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Thread: LF Workshops

  1. #1
    lilmsmaggie
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    LF Workshops

    I posted this on another forum but no one wanted to respond so, I'll try my luck here:

    IMHO - this is the essence of the process we call learning. It's recursive. It's continous. It's a cycle of maturation. We learn. We become proficient, or we master. We teach others as we learn and in turn are taught by them.

    As a noob, I find it curious that most if not all the workshops I've investigated have as their main focus, printing. I think I understand why.

    The printing process itself is a skill that one has to grasp in order to fulfill one's photographic vision. But why such strong emphasis? All you have to do is look at the threads under the topic of workshops on any large format photography forum. I would think that there should be equal emphasis placed on learning to use the camera as a "tool" first, before indulging oneself in the carbon palladium processes, wet plate collodian and other alternative processess and the like.

    I think I'm about 1/4 into Leslie's Stroebel's book and already I have a headache. There are so many more considerations with large format photography that I don't even think I considered coming from 35mm.

    On the surface, the thought of using a LF camera is very intimidating. Tilts, swings & shifts, rise & falls, scheimpflug, bellows factor -- OUCH! my head is hurting already.

    Can someone explain why there are so few workshops on camera technique and so many devoted to printing?

  2. #2
    Senior Member darr's Avatar
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    Re: LF Workshops

    There are more LF workshops out there, I think you just need a few directions on where to look. Have you tried visiting the Large Format forum? Are you a subscriber to View Camera magazine or can you pick one up at your local bookstore? Try visiting Michael A. Smilth and Paula Chamlee's web site? I will be joining them in Iceland this summer. If you have not tried these leads, please do!

    Using a view camera and reading about using a view camera can be two different experiences! I have been using a 4x5" since the '80s. To me, it is just a box that uses big film. I have used rise and fall, shift, asymmetrical tilts and swings, base tilts, axial tilts, etc. but never all in the same picture and never has my camera ever looked like a pretzel like they show in some educational literature on view cameras. I have one of Stroebel's books, and it is a great source for technical knowledge, but you do not need to know all that stuff to use a large format camera. What you need for learning (IMO), is a basic 4x5", film, tripod, subject and time!
    "Creativity takes courage." ~ Henri Matisse
    Darlene Almeda, photoscapes.com

  3. #3
    lilmsmaggie
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    Re: LF Workshops

    Quote Originally Posted by darr View Post
    Using a view camera and reading about using a view camera can be two different experiences! I have been using a 4x5" since the '80s. To me, it is just a box that uses big film. I have used rise and fall, shift, asymmetrical tilts and swings, base tilts, axial tilts, etc. but never all in the same picture and never has my camera ever looked like a pretzel like they show in some educational literature on view cameras. I have one of Stroebel's books, and it is a great source for technical knowledge, but you do not need to know all that stuff to use a large format camera. What you need for learning (IMO), is a basic 4x5", film, tripod, subject and time!
    Hi Darr,

    Thanks for the chuckle:
    Quote Originally Posted by darr View Post
    but never all in the same picture and never has my camera ever looked like a pretzel like they show in some educational literature on view cameras.


    I have checked out the LFPF and a few others. I don't subscribe to View Camera magazine, but I have been able to pick up issues at Barnes and Noble.

    I haven't checked out Michael Smith and Paula Chamlee. Thanks for the link.

    It's just that most of the workshops including John Sexton's have been focusing on printing lately. I just missed out on a workshop given by Michael A. Gordon here in California

    Actually, there is one coming up in May given by Per Volquartz and Glenn Steiner. I just need to russell-up the ducats and pay for it and figure out how to take the time off from work. But I don't have a camera yet. It's on order.

    I hope you're right about reading about vs. using a LF camera. With the exception of experience and a camera , I pretty much have everything else I need right now to get started.

  4. #4
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    Re: LF Workshops

    Quote Originally Posted by lilmsmaggie View Post
    On the surface, the thought of using a LF camera is very intimidating. Tilts, swings & shifts, rise & falls, scheimpflug, bellows factor -- OUCH! my head is hurting already.
    One step at a time. Start by using the camera the same way you'd use a rigid-bodied camera in a smaller format - forget the movements, just focus. Make a bunch of pictures, get used to it. Then, when you get the hang of it, you can play with rise and fall. Same deal. Then, you can play with front tilt a bit.

    Once you have a feel for those, shift and swing follow naturally.

    FWIW, I've been using view cameras for about 15 years now, mostly for general outdoor scenic snapshooting. I often use front rise/fall, occasionally use a bit of front or rear tilt, rarely use any other movements, never pretzeloid combinations.

    So jump in - the water's fine.

  5. #5
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    Re: LF Workshops

    Quote Originally Posted by darr View Post
    I have used rise and fall, shift, asymmetrical tilts and swings, base tilts, axial tilts, etc. but never all in the same picture and never has my camera ever looked like a pretzel like they show in some educational literature on view cameras.
    It's really location dependent for me with this stuff as I'm now shooting in a downtown urban setting and find I'm using all of the image circle I can muster in a rather creative fashion. Urban architecture really benefits from a large image circle and flexible camera if you don't have a tall ladder, imo.

