5th APEC III stereo view exchange - David Lee

Fallen Aspen, Mono County, CA, September 1997.

This image was made near a small dirt road near Highway 395. The elevation was between 7,000 and 8,000 feet.

This is another aspen photograph from the Eastern Sierra. The location of this one was off a dirt road parallel to Highway 395 a few miles north of Mono Lake. This is the third occasion on which I have photographed this scene. (Eventually I'll get it right.)

The camera I used for this image was a pair of wooden 4x5 cameras which I recently constructed. I settled on this type of camera because I wanted the highest image quality possible (ultimately the images will be made into large prints) without too great a weight. I was thinking about buying 2 new medium format cameras, but the expense and weight of even the lightest of new cameras seemed excessive to me. Then it occurred to me to construct a pair of 4x5 cameras out of thin plywood. (One of them with lens and film holder weighs slightly more than a Realist.) I bought 2 Schneider (Apo-Symmar) view camera lenses (120 mm., slightly wide angle for 4x5) and the Schneider people were kind enough to match the focal lengths for me at the factory (even new lenses with consecutive serial numbers do not necessarily have identical image sizes). For this version of the camera I decided to simplify the construction by making the focus fixed (that is, no adjustment is possible). At f45 the depth of field gives sharp focus from about 10' to infinity.

This is the the first image I have printed from this camera. The exposure for this image was f45 for several minutes (can't recall exactly how long it was). The camera separation was 5" (the least possible, and in this case, slightly more than optimum). The film was TMax 100 (which I expose at 50). Besides being a good film, this is the only black and white film made for Kodak's new ReadyLoad 4x5 film holder, which I decided was the lightest film holder to use for this system. The light was open shade (the sun had just set). I had been waiting for it to set because I felt that direct sun on the scene did not enhance it. The film was developed in Tmax developer at 1:9 dilution at 68 for 13 minutes in a large tank with agitation at 1 minute intervals. The print was made on Ilford Multigrade IV paper (pearl surface). The image size is actually a reduction from the negative size.

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