It's been a little while since I last posted and so time for a little update. As I write this I'm waiting eagerly for a few sheets of Provia 100f I shot last weekend to come back from Peak Imaging. I shot a couple of bluebell images locally and really can't wait to see how Provia renders the colour.
I also thought it may be time to tell you all about a few things I have learnt in the last 4 months or so..............
Firstly, loading and unloading film, one of the stumbling blocks when I was thinking of trying Large Format. Put simply, it's a doddle. I had one instance where I loaded a sheet of Velvia 50 back to front but it still exposed ok......I just had to convert it to monochrome (terrible red cast). Really, if your thinking of trying large format don't let handling film put you off, just get a changing "tent" link mine and away you go. I've already got it down to about 5 minutes to unload 10 sheets.
Film choice. Another thing I was worried about was the choice of film to use and how to meter for it. No worries there either. Low contrast, slide film, high contrast colour neg, job done. Yes slide films (Velvia, Provia etc) have a narrow dynamic range compared to my usual digital setup and you definitely have to take care with your metering but if I can do it anyone can. Colour neg is great, as long as you don't underexpose your shadows the dynamic range is brilliant, very hard to over cook indeed. As for black and white, I've only shot 2 sheets of Ilford Delta 100 so I can't really comment on that really, only that both sheets came out ok.
Setting up the camera. No worries, takes a few minutes that's all, I have been playing around with tilt and swing a little of late and although it's still a learning curve it's caused me no dramas at all. The composition is still a little odd when viewed upside down but not at all off putting, just different. What is really different though is my whole outlook when shooting. While I used to go out and shoot 15 or more compositions in a day, I am now chuffed if I accomplish 2.
How it makes me feel. Well.......this is the most important question of all really. I love it. Really. So much so that my digital setup has been put away in the bottom of the wardrobe.............for now. I say for now as I know that large format will not completely replace my digital photography but as I want to really master this form of photography, I'm finding that the XT-1 is getting in the way. It was tempting to shoot 5x4 at the start of a day and finish off with digital when my film was used. I am determined to slow the whole process down even more....to the extent that I have had 2 recent trips where I've shot nothing at all. If the picture isn't there, why force it?
So that's it really, at last I've settled in to large format and I have found what I've felt has been missing this last year or so. I realise that shooting this medium is not better than digital, just different. It's also not for everyone but if you've enjoyed following my journey so far and are hankering after trying it......why not give it a go? You may not like it, but you can always resell the kit for pretty much what you paid for it anyhow and if you don't try it you'll never know. All those hurdles I put in front of myself when thinking of it just seemed to fall away one by one.
I'll leave you with a few pictures from my last productive trip just to show what a numpty like me can achieve................