Inside the back of the van I would be shooting from an slightly elevated viewpoint, the camera would be secure (set up on a table?) and the bellows would be protected from becoming a sail on nastier weather days. I would also of course have a built in roof to protect the camera from rain etc. The other advantage would be that it would be much easier to transport and set up, a big concern when your dealing a 100lb monster. The disadvantage would be that I would not be able to get the camera into remote locations or do lower to the ground compositions. For those shooting times I would need to haul the camera out into the field, probably with some kind of cart or wagon.
I got the shooting inside the cube van idea when reviewing the wonderful seascape work of artist J.M.W. Turner. His paintings fill my mind with ambrotype possibilities. Shooting the oceans during storms, creating strong images in rain and miserable weather, now seems possible. Making photos that are not so much reality but the inner workings of the imagination. I could create personal abstract sea and landscapes this way. The feel of what those places are more than a direct replication of reality, A FEELING! of what that world is. The long exposures inherent in wet plate photography along with the old swirly lens could add a real surreal effect to the imagery.
Note* I am also thinking of the possibility of climbing on top of the cube van to shoot with the 16x20 Chamonix, to get an even higher viewpoint. It probably would dangerous thing to do, especially for an old man so I would have to figure the safest way to do it.
Note** Another advantage of shooting the camera indoors (inside the van) would be discretion. I could make my pictures more quietly and attract less attention from people in general and people of authority (park rangers, police and the like). I could make my pictures somewhat undisturbed.
|Paintings by J.M.W. Turner|