Large Format Photography - Little Differences

It's interesting how a different workflow, or in this case photographing with a whole different camera, can change little things about the way one approaches photography. 

As I mentioned in a previous post, I've been working a lot with large format film lately. I've come come to realize there is one very simple, but very big difference, when working with large format monorail camera versus 35mm or medium format cameras. With most cameras the viewfinder doesn't cover the total image area of the film you are working with. In other words, whatever you see in the viewfinder the final image will have a little more to it around the edges of the frame, sometimes as much as ten to fifteen percent more.

With the monorail camera, it is the exact opposite. Whatever I see on the ground glass when composing an image, the final negative will have a little bit less! We can see the first casualty of this fact in the image above. When I composed the image on the ground glass the model's hand was well within the lower portion of the frame. In the final negative I've cut off the tips of her finders. Uggh!! It's a little frustrating to me.

This might seem like a very simple change, and one that can be easily compensated for. However, composing with the assumption that the final image will have a bit more information than what I see in the viewfinder is the result of fifteen years of automatic behavior at this point and it is going to be a hard habit to break. I have a feeling I'm going to be seeing a lot more images coming out of my darkroom with little mistakes like this.