Why a 7x17 Ultra Large Format View Camera?

A least a decade ago before the family started I used to have a darkroom and do lots of "real" B&W film photography. All formats from 35mm to Medium format to Large format and even Ultra Large Format. Not as a professional, just for interest and fun and a distraction from sitting in front of a screen all day as a Software developer. Printing in the darkroom was sublime, and Lith printing my absolute favourite thing.

Gear Acquisition Syndrome (GAS) was very real and resulted in the ultimate purchase (with no regrets) of a Richard Ritter ULF 7x17" View camera. I love the Panoramic format and 7x17" is the pinnacle of this in my mind. "China" by Lois Conner is a fabulous example of what can be created with it.

Then the family arrived and all the "toys" were sold or stored. I did try to sell the 7x17 at the time but to my great relief now I failed. With time on hand everything has been unmothballed and thankfully is in serviceable condition. I don't have access to a darkroom so all film handling is in a daylight bag which is the biggest challenge. I'm now trying to get into a rhythm with the whole process.

It's a big camera, with big film holders and heavy lenses. It needs a sturdy (read heavy) tripod. It's time consuming to set up and focus and you're limited to very few shots due to the number of film holders you can carry and the cost of each exposure.

But... it's so rewarding. You need to practice patience, concentration and be prepared for each shot to take time. You cannot rush, one misstep at any point will most likely render the result useless. Currently having to two part scan the negative and pano merge and digitally process. Hopefully soon I can create some space to do some Contract printing and maybe even Lith printing. Fingers crossed.

I'm on the way to 10,000 hours to Mastery, but there are very many more ahead of me...

River Alde and St Botolphs Church at Iken nr Woodbrige UK. Shot and developed over 10 years ago, only recently scanned and processed.

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