It’s still spring — even though it was 96ºF outside today and 92º in the house — and I’m still making mistakes. If you missed it, you can still read about the first batch of mistakes I made with my newish 4×5 large format camera.
The first go-round assumed that I was doing things right to get light onto the film. An assumption that I wasn’t immediately able to test.
Mistake Five: Have a post-exposure plan. After I made some test black-and-white exposures in March, I didn’t consider what I would do with the film after tripping the shutter and putting the dark slide back into the film holder. (The dark slide is the thing that blocks light from striking the film while it’s in the holder and which is pulled out before tripping the shutter.) I don’t have any developing equipment. Nor do I have a lightproof box to hold the film until I can get it to the lab. So I still have a film holder loaded with two sheets of exposed film. Hmm. . . .
The B&W sheets are just for practice, since I plan on doing most of my work in color. Fortunately, I have a Fuji QuickLoad holder, which really simplifies things for certain color films. QuickLoad wraps the film in an envelope that does double duty as the dark slide and a convenient light-tight container before and after exposure. (“Naked” B&W film is about five times cheaper per sheet, though.)
So I took a few sheets of Fuji Velvia 100F QuickLoad film with me when we went to Marblehead on Memorial Day. On Saturday I took the three sheets of film to Newtonville Camera and dropped them off with the same peace of mind that I would 35mm film.
Six: Be sure to set the ISO dial correctly on the handheld lightmeter. Large format cameras don’t have a TTL exposure meter. (Actually, large format cameras don’t have much of anything that other “modern” cameras do.) So you have to use some kind of off-camera meter. I use a Sekonic incident/reflective meter, but I forgot to set the film dial to ISO 100 when I switched from shooting Tri-X film, which is ISO 320. (The bigger the ISO number the more sensitive the film and the less light that it needs for a “correct” exposure.)
When I returned home from Newtonville today with my newly developed film, I discovered — as you might expect — that all three of my exposures were about one-and-a-half stops underexposed:
Seven: If you don’t read the camera manual, you won’t know that the camera has a front swing mechanism. I didn’t read the manual.