    The majority of the time, though, I'm like you and and may do a little rise/fall and/or a little front tilt or maybe a bit of front swing, but it's never pretzel land.

  6. #6
    lilmsmaggie
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    Re: LF Workshops

    I've reserved a spot in the May workshop given by Per Volquartz and Glenn Steiner.

    I may have to rent a camera as my Chamonix won't be here by then.

  7. #7
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    Re: LF Workshops

    Hehe, is that dedication or impatience?

    On my end there is definite impatience at play. I have sent both my 90mm and 210mm lenses to the gentleman who is selling me my Linhof Master Technika, to have the infinity stops and focusing cams set up correctly, and to have both lenses mounted on the appropriate Linhof Technika lens boards, a Comfort recessed board in the case of the 90mm, and I am just getting itchy to get my hands on it all, but I am still waiting for my stock plan money to arrive from Charles Schwab... Dang!
    Carsten - Website

  8. #8
    lilmsmaggie
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    Re: LF Workshops

    Quote Originally Posted by carstenw View Post
    Hehe, is that dedication or impatience?
    Probably a little of both.


    Quote Originally Posted by carstenw View Post
    On my end there is definite impatience at play. I have sent both my 90mm and 210mm lenses to the gentleman who is selling me my Linhof Master Technika, to have the infinity stops and focusing cams set up correctly, and to have both lenses mounted on the appropriate Linhof Technika lens boards

    I take it mounting the lenses on lens boards is not a DIY proposition
    I was thinking it was.


    Quote Originally Posted by carstenw View Post
    and I am just getting itchy to get my hands on it all, but I am still waiting for my stock plan money to arrive from Charles Schwab... Dang!
    I can relate. I've been slowly selling off my coin and currency collection to buy my Chamonix, lenses, other LF necessities and pay for the LF workshop in May.

    Last week, Stack's conducted its sale of The Eliasberg and Krause Collections in Baltimore, Maryland in which some of my currency was placed on consignment. I'm waiting for the proceeds of that sale to arrive

  9. #9
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    Re: LF Workshops

    Quote Originally Posted by lilmsmaggie View Post
    I take it mounting the lenses on lens boards is not a DIY proposition
    I was thinking it was.
    Mounting a lens in a modern Copal 0 or 1 on a lensboard is easy, certainly a DIY task for most users.

    With a Technika, you need a qualified technician to carve the cam for the rangefinder. Mounting the lens on the lensboard isn't a problem.

  10. #10
    zzyzx
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    Re: LF Workshops

    Two fit the bill for you.

    Tillman Crane has some excellent workshops. http://www.Tillmancrane.com

    Michael A. Smith and Paula Chamlee has some as well. http://www.michaelandpaula.com

    You will benefit from either and both are run by excellent instructors. With Michael and Paula you will shoot and spend time learning to process film by inspection, a skill that will do well for you for years to come.

    In both you will have benefit of creative professionals at the top of their game.

  11. #11
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    Re: LF Workshops

    There is a work shop that is Devoted to Large Format Cameras and it does include printing and technique. It is run by Richard Ritter(builder and designer of the Zone VI Camera) and Bruce Barlow (former VP or Marketing for Zone VI Studios). Both of these Gentlemen worked for Zone VI studios owned by Fred Picker in Vermont and now hold Large Format Workshops 4 times a year in Vermont.

    Hope this helps!
    ComicDom1
    Proud new owner of a Zone VI Classic LF wooden field camera previously built in Vermont.

  12. #12
    lilmsmaggie
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    Re: LF Workshops

    Just finished a 5-day workshop with Per Volquartz in Pasadena, CA.

    Had a great time!

  13. #13
    olwick
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    Re: LF Workshops

    I can highly recommend Ian Whitehead's workshops too. He's a LF guy based out of Sedona AZ, so his workshops are mainly around the Southwest US (Sedona, Antelope Canyon, Monument Valley, etc).

    He's in a nunber of galleries there and it's alll very high-end work. He's also one of the nicest and most knowledgeable guys you'll meet.

    He concentrates on the "front end" of things. The visualization, composing, etc, and then using the view camera as a tool to accomplish that. He shoots with an Ebony 4x5. If you're just starting and thinking of doing LF, he'll let you use his and guide you through it too. (that's what I did).

    Highly recommended.

    Mark

  14. #14
    lilmsmaggie
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    Re: LF Workshops

    Yes, I've communicated with Ian via email. Our schedules clashed this year. I was in Sedona for a week back in June, but the timing was bad for both of us.

  15. #15
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    Re: LF Workshops

    Michael Gordon is doing a 2-day LF workshop in Eastern Sierra of California in Oct. or Nov.- check his website: http://www.michael-gordon.com/

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