Monday, August 12, 2013


I generally try to compose a photo well enough in the camera that it doesn't require a lot of 'fiddling' in post production. I think that as photographers, this should be one of our goals. Improving in the area of composition is one of my most difficult tasks and one that I am always trying to achieve. Composition, of course encompasses a LOT of things, but specifically here I am talking about the relative positions of objects and shapes in the frame. The enemy of composition is the 'hurry up'. Light is fading, things are moving, dinner is burning, etc. These things all cause the 'hurry up' and when you are in a hurry, you will only get a good composition by sheer luck. Large format film is a bit too dear to leave up to luck, so we generally try to go about making photos when we know we will have enough time. But there are situations when the 'hurry up' just descends. Recently, I was at a farmer's market in my neighborhood. I came across it accidentally since it is only there on Tuesdays and I was actually on my way to a different location to take a different photo. But there it was and if I walked by, I would have to wait another week to go and see what was there to photograph. The sun was setting behind the booths and behind the marine layer, so I found myself in the middle of the 'hurry up' trying to get photos before I ran out of light.
I saw this scene and I knew that there was something about it that appealed to me, so I framed the whole thing and shot it.
Farmers market
Here comes the beauty of large format. I took my shots home, developed them and scanned them. Now I only scanned at 1200 dpi which is about a medium resolution image (about 29 MPixels). That gives me plenty of resolution to crop out the bit that I really like. I still down-res that image to upload, so I have pixels to spare and no visible grain (even with Tri-X in Rodinal!!). So this way, I haven't wasted my sheet of film. It still contained the image that I wanted to capture, and later I can revisit the negative or the original scan and re-compose again if I choose.
Farmers market crop