I have been really getting back into my 4″x5″
addiction habit once again and after seeing the fantastic picture of my father on large format, I wanted to capture of a picture of my father-in-law and mother-in-law on a big old sheet of black and white film shot on my Toyo VRX-125 view camera. A friend donated a 100 sheet box of Ilford HP5 film so I chose that to shoot with. Four exposures only.
I met my mother-in-law Barbara Summers at the nursing home where her husband Dick is staying. She goes there every day to be with him so she knows the people quite well. We decided to set up outside to get some better light. Dick was very patient as I set up my camera and lights for the shoot. Alas a broken sync cable meant I couldn’t trigger my lights with the Copal #2 shutter in my Nikon 210mm lens, so we shot with available light. I don’t shoot studio lights all that often with my 4×5 and didn’t have a spare sync cable with me like I normally would on a paid shoot.
For the first photo of Dick I wanted to test the extremes of tilting the front standard of my lens to throw his chin and forehead out of focus while keeping his eyes in focus. That worked on this photo after processing I feel it is a bit too much of a good thing, so next time I won’t tilt the front standard quite so much. I also got Barbara in the second photo and swung the front lens to keep her in focus, since she was actually about 6″ behind Dick.
My first photo of Dick had him with a stern face. So my next sheet of film, I asked him “Caterpillar or John Deere?” knowing he was a long time heavy equipment owner and operator. He gave me a wry smile and a twinkle in his eye and said “Caterpillar” and then I snapped the shutter. You can see his smile in the solo photo and the more stern look in the couple photo.
I came home and developed these in my kitchen sink using Kodak D76 developer – pretty straightforward stuff – then scanned using my Epson V750 scanner. Once I pulled the scans up on the screen, I realized how much better the images from Kodak T-MAX 100 were when compared to Ilford HP5. T-Max is MUCH smoother and offers more lattitude and will be my film of choice going forward.
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