This week’s Photo Challenge is entitled peace. I’ve wanted to try using my large format camera indoors for a while now, so this seemed like the perfect opportunity to capture the peaceful interior of a cathedral.
I used my Horseman 45HD camera with Schneider-Kreuznach Super-Angulon 65mm f/8 lens, which really is extremely wide angle on the 5×4″ format. Film was Ilford FP4+, exposed at box speed and developed in Ilford ID-11. Exposure was 16 seconds at f/22.
In order to keep the pillars parallel, I kept the camera back vertical and raise the lens rather than pointing the camera upwards. (See my previous photos of the cathedral, shot with a 35mm SLR, for an example of non-parallel verticals).
This is the first time I’ve shot large format indoors (except some crappy test portraits at home) and I ran into a few difficulties:
- The lens was at full rise but unfortunately I couldn’t fit all of the roof into the frame. In hindsight I could have pointed the camera slightly up and introduced only slight convergence of verticals but included more of the roof. I did try this in a later shot, and I’m not sure if I like the effect.
- I tried using this camera in portrait orientation but it doesn’t work well. The horizontal shift does not have such a large range as the vertical rise so you can’t “look up” so much. This a limitation of this (relatively) lightweight field camera, and could be resolved by using a monorail camera.
- Using an f/8 lens in a dim cathedral means the ground glass is really very dim, and it is hard to compose and focus. I could use the f/5.6 version of this lens, but that is quite expensive!
- Part of the pillar where the sunlight is shining on it is blown out. You wouldn’t think of a dim cathedral as being a high-contrast scene but it is actually very hard to keep detail in the shadows and the highlights. I could have pulled the film a stop and got an extra stop of dynamic range.