Photography by Ian Mazursky

Landscape, Portraits, Fashion & Prints

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Korona Scans

I finally had a chance to scan the 2 shots a few weeks ago. They came out great!
The Howtek 7500 does a fantastic job of scanning HP5.
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Korona 12x20 Day 2

Welcome back!
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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Korona 12x20 Day 1

Its been a marvelous adventure! Thats the best way to put it.
About 50 or 60 years ago my grandfather bought a photo studio in Long Island, NY.
It was a complete package with all of the equipment. Deep down in the basement was the Korona.
He never had a use for the large size but he kept it.

Last year (2007) I found it in his garage an decided to fix it up in my spare time.
It took me about 3 months to clean and polish the whole camera. I even tried to fix the bellows.
That turned out to be a bad idea. I sent the camera to Turner Bellows for a new one. They did a great job. Unfortunately UPS damaged the box on the way to Turner so it added some more time. When I got the box back from Turner I realized that UPS did a real number on the camera. So another month went by and the additional damage was fixed.

In July 2007 I managed to get a 480mm f/9 APO Nikkor barrel lens from Adorama. Its was a spectacular find. The lens goes from f/9-128 by twisting the front of the barrel. The lens was probably from a large copy camera so field distortion and chromatic aberration are kept to a minimum compared with other lenses. I then had to mount it on the camera. So I went to Home Depot and bought some wood and varnish. I made a lens board and cut the hole out with my Dremel. I decided to take a break until I could find some film and that brings us to 2008.

In March 2008, I managed to buy 3 boxes of Ilford HP5 12x20. It was only outdated by a few years. I actually prefer HP5 thats a bit seasoned, but more on that later. As soon as the film arrived, it spurred a re-interest in getting the whole thing ready to shoot. The first task was a way to mount it on a tripod. The camera is heavy, over 15 pounds without the lens. Since it was manufactured in the US (Rochester NY), it has 2x 1/4" tripod sockets on the bottom. Why in the world would you use something that small on something so big is beyond me.
But thats what I had to work with. It was pointed out to me that the US at the time only used 1/4" and the European's used 3/4". After banging my head against the wall for a while and debating between a 1 or 2 tripod setup, I figured it out! I used my large Bogen 3000 series green tripod. About a year ago I bought a dual tripod attachment (from Amvona) to shoot tabletop images (see #1 on the right). But it has 3/4" tripod studs.
I went to B&H (April 2008) and bought 2 Bogen tripod adapters. Viola! It works. I can carry it around on my shoulder and its a very sturdy setup.

My second task was a handle. The original one disintegrated years ago. This was the hardest thing to replace. I spent hours trying to find someone to make me a new one in the city. No one wanted to do it. I was ready to give up, when I had an epiphany. When I looked down at my bag, I saw a carabiner thats attached to my bag. They are a perfect fit for the job. I went to EMS Sports and bought a leather sewing kit and used some leather I found in a NYC dumpster. I wrapped the carabiner with the leather and sewed it up (see #2 on the right). I attached it to the camera with strap from EMS. Perfect!!

#3-5 show my latest stroke of genius. I needed a way to protect the ground glass from potential damage. I saw some on ebay but they are expensive. I had enough wood left over from the lens boards so I cut it a bit larger than the back. But how to keep it on.....In the same dumpster I found all the leather in, I found a roll of 1" wide elastic belt. You can see from #3 how it holds the GG Protector on. #4 is the best part of the elastic band. If you have ever tried to pull a dark slide thats this large, you know that most likely you will pull the holder away from the back of the camera. Light leaks, AHHHHHH!!! This elastic band I made by stapling the 2 overlapping ends together (see #5) keeps the back tight to the camera.

The first week in May 2008, I took the 1 good film holder I have and took it apart. Thoroughly cleaned it and re-glued everything. A tip I got from the newsgroups is to coat the edges of the dark slide with graphite. I took a pencil and rubbed it down the whole length of the slide and on the top of the ribs inside the holder.
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