Large format - back to the origins of photography
Why do I use large format for alpine photography, if it is bulky, heavy, cumbersome to assemble, awkward to operate? As someone, who had previously spent 12 years taking photos of mountain scenery with a rigid-body medium format camera, I belive I can answer this question: there is no real alternative. Mountains are way higher than humans, so we have to almost always point camera upward. But if the goal is to show majesty of mountains, one does need a camera with movements to render the subject without persective distortions. Just compare these two photographs taken by my LF camera and a SLR:
Another feature of large format, much appreciated by landscape photographers is capability to incline the plane of absolute focus (Scheimpflug plane) forward and hence keep all elements along it being sharply rendered. Alternatively, using camera movements, one can accentuate using focus only the semantic subject, leaving all the rest blurred:
Needless to say, the medium is film. Since already much ink was spilled on this, I should not argue more about film vs. digital, moreover images of film origin anyway undergo digital treatment before they are shown on screen. We should compare prints, when each image is subjected to equal number of preparative steps. Despite my main medium is black and white film, I decided to present here results obtained on colour slide film, since people take BW digital landscapes not very often. Even viewing via digital screen, here is an example of comparison, after the digital image has been given all possible crutches, while the image on film was scanned with a modest Epson 750 scanner:
Having said all the above, I must add that I am not a technically obsessed photographer. Technical perfection is a mean, not the goal, it should support the photographer’s artistic ideas and let spectator enjoy the composition. If there is no artistic ideas behind the subject, technical perfection alone does very little.