Large Format waterfalls

I’m planning a week on the remote Ardnamurchan peninsula of Scotland at the end of October, (COVID permitting) and intend to shoot mostly large format. But I hadn’t shot any large format for about six months so I thought I’d better get a bit of practice in before the week away.

So I drove to the Cheviot Hills in Northumberland with a plan to photograph two waterfalls. I packed the Intrepid 4×5 camera and two double film holders loaded with Ilford FP4+

The first destination was an un-named fall on Carey Burn. I planned to make two exposures here, using the Viewfinder app on my iPhone to narrow down the selection and settle on a 90mm wide-angle lens. In the event I made a third exposure, when I realised that I may have forgotten to close down the lens to the taking aperture; one of the many things you have to remember in LF. As it happens, all three of those exposures were spoilt by light leaks on one side of the image. Fortunately, I was able to crop one of them to square and rescue an image:

Carey Burn: 90mm lens, 1/4 second @ f45, polarising filter.

The FP4+ was exposed at EI64 and the development limited to 5 minutes at 19C, to avoid blowing the highlights.

I returned to the car and drove to Hethpool for another short walk to Hethpool Linn on the College Burn. Since I only had one sheet of film left I looked at a few possible compositions before settling on this one:

Again the 90mm lens was used, with no filters this time, and a 4 second exposure at f/32. I would have preferred a shorter exposure to retain more detail in the water, but that wasn’t possible with FP4, which I rated at box speed (125).

I wished that I had packed a couple of sheets of the HP5+ I recently bought, as this would have allowed the shorter shutter speed – but at least I learned a lesson for next time. Still quite pleased with the image though.

Due to the light leaks I’ve decided I’m going to re-test all of my film holders before the Scottish trip – probably with paper negatives on a test scene in the garden to keep the cost down.

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