First Light: 4×5 film


I finally got around to developing the four 4×5 negatives I had exposed with the Linhof Kardan camera. (I used different lenses on these images, but…I did not keep track, and don’t know which lens I used for which exposure.)

The lenses I have are:

  • 90mm Nikon Nikkor W f/8
  • 135mm Fujinon f/5.6
  • 210mm Schneider f/5.6

Unlike 35mm photography, the large negatives requires long lenses, so those are wide, general purpose, and slight telephoto lenses.

The photo on this post is the third exposure, not quite exactly and entirely first light. But I took four exposures before I developed, largely because the development tank I use takes up to 4 negatives. I will post the others soon. I am scanning the negatives on the Epson V800, which includes a glass holder for 4×5 negs. That also takes time, as does ‘developing’ the image in Photoshop and/or Capture One.

The shot was slightly over-exposed. I settled on too dark a tone for my medium tone. Next time, I will expose on the Cascades, the range of mountains visible in front of Mt. Rainier. I recall that I (perhaps) used the nearby hills or the grass for my mid-tone.

I am pretty sure that I used f/32 for the aperture in order to try to get both the distant mounting and the (very) near dandelions/grass focused. It seems to have largely worked out that way. (Because you are viewing the image on ground glass, and there is very little light coming in at f/32, I couldn’t be 100% sure of my focus range (no dark cloth, but have one now).

I developed in diluted D-76 as an experiment; I have seen that people do that, and I was curious to see what difference it would make. These negatives are a little less contrasty that straight stock developer, but they have a large tonal range. I have now read up on developer dilution, and the short version is greater tonal range and larger grain size. This matches the result. I think I will not dilute for most subjects, but it may make sense for subjects like this one, which has everything from deep shadows to snow.

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