Bundamba Lagoon in Ipswich Queensland Australia running during drought by Queensland and Australian Large Format Landscape photographer Murray Fox
Two years ago there was a golden field of wheat as far as the eye could see around this old house. Now, the land is bone dry and barren. There will be no winter crop this season, there is no water. The drought continues on and we pray for rain. Photographed with my Crown Graphic 4×5 Camera on Kodak Portra 160 film.
I made a big mistake when photographing this old shack, but thankfully film is so forgiving and I was still able to get a usable image. 4x5 Large Format landscape photography. Read the blog for all the details.
I was fortunate enough to come across a great deal and as an end result I am now the happy owner of a 50+ something year old Crown Graphic 4×5 camera. Simplicity itself to use, it’s basically a light tight box with a lens attached and a ground glass at the back for framing and focusing. It does have some other dohickies to help with that as well but I want to keep everything simple.
This camera takes 4inch x 5inch sheet film (HUGE!) or I can also use 120 Medium format film with a rear attachment for 8 shots in 6cm x 9cm size (again, still massive). This gives me the best of both worlds really. I can shoot 6×9 and keep costs down and go for the 4×5 when only the best quality will do.
Currently I’m only geared up to do 4×5 in black and white, but will be working to get colour home development sorted in the next month or so, then I will probably shoot more 4×5 than anything else.
Why 4×5? There are several things really that I wanted. One, is huge size/great quality, you get this in spades with the negatives. You also shoot one at a time and can change between different films on the fly as long as you have them loaded in a holder. A lot harder to do with medium format where you must finish the current roll, or carry multiple (and expensive) backs.
You can develop 1 photo at a time, especially nice with black and white as you can then do neat tricks with developing to change the end result/contrast etc.
The other is movements. This is a biggie for me. Out of the box with the 90mm lens my Crown Graphic has, movements are pretty limited, some rise, tilt upwards and shift left right. What I really wanted was lens tilt forward, this really helps with landscapes to get close focus and distant focus all in the same shot, while keeping everything parallel. Only cameras with movements or very expensive shift lenses can do this.
A quick modification to the front standard (reversing it) and I now have lens tilt forward along with rise, just perfect for landscapes. The rest of my kit is pretty budget, I’m just using an old black short as a dark cloth, and I have 5 holders (10 shots), more than enough really as I only plan to shoot 1 to 2 photos each time I go out. So 2 shots b&w and 2 shots colour loaded.
Well it was time to go and play so an early start saw me at the top of Mt French, getting slightly wet from the odd shower, and cursing the lack of the real light I wanted. Note, I also had not reversed the front standard yet, it was only after developing this photo I realised I really needed front tilt for focus control.
Anyway, there is a great spot in the middle of the heather where you can sit and chill. With the slightly gloomy conditions I just knew that black and white was the way to go. I had 2 sheets of Kodak Tmax 100 loaded and I exposed both, one as I metered and 1 a bit over exposed. I then developed both at home using the same time and went with the negative I was happiest with, which was the normal exposure. A good learning experience.
The level of detail in the photo blows me away, zoomed in you can see the individual rain drops on the chair and all the branches, leaves, rocks etc have wonderful textures. I even like the focus fall off into the distance even tho I really wanted it all sharp.
I also captured a few 6×9 frames in Kodak Ektar 100, a wonderful colour film, looking the other way from this view over the heather and nearby mountain. Those will have to wait for another day as I’ve not yet finished that roll, the joys of film 🙂
For anyone wondering why do all this, film is dead etc, go visit Alex Bourke. Alex is my inspiration in 4×5 photography, his images are just outstanding and he teaches a lot. I’ve purchased his Ebooks and regularly read them and his knowledge works. If I can get photos of Australia half as good as his USA photos, I’ll be in heaven.
Until next time, take care!
A gigantic Eagles Nest sits at the top of the tallest tree in the area, beautifully surrounded by the amazing core of the Milkyway. A photograph by Australian Landscape Photography Murray Fox, captured in Queensland Australia.
A stunning vertical Panorama of the MilkyWay and a path leading through the trees by Australian Landscape photographer Murray Fox
A huge 270hp Case Optum Tractor under the core of the Milkyway. Astrophotograhy by Australian Landscape Photographer Murray Fox
Well wasn’t this a challenge! My self and my good friend Craig had been in contact with a local farmer. He advised us his sunflowers were in their prime so we arranged a visit for Sunday afternoon to shoot it through sunset.
The massive problem was Tropical Cyclone Oma was approaching through the week and ended up sitting off the coast for a few days. The rain didn’t happen but boy did we get the wind. Capturing a stitched panoramic photograph can be challenging at anytime, throw in very strong winds with a close subject that moves around a lot, add just a sprinkle of low light as sunset occurs and I almost didn’t get a shot.
Thankfully, my previous experience with panoramas this year is really paying off and the final result, well, not blowing my own horn here but wow! This is the best panorama I’ve captured so far.
Timing was a bit rushed too as we first did a quick portrait shoot for the lovely couple who own the property, always great to give something back for being graciously granted permission onto their property. I’ve photographed in this area for nearly 10 years now and never have I captured a sunset with such a wonderful view as this.
Post production putting the final image together was also a super challenge. I ended up spending well over 5 hours putting all the pieces together and checking pretty much down to each flower everything joined up correctly. Hard work, but well worth the results.
Hopefully the rains come soon, everyone needs a drop so much.
I’m doing a bit more portrait work lately, it’s a change from the normal and being the obsessive technical type, a great challenge with lots of new things to learn. My first love is still landscapes and now panoramas however, so I may even explore the possibility of combining the two for something truly unique, stay tuned!
I’m very happy to let you all know I received a commendation for my entry into this years Australian Photographer of the Year. My entry was 4 photographs from my Nightscape portfolio entered under the title, Rural Nights. With thousands of entries all competing, I’ve very happy with the result.
Astro season is starting again now, I look forward to capturing many more creative photographs using all the techniques I devised and put into practice last season. I have quite a few ideas already planned, as for me if I’m not out there taking the photos, I’m thinking about taking the photos.
Here is a copy of the award I received, and the photographs I entered. All of these photos are available for purchase as an open edition print on Acrylic, contact me for pricing and details (free shipping Australia wide!)
Let me know in the comments below which is your favourite photo!
I’m out hunting for more panoramic landscapes this weekend as we finally appear to have clouds. This morning was a failed attempt but I’ll keep trying until I get the photographs I want. That’s the fun of working with mother nature, you can never truly predict what happens next. Until next time, thank you for reading.
A friend first shared a photo of these trees with me a few weeks back. Ever since then I’ve been chomping at the bit to get out and shoot them at sunrise. The location, the vista, the rolling hills behind and the simplicity of the scene just fired my imagination. This was perfect for a panorama and I couldn’t wait!
The last two mornings have had nil cloud, a 3:30am start saw me heading to Fernvale to meet up with my mate who was going to be my guide for the morning. Thankfully permission with the landowner was organised and after parking and walking in we began to work the scene. From one vantage point, the two trees appear to be intertwined and I really liked that view point.
Lots of moving around using my panorama tool to work out framing (this “tool” is a piece of cardboard with a window cut out of it in the 3:1 ratio). This makes it super quick to work out the best angle to shoot from. I’ve yet to find an Android Phone app that can do the same ratio (if you know of one, let me know please! Most get close but not 3:1).
This was the first photo I took, very early dawn light and colour. The clouds were clearing up quickly and the next few photos didn’t really work out for me. The sun is rising to the left of frame, this causes the colour to darken across the sky, giving a lovely change in hue as it goes.
2 Rows of 8 photographs were captured to make this panorama. The end result is very big file that can be printed exceptionally large, which is my goal for all my panoramas.
There are many more spots on this property to investigate, and I think once Winter is here, add some fog, or even some Astro is definitely on the cards, magic spot.
I’ve added this photography to my Landscape Portfolio.
You can find the in the field video for this photograph here : https://murrayfox.com.au/in-the-field-video-photographing-the-together-panorama/