Sunday, February 20, 2011

Linhof I

Last friday, I bought something at an auction for the first time - not on eBay, but a real auction with real people and an actual 'once - twice - sold'. It was a lot of fun! I was lucky enough to buy a beautiful old large format camera to a more than reasonable price! It's an old Linhof Kardan with a 180 mm Schneider-Kreuznach lens. The camera is at the same time very simple and very versatile. It's possible to completely take it apart and, more importantly, to move both the objective and the film holder in virtually any position. The film holder can be moved up and down, as well as tilted along the horizontal and vertical axes. The objective can be moved and tilted both horizontally and vertically. This means one has complete freedom for selecting the orientation of the focal plane (see Linhof III below for an example).

Linhof II

With this kind of camera, you have a screen (the so-called ground glass) in the place of the film before you take the shot. This allows you to carefully set up the camera and compose your picture, with all the tilts and shifts that you might wanna use. It's actually very similar to a 'live-view' feature on a modern digital camera (apart from the fact that the image is not upside-down ;)! Then you have to take out the screen and put the film holder in its place. In this way, you make sure that the film will 'see' exactly what you have seen before. The image on the screen will usually be much darker than the surrounding light (I brightened it in the picture), which is the reason why photographers used to cover themselves and their cameras with large pieces of black cloth.

Linhof III

This is a close-up of the ground glass from the setting shown in the picture above. I strongly tilted the objective- and image planes, which results in a tilted focal plane. While the faces of the dolls are in focus, their feet, which are roughly in the same vertical plane, are out-of-focus. On the other hand, the metal arch in the garden and even the distant branches of the trees are in focus. This technique, which has been used for architectur and landscape photography for many decades, is becoming very popular today for creating the illusion of a miniaturized reality. It is used for both videos and stills and is today typically achieved with tilt-shift lenses (which are insanely expensive) on digital SLR cameras.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Thessaloniki II

During the same trip, we went to the sea side for some great food. Next to the taverna was a small port with a lot of yachts waiting for the spring to come.


During the weekend we went to Thessaloniki. We had great food and an even greater company with our friends Alexandra, Foteini and Phil. We visited the rotunda , a church-turned-mosk-turned-church, which is currently under reconstruction. However, at one spot of the church / mosk, there was a beautiful light from one of the windows, looking almost like a spotlight lighting a stage. Luckily I had four gifted actors at hand ...


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