Thursday, July 07, 2011

BARAMI, and a Blue Hat

Great Barrington, Massachusetts

A numerical oddity and a point of interest. If you click on a picture on this blog, you get to see a larger version which is often helpful for getting at some of the details, though of course it falls far short of what you can see in a native size, 11x14-ish print. Also, if it's of any interest, you can see what date the picture was made because the uploaded file carries the capture's unique file number (the sequence before the .jpg suffix), in the format: yymmdd_xxxx.

So the oddity is that this is the first picture of the day. That is rare for a blog post because when working with a hand camera (as for most of the pictures here) I generally work my way into a shoot. Once I'm warmed up, the first shot of a specific situation or opportunity is very often the best (sometimes the only shot) but at the beginning of a session I seem to need some limbering up exercises before settling down.

This is a stark contrast to the other vector of my work—large format (and ULF)  b&w. As I've written elsewhere, I think the key procedural difference between hand camera photography and large format photography takes place, quite literally, in your head. That's because with large format you have to do the bulk of your "editing" right there, in your head, before deciding to make a picture. Otherwise you couldn't afford the film, and couldn't process the negatives from a day's shooting in less than a week. This, as Samuel Johnson said in a slightly different context, concentrates the mind. So it's almost axiomatic that the first picture of the day may well be the best (or only) because the situation had to break through the barrier of mental editing to get made at all.

Thing is, I like working both ways. There are advantages and disadvantages to each.

3 comments:

Taken For Granted said...

Carl, thanks for the discussion of working methods. You have provided interesting insights. (This is Jeff)

Mike Mundy said...

And while we're mentioning hand-held vs LF let's not forget tripods! Some people really like them. After using tripods for years I'm pleased to note that my usage has dropped considerably.

My anti-tripod rant is here.

Carl said...

Mike, for me the tripod is just an integral part of working with a view camera. So much so, that when I teach view camera technique, I begin by teaching the proper way to set up the tripod, then move on to the camera and lens. A lot of the trouble or awkwardness people run into trying to use a view camera comes from awkward, inefficient setup of the tripod.

On the other side, I think of my digital capture gear as "hand cameras," just as I do my film Leicas. I do occasionally put a Leica, or a GF1, on a tripod, but it's a rare exception.