When I first got into photography I quickly became obsessed with black and white images from past masters such as Ansel Adams and Edward Weston. I loved the overwhelming quality, the tonal range in their images and the high detail and definition. Best of all I loved the way they could achieve ultimate depth of field, which stretched from immediately in front of the camera right over to the horizon, and it was something that I dreamed of emulating. This effect was a result of these photographers using large format cameras and employing camera movements, in particular, tilt.
As a young photographer I rapidly progressed from 35mm film to medium format and quickly onto large format, which I used solely for over 25 years. The move to large format and the use of camera movements was brought about by me hitting a stumbling block. I headed up to Scotland with my medium format cameras that had no movements such as tilt and shift. As many a landscape photographer would say, “I was in the right location on a remote Scottish beach and the light was truly perfect”. I set up the camera on the tripod, then stopped the lens down to f/32 for full depth of field. After I had processed the films I began seeking this individual frame, as it was this one I desperately wanted to see. The results left me very disappointed. Although I had stopped the lens right down, this was not enough and the foreground of the frame was soft. It was from that moment onwards that I used tilt in virtually all of my landscape photography!
As digital cameras got better I was keen to leave the bulk and weight of large format kit at home and I began to shoot with Nikon DSLR’s. When I began to inspect the image files I was faced with the same issue that I was that day on the beach in Scotland. Although it was a pleasure working digitally, the depth of field quickly became a disappointment for me and I invested in the Nikon 24mm PC-E Lens – I have...