Bieber Photographic

Largeish Format, Part III: Shooting the Scene

July 15, 2018


This is the third part of my series on creating stitched large format digital images.

We’ve covered the basic theory now, as well as the mechanics of connecting a digital back (or mirrorless camera) to your large format studio camera. Now it’s time for the fun part: setting up, composing and shooting your scene.

Largeish Format, Part II: The Hardware

July 6, 2018


This is the second part of my series on creating stitched large format digital images.

Before I can get into the fun part, actually creating the photos, I want to cover some of the gritty physical details of actually connecting a medium format digital back to a large format studio camera. In particular I’ll be illustrating the use of a Leaf Credo digital back, because that’s the one I use. If you use a different brand of digital back, or a mirrorless camera, you will need to adapt these instructions to your own equipment.

Largeish Format, Part I: The Theory

July 1, 2018


Over the past few months, I’ve started working with a 4x5” view camera and using what I believe is a somewhat novel technique for digital imaging with it. There is, unfortunately, no commercially available digital back at the moment that comes anywhere near the size of 4x5 film, let alone 8x10 and larger. LargeSense may change that in the near future, but the single-capture large format cameras they’re developing are going to be very bulky and exorbitantly expensive (expected price for the upcoming release of the 8x10 version is $106,000 USD).

You can, however, mount a digital medium format back (or a mirrorless camera) to the rear standard of a view camera. Combined with rise, fall and shift on the rear standard, you can sample different portions of the image circle projected by a large format lens for static scenes. Those samples can then be stitched together digitally, producing a single very large image. Using this technique I’ve gotten up to an effective sensor size of around 3x4 inches, which is why I’ve taken to calling these photos “largeish format.”

Profiling Light Mod Surfaces

April 7, 2018


Recently I picked up a Rogue FlashBender, because I wanted a light modifier I can travel with and use on speedlights with a little more directionality to it than an umbrella. I love my shoot-throughs, but they throw light everywhere, and getting my hands on some studio lights, softboxes and beauty dishes recently has really given me an appreciation for lights with more control.

I got the biggest version of the FlashBender, which comes with a couple of diffusion surfaces you can stick on the front to, theoretically, create a look very much like a small softbox. I was worried about the evenness of the light, however, because the entire unit is still very shallow. So I decided to do some tests on the light mods I travel with to see just how evenly their surfaces light up. I don’t have a light meter with me on this trip, but I realized there was a much easier way to test and visualize this: just point a camera at the light.

Carrying Cameras

September 30, 2016


When I first started photography, I had a pretty straightforward method for carrying cameras with me: I threw the strap over my shoulder and carried them. If I needed two, I threw one strap over each shoulder. If I needed to carry, say, a 300 f/2.8 around with me, I put it on a monopod and threw that over a shoulder, or just threw the lens strap over my shoulder and carried everything that way. When I first started photography, I was also fifteen years old. That was a little over a decade ago, and nowadays my shoulders–and my back–are a little less rugged than they used to be. So for the past couple years, I’ve put some effort (and more money than I’d like to admit) into working out the best way to carry cameras around with me. In particular, in the last couple of months I’ve been working on coming up with the best way to carry a pair of cameras, a long lens, and some supplies with me on long-ish treks–so far up to about eight miles at a time. This is what I’ve come up with.