4x5 strobist test # 1, leaf

Now that the colder months are rolling in, I'm going into a period of thorough testing with the 4x5 large format view camera where I am starting to apply my knowledge of studio lighting in the digital world to my new found love for shooting with Large Format film.  There are so many variables to get straight in my head.  Above and beyond the usual factors like lighting power ratios, diffusion, directionality of light, shadow retention, softness versus hardness of light. etc that come into play now there are the added challenges of knowing how certain film stocks respond to certain qualities of light.  I absolutely love that I can achieve such a high amount of subject detail with Large Format and still affect the look of the scene with predetermined film choices instead of relying on post-processing and long blocks of time laboring in Photoshop.   

Last night's test was all about determining how Ilford HP5+ B&W film responded to a simple one light setup on a simple subject like a dried leaf.    

Camera: Calumet 45NX 4x5 large format monorail view camera. 

Lens: Rodenstock Geronar 150mm F6.3 lens in a Copal 0 shutter. 

Film: Ilford HP5+ 400 ISO B&W sheet film shot at an EI of 400. 

Settings: Shot at F32, 1/125th second shutter speed.   

Development: Self Developed film in Kodak Xtol 1:2 in Paterson Universal Tank using the Taco Method.  15.5 minutes @ 20 degrees Celsius.  Tap water stop bath.  Ilford Rapid Fixer.  Photo-Flo.  Hung to dry overnight.  

Scanning: Negative scanned with Epson V600 in two scans and merged back together in PhotoShop since the V600 doesn't natively support 4x5 scans in one pass.   

Strobist Information: 

Single Alien Bees B800 studio strobe @ full power above subject in a Paul C Buff beauty dish with soft white lining and diffusion sock. 

White bounce card underneath vase containing leaf.    

Strobe triggered with a pair of PocketWizard Plus II radio triggers, one on camera attached to the Copal shutter via sync cable and the other on the B800 strobe.  

NOTE: This test used the B800 at full power to set a base line.  Now that I know what that will get me with the 4x5 setup, I can work with the other factors and tweak things at a lower amount of power with a goal of still maintaining an adequate amount of depth of field for the subject.  For the next test I will probably cut this down to half power and test some more until I am happy.  Future tests will add a rim light for separation of the subject from the background, additional reflector(s) and/or bounce card(s) and the move to the Phototek Softlighter instead of the PCB beauty dish as the main light diffusion.  I've got lots of leaves LOL.