This Christmas I gave my wife a 40 x 24 print of the above photograph. I made this image probably six years ago at Coos Bay, Oregon. As soon as I saw these two geologic manifestations it looked to me like a mother and baby wrapped up papoose style. It also symbolized to me the rock solid connection a mother has with her child. Sometimes those children do not survive, or vice versa. In any event this mother-child bond is “cemented” in all time. Once both are returned to our maker reunions can be made.
At the time my favorite large format colour negative film was Kodak’s Portra 160. It was as close to the venerable Kodak VPS as I could find. The tonal range of Portra 160 and even 400 is outstanding. Colours are very neutral and images crystal sharp, but don’t take my word for it, check out the great review at Shutterfinger. The above image was made using a Linhof Tecknika IV (see pic below) and a Rodenstock Geronar 210mm lens. As is always the case a lenshade was used even though it was an overcast day.
The Geronar lens has unfortunately suffered a bad rap from the lens queens. I love the image signature of the Geronars. While not technically a Tessar design they exhibit a lot of the same 3D characteristics when used wide open. Colour rendition is accurate and they don’t suffer from flare. Another bonus is that they are small and light weight, great for backpacking and travelling. I have used the 150, 210 and 300mm versions of the Geronar lineup. Quite frankly I cannot pick out prints made from these as opposed to my more expensive large format lenses, especially once the lens is stopped down to f11 or greater. Currently I only have the 300mm version of the Geronar but am on the lookout for a good 210mm.
What many people don’t understand when it comes to print sharpness is that a sturdy, heavy tripod is essential to reduce vibration. I cannot count the number of times I have seen people spend huge amounts of money on lenses for their large format cameras only to cheap out on the tripod. When they produce slightly fuzzy photographs they lament they must have gotten a mis-aligned lens.
Not having the ability to produce 40 inch colour prints in my darkroom I was forced to scan my negative. Having recently purchased an Epson 750 Pro from George Barr I scanned my negative at 3200 dpi, processed in PhotoShop, upsized and saved as a jpg – 300 dpi. A very small amount of sharpening was applied in PhotoShop. The file was ftp’d to a local professional printing service for output. So far I have scanned both medium and large format negatives with the Epson. Results have been stellar! My Nikon 35mm scanner recently packed it in so I am hoping the Epson will do a good job on those negatives as well. I will keep you posted.
I hope to get back to Coos Bay again having been there three times already. It’s one of those magical places. Please check out my website for more Coos Bay photographs. I have images in both the colour and black/white galleries of Coos Bay and area. Most of the colour images were taken with a digital camera.