Sometimes it is better to be lucky than good.
Today I was processing some old 4″x5″ black and white film that I had shot some time ago. If you haven’t shot much 4×5 you probably don’t realize how difficult it is. My “keeper” rate is about 25%. A lot of things can go wrong – incorrect exposure, improper film loading, mistakes in processing. Today I processed 9 sheets and only 3 turned out. As I pulled this one out of the wash, my heart skipped a beat.
I remember taking this about 15 months ago but had forgotten about it. I wanted to get a shot of my dad with my Toyo VRX-125 with the front standard tilted so the only thing in focus is his eyes. He sat patiently while I fiddled with my camera, getting all the settings just so. Shooting with a tilted front standard is very difficult to do correctly. The depth of field is very, very narrow and it is tilted so I have to duck under the hood, check focus, adjust my camera, check focus again. Lots of things can go wrong. It takes about 5-8 minutes to shoot one photo like this. Dad held still while I worked the camera. Finally, I inserted a film holder, locked everything down, then snapped the shutter. One shot. That was all I got.
So all the odds are against me. I have taken dozens of photos like this but I can’t remember a single one turning out correctly because SO many things can go wrong from the time you start loading film to the time you scan the final image, which in this case was 15 months later.
I am one lucky guy, let me tell you. I now have this awesome photo of my dad, who has passed away. The photo was extremely difficult to take and get right. And now I have it on 4″x5″ film, scanned at 196 megapixels.
Yep, I will take luck any old time. This made my year right here.