Watch This Large Format Photographer Take a Landscape Photo

Film photographer Dominique Pierre-Nina describes large format photography as the “progression of photographers” in this fascinating video where he shoots a landscape photo on 4×5.

The video was shared by ABC Australia and follows Pierre-Nina to a field somewhere down under as he captures a sparse landscape on black and white film.

Pierre-Nina used a 210mm f/5.6 lens on his large format camera which he says is only available on the second-hand market because “they don’t make them anymore.”

‘The Dance’

Pierre-Nina calls setting up a large format photograph “The Dance” which involves setting the scene, deciding whether to shoot landscape or portrait, choosing the aperture, and focusing the image. Only once all these details are perfected is the shutter released.

Pierre-Nina has a black cloth that he uses to block out sunlight so he can see the image on the back of the analog camera. Once the shot is set up, he then uses a light meter (remember them) to get a reading of the foreground, the singular tree that’s in the shot, and the sky.

“I’m going to go with f/23, 1/25 of a second because I’m shooting on film speed ISO 400,” he explains in the video.

“At this stage, I can decide whether to give the scene a little more light or a little less light. That is entirely up to the photographer and it is where the artistic flair of the photographer will come into play.”

Once all of the above, or the dance, has been completed, Pierre-Nina can pull out the darkslides and inserts them into the camera before finally taking a singular photo.

Then comes the complicated process of putting the camera away which involves folding up the bellows and remembering to take home his notebook and light meter.

At the end of the video, Pierre-Nina can be seen with a beautiful large print of the shot he took which looks like it could hang pride and place in somebody’s home or business.

Pierre-Nina says he does edit his images afterward, either in the darkroom or on Adobe Lightroom where he usually plays with the contrast settings.

The video is a nice zoom-in of the life of a large format photographer that is so very different to digital photographer and their 64-gigabyte memory cards filled with RAW images.