First outing with the Graphic View 4×5

Several months ago, Alex (Dad) gave me his Graphic View 4×5. I’ve used it as a subject a couple of times, but it otherwise languished, wrapped in plastic, precariously balanced on top of the file cabinet since the day I brought it home.

Friday, Alex called to tell me that he found some film holders and film while cleaning up his garage or closet or something, and invited me to come visit him at work and pick them up.

So I did.Rather than go empty-handed, I loaded up a couple of sheets of HP5+ and rolled out to Roanoke with the camera and tripod, intending to shoot a couple of portraits.

And shoot a couple of portraits, I did…

Here’s the first one:

I could’ve done a bit better job with the framing (and I did with the second attempt), but for my very first time, squinting at the ground glass in broad daylight, operating a camera more than twice my age (and older even than the subject), I think I did ok.

While I was setting up to take this second one, a customer (I think… maybe a coworker) came up and asked if I wanted to take his picture. I didn’t, really, but told him how the camera worked and invited him to watch as I slid the negative carrier into position, pulled out the dark slide, tripped the shutter, replaced the dark slide, and pulled the negative carrier out.

It was probably less exciting and impressive for him than it was for me…

But I did a bit better with the framing and all this time, I think…

though the shadows on Alex’s face make him look a bit like a walrus… Oh well.

Edit: I just noticed the marks on the right edge… in the bottom third, there’s a vertical line, and in the top third there are two half circles with pinholes in the middle that are from the weights I hung to make sure the negative dried flat.

I didn’t need them: 4×5 film is fairly stiff, much stiffer than 35mm, for sure.

I’m getting ahead of myself…

I developed the film almost straight away in the R3 Monobath, which did a much better job with the sheet film than it did with the roll of Ansco. I developed one sheet at a time in a cheap plastic container that I coated—very poorly—with PlastiDip. I had hoped to make a daylight developing tank, but my spraying technique was poor.

It worked out fine, though: I poured a half inch or so of R3 into the container, put the lid on loosely, and put it into the dark bag with the negative holder. I pulled one negative out, slid it into the developer, snapped the lid on, waited 5.5 minutes, opened the dark bag, waited another half a minute or so, then pulled out the negative and started washing it.


For scanning, I used a rather questionable method…

Yes, that’s the negative, gaff-taped to the window. And, yes, that’s the D7000 and Nikkor 24-105mm f/3.5-4.5 aimed at it.

I used live view to focus and get something close to square and plumb, but not spot on: the keystone tool in Capture One Pro is a lifesaver.

So that was the first time with the 4×5… One of the negative holders Alex gave me yesterday is already loaded with some FP5 (I think), so I might shoot some more soon.

Large format is fun.


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