Tuesday, July 20, 2021

Trial Run

I am wanting to do some portraits with my plate cameras.  It seemed only fair and prudent to first subject myself to the process.

I picked a corner with reasonably good light and propped a box up where I thought my head would appear.  I focused on a barcode on the front of the box and then substituted my nose for the barcode.  I made the shot using my longest cable release with the camera set to 1/2 second and f/22.

Shooting closeups with the Kodak Recomar 18 or any of the plate cameras is not for the impatient or the faint of heart.  With the dark slide in place, the roll film holder is replaced with the ground glass back for focusing.  The lens is opened wide for visibility and the shutter is actuated on the T setting to hold it open.  With the focus established, the shutter is closed and then set to the speed indicated by the meter, with a sufficiently small aperture to ensure adequate depth of focus.  Finally, the ground glass back is removed and replaced with the film back, hopefully without disturbing the positioning of the camera on the tripod.  The dark slide is pulled up and the exposure is made.


JR Smith said...

Lots of work to get this selfie. I am impressed!

Mike said...

It does get easier with practice. In bright daylight my focal distance guesses are pretty good. In low light, however, you really either need to use a measuring tape or the ground glass back.

kodachromeguy@bellsouth.net said...

Nice job. Who is that severe-looking gent in the photograph? The procedure you described is about the same that you would use for any large-format camera, except on many of them, you do not need to totally remove the ground glass. You can slip the film holder under the GG.

Some companies like Horseman made a very clever sliding back, where you focused with the GG, then slid it sideways and the roll film holder was positioned in the exact same place where the GG had been. Brilliant.

Mike said...

For outdoor shots I can often estimate the focus correctly down to three feet with the aperture at f/16 or smaller. Getting the framing just right is more of a challenge however when you have to use the tiny reflex finder or the wire frame. Of course, the compact plate cameras were designed mostly with pocketable portability in mind.