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Photographic Course

Let's learn how to use the Optical Bench

The Optical Desk has always been a tool that fascinates and intrigues, but at the same time frightens the photography enthusiast.

However, the Optical Bench can be an “easy” tool to use, at least in its elementary functions, while maintaining its very high quality potential.

Obviously, to make the most of its creative potential, it is necessary to know the camera movements that this type of moving body cameras allow.

Indeed, rather, it is fundamental know the effects that the camera movements that we are going to set in our camera will have on the photograph we are going to make.

If the Optical Bench is conscientiously positioned and used without movement, it can simply be considered a large camera, certainly it is necessary to familiarize yourself with the inverted vision that our subject will have on the frosted glass, a vision that you will probably learn to love.

The adjustments in the cameras with moving bodies allow you to shift and tilt, allowing you to move both the front and rear bodies on the axes, in a relationship that can be independent or interdependent.

However, if we act on the standards without having confidence with decentralization, tilting, focus planes, lens coverage, etc., it is easy to find ourselves with more or less evident vignettes, sudden blur and above all, unnatural as well as unpleasant perspective distortions.

The physical and optical principles that regulate moving body photography are all in all easily assimilable, especially if simultaneously with the theoretical explanation they are concretely demonstrated in the practice of use.

Knowing the use of movements well gives us an extraordinary possibility of control in the focus and perspective composition of the image. Not only that, the use of moving body cameras implies thinking in advance about the photograph you want to make, and therefore allows us to foresee its possibilities and limits, strengths and weaknesses.

During the meeting you will have the opportunity to clarify the many uncertainties and doubts that very often grip the mind of the aspiring camera user.

Gradually, dissolving these knots, I hope that you will be increasingly attracted to this tool, and that you will be able to grasp its enormous creative potential, GOOD LIGHT !!!

NB The principles that will be discussed during the meeting are valid for all types and formats of cameras with moving bodies, whether they are Optical Bench or Folding, operating with the most varied film formats. Obviously, since we are dealing with a vast panorama of both mechanical and optical equipment, the operational possibilities and limits of use must be verified on a case-by-case basis.  

During the course a 4x5 CAMBO SC-2 Optical Bench will be made available to the participants, but of course, those who prefer can bring their own Camera, so as to become familiar and learn how to exploit the operational potential of their equipment.

Part I.
Introduction to the use of the Optical Desk

(4 hour lesson).

- What it is and what it allows
- The objectives for the Large Format
- On the frosted glass a world upside down

- Introduction to movements

- The principles of focus, how it behaves when we move plans, possibilities and risks

Part II
Complex movements and Scheimpflug rule

(4 hour lesson).

- Decentralizations and composition
- The Tilt and the perspective alterations

- The Scheimpflug rule
- We add up the movements but stay focused or ...


Complete course
The course lasts 8 hours .  Euro 180

Course Part I
Introduction to the use of the Optical Desk

(4 hour lesson).  Euro 100

Course Part II
Complex movements and Scheimpflug rule

(4 hour lesson). Euro 100

Normally I hold the courses in my Pistoia office, however, since the one on the Optical Bench is not strictly linked to the use of the Camera Obscura, it is possible to arrange it, to carry it out at home. In this case, the travel expenses will be added.

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