Photography by Ian Mazursky

Landscape, Portraits, Fashion & Prints

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Korona 12x20 Day 2

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The stage was set for my first shot. I was so excited. I work allot during the week so my only real chance to take it out was on a Sunday. So a Sunday it was. The earliest was May 4th 08. The kicker, it was supposed to rain. Not a little rain but allot. I figured it wasn't going to happen so I slept in as usual. Then my friend Saul called at 2pm to tell me to get up and lets go out and use the camera. Turns out it was a perfect day. A few large clouds and a slight breeze.

    Saul came over and the fun began. First to the darkroom to load the film. That's one of those easier said than done kind of things. I haven't been in the darkroom for the winter (too cold) so I had to find the light leaks. Fixed the more annoying ones, crossed my fingers and dove in. Just so you know, 240 square inches of film is allot to handle in the dark. The first attempt was a learning exercise. The dark slides are so long that they bend and flex as you pull them out. So much that they might even snap if you don't support them. That's where Saul came in. He held them up while I tried to load the sheet of film into the holder. I will repeat, easier said than done.

     "4x5 is easy compared to this" I mumbled as I was futzing around with the sheet. After some trial and mostly error, I figured it out. You load one side of the sheet about 3/4 of the way in, under the retaining slot. Then you curl/bend the other side under the other slot and slide it the rest of the way in. This helps prevents allot of scratches and dust/static buildup. Removal unfortunately is the normal way, slide it out. So the loading went well. Couldn't believe it. I was a bit nervous about the very small light leaks that I saw in the darkroom but I was ready.

     We (I) grabbed the camera, tripod setup, light meter (Sekonic L-758DR), film holder in a dark bag and a dark cloth. Strapped the camera and film holder in the back seat of his Toyota Rav4 and off we went into the great unknown. I mean Ward Acres.

     Ward Acres was a horse farm many moons ago. There are nice trails, beautiful stone walls and railroad ruins. The bane of the photographers existence (in this park) are the dogs. Ward Acres has 3 dog runs. They are everywhere. Not 5 minutes after I setup down the 1st trail did I hear "can you move so we can get by". "Sure" I replied mumbling "easier said than done". I did meet a nice great dane the size of a house. We reset and started to compose all over again. I guess the interruption was a good thing. I found a slightly better vantage point for the shot.

     Focusing. OY! It is so much harder on the 12x20. For one, you need to be wide open (f/9) to see anything. The problem is that everything is blurry wide open. Once you stop down 1/2 to 3/4 of the way, everything is tack sharp. I had to get used to focusing without a loupe. Its much easier to trust your eye than to drive yourself mad aiming for perfection. Close down and you will receive clarity. The contact sheets prove it. I set the some front rise, probably 2-3".
I was finally ready for my first shot. I was probably shaking alittle from the excitement.

     I took the holder out of the dark bag and loaded it into the back of the camera. I metered around (Reflective) the scene and came up with 4" @ an f/90. With my reciprocity table from Ilford for HP5, I came up with 14" @ an f/90. I pulled the dark slide while Saul held the back of the camera. He timed it for me while I held the lens cap. Tick, Tick, Tick....."OK" I quickly put the cap back on and slide the dark slide back in ever so gently. I would have been pissed if I fogged the sheet by pulling the back off the camera.

     After packing up I move about 200 feet or so back to the entrance and took a detour to the right about 50 feet. I found the perfect second shot. With the tripod feet firmly planted, properly focused and composed, I decided to use Rear Swing. Oops. I swung to far. You can see in the second contact that I hit the end of the image circle by about an inch or so. My goal was to keep the stone wall in focus and it did work. The resulting image is exactly what I wanted. I just had to wait about 15 minutes for the path to clear of dogs and owners. I did have a nice conversation with a guy walking his dog and daughter. I told him about the Korona and its history. The meter reading was about the same at 4" @ f/90. I decided to extend it to 16" during the exposure. It came out better than the previous shot at 14". After the lens cap was back on the lens and the dark slide back in its slot we had to go. It was getting dark and we had been gone almost 2 hours. Some of the best 2 hours of my life!
     You can see the results of my
1st
and
2nd
negative and the contact sheets
here
.
Picture 12Picture 9
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