Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Getting Out and About With the 4x5 Speed Graphic

I have a beautiful early Graflex Speed Graphic 4x5 camera. Because it's not so convenient to use, I haven't spent much time with it. I decided to change that over the three day 4th of July weekend. I made a total of ten exposures (on Arista EDU film), and found that five of them are worth sharing. That's a pretty good hit rate compared to smaller formats, where I shoot a lot more images per scene.
Here are my five favorites from the weekend:
I usually set the camera on a tripod, using the ground glass back to frame and focus. I did that for the last three images above. For the first two, I used the rangefinder and shot handheld. Getting the focus right is a challenge, and I missed on some other shots. But, when you get it right, it's pretty nice.
In the picture of the house (Thornton House at Manassas National Battlefield), I used the front rise movement of the camera to allow me to keep the camera level to avoid distortion, yet still capture the roof and chimney. Pretty cool.
In the shot of the lotus flowers, I threw all concern for distortion to the wind, shooting with the camera nearly on the ground, pointing up at a steep angle.
I'm very happy that the Speed Graphic is not my only camera, or even my main one. But, it's instructive and fun to use.