Large Format Color Panoramic Landscape Photographs
I have made a lot of different types of photographs over the years, but the large format color panoramic landscape photographs featured on this web site are the ones that I feel the most deeply about. There is nothing about them that is not intimately connected to my soul’s imagination. When I look at one of them, any one of them, my body remembers what went into the effort. Everything.
Film and Development
All of the photographs on this web site were exposed on Kodak 4×5 color negative sheet film and developed by hand (by me) in a modified C-41 sink-line process running at 85 degrees Fahrenheit with nitrogen gaseous burst agitation. I learned this method from Bob Korn.
I discontinued this process years ago. It was time. Why? Picture yourself working in a small, hot, pitch-black closet garbed head to toe in heavy rubber with a big chemical safety mask strapped across your face, dipping and dunking a stainless steel basket full of film in and out of open vats of toxic solutions. It is much less pleasant than it sounds, I can assure you. It is claustrophobic and disorienting and tedious. I used to think it was ‘cool’ to be quite possibly the only person on the planet still developing color negative sheet film this way before I started to think that maybe it would be a lot more ‘cool’ to stop repeatedly exposing my body to such an obviously unhealthy experience. Digital imaging may have killed chemistry, but all in all it might have saved my life.
Camera and Lens
Most of these images were made using a camera known as the Gowland Pocket View. The Pocket View is an incredibly compact and lightweight 4×5 view camera that can easily be transported on long hikes. It is a marvel. I would not have been able to make many of these images without this camera. I no longer remember how I discovered the existence of the Pocket View, but once I had, I rang up Peter Gowland himself and ordered one. Wow. It changed everything. I think it is lighter than an F3 with a motor wind attached. You can read a review of the camera here, and visit Peter’s site for all sorts of info about his cameras and his fascinating career here.
Most images were made with a Nikon 135mm f5.6 NIKKOR-W lens, and the rest were made with a Rodenstock 90 mm f6.8 Grandagon-N.
With the death of chemical photography, at least with my connection to it, I have often wondered if I will make more of these photographs. I made the last of them in 2002, and lately I have been thinking about making more. I will have to solve the digital capture problem. I will stay with the view camera format, because I love composing upside down under a dark cloth. I also love being that guy that people have to stop and talk to, because they have never seen anyone making photographs with an accordion before 🙂