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Ultra Large Format Photography Diary – Cow Portrait # 1

Cow portraits and ultra large format photography?

Yes, it is technically possible, but not a portrait like this and with creamy bokeh as well.

For images like this, I take a hybrid approach. I need the mobility, speed, and flexibility that small format 35mm offers, along with long telephoto lenses to isolate my subjects.

Then, we have several options to make interpositives and enlarged negatives. In this case, we enlarged the 35mm negative and cropped it into the 8×20 format on a sheet of Ortho film to make a positive. I then contact printed the interpositive to a sheet of Ilford Classic Matte paper and ensured