briankennedy.net - travel page nine
Jefferson Memorial, Washington DC Large Format

I was shooting the sun rising over the Jefferson Memorial. A guy nearby asked, "Hey, what kind of a camera is that?"

"Arca-Swiss." He looked puzzled. That's the manufacturer. I usually don't answer that way, but at 5:30 in the morning, he had caught me off guard.

I said, "It's called a large format camera. It uses a really big piece of film, so you don't have to enlarge as much. It makes for a really sharp and detailed picture, like you see on calendars." My usual answer.

"Cool."

It is cool. The design hasn't changed in more than a hundred years -- a lens at the front, a place to project the image at the back, and a flexible bellows in between. The front and back can be moved and tilted, allowing maximum control over the image. Nothing is automated and nothing needs batteries. No computer chip tells you what shutter speed to use or to turn on your flash. Yet serious landscape and architecture photographers use large format today because it is still the best way to get the sharpest, most detailed print, while providing maximum control over perspective, plane of focus, and composition. The landscapes you've seen by Ansel Adams and nearly all the photographs in Architectural Digest were taken with a camera like this.

I have not put many large format photos on the site yet because it is difficult to make time for updates, with the new baby and my other hobbies getting in the way. However, I add more images to the site, I expect a greater number will be from my large format camera than from 35mm or digital.

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Landscape, wildlife, and travel photography. All images on this site (c) Brian Kennedy.
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