Calumet 4×5 and the DIY lens
I have been wanting a view camera for a long time, a camera that basically is a tilt shift lens. Just as I was about to go on vacation I found one on EBay for $110 plus shipping, and it looked like it could be in good condition. I bit.
The camera didn’t come with a lens, but I can get one later. For now I decided that I’d try photography with a magnifying glass for lens. I found one with a focal length of about 170 mm and taped it to a sheet of cardboard. The result was a shutter less 170mm f4 lens.
The lack of a proper shutter is a bit of a limitation, to time exposures by manually covering and exposing the lens with the hand or a hat becomes much easier once the shutter times exceed one second. So I fabricated a waterhouse stop from a sheet of cardboard that I punched a 5mm hole through. By reducing the aperture to f34 from the original f4 slowed the lens down 6 steps, and switching from film to paper gave me another 4 steps.
In the evening sun that gave me exposures ranging from 8 to 30 seconds, which is reasonable. With the f34 aperture in place it was just a matter of holding the finger over the hole, removing the dark slide, lifting the finger, counting the seconds, replacing the finger and replacing the dark slide.
We were constantly assailed by mosquitoes so I didn’t stay still long enough to take advantage of the movements that the camera has to offer. But was a lot of fun. After carrying a bag of film holders, a tripod and the huge transport case for the camera for a while I understood why some say that monorail cameras are unsuitable for landscape photography.
With 30 second exposures it is easy to get in the frame yourself, even without a self timer.