Cactus With A View

As I only photograph in low light conditions with slow speed film every image is a long exposure. This was the longest exposure I’d ever photographed with many years ago now keeping the shutter open for a full 8 minutes. It was actually prior to sunrise and the combination of slow speed film, film reciprocity factor, large format, and predawn light pushed it out to a calculation, guess work, and luck in the end.
The film was the original V-50 in a Quick Load that few probably even recall…

Specific Feedback Requested

Technical Details

Is this a composite: No
Wista DXIII 4x5 - Schneider APO 150mm - Velvia 50 QL.


8 minutes?! :scream:
Dang, Paul, I would need a cooling mechanism to shoot that long. Alabama Hills is very special and you have captured the alpen glow beautifully.

Terrific composition and light, but can you explain what’s going on with the middle? Sharp on the mountain, sharp on the cactus and immediate surroundings, but the middle is soft. Just a product of the 8 minutes? I’ve never even attempted an exposure that long either on film or sensor. I see movement in the grasses as you’d expect, but the rock is soft not just gravel which may have also shifted depending on the wind, although I’d expect the grass to be blurrier.

Paul, this is beautiful. You’ve got a fine subtle glow in the distant peaks and in that foreground cactus. I do remember correcting for reciprocity failure in long exposures of film and having to use the bulb setting with a cable release and external timer.

Gorgeous!! Such a wonderful composition with Whitney lining up above the cactus! The film captured wonderful pre-dawn colors!

@Kris_Smith, he would have used tilt on the view camera to keep the cactus and the distant mountains in the focal plane, and the intermediate rocks and brush fell just below the plane. I do remember Velvia 50 and the lovely colors of reciprocity failure. I rarely guessed right on the compensation and relied on exposure bracketing – there was no leeway back in those days.

Ah yes, Velvia 50 QLs. A wonderful product and a fine image taking advantage of it. That cactus does indeed have an excellent view. Great guess, I mean calculation on the exposure, too.

This is a lovely image. I especially like the light and snow on the mountains in contrast with the cactus, and it sounds like quite a process to get this.

Beautiful colors and fantastic composition. Gotta love the pleasant colors around the mountains. As others have noted, the in focus/out of focus effect of the lens can feel a bit jarring when viewed large.

@Bonnie_Lampley @Adhika_Lie @Kris_Smith @Mark_Seaver @Diane_Miller @Harley_Goldman @karlag @DvirBarkay
Thank you all for taking time to review and comment on this image. Technically not the best overall as it was in my very first weeks of using a 4x5 camera. However, I just had to post it as the looooongest exposure that I’ve ever used by far… :clown_face:

Paul, I agree fully with the others, a great image. The light is just wonderful, and so are the colors of the cactus and the mountains. One alternative could be a little bit tighter crop, I made a quick try:

Ola, yes this crop works very nicely too. Thanks for the comment and thought on the crop… :+1: