I had not used my Razzle (Polaroid 5x4 conversion) in some time and decided to take it with me this morning to meet up with fellow WECC members Nick, Rocky, Jeremy & Hannah. If you're not aware, conversions of various Polaroid Land cameras are a great way of making the process of shooting with 5x4 a pleasing and very simple thing. I had my Polaroid converted by the late Dean (Razzle) of Melbourne a few years ago. You can read all about that here.
I had two dark-slides with me which had been sitting in my Crumpler Mild Enthusiast* (old version) for God knows how long. So when I shot through both slides I had absolutely no idea if there was even film in them until I got back to WECC headquarters. Luckily 15 minutes later with my dark bag, Paterson Tank and Mod54 (video available here) and yes we have film and the negatives are ready, one at least.
Rocky grabbed the negative and placed a white peace of paper behind it and held it up to the sun. Using my D600 and Macro 85mm lens he did a quick DIY copy job of the negative which Nick took into Lightroom for some basic post processing.
The first thing I noticed was that I had missed focus. Large format cameras and low apertures are terrible. You really need to close down if you're attempting to hand hold or better yet, use a mono-pod or tripod. I was hand-holding as I feel that is the point of the Razzle Polaroid conversion. What I should have done was pushed the film a couple of stops (400) and closed the aperture down to say f/11 to ensure a better focus. Anyway I screwed up, but for this post it is fine.
Nick grabbed the SD card from the Nikon and opened up Lightroom on his MacBook. Above is the results, from left to right, the negative, basic inversion and adjustments and the final image with a little more contrast to live up the tonal range.
What can I say? Awesome. For all you pixel peeping people, stop what you're doing and shoot some large format film. Now, getting a really great scan is another story.
So this time we thought we should show a quick way of using some light sources which are easily found. Combine that with a reflector and you are ready to go. We started by placing Hannah sitting away from the natural light source- good way of getting some hair light. We had a fluorescent strip light at my work so we decided to use that as our main source for the pic. Throw in a relector on the floor or get the model to hold it. You should be able to bounce some of the light from outside and the fluorescent back onto the shadow side of your subject.
I need to say that I did a lousy job of bouncing the light. Although Hannah looks great I have a funny harsh shadow on the camera right side of her face. If I was paying attention and not rushing I should have picked this up. Simple to fix by getting hannah to move position slightly.
I decided to just use the Leica Q set to 50mm. This crops in on the sensor to give me a 50mm f/1.7 equivalent focal length. Shooting RAW of course (you still have the whole frame which the prime 28 has to offer).
For post production, I have a very quick and uninspiring noob workflow. Basically I do the following...
- Basic adjustments (white balance, blacks/whites, clarity, vibrancy) Lens correction, level the image, then saved as a TIFF.
- Photoshop, clean up the image, sculpt (maybe) skin, eyes saved as a TIFF.
- Into Exposure 7 I simply add the Kodak Portra 400 preset.
- Back into Lightroom exported out as WEB LARGE or Photoscape saved as a jpg.
Above is the gradual changes of my four simple stage Post Production process. Below is a bigger example of the end result...
So there you have it. A back-to-basics way to use whatever light source you may have available for a quick and easy portrait.
The project started as a promotional idea for the official Leica store in Sao Paulo, Brazil. Wouldn’t it be cool, an advertising/design guy affiliated with the German camera giant thought, if we created a DIY camera kit disguised as a poster?
by David Becker
by David Becker
GoPro cameras may be ready to migrate from helmets to film schools thanks to the Ribcage, an in-development assembly that allows the tiny action cams to be outfitted with interchangeable lenses.
Under production by Canada-based company Back-Bone, the Ribcage incorporates a mount for a “C” format 16mm camera lens, optics to fit the lens to the GoPro’s image sensor and accompanying circuitry to control the GoPro.
Along with all the CAD bits I am doing to create this camera, I also find it incredibly useful (and fun) to just build cameras out of whatever I can, I have learnt that the actual process of building a camera is just as rewarding as taking pictures with it. I also think you feel a much greater connection with your camera if it has come from your own hands, this is important to me as large format photography is all about taking your time and slowing things down, it can be a real escape from fast paced life. Here are some of the ‘prototypes’ I have created; it is amazing how simple or complicated a camera can be and how doing things like this smashes any misconceptions about cameras being super technical bits of kit.
About seven months ago, we posted an article about an application called ‘Paddy’ that connects a MIDI controller desk to Lightroom. Unfortunately for me, that application is Windows only, so I set out to find a solution for this gadget that I needed in and around my life. The solution is something called ‘Knobroom.’ After reading the initial story, I scoured Craigslist for a Behringer BCF2000. I figured that I would wait to find one of these second-hand, just in case I couldn’t get it to work. (Yes, I know all about return policies, but $125 was a risk I was fine taking – especially if it meant no shipping). So a mere seven months after geeking out over the thought of using sliders with Lightroom, I had the device in hand. Unfortunately, I still had some worries…
“Will this work well (or even at all) on my Mac (especially since there are no additional drivers or programs to map the board like on a PC)?”
“Will it work with Lightroom 5 (the last updates for the software came out right after 4 and were supposedly buggy)?”
“Will this make me very stressed and annoyed and angry and frustrated to set up?”
I’m (un)happy to say that the answer to all three is ‘yes.’
by CHRIS KNIGHT
We here at WECC love DIY stuff, so when someone yells 'DIY MONOCHROM' the Leica Lover in me get's excites. Petapixel have posted an article about a guy who is doing just that ...kinnnnnda.