A Review

I described in my last two columns my Saturday experiene. In reviewing what I did, what I learned and what I need to work and try for the next sessions of work, I had the following thoughts. Most importantly, I getting the hang of setting up the camera and getting the exposure. It's simply a matter of practice, and more practice. Also, learning the camera controls and movements isn't all that hard either, it's more a matter of determining what you want with the image.

For the first set of images, I limited the camera to the basic settings, all the planes were kept parallel and the interest was to learn focusing and depth of field. I could have easily added some front tilt to both images Saturday to expand the area in focus, and that will be something to learn with the waterfront image in the next session. I liked the place and will go back soon.

After that I have a list of places to learn shift and swing. The key is to keep the lessons simple while grasping the concept and logic. It's easy to get overwhelmed, to become mentally fatiqued and experience sensory overload, so Hersey (kisses) lessons help. And it helps to look as you travel around to see and remember places you can try, at least stand there and think if it's really worth the effort to get the camera out.

And that's an important element in the work. You take the camera with you but you don't always take it out to setup. It's what they say, look first, see second, decided third, and then, if you're still standing there, mark the spot and get the camera. And while you walking back, imagine going through the setup. Remember, it's all a mental process, something I learned from 13-plus years of field work with the USGS.

Working for the USGS, I serviced streamflow measuring gages and made discharge measurements at variety of sites in Oregon, Arizona and Washngton (state). To do a thorough job you have to follow the same procedure from the time you arrive to the tiime you leave. You can't leave anything broken or undone at and in the gage, and you have to make consistent discharge meausements. It's a mental process that I learned over and over, and it translated to large format camera work easily.

So, what's on the horizon? One, use tilt. Two, use color film. Three, use shift and swing. And four, go find new places as well as back to the old places to try again. Oh, five, take film to lab. Don't panic at the results. Everything is learning.

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WSR V2.8, January 2013