2.3.10 "Big Boxes" and Large Format Photography

The above photo, taken by Ansel Adams of "Mount McKinley and Wonder Lake" in 1948, is a good example of large format photograpy. When we say "large format," we are simply describing the large photographic films, cameras, view cameras, and photographic processes that use a format of 4x5 or greater; the most common formats are 4x5 and 8x10, but 11x14, 16x20, and 20x24 inch cameras do exist. The majority of large format cameras have adjustable fronts and backs, which allow photographers to better control the perspective and depth of field of their images; for this reason, large format cameras have often been used to photograph architecture and landscapes. We can see in this photo that Ansel Adams is able to capture great clarity and depth of field in the image of this scene, largely because of the control that his large format grants him.

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