Six by Seventeen
I used to see a photographer who set a big camera on the tripod in the
city. It looked like the painter setting canvas on the easel. In most of
the cases, those were a Six by Seventeen panorama camera. With the 6 x
17 cm format, you can afford only three shots for 120 medium format roll
film. It's certainly unusual experience.
For me, I like blank space in the photo composition. So the huge space
made by 6x17 was always my longing. However without having the camera,
now the time changes to the digital. Yeah, some people say "Take with
usual digital camera then crop it in 6x17 like" However I'm not talented
as much as taking the photo imaging the before-after in my mind. I composed
all image only in the finder.
I mentioned old Hong Kong movies before. It's a stretched movie image for TV on the air. TV used to have 4:3 monitor.
Now a days, HD image has 16:9. The ratio must be the closest to human sight
So what's gonna be happen with 17:6 image. Well, it's something like peeking
the real world through the wide slit. It doesn't mean getting into the
real world but watching it objectively from the other side.
Recently, after long time, I met the 6x17 photographer. It's in the historical
site "Petra" of Jordan. Petra is an ancient Roman style architectures
carved in the rocky valley. If you cannot picture it, remember Indiana
Jones movie, the BG image is the Petra. About 5 km from the entrance, at
the very end of historical tour path, you get to an ancient monastery site
which is called Al Deir. Maybe I started the excursion too late. So when
I got to there, the sun was almost setting. Not so many tourists were there.
Only a Bedouin guide was in the monastery entrance and playing beautiful
melody with the strings.
There was an observation point on the hill beside the monastery. You could
look over the mountains around. The young photographer set the tripod there.
I was quite sure the camera was 6x17. So I asked him for let me taking
a look through the attached finder scope. The monastery and rocky mountains
was well composed in the extremely wide finder. Only hitch was the weather.
The sun covered by scattered cloud now. No time to sunset.
"It's a perfect time" "Yeah, it is. But the light is ...
" "Well, you don't need give it up. Take care 'nd good luck!"
Photographers could understand each other with these simple conversations.
I left there and was going down the hill. Suddenly, the sun came out from
the cloud. Orange light of end of the day lighten up all the scenery.
I heard his voice from top. "Yes! this is it" "Yeah, perfect
light" I responded. He must be wind the film carefully and make sure
the composition once again and captured the moment. Of course, I pictured
it too. After the short conversation was silence. Only the sound of wind
and the music by the Bedouin guide was flown in the orange colored scenery.
" Monastery of Petra " Petra, Jordan 2010