This has been sitting for the summer, but as we start traveling once again for 3 months of road touring, I decided it was worth posting. It’s my very first 4×5 exposure. Well, not including the accidental frame I ruined because I forgot to shut the lens. 4×5 film is something I’ve spent 2011 falling in love with. This frame is imperfect, but I wanted to share because I never want to forget the feeling it gave me. A sense of wonder at the sheer simple function, yet inspiring complexity and quality of the large format medium. It’s an operation that by it’s very nature forces one to slow down, to think and to visualize.
I stood right on the shore of Lake Isabella, almost at the water line at sunset on this early Spring day in 2011. It’s actually the very one I talked about on the drive back, during this Episode of the Photo Couch podcast. It’s was a calm relaxing sunset on the edge is this beautiful lake and it felt good. Once the sun had faded I packed up and drove to the other end of the lake where we had camped the trailer on the shore. Where kids and my beautiful wife were waiting with a hot spaghetti dinner.
Linhof Technicha IV. Symmar lens @135mm? Delta 100 4×5. Exposure unknown.
This was before I had collected the proper filters for black and white, took proper notes, or even knew what every control on a large format camera did. It’s a flawed image in many ways. Though a bit of processing on the scan with my PW3 Presets and some manual tweaks, brought out the character pretty well, for negative that was poorly developed from a reputable lab. It was dirty, scratched and not exposed the best. But here it is in all it’s glory. After the LR work, I did a bit of gentle Burn and Dodge to bring out the light a bit better.
But while this may never be a vast wall print, I enjoy the image and I’ll always remember it as that first 4×5. I’ll be glad that it was actually not that bad. It serves to remind me that imperfection is human, but that the more I slow down, analyze and refine my craft the beautiful and complicated my images can become.