10,000 hours and ULF

Making images these days is simple. Grab your phone, open your App of choice, point, click and upload to Instagram. It's quick, simple and you can see your mistakes, like encroaching thumbs, as you go. I love it.


Making images with film and with a view camera is somewhat different. I'm not saying better, just different and also much harder. There are many steps on the way to capturing an image on the film. Then more steps to turn that latent image into something visible during development, Then more to turn that developed image into the final form, be that digital or a physical print. Any misstep on the way can either make producing the final result difficult or simply just ruin it.


I've spent the last few weeks working on the process, re-learning the steps, making them a habit and moving forwards. Until I went in the woods...


After lugging the 7x17 ULF view camera, lens, tripod, 3 film holders and accessories into the woods. Scouting locations. Setting up in a ditch in the drizzle, composing and focusing a very dark image I was ready. Waiting for the breeze and rain to stop I checked exposure, rechecked exposure, made sure the bellows weren't sagging and waited.


When the wind and rain eased I took my exposures. I was calm and confident. I was in the zone. I took 2 different compositions, 2 sheets of each, both 7x17 verticals which do add additional challenges but I was sure I had those under control. A good afternoons work, or so I hoped but never count you chickens before they're hatched...


After the careful and laborious task of developing 7x17 film was complete I was gutted. 3 out of the 4 negative were useless and both of my favoured composition were ruined. Light leaks had crept in and I was not a happy bunny.

After chatting online with the active LF and ULF community the conclusion is that whilst removing or inserting the darkslide I must have moved the film holder away from the back of the camera allowing extraneous light to hit the film and expose it. This was bad handling on my part and due to using the 7x17 in vertical format and having to handle to darkslides above my head. One small, unnoticed error and a whole afternoon of work wasted.


Fortunately I do have a single usable image from the shoot. It's very similar to one I took over 10 years of the same tree but at least it's something and I've learnt some more valuable lessons along my path to 10,000 to Mastery. So next time you're pointing and shooting, think of me making my life much more difficult than it needs to be! 🤗

Richard Ritter 7x17

Ilford HP5 iso 200 :: 4sec :: f/45

Moersh Finol

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