Thoughtfactory’s large format

a minor blog about the trials and tribulations of large format, film photography in Australia

at Currency Creek

I remember really struggling  to get  the  large format photography off the ground when I picked it up after a 20 year absence.   I'd lost the knack.  At the return stage, even though  the work flow  was simple --- the negatives were  developed and scanned by Atkins Lab,   the results were less than impressive.   I was rusty. 

This picture of the brick piers of the  old railway bridge at Currency Creek was an attempt to  construct a situation --- a family outing by a creek as it were. We were living in Adelaide at the time  and we stayed  at Victor Harbor every second  weekend. On the Sundays when  we were at Victor Harbor  we -- Suzanne, myself and the standard poodles --- would often go for an outing. We were exploring and getting to know the Fleurieu Peninsula.  We visited Currency Creek a number of times as it was a good place to walk the poodles along the creek.  

These early attempts at large format after a long absence were not good: they were notable for their poor sense of composition,  a lack of awareness about light and little sense of a colour palette.   I wasn't really thinking photographically.  I was too busy getting used to the equipment and approach. Taking snaps as it were.

The  Currency Creek scene  was set up  in order  for me to control things.  The camera was a 5x4 Linhof Technika IV field camera.   I'd chosen an overcast day with flat light at midday, when what I really wanted was some  gentle,  late afternoon light to lift the scene.  So the results were nothing like what I'd pre-visualised.  

I wasn't thinking about the relevance of large format in a digital age.  I was finding  the process quite discouraging and, as  I knew no one  in Adelaide using large format cameras  whom I could ask for advice,   I was on my own. So the files just sat on the hard drive. Every time I looked at them in the large format folder I got depressed.