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Thread: High altitude confusion vs. compositioning

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    Senior Member Lars's Avatar
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    High altitude confusion vs. compositioning

    Whenever I'm at high altitude I am running into serious trouble WRT composition and framing. While everything looks good up there, evaluating my captures afterwards has more than once been a disappointment.

    Most recently at Patriach Grove in the White mountains (about 3,600 m), I shot some Bristlecone Pines on 8x10 slide film. Needless to say, with that format every exposure has to count. I exposed six sheets, I think only one was interesting.

    Further back... in northern Chile a few years ago I once went to the caldera of Sairecabur at 5,530 m, but at least I was acclimatized then. Still, the images were flat and uninteresting.

    Anybody else have the same experience?

    Lars

    Below: The subjectively good one... Cooke XVa wide open at 24" (front element) on old stock Velvia RVP.
    Last edited by Lars; 16th January 2012 at 20:29.
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    Re: High altitude confusion vs. compositioning

    Old thread, found it in a search for XVa. Gorgeous shot, tones, contrast, colour. Interesting framing too. Only the shadow in the bottom left disturbs me a little.

    How do you find the XVa to work with, and the results?
    Carsten - Website

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    Senior Member Lars's Avatar
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    Re: High altitude confusion vs. compositioning

    Hi Carsten,
    Yeah the bottom left shadow is from the camera, there was no way to avoid it as the sun was dropping fast. I planned to crop it out, what you see above is the uncropped film.

    About the Cooke XVa, let's see... all brass, quite heavy. Almost a kilo with shutter. Next thing to notice is the multicoating, sometimes I wonder if the glass elements fell out, there's so little reflections.

    As you can see from the photo above there is some falloff wide open which goes away stopped down a bit. Resolving power and microcontrast is good enough for my drumscanner at 2000 ppi - 320 megapixels. My Apo-Ronar 480 that I sold to Jack a few years ago was even sharper (that's the sharpest lens I ever used. Almost matched my 35mm Nikon slides under a loupe, with a 400 mm image circle). Overall image contrast is moderate - more like Rodenstock than Schneider. Bokeh is neutral - solid round background highlights wide open. Color rendering seems neutral, as far as I can tell. (Doesn't matter so much in landscape work compared to repro and product shooting.)

    Using the lens in the field takes some getting used to - juggling lens elements, and remembering to set the correct aperture scale. Once past that, it's like any other LF lens.
    Last edited by Lars; 3rd March 2010 at 11:15.
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    Re: High altitude confusion vs. compositioning

    From your description, I get the feeling that the lens is competent, and you like it, but aren't in love with it. Is that accurate?
    Carsten - Website

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    Senior Member Lars's Avatar
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    Re: High altitude confusion vs. compositioning

    I don't fall in love with equipment. It's all tools. You buy them, use them, replace them when they are worn out.

    That said, the XVa is an exception. I believe the XVa might be one of the finest large format lenses you can buy, along with the Cooke 945 portrait lens.
    Monochrome: http://mochro.com

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