Tag: 4×5

4×5 at the Rail Bridge

Last weekend I got together with friends Sean and Ori for some large format shooting at the unused rail bridge in the lower Don Valley in Toronto. I was shooting my Speed Graphic 4×5, with a 127mm/4.7 Kodak Ektar lens, using Fomapan 100 film.

Rail bridge 4x5_004

Rail bridge 4x5_003

Here’s a image of my friend Sean, setting up an shot with his 4×5 view camera, taken with my Olympus XA 35mm.


And finally a shot of me! (Image taken by Sean Patenaude with his Nikon, used with permission)

13063941_10156752988150548_1689873712_o (1)


Another Photographer Friend

Today another portrait of a film photography friend 🙂 It was a lovely day at High Park yesterday when Chrissie Wu and I met up for a photoshoot. I was once again using my 4×5 Speed Graphic and vintage Petzval lens, but the film was Fomapan 100, which I have never shot in 4×5 before. Developed in Xtol 1+1 for 7.5 minutes @ 20 C, I am quite happy with the tonality of the result.


Two Cameras, One Subject

Last Wednesday at lunch on a very warm, humid day I got together with my good friend Adriana for a portrait shoot in Centennial Park in Mississauga. I used two very different cameras: first, my Olympus Pen F, which until I had primarily used for male portraits. With a 100mm/3.5 Zuiko lens mounted, I think this camera works for female portraits as well.


Next, a portrait with my Petzval lens from the 1860’s using my 4×5 Speed Graphic. While normally I shoot close in with this lens, I decided to try moving back, and I like what the old lens did to the background. There is a a dimensionality to the Petzval lens optical formula that I don’t think digital filters can copy; it’s like being in a dream 🙂

Adriana 4x5 004

Depth of Character

Finally back with a new image! This is my good friend Sylvain; a couple of weeks ago I enjoyed meeting up with him and other good friends just outside Montreal. This image was created with my 4×5 Speed Graphic and 1860’s Petzval lens.

When Sylvain saw the image, he said he thought he looked “serious.” The word that works for me is “thoughtful”; like everyone at the gathering, Sylvain is a person of great depth and creativity; he lives up to the caption on his T-shirt. This lens has a very shallow depth of field, but I think it captures depth of character.

My friend Sylvain

HP5+ developed in D-76 stock solution


Amy 1

Earlier this week myself and another photographer had a photoshoot with a cheerful and talented teacher and musician named Amy. I used three different cameras, so I will do three different blog posts. Tonight, I am starting off with the 4×5 and1860’s Petzval lens, shot on HP5+. This lens has a knack of picking up interesting expressions 🙂

Amy with the Guitar

A Bit of Grit

This image is from my antique lens 4×5 portrait series, but is definitely different from most of the others in the series so far. Instead of a dreamy soft focus look, I felt that for Lauren (a bass player in a Goth band) a grittier, tougher look would be a more honest portrayal, so in post processing of the negative scan that is what I emphasized.



Typically, photographs that are noted for texture tend to be sharp, with a lot of detail. The image in this post is from my brass lens portrait series: the combination of the old lens, long (4-5 second!) exposure ensure that these images will not be sharp. Also, the photo paper that I use for the negatives in this process tends to emphasize skin blemishes, so in post I need to further smooth things out a bit, further reducing detail.

However, I still like the texture in this image, particularly in the hair, and the way the light plays on it.

Bonnie 4x5

A Room With a View (Camera)

I’ll be off the grid for a week, but I did want to get one more post in. I recently purchased a used 4×5 view camera (a beat-up but functional Cambo SC), something I’ve wanted for a while. While I have had little to no time to use it due to family realities, I have so far had a chance to take the picture below. I used the paper negative technique; instead of conventional photographic film I use real photographic paper (darkroom, not inkjet). It is very slow speed (about E.I. 6) but since a view camera must be on a tripod, the fact that a 60 second exposure was required was no big deal. Once the negative is developed, I can either do a contact print to get a 4×5″ image, or just scan the negative and invert the image digitally. I am really looking forward to the challenge of learning to use my view camera, the ultimate in the totally manual photographic experience.

An Empty Chair