September 13-October 25, 2015: Jim Tetz – Landscapes of the American West: A Large Format Photography Exhibit
A beautiful scene of nature, for me, is a fleeting feeling of heaven on earth – a transparent glimpse of the transcendent.
Such powerful scenes are a reminder of that which is truly incomprehensible. Although one can never experience such moments in their entirety, photography enhances my sense of awe and wonder for the works of nature.
The scenes of nature that are matted and framed in identical fashion are large format photographs. The film size used was 4X5″ or 8X10.” The primary advantage of a larger film size is that it captures much more detail.
The most common color film used was high resolution Fujichrome Velvia transparency film. The black and white prints were made from the 8X10″ negatives of fine-grain Iford Delta 100.
Each large format transparency or negative is scanned under very high resolution and printed using a large commercial printer on Fuji Crystal Archive photographic paper.
None of the prints in this exhibit have been digitally modified or changed in any way from the original transparency or negative. These prints are as true to the transparency or negative as possible, without any manipulation or cropping.
My interest in large format photography began in 1999 after seeing a photography exhibit at the Dayton Art Institute called In Praise of Nature Ansel Adams and Photographers of the American West. And so the journey began for me to travel across the United States with heavy large format photography equipment making pictures.
The large format cameras, also called view cameras, used to make these photographs, were a Linhoff 4X5,” and an 8X10″ homemade camera greatly modified from a kit. View cameras have a bellows separating the lens from the film. This flexibility provides the independent movement of the lens from the film, which creates the second most important advantage of a large format camera, which is perspective control.
The large format lens forms an image that is upside down and backwards, which is projected and focused onto etched glass under a dark cloth. The film is loaded into cassettes. The cassette is then placed in the camera so that the film plane replaces the ground glass image. The shutter, which is between the front and rear elements of the lens, exposes the film. All light metering of the scene is done manually. Exposure increases are oftentimes calculated manually for filter factors, reciprocity failure, and bellows extension for close ups.
The large format camera, tripod, lenses, film cassettes, and accessory equipment together weigh at least 45 pounds, and was carried to each location in a backpack.
All of the pictures shown, except for three, were made from unique locations that are accessible only by foot, oftentimes with hiking for several miles. Most of the locations were above 5,000 feet, and several were above 10,000 feet.
My deepest gratitude and thanks goes to my hiking partners – my wife Nancy and her sister Jeanne. They waited patiently on location during the making of most of the photographs, sometimes in freezing cold and rain, oftentimes for more than 60 minutes for each scene.
I am truly grateful for the opportunity to share my photographic experiences with you.
– Jim Tetz, August 29, 2015
About the Artist
Jim Tetz is an amateur photographer who lives near Yellow Springs with wife and two little rescue dogs.