Saturday, January 22, 2000

A Forgotten World: Landscape Vistas in Medium Format

How soon we forget: it wasn't too long ago that photographers craved cameras that delivered large, richly detailed, beautifully exposed, pieces of celluloid. It was a highly anticipated ritual to bring a roll of negatives to the developer's and subsequently await the 4 to 7 days that it took to deliver prints or positives.

Medium Format was intermediate between "small format" [now known as "full-frame" or 35 mm] and "large format" [huge cameras requiring sheet film]. Medium format had the advantage of portability as well as convenience (use of roll film (120 or 220 sized) instead of sheet film). However, the big plus over 35mm was that the medium format negative was at least 2.7x the area of full-frame negatives. 'At least' because medium format typically came in several sizes: 6x4.5, 6x6, 6x7 and 6x8. Medium format cameras delivered incredible detail and were favored by many photographers and professionals who found "full frame" (35 mm) negatives to be inadequate (and APS was seen as virtually useless).

Shooting landscapes with medium format, therefore, was a very special way to capture the detail and grandeur of nature and the following images were taken when film and medium format were very much alive. I took all the following images in medium format at the turn of the millenium; the negatives/positives were taken on 6x4.5 or 6x8 equipment and then scanned.

First a series on the Canadian Rockies (Banff):





After mountains, lakes and glaciers, here's some more from Canada featuring lakes, woods and of course, Niagara Falls:




In Europe, what could offer a more tempting landscape opportunity than the fabled Dolomites of Northern Italy and the world-renowned Swiss Alps:


Closer to home in the US, Vermont in Autumn and Arizona anytime of the year make for unforgettable vistas of color and light:


Can today's digital cameras produce spectacular landscapes? Of course they can. But the magic captured on the the lush expanse of medium format celluloid can perhaps never be equaled.

1 comment:

  1. Those are some artistically done photographs. Medium format is what I too started my journey in photography with. It is still one of my preferred formats.

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