Jim Galvin

by David Brooks

This photograph was made in the studio with an 8 x 10 camera, a 360mm lens, strobe lighting, and orthochromatic film. Orthochromatic film is primarily sensitive to blue and green light. It is only minimally sensitive to the red end of the color spectrum.

Today, the principal use of this film is for scientific purposes where red sensitivity is either unnecessary or undesirable. Historically, this film was used extensively for male portraiture, because the film's low response to red tones gave men a more weathered or swarthy appearance, as seen here. Orthochromatic film can be processed in any standard black-and-white film developer.

© David Brooks


This photograph was taken on a backpacking trip into the northeastern section of Yosemite National Park. It may sound awkward to carry a view camera into an isolated region several miles from any roads, but a 2Va x 3Va view camera is relatively small and compact. In fact, even with two or three lenses, two roll-film holders, an exposure meter, and a tripod, its weight is about the same as a good 35mm system with several lenses and a tripod.

The camera was a Galvin 2Va x 3Vi with a 14-inch bellows and monorail. The lens was 210mm, twice the normal focal length for this size camera. The film was Ilford Pan F, a very sharp, fine-grained material with an E.I. of 32. Galvin used a little front-tilt adjustment to cope with the receding slope of the granite located across a small gulley.

He measured the tonal values in the shadows under the rocks with a 1-degree spot meter and found them to have a reading of 9. The smooth, sunlit granite, polished by glaciers several thousand years ago, had a reading of 15. This gave him a six-stop spread requiring a less-than-normal development time.


by Gordon Hutchings

The real difference in the portability of the field versus the monorail design becomes apparent with the 8 x 10 camera. The 8 x 10 field camera is much more practical for landscape photography. These cameras generally have 24-36 inches of bellows, which means lenses up to 30 inches long can be used for general outdoor work.

This photograph was made with an 8 x 10 field camera and an Apo-Artar 600mm/24" lens (twice the normal focal length for an 8 x 10 camera). A very slight amount of front rise was used. The long lens was necessary because the subject was across a small ravine.

Contrary to the general belief that photographs taken with the view camera are completed only after hours of diligent work, this image was made in just a few minutes. Hutchings realized that the area's feeling would change completely after the sun peeked over the cliff, which was imminent just a few moments after this scene was discovered. He raced back to his pickup truck, instinctively put the 24" lens on the camera with a #12 filter (referred to as a "minus-blue" filter and used here because its deep-yellow color brought out the bright yellow and orange leaves at the bottom of the frame) and put a film holder in the camera. During the 150 yards back to the ravine from the pickup, he made his decisions about camera adjustments and the probable exposure and development of the negative. A quick meter reading confirmed his intuition, and there was time for only one exposure before the sun broke over the cliff and harshly lit the rock edges and the tree tops.

Hutchings used Ilford HP5 film to make this photograph with an E.I. of 320 that happens to match the manufacturers ISO rating. He used an N + 1 development and printed the negative with only minimal edge burning.

© Ray McSavaney



by Ray McSavaney_

The urban landscape has become a popular subject matter for many photographers. The almost complete rebuilding of the center of Los Angeles in the late seventies and early eighties offered a great many opportunities for photographers interested in contemporary architecture and urban design. The Los Angeles City Hall is the pointed building in the center of the scene.

This photograph was made with a 4 x 5 field camera and a 90mm lens. The camera was carefully positioned so that the camera back was level left to right and front to rear, making the vertical lines of the buildings parallel to the sides of the groundglass. Then the front-fall adjustment was used to include more of the excavated area in the lower center of the frame. McSavaney used f/45 because he needed tremendous depth of field to keep everything sharp and because the variety of planes and objects located in the scene precluded the use of any front swing or tilt adjustments. Depth-of-field problems in straight-ahead scenes such as this one must be solved by using smaller apertures.

The contrast range in this scene was severe. The meter reading in the dark areas in the lower center of the image registered a 3, and the brightly lit sections in the windows gave a reading of 13. McSavaney ignored the light fixtures because, in reality, they are blank white so he didn't make any effort to lower them on the print. The reading of 3, which was placed in Zone 3, required an exposure time of 15 seconds on Tri-X film rated at an E.I. 400. Adding in a correction for reciprocity failure increased the actual exposure to 98 seconds.

The film was developed in a Pyrocatechol developer that has a reputation as being very good for handling extreme contrast. This developer produces a long-scaled, low-contrast negative with good separation in the very high zones between Zone IX and Zone XII. With this developer, the Tri-X film seems to have a higher-than-normal E.I. of 400 rather than the more common 160. The formula for this developer is beyond the scope of this book, but the interested reader is invited to refer to THE NEGATIVE by Ansel Adams, (New York: New York Graphic Society, 1981). The one drawback with Pyrocatechol is its high level of toxicity. Extreme care is needed to prevent any of the dry powder or the developer solution from corning into contact with the skin, so Pyrocatechol does not make a good, all-purpose film developer.

This particular negative was developed for a shorter-than-normal time and was printed on a normal grade of printing paper.

© Ray McSavaney

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