Thursday, January 01, 2009


Sierra Blanca from White Sands National Monument, New Mexico May 1992
Yes, the bottom image is merely a crop from the top image. However, it points up both the advantages and limitations of shooting large format. I shot the "wider" view with my 450mm Nikkor on a 4x5 Cambo, but the lower image is what I really wanted to shoot. Shooting compressed long lens views with a 4x5 is all but impossible unless you are really wealthy and can afford such exotics such as the 1200mm Tele-Nikkor. The "cropped" image show one of the advantages of 4x5, literally you can crop the negative and still get something printable -- maybe. In this instance, this is one of my "snot" negatives and enlarging this small section of the image to anything bigger than about 8x10 inch is not acceptable. I once remarked to Ansel Adams while viewing his "Clearing Storm, Yosemite Valley" image, that when you looked closely, it was slightly grainy even though it was shot on 8x10. He merely replied that with 24-hours of development, any film will be grainy. That's the problem with trying to make....uh say, a 16x20 print of the cropped area. It would be very grainy, somewhat on the order of a pushed 35mm negative printed that size. Not too cool for a landscape image. I made the image I could with what I had, and while I like the clouds, it's not an image about the big mountain. Sierra Blanca stands, at last count, 12,003 feet above sea level, and when one is standing in the middle of all that white, it does seem to tower watchfully over the Tularosa Valley in which White Sands National Monument resides. But not in my picture.

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