Tag Archives: studio lighting

Working with the Voigtlander

The set up

I got the mounted flange back from the machinists shop this week, so yesterday I got a chance to put the big Voigtlander on my 8×10 and shoot it. I set up my little outdoor studio with some quick still lifes using Coke bottles. I like my lighting simple and dramatic so I used a single 1000w fresnel. I wanted that longer duration from the light because the Voigtlander, being from 1863, has no shutter. I would need exposures long enough that I could use a spare dark slide as a manual shutter.

The Voigtlander on the camera

Here’s the lens mounted on the camera- it uses Waterhouse stops for apertures. I have one with it currently, that’s probably the equivalent of f/8.

What the lens sees

One of the cool things about working in a studio setting like this is that the ambient light is so low that you don’t even need a dark cloth to focus and compose! I will be developing my film from last night’s shoot today, but it was nice that I could give a preview of my results right off the ground glass.

Calumet Photo Update

I got a call from a friend earlier today letting me know the Calumet clearance sale was underway at our local Calumet stores. I went in after work looking for a couple of things, thinking at the least I’d grab some film if they had anything I used. They had a bunch of pro-packs of Tmax 400 left in stock (an emulsion I don’t use in 120) so I just grabbed the three remaining rolls of Ilford Pan-F. They had a 1000w hot light that was a companion to one I bought a couple months ago, and will come very handy for my class tomorrow that I’m teaching about shooting still life. The big score was a Calumet/Bowens Fresnel Spot attachment, which was in like-new condition, but because it had been rented (once!) in the past, it was marked down 40% off. 

One of the giant tragedies of the Calumet closing is the disappearance of camera gear rental from the DC marketplace. Jerry Smith, the rental department manager at the Tysons Corner location, is setting up his own equipment rental business to service the DC Metro area, in Reston, Virginia. 

You can find him on Facebook at  https://www.facebook.com/f8rentals

Jerry is a fantastic guy to work with and extremely knowledgeable. I’m so glad he’s going to take this on and revive an extremely valuable service here in the DC area.

Platinum/Palladium Prints from the vaults

I dug up a few older platinum/palladium prints I did a couple years ago and realized they were worth sharing, so I thought I’d post them here today.

They were studies for a series I was working on – they didn’t make the editorial cut for the series, but as standalones they’re good.

Jester
Jester

Jester
Jester

Portrait with Lotus Seed Pod
Portrait with Lotus Seed Pod

These were shot in my home studio (aka the dining room) with a single light and a black velvet backdrop. The camera was my ancient studio portrait camera with a 5×7 back installed and a Seneca portrait lens (aka Wollensak Vesta, rebranded). I mention all this to show that you can produce great work with the simplest of set-ups and equipment, and you don’t have to have the latest and greatest or fancy facilities.

More Personal Work – Portrait

Forty D., Profile
Forty D., Profile

Another friend’s portrait. 5×7, Ilford FP4+, Kodak 14″ Commercial Ektar lens. I had him stand in front of white seamless paper, and then lit him from the right with a large softbox, reflector on his left, and a second light on the backdrop to bring the white up. Developed in PMK Pyro developer.

Personal Work – Two Portraits

Jose, Smiling
Jose, Smiling

Jose, Profile
Jose, Profile

Just wanted to share a pair of portraits I shot a while ago of a young man who sat for a personal project of mine. They show two very different perspectives on him – his smile is particularly radiant, but the profile is terribly serious. These were shot with my antique Century Studio Master portrait camera and a 14″ Seneca Whole Plate Portrait f5 lens. These used my typical lighting setup of one main light in a giant softbox with a fill reflector on the opposite side.

Getting back into the studio again…

Yesterday, in a fit of activity, I got in to the studio and shot a few still-life photos. I’m participating in a print exchange through the Large Format Photography Forum (www.largeformatphotography.info/forum) and I needed to shoot some images for the exchange. The final images will be platinum prints. I decided to use a lead crystal cut glass decanter I have as a subject – I wanted something challenging to photograph and that would create some striking images. I got the inspiration seeing the decanter on my coffee table with the sunlight coming through it and casting a shadow. I brought it over to the studio and set it up on a sweep of white seamless paper, and lit it with just one light, as it would be in the real world (there is only one sun!). It casts a beautiful shadow on the seamless, especially the way the crystal is cut with these random little scallops out of the body. I used the Century Master portrait camera, which after having been hauled around a bunch is starting to get a bit loose. As always, the lens on it is my Seneca Portrait f5. I put the whole plate back on the camera for these shots, as it’s about my favorite format. I indulged in my film choice and used some of my remaining stock of Arista.EDU Ultra 200 (aka Fomapan 200). Arista.EDU Ultra is Freestyle Photo‘s house-label film, made for them by Foma in the Czech Republic. Foma discontinued the 200 a year or two ago when their source for one of the critical components dried up, and just started re-making it but only in roll film. It’s one of my all-time favorite films, not only because it was dirt cheap (1/3 the price of Ilford), but because it produced beautiful results – it has this old-time feel to the image quality from a reduced red sensitivity. Here’s a couple of shots of the setup (pardon the poor quality- they’re taken with my iPhone which is not the best in low light). I’ll post some scans later of the finished prints.

Studio setup #1

Studio setup #2