I managed to spend some time today, wandering around outdoors with the camera, and not get drenched by rain OR feel hot, humid and soporific. In fact, later this evening I even brought out my BBQ for the first time in a fortnight… but I digress.
One of my many thousand “ongoing projects” is a serious of Large Format photos I call “Doomed Melbourne”, documenting the many architectural treasures that are soon to disappear thanks to the march of progress. So, given the time and good weather today, I went hunting for the latest subject – the former Ampol House on Royal Parade in Carlton – soon to make way for a medical research building. This is a bit of a shame, as it’s such a striking building, and I fondly remember it from my childhood on visits to the city.
So, to work with the Wista – this time using the dizzyingly wide Nikon 65mm f/4 lens, which gives a field of view in 4×5″ format equivalent to around a 20mm lens in 35mm format (or “full frame” for you digital folks) – so, it’s pretty wide. Even so, as a rather nice prime lens, there is no distortion, but the short focal length certainly makes the bellows on the Wista quite squishy, and for this shot, it was rather difficult to get the front rise I needed to catch the top of the building (so I didn’t have to tilt the camera up, and thus affect perspective distortion – NO, not the dreaded perspective distortion, etc)
The sun had come out whilst I was setting up too, which was grand, and meant that this morning’s dramatic clouds were sailing past in the perfect spot for when I squeezed the cable release – although the exact moment of that happening was actually more influenced by a break in the traffic, and the absence of pedestrians. Yes, many times I feel like I’m trying to catch the deserted moments in a city, as if I were location scouting for a film about the end of the world. Psychologically, I wonder what that means….?
As a grand experiment, I had actually uploaded the full res scan (3200dpi, although I have cropped from the original neg), which took so long to appear on the screen, you could go have a four course meal, then come back, and it still wouldn’t have finished downloading – I shan’t do that again (I’ve dropped it down to a size that’s reasonable now).
And in a March 30th update – today’s newspaper confirms the demolition of this grand, heritage-listed building. What a shame. I’m glad I’ve recorded it for posterity….