Bratislava project in cold January
Sometimes it is not easy to work with a big format camera in the city. But there is, at least, one big advantage. Walking streets with a tripod and wooden camera and using incredibly slow obsolete process help me to stay aside of everyday life. I'm not a member or a participant, I'm just an observer. It is like visiting a new city for the first time.
This picture of a Virgin street through an opening in a building was made at the big and busy crossroad, with the camera situated close to the road. During 18 minutes exposure, there were cars, buses and even three honking ambulances driving in the front of the camera. The facade of the building was in the shadow, but there was some sunlight on the right side of Virgin street.
For this project, I'm using just a basic lens. For covering a wider angle, I want to create composed pictures from two or three plates. This was the first day with 100,000 LUX in direct sunlight. The back side of the camera was tilt to correct the verticals convergence. I used just 15 minutes exposures here with F16 and the top part of photographs is pretty soft. F22 would be more appropriate, but in that case, I would lose the front sunlight in the second tower. Working with these slow plates you have to all the time trade something for something. Wet plates taught me a patience, dry plates make from me a master of compromises :)
It is true that limitations make you more creative, still sometimes I have to think why not use a modern big format film. That will be a very different project. Dry plates are special not just because of the limitations you have to deal with. I like very much how they work in extreme light conditions. In this picture was sun covered behind the second tower. The nearest facade detail was in deep shadow and the highlights on the second tower were double bouncing sunlight. Still it is much brighter than the sky. In the direct sunlight was EV 15,2 and I exposed for EV 14, 24 minutes with F16. Resulted negative is very weak and has to be print on a contrast paper, but the result is not without some appeal.
Link to project gallery
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