format lens.  It’s a real frankenstein’s monster of a camera, to say the least. And as of right now it’s a “steal” at $400 compared to those other ones, and the examples the seller gives indicates this camera can do some nice stuff.

Now comes the dilemma.

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Review: Death Valley Nocturnes Workshop, November 2008

In November 2008, a little over a month ago, I attended a workshop held by The Nocturnes, a group of photographers that specialize essentially in night-time photography.  They generally go without any or very little truck by moonlightartificial light such as street lights, cars, etc, though a Nocturne will use flashlights and other tools to add to an image in some cases.  There are lots of examples of ultra-long exposure shots (4 hours is the longest I’ve seen, 1 hour is the longest I’ve done).  They have a flickr group as well, and a pretty useful discussion forum.  Nocturnes tend to be pretty intense – many shoot only this type of photography, and they have developed calculators for correcting for these long exposures, etc.  Many shoot enough to just know how long to expose for, just based on experience.

The workshop I attended was from November 8-10, when the moon was getting to full (76% when we arrived, 92% when we finished).  We were at the Furnace Creek Ranch, one of only two real places to stay in Death Valley, the whole time, they though we worked several locations, including the Furnace Creek Inn, Zabriskie Point, Badwater Basin, andthe abandoned town of Rhyolite just over the border in Nevada in addition to the ranch itself. The workshop was led by Tim Baskerville, a Nocturne veteran (one of the first) and a great guy.

Overall, I give this workshop an experience a very positive score.  It was a small group – 6 of us – and we shared some good tips and comraderie.  Not as much as I would hope among all 6, but, in addition to the one good friend and one acquaintance I already knew, I can think of at least one other person with whom I spoke and interacted quite a bit.  So that’s not bad.  And I did get a lot out of it.  Working with the light, understanding how working in just moonlight vs. a mixed lighting situation vs. daylight was very different, and I became more comfortable with the uncertainty of this type of photography.  But also the wonders of the results.

The full flickr set of my photos is online.  I will admit that I messed up a lot of the color exposures, though the black and white turned out better.

Read on for more comments

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One blog to rule them all

And by “them” I mean me and the few lucky people that read this regularly :-).

The tagline for this blog, my general, is “Why have 10 blogs on specific topics when you can have just 1 with all kinds of random topics?”  Well, I do still have one separate blog – my photoblog.  I have this separate because sometimes I get a bit technical in those posts, and because I thought some people would take just that feed, of just my photos.

However, with the WordPress 2.5.x>2.6.x upgrade fiasco that ran across the board, where I lost all of my posts on all of my blogs (I run a few others as content management systems for sites), I figure I should just merge the two.  So all of my wonderful photo posts will be here, too :-).

Get ready, world!