What Light Makes Dark, What Fair

It’s not that I didn’t have a wider lens in my bag, in the car right next to me. It was that I was in a hurry. I often am. Whether it’s to make camp for the night or to take a photo or two before Farmer Jones discovers me in his lettuce patch, I’m often all for haste!

But haste makes crap photos.

What I need to do (when shooting large format – with the other formats, just shoot away) is to first take in the scene. In the span of time from when your eye first catches a subject until you stop and decide to capture it, the subject has moved in relation to you.

Stop and go back a bit. Walk the twenty or so yards to where you first saw it. Retrace your path, always looking for the best shot. Trust your eye – it saw something wonderful, and now you have to find it once more.

I did none of these things. I saw this scene, slowed down, finally decided to stop. And then decided that I wanted to take a 4×5 shot of it. I set up the tripod near the rear bumper of the car and got this shot.

This was not the original scene that I noticed. I also did not consider that the wider 90mm lens might have captured this better (or might not have, if I got a different angle).

In truth, I was worried about Farmer Jones. I need to stop this. People are mostly nice, even if they’re worried that you’re going to enter their property (but have not yet entered it). They’re watching, to be sure. But as long as you stay on the public right of way, there’s nothing they can do.

Still, it’s best not to tarry, so maybe shoot with a bit of ginger in your step.


‘What Light Makes Dark, What Fair’

Camera: Crown Graphic 4×5 (1962)
Lens: 127mm f/4.7 Rodenstock Ysarex
Film: Ilford Ortho+ (x-06/04); 200iso
Process: Rodinal 1+100; 60min

Eltopia, Franklin County, Washington


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