Today I had my large format workshop. Every lecturer I’ve spoken to about my project insisted I use a large format camera and the majority of the photographers I have looked at use it too. I guess I didn’t really have much of a choice. I was really unsure about the 5x4 camera and really wasn’t looking forward to the workshop. However, Daniel went over everything very slowly and let me try everything out so I understand how to use it. It was incredibly useful and I feel a lot better and more confident about using the large format.
· The first step is to take the camera out of the bag
· Before unfolding it, put it securely on the tripod
· There is a clip on the front of the camera, open that
· Loosen the 3 main screws on the back
· Raise the back of the camera up at a right angle
· Make sure all the clips fit in the hinges (where it dips)
· Once they are in the dips, tighten them firmly but not too tight
· Lift the front bit up and slide the bottom towards front of the camera (to the tip)
· Lock the front – slide the two outside bits out
· Slot the clips in the dips again and tighten
· Loosen the clips on the front to adjust it up so that it’s at a right angle and parallel to the back
· When the front and the back are parallel, the image will be straight
· You can move both the front and the back up and down, back and forth and side to side
· When putting the lens on the camera, take the back cap off first
· Make sure all the controls are on top
· Slot the bottom in and then clip the top
· Normal lens is 50mm and wide-angle lens is 90mm
· When changing lenses you have to change the bellows
· Put the aperture on the lowest setting so that the most light comes in
· Open the lens using the black trigger on the left side of the lens – put it up
· The view will be upside down
· Shut down the lens (move trigger down)
· Set the correct aperture
· Set the correct shutter speed
· Cock the trigger (this means it’s ready to shoot)
· Double check if the lens is closed
· Enter the card (with the negative inside)
· Take the slide out
· Take the photo
· Put the slide back in the other way
· White side up means unexposed
· Black side up means exposed
Film needs to be put in the card in a darkroom. The top right corner of the film has some cut outs in it and this is how you know which way to put it in the card. Make sure that the film is laid out so that the top right hand corner has the cut outs. Put the holder next to it with the slides partially out on the bottom.
In the dark, move the top bit up and carefully slide the film in. Make sure it’s in the lowest slot. When the film is in, close the slide. Do the same thing on the other side.
Also, remember that when the film is unexposed and loaded, that the white side is sticking up. If the film has been exposed, the black side should be up.
It sounds like a lot and a bit confusing (especially when you don’t have the camera in front of you) but I think I’ll be ok.