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Tilt/Shift From 35mm Camera
Q. Thanks for answering my letter inquiring about achieving view camera effects with my Canon AE-1 35mm SLR camera. I purchased a Lensbaby 2.0 (that was suggested) and it offers a similar effect to a tilt/pan but not exactly what I'm after. It has too much blur. I cannot afford a view camera. Something I have been considering is taking an FD bellows and mounting a different lensboard, which would allow full movement. Don't know how much this would cost or even if it would work. What are your thoughts?
A. In my original response I neglected to mention the most obvious lens that might achieve the type of effect you seek. Canon made a TS 35mm f/2.8 SSC lens in FD bayonet mount (which will fit your AE-1 SLR). The TS stands for Tilt Shift as the lens can be both tilted on either vertical or horizontal planes and/or shifted up or down to reposition the location of the image on the film. I'm sure you can find a used model of this originally premium-priced lens at a reasonable price today since FD mounts just are not much in demand these days. I don't have any of the bellows units Canon offered (the bellows FL with auto diaphragm and bellows M with no auto diaphragm) to check if they offer any tilt or shift of the front standard where the lens mounts to achieve the effect you seek. However, when any bellows is used with a regular mount lens (that is, one that normally bayonets onto the camera body), such as a 35mm or 50mm focal length, it places the lens farther away from the film plane, resulting in a magnified image. Thus, it would only be suitable for close-up macro photography as it would not be capable of focusing to infinity for a distant subject. There used to be some short mount lenses that could be used with a bellows for subjects at infinity. But, where you could find a short mount lens of any focal length and a bellows with front tilt/shift capability, I just don't know. Since the Lensbaby did not produce the effect you want, I would check the Shutterbug ads for used Canon FD mount lenses to locate a TS 35mm lens, which I believe would do exactly what you want.
Q. Where can I get some Scala black and white transparency film printed?
A. On the Agfa website (www.agfaphoto.com) you will find listed the labs worldwide that can handle Agfa Scala film. There are just two in the US: Color Reflections of Miami (111 NE 21st St., Miami, FL 33137; (305) 576-3207) and Main Photo & Imaging Service (827 S Main St., Santa Ana, CA 92701; (714) 647-7600; http://mainphoto.com). Try calling them about your printing questions for this black and white reversal film. Since they can process the film I would assume they also could print it. Also, try dr5 Labs at: http://dr5.com.
Depth Of Field Query
Q. I have a Pentax Optio 550. I took a picture of a snake eating a lizard. The snake was really clear and the background was not. What setting do I use with my camera to achieve this again? I don't remember how I did it--please help. I have been
A. Your Pentax Optio 550 zoom lens digital camera (like most other automatic cameras today) is preprogrammed for easy operation without adjustments and produces really sharp images at the main focus area. If the picture was made in low light, the lens would be open wider, resulting in a sharp image at the point of focus, but if made in bright light, the lens would be closed down, resulting in more depth. Your camera does have optional modes that will assist you in getting less depth in your pictures under any light level. Switch it over to "Aperture Priority" mode then adjust the lens aperture to a wider opening (probably about f/2.8 or f/4) which will select a faster shutter speed, but will also result in less depth behind the main focus point. If you also had the lens zoomed out to a longer telephoto focal length (since you probably did not want to get too close to the snake), the long telephoto setting will also result in less depth. Using Aperture Priority will help you get less or more depth no matter what lens focal length you are using.
Prints On Wood
Q. Do you know where I can have some 11x14 matte prints mounted on a piece of wood? I would like the photo to sit on top of the wood, no glass, with the wood piece being larger than the photo. Any help would be greatly appreciated!
A. I would imagine that any full-service photo lab that can mount prints could mount your 11x14 prints onto any size of wood you supply using conventional mounting tissue which normally requires heat and pressure to affix the print onto mounting board. I have not heard of this being done before, but I assume it's feasible. If you have the negatives and a darkroom available, you could purchase Liquid Light, which is a light-sensitive emulsion that can be applied to any surface such as wood, glass, metal, plastic, or ceramic. Your image is projected onto the surface in a darkroom, then developed, fixed, and washed just as a print would be. The result is a photographic image on the wood (or other material) allowing the grain of the wood to show. You can obtain more information about Liquid Light from Rockland Colloid Corp. (Box 376, Piermont, NY 10968; (845) 359-5559; www.rockaloid.com). I have never used this product but have known about it for years. A few dealers around the country also sell the product. You can gain more information about it by viewing their extensive website.