Creative ruts. It’s something I think that everyone who deals in the creative field goes through. I’ve had my share and while they aren’t fun, they can lead to a constructive outcome. Is that always the case? Maybe…maybe not. All I know is that they exist and they certainly aren’t fun.

What does all of this talk about a creative rut have to do with the title of this post though? It all comes down to that constructive outcome.

The Creative Journey

I’ve always had a love for photography. I haven’t always practiced that creative art though. It has really gone through phases I would say.

I’ve came into and left photography multiple times over the past 20-30 years. It’s never been that I didn’t love the art, but more to the point that it just faded. During the past 7 years or so, my photography has taken a more professional turn and led to me being able to capture and share my art with others all while being able to make a little income off from it. That’s been great!

Over time though, that rut has crept up. I’ve slowly started traveling less, taking less photos, and just overall being unhappy with the quality of my work. Others continue to be supportive, which I can’t thank them enough for, but there seems to be something lacking.

Granted, we are our own worst critics, but I’ve been trying to figure out what has been missing. I still love the art. I love creating an image and seeing it through the whole creative process from capture to processing. This is where I landed on something that seems to have renewed a passion in me. The journey to film.

My Large Format Photography Journey

Many will say that film is dead. Others wonder why you’d even want to start something like this when there are such amazing digital cameras out there today. I’ve found that none of that applies. I still have a love for digital photography and will continue to pursue that. What I’m doing is adding an aspect of photography that many have left behind and others have never even experienced.

It’s all about the process. This creative journey that led me to large format film photography started with learning about the process. Granted that there are other advantages of large format such as the increased resolution and ability to print big. Those where huge draws to me since most of my business deals with prints and specifically printing large prints. But it was the process of creating that image that renewed something for me.

I say all of this without even taking a single image on film yet, but that is what is so exciting to me. A renewed vigor and passion for the art. At this point, I’ve acquired my first lens, a few accessories, and am waiting on the arrival of my first large format camera, an Intrepid Camera Co. 4×5. That is where my true journey will begin and I plan on documenting the whole experience.

This post was more of a starting point…an introduction as to the why for anyone out there that may be in the same position. I wanted to share how I learned about the format, the gear I chose, and a few other tidbits. It might help someone else and it might not, but it doesn’t change my excitement.

Large Format Photography Gear

Lens

As mentioned, I’ve picked up a few pieces of gear so far in my start down this road. The first item I picked up after researching a ton about how to get started was a Nikkor W 150mm f/5.6 lens. I found a killer deal on eBay and decided to jump on it. Thankfully, the gentleman that sold me the lens was extremely helpful with some tips on getting started.

Large Format Photography Nikkor 150mm Lens

Being a landscape photographer, you’d think I’d go for the wide angle first off. I decided on this lens though for the fact that it will give me a good start with a normal focal range. I’ve tended towards more intimate, detail shots recently and figured this would help me get up and running and also be easier to get used to the new process and camera. So far, I still feel it was a good choice to start with.

Camera

In all of my research, many different cameras have come up. Chamonix, Toyo, Ebony, etc. These are all great I’m sure, but one in particular stood out to me. It’s a new company creating a brand new, lightweight, view camera. The company is called Intrepid Camera Co. based out of the UK.

Large Format Photography Intrepid 4x5 Camera

Image from Intrepid Camera Co.

Those previously mentioned selling points are what sold me on the camera along with the fact that it is affordable. I didn’t need to drop a grand on a used 4×5 camera without knowing what I’m getting into. Add to that the ability to backpack and hike with this and I was sold. My camera is currently on order and due to their high demand It’ll be a few more weeks before I receive it. A new post will certainly be published highlighting this.

Wrapping This Up

This post is getting a bit long. That’s just a glimpse into this new journey of mine. I plan on posting updates and information I’ve found useful in my journey. Hopefully it’ll be useful to someone else out there. I still have a long ways to go, but even these initial parts have started to lift that feeling of a creative rut. It’s definitely exciting!

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