A closer look at a large format photo

By QT Luong/terragalleria.com for the largeformatphotography.info.

Those close-ups were extracted from the image below. Each of them contains enough detail to make a sharp photograph on its own. Click on them to view.

For landscapes, I prefer this large format (LF) camera, because it produces an image which matches my perception of a visually rich world.

First, because the size of the film is 5x7 inches (12.7cm x 17.8cm), the camera records an amazing amount of detail, 25 times what is contained in a regular 135 (24mm x 36mm) frame. Everything which I saw is on the film, and even more. When I examine my transparencies under a lupe, I notice from time to time details which escaped me when I was looking at the scene.

Note that what I display here does not even capture the full detail in the original transparency, but only a quarter of it: the scanning was done only at a resolution necessary to produce a 24x30 inches (60 x 75 cm) print, which is 6000 x 9000 pixels. However, the transparency has a resolution of at least 50 lpm, is 5x7 inches (12.7cm x 17.8cm) and therefore could have been used to produce a quality digital image file at least four times larger (12000 x 17000 pixels). Such a file would have been close to 1 Gigabye. At the resolution used, there is absolutely no fuzziness and no grain.

Second, the LF camera is not rigid because the lens is connected to the film plane with a bellows. This let me control the perspective and the distribution of sharpness in a way which cannot be achieved with a regular camera:

For this particular photograph, those adjustments were quite simple and intuitive. It was getting dark fast. I didn't want to make the photograph in full daylight, because I knew that the colors would be lost to the contrast, and instead I chose to wait for the quiet and soft light of dusk. After leveling the camera, I lowered the lens using front fall to obtain the composition I wanted. I then tilted the lens, which tilts the plane of sharp focus, until it became horizontal. I was lucky that day because the air was quite still, so even in the 15 second exposure (necessitated by the f 22 aperture and the slow speed of Fuji Velvia), there was only minimal blurring of the grasses.

More large format landscapes - More about technical aspects of large format photography