In March 2018 my wife and me visited my most beloved country of Northern Scotland. Since I own a Plaubel Peco Profia 4x5 inch monorail camera, I always wanted to take it everywhere - literally. So it accompanied us to Scotland. I had some 9x12cm film holders and the wonderful Horseman 6x12 roll film back from a friend.
In 6x12cm, a 120 medium format film takes six pictures. For me personally, I’d say: „Fun increases with limitation“. For 12 days we spent in Scotland I had two 120 rolls and some 9x12cm sheets of Ilford FP4+. In total just around 25 pictures. Little compared to the classic 35mm film photographer and the digital photographer. In former „digital“ holidays I used to shoot hundreds and even thousands of pictures. Most of them were not that good, some were ok, but only a very few were really enjoyable. That’s why I liked the idea of taking the super heavy and complicated to set up Plaubel Peco Profia. It isn’t a limitation in quality and possibilities, surely not. It is a limitation in terms of the total picture count and the set up time.
The question before taking a picture (this takes about 30 to 40 minutes just to set up the camera and frame the picture) is: Is it really worth it?
So few images were judged to be „worthy enough“ to be captured, that over all I only took 10 photos in 6x12 and 10 photos in 9x12.
I can really enjoy them all. 20 fine pictures. No snapshots that nobody’s willing to look at a few years later. Every single photo is set up within the spirit of the moment. In Scotland most moments were stunningly relaxing and just very wide. Perfect for the 6x12 panoramic format. But also a bit special. Not every scenery can be squeezed vertically that much.
To make a long story short: After our Scotland trip, two frames were still left on the Horseman 6x12 roll film back. It took me another two months to find a „worthy“ image to capture. While I was driving from Nürnberg to Ansbach on a country road I crossed a bridge across some railway tracks. Within that very moment I looked outside my car’s window to the side I knew it: This is really worth it. It just struck me like lightning: Why did I always use the 6x12 horizontally? Those perfectly parallel railway tracks lead just to infinity and would definitely max out the resolution capabilities of the FP4+. So technically and picture wise an interesting photograph (at least to me).
So I set up the camera directly on the bridge next to the road. Due to the practice in setting up the camera in Scotland I was kind of fast (15 Minutes). I used a Scheimpflug tilt to lay down the focus plane onto the tracks and used a contrast filter to enhance the separation in the greens next to the tracks. I waited for about 30 minutes for the light to be within my expectations and took the last two frames on that FP4+.
You cannot force an interesting picture, you stumble over it if you keep your mind open. And those photographs are always worth to be taken.