With a View: Part 10-
by Robert A F
van de Voort
This and the following articles will introduce the view camera
to the reader who is completely unaware of the possibilites, the
surprises and ease of use of the big black box, my favourite working
Creative sharpening...Or creative
One Sharp eye...for detail...
To do a portrait on the view camera is relatively easy. If you
keep all standards and other adjustments in the neutral position,
you just get a straight shot like with your 35 mm or medium format
camera. As I feel my TC (Technical Camera) is far more creative
than those fixed body jobs we will tackle this picture in a different
way. I want to show that you can selectively focus on one eye
and get the remainder of the face defocused, however working with
a face representing many spatial lines some sharp areas crept
For the purpose of this exercise I kept the shoulders and face
full frontal to the camera, a greater visual affect will be achieved
by angling the body to the lens.
To maximize the effect of the adjustments I opted for the 360
lens and a 10 x 12 cms negative format. This creates a nice perspective
and shows "clearly" the adjustments. The lighting in
this shot is relative easy on the eye. I want to show a "how
to do it" shot with a little bit of light where it matters.
Once you control the technique, you can light the portrait as
The front panel creates for me the sharpness, thus my first action
is to consider the "planes" of the face. One is the
line (A) between the eyes, a horizontal line and as the face is
looking straight at me, the line is parallel with the lens panel.
The next line to consider is the imaginary line (B) from the top
of the face to the bottom of the face. This line too is at present
still parallel with the lens panel. Moving the lens panel until
it focuses on both eyes will give line A sharp. When I swing the
lens panel one of the eyes will stay in focus and the surrounding
area will go softer. Everything that is still on the same distance
from the lens when focussed on that one eye will also appear sharp,
this should be part of the face directly above and below the focused
Consider that line to be called B as above described. When I
want to get only one spot on that line to be sharp, I have to
do the same as I did in the horizontal line between the eyes,
but now in a vertical plane. I will now tilt the lenspanel until
only the eye will be sharp and all areas above and below the eye
turn soft and out of focus. In principle I have now one eye sharp
and the remainder out of focus. To dolly up the effect I increased
the effects by moving the image panel in the exact opposite positions
of the front panel. This increased the visual appearances of the
effect on the face.
The aperture I used was F6.8 the lowest on my 360 lens. Any higher
aperture would start destroying my handy work. Bellows extension
45 cms, light loss compensated by metering on the filmplane with
the Gossen Mastersix probe light meter.
For the serious tech people here are the exact positions of lens
panel: Swing - 19 degrees, tilt + 14 degrees; the image panel
set op: swing -12 degrees and +10 degrees tilt. Just as I finished
writing this I got a note from Auto FX.com that they have launched
"Dreamsuite". This stand-alone program for the computer
creates some interesting and photographic effects, including an
enhanced version of my action described above, (go to my site
http://www.albanystudios.co.nz/Link.htm and click on the AutoFX
link to download demo or purchase - I am a reseller!). Don't worry
guys, I did this one the old fashioned way, trust me, look ma,
B/W Processing of negative with Ilumitol, a very creative b/w
process with pyro developer as developed by Peter Dinnan in New
Zealand. The negative shows an extremely long tonal range, rich
blacks and holds detail in the shadows like wow!, some more about
this developer later in future articles.
Readers are invited to view some of my escapades into photography
on www.AlbanyStudios.co.nz or send Email to me at email@example.com
with your questions, comments. etc. PS, there is a marvellous
site on large format cameras, have a look at www.johndesq.com
and click on left bottom link WFPA
Viewing you next time!
Robert A F van de Voort
Article copyright Robert A F van de Voort 2001, can be reproduced
unabridged with reference to author.
Lens With a View Series:
Hey guys, any questions or comments? It is so hard to explain a
view camera on paper and such joy to experience in real life that
words sometimes are failing me to explain it nicely. All the responses
received have been positive, thank you all for your feedback! Readers
are invited to view some of my escapades into photography on www.AlbanyStudios.co.nz
or send Email to me at firstname.lastname@example.org
with your questions.
Robert van de Voort is a professional photographer and writer,
with his headquarters located on the North Island of New Zealand.
Robert's professional photographic career spans the course of
over 20 years, with work in stock, advertising, studio, digital
photography and much more! You can learn more about Robert and
see examples of his stunning work by visiting his website at www.AlbanyStudios.co.nz.
The staff at Profotos.com
would like to thank Robert for his generous article contributions!