We Long Islanders


I shamelessly stole the title for this post from Simon Roberts’ work entitled We English. Roberts roamed England with his 4×5 camera capturing British life, an anthropological study of his people. He did this recently, not a hundred years ago. There aren’t many photographers who would wander around with a large format camera to capture street life and, as such, his work made me think about how I use photography in general and my large format rig in particular.

When I last dabbled in LF, I was definitely a rocks and trees shooter. Landscapes all the way, just like Saint Ansel Adams. It never crossed my mind to make a picture of a person, much less try to capture a street scene with multiple people. I have kids now, and taking people pictures is more important to me, so Roberts’ work inspired me to take the camera out and photograph  people engaged in leisure.

The skaters are at a local park, just after a blizzard in December. I suppose I was quite a sight, stalking them from the side of a small hill, disappearing every now and then under a dark cloth. This is one of the first images made with a hybrid LF film- to- digital workflow. The image was made on Kodak Portra 160 NC film. The colors are just as they are from the film. The negative was scanned on an Epson scanner, sized for the web and inserted here. It’s not the most compelling image but it is a milestone because I can actually see improvement in my work compared to when I started several months ago. I still have a lot to learn about camera movements, DOF and scanning but my images look better today than they did in November.

And this exercise proved to me that my LF camera is versatile beyond shooting rocks and trees.

Thanks for looking.


About robertkerner

Educator, registered nurse, attorney, inquisitive mind
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2 Responses to We Long Islanders

  1. Bob Wong says:

    I am a newcomer to LF. and see that you are on Long Island, like me.
    Are you strictly LF? Any 35mm or MF?

  2. robertkerner says:

    I shoot a little of everything except medium format. About 65% of my images are made with DSLRS a few with digital point and shoots and the rest with 4×5 large format cameras. I tried LF in the 90’s, wasn’t very good at it (no discipline to learn) and sold all my stuff. I’ve been “trying again” since last fall.

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