30 Days With My 11x14 Large Format Camera and X-Ray Film (Episode 1)

June 26, 2018  •  Leave a Comment

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In July, 2018, I am going to spend thirty days with my 11x14 large format camera using only Kodak Ektascan B/RA X-Ray film. 

If you have been thinking about using or wanting to know more about using X-Ray film, then you will want to do two things.  

First, subscribe to my Free Darkroom Newsletter because I will be sharing exclusive details about my experience with you here that you won't find anywhere else.  Also, on my YouTube Channel, I will be sharing videos from the field and in the darkroom.

My intentions are to make silver gelatin contact prints in the darkroom from the Kodak Ektascan B/RA X-Ray negatives.  I will be exploring various metering techniques and a variety of developers that ultimately help me tame the inherent contrast associated with X-Ray films.  The cost savings of X-Ray film is a huge benefit for large format photographers, so I thought for that reason alone, it was worth investing my time.  Also, I personally like the orthochromatic look for some of my work because I find it gives that vintage feel that I just can't get with modern day panchromatic emulsions.  

I am really excited to focus on this for the entire month of July and see where all this takes me creatively, as well as some new technical discoveries that may come from this period of focus.  

I have a passion for contact printing and I find 11x14 prints to feel and appear substantially larger than 8x10.  I also have a custom dark slide for one of my film holders that allow me to create two 5x14 panoramic exposures on one sheet of film. I have found that 5x14 Platinum prints are something very special when they are mounted, so if things go well, I may explore this too.  

I understood mathmatically that 8x10 was 80 square inches (516 square centimeters) and 11x14 was nearly twice as big at 154 square inches (992 square centimeters), but I didn't count on the emotional impact that I have able to achieve with this format.  If you are an 8x10 photographer that loves to make contact prints, then 11x14 may be something you want to consider at some point.  Maybe my third day journey will help you decide if you want to explore this more.  

MY 11X14 LARGE FORMAT VIEW CAMERA EQUIPMENT

I use the Chamonix 11x14 view camera exclusively for this format.  It is an engineering marvel in my mind and for 11x14, it only weighs 14 lbs/6630g.  My old Burke & James weighs over twice this amount.  The camera is a joy to use in the field and fits nicely into a case for transport. I transport it out in the field in a baby jogging stroller!

I use the following lenses:

  • 210mm Schneider Super-Angulon F8
  • 300mm Rodenstock APO-Sironar W F5.6-F64
  • 450mm Fujinon-C F12.5-F128
  • 600mm Fujinon-C F11.5-F64

I use a Gitzo 5541-LS carbon fiber tripod with a Really Right Stuff BH-55 ball head and I can also use my Manfrotto 400 geared head if I am working on still life.    

For metering, I use a Sekonic 758-DR and I have an older Sekonic 508 that I keep as my backup.  I have been using the 758 since 2010 and really rely on it with a high degree of accuracy.

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