The Photograph Explained: Mulgrave River, North Queensland by Gary Chapman

Gary Chapman photograph

16 x 20 platinum palladium contact photograph.

Not for the faint hearted, serious users only apply.

A passion for platinum/ palladium images using 8 x 10 format has inspired me to venture into the realms of ultra large format.

The exquisite tonal range particularly the mid tones and highlights of the Platinum and Palladium never cease to delight and amaze me, I am totally committed to this printing process.
Stepping up into the ultra large format of course brings limitations to the application of the final image.

First is the revisualisation, as the camera once set up cannot be easily moved into position.
This methodical approach gives me a whole different outlook, as the view on the 16 x 20 ground glass is as large as life itself. I feel more akin to a landscape artist who sets up his easel ready to capture the vista.

Second limitation over smaller formats is the limited depth of field. This means that compromises have to be made as foreground to background sharpness can sometimes be difficult. (If not impossible to achieve)

The resulting contact image is a thing of beauty, impressive detail that draws you into the image with the feeling that you could step into it.

Well I love it.

16x20 view camera

The Camera: Wisner 16 x 20 (bought on EBay from the USA)
Lenses: Goarz 24” Berlin Dagor and Goarz 35” Apo red dot Atar
Auricon Tripod (also bought on EBay this tripod is a 1940 movie camera style stamped Hollywood) with a wide base suitable to hold an ultra large format camera, there is very little camera shake even in the wind.

Once the camera is in place a long handle controlled by a very large spring allows for a smooth movement when the camera needs to be moved. This is a real plus in the field.

The Print was made on Bergger COT 320 paper, coated with pure palladium using Na2 contrast agent, applied with ½ inch Hake brush.

Paper exposed under a homemade UV light box with 900mm UV tubes.

Gary Chapman with 16x20 camera

Gary Chapman.