Ladder on Wall, 5:4 Format, and Gods

Ladder Hung on Wall, Geumsan Village

There are a lot of run-down houses in the Korean countryside. They look a bit bad seen as a whole, but sometimes these old houses are good for photographing. The photo above is of a wall that serves as both part of the property ‘fence’ and a building. A shed, if I recall correctly. The original concrete wall has been repaired with tacked on siding. I was attracted to this scene by the homemade ladder and the crack on the left. Interestingly, although the wall needs a coat of paint, the ladder seems to be used for painting something, judging by the stains all over it.

I think the nail/bolt/rivet on the far left is important for the composition because it fills an empty space, but it was cut out of the basic scan I had done to see what was on the roll of film. The virtual drum scanner used by my lab in Seoul gets everything on the frame. Speaking of film, this photo was made with Fujifilm Superia Premium 400 in a Nikon F6. For those of you interested, that film is very nice for a 400 speed film, but I think Portra is nicer and for a better price.

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I like the colours of my Fujifilm X-T3, but I really miss the 5:4 format option from the Nikon D810. But! Today I discovered a way to indirectly get 5:4 on the X-T3. You can choose to show framing guidelines in the viewfinder. The options are 3×3, 6×4, and HD framing. 6×4 is just one more that 5:4! So, if I ignore the outer half squares of the framing guidelines I get 5×4. Ta-da! A quick snip in Lightroom and I’ve got a nice 5:4 frame, just as Nature intended. I’ve only tried it at home this evening, but I’m looking forward to having a go at it when I’m outside. I could even, I think, put a bit of magic tape over the rear LCD to help me out a bit when framing. Well, let’s see how well I can manage by estimation before sticking things on the camera.

(Above I wrote “as Nature intended”. Which god would photographers worship, I wonder. Are there any gods of sunlight? The Celtic god Lugh seems a good candidate. He’s a god of light, craftsmanship, and the arts. Ask him to bless your light meter the next time you’re out with a camera.)

7 thoughts on “Ladder on Wall, 5:4 Format, and Gods

  1. yep – the colours work well.
    as for 5×4 (sic) it is a very demanding way of seeing things – I know because I’ve shot a lot of 5×4 film and still never got to the bottom of it . . .

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    1. I love it, and left the Nikon D810 on that setting all the time. 1:1 is the most difficult for me. 3:2 is the most unsatisfactory (usually), 5:4 my favourite, and 16:9 interesting but not suitable for everything. I wish Fuji would offer all the formats in their smaller cameras like they do in their mediumy-format cameras.

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    1. Yes, it’s a good place. Especially in the morning when there aren’t many people around to stare at the weird white guy photographing old ladders . . . .
      Old people in Korea are generally very small so the ladder is probably fine. Or maybe he’s put it on the wall as ‘country decor’.

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  2. Love this image! I don’t use specific crops/formats in photography, I just go for what – to me – looks good; in-camera processing with the Z 6 forces me to use specific formats though, which is fine. Adrian 🙂

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