30 years of work = 60 images

David Fokos shows us how and why to use a large format film camera. He is one of the great photographic artists working today. I love his work.

Unlike the digital photographer who may easily shoot 500 images or more per session, David has 60 images he thinks are his best and these are the ones he shows. This after 30 years of work! Makes me think I should go clean up my SmugMug and Flickr sites where I’ve got tons of images (some good – some not so much). Best 30. Yikes!

Here’s a great video about David’s work along with some of his wonderful images.

Note for new photographers:

David get’s that lovely smooth look to his images by shooting long time exposures from 20 seconds up to several minutes. You can do the same thing with your DSLR or even digital point and shoot if you use a tripod and some sort of remote shutter release (cable or wireless release). Shoot later in the evening so that the light in the sky isn’t so bright as to mandate too high a shutter speed. Set your ISO (the sensitivity of your sensor) to as low as it will go (if you’ve got a polarizer filter that will help to reduce the amount of light hitting the sensor) and shoot in colour. If you want a black and white image, desaturated (turn off) the colour in software. If your camera has a manual setting, you maybe able to force it to take really long exposures (which you can determine either by using a light meter or experimentation using your LCD playback screen to help you judge the exposure).

David’s large format camera is merely a lens on a lens board affixed to a bellows box with a single-sheet film holder (which has a slide that blocks the light from hitting the film which the photographer removes to allow the light to reach the film and then slides back into the holder to remove the film safely from the camera. Such cameras can still be purchased for less than the price of a DSLR. Really great lenses however can cost in the thousands of dollars.

Bob Skeoch from Burlington, Ontario sells large format cameras and runs workshops for enthusiasts.

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