Dan Winters on Portrait Photography

Interesting video, from FLYP Media via YouTube, of one of my favorite photographers. A film shooter, no less. And 4×5 even. (If you’re not seeing the videos in my home-page feed, click on the Read Full Article link to view.)

Thanks to David Hobby over at Strobist for highlighting this video today. FLYP looks like it’s well worth your time. I’ve subscribed. ‘Cause I don’t spend enough time online already.

One more, in case you haven’t had enough:

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Large Format film-to-digital: it’s the workflow, stupid

Since my last intensive photographic phase began five years ago—I have been shooting for the better part of four decades, around the ebb and flow of life’s lesser distractions—I have worked mostly on medium-format film with a collection of camera systems, along with a smattering of 35mm and medium-format digital gear. During this time, however I’ve acquired the image (I refuse to “capture” images—one captures fugitives; one makes photographs), my output has been digital prints made on a succession of ever-more-capable inkjet printers.

This means that for images shot on film, there are extra steps involved: processing, which I do in an automated Jobo processor; and scanning, to render an analog film image as a digital file that can be corrected and printed, just like those straight from a digital camera. I have been quite happy, both technically and aesthetically, with the results I’ve enjoyed via this hybrid workflow. Naturally, then, it’s time to throw a wrench into the machinery.

After a hiatus of nearly twenty years, I decided last fall to dust off my old Sinar F 4×5 and see if I still knew how to use it. I think the initial inspiration for this impulse was revisiting, for the umpteenth time, Avedon’s In The American West. I marveled once again at his stunning portraiture, with the tonal richness that can be delivered only by large-format cameras like the 8×10 Deardorff he schlepped around for years to complete that project. Continue reading

Chamonix 4×5 view camera en route soon–I hope

For some 20-odd years I’ve been hauling around an old but serviceable Sinar F 4×5 view camera, complete with extension rail, groundglass, two bellows, and three lenses in Sinar boards. It has followed me through eight homes in four states (you gotta move a lot in Witness Protection), and endured the waxing and waning of my large-format attentions. I always liked it, but I never really loved it. A monorail view camera is a fabulous photographic instrument, but is rather a pain to carry with you. It should probably live only in a studio, or within twenty yards of a vehicle.

On the strength of numerous glowing online reviews I have ordered a Chamonix 4×5 folding field camera. This is a Chinese-made 4×5″ field camera that should be much easier to transport to, and use on, location. It’s made of dark walnut/carbon-fiber composite and has a “bed” (the bottom that holds it all together) of carbon fiber composite material, which lends the camera its strength and rigidity, and its light weight. And a bonus: like all view cameras, it is pretty much “modular”. I can remount my 3 large-format lenses and their shutters (getting CLA’ed by SK Grimes) in Chamonix (Linhof-style) lens boards and they are good to go. Very handy, for while the camera is fairly inexpensive, the lenses and shutters are not. There is even an adapter available that will allow me to mount the Chamonix lens boards with their lenses into the Sinar front standards—if I were keeping the Sinar.

I shoot a lot of portraiture, and I have been wanting to do more of it in large format. I don’t need the extensive movements afforded by a monorail view camera; a smaller, less cumbersome camera is more a priority.

The Chamonix should be here by mid-February. In the meantime, the Sinar is for sale. If you’re interested, give me a shout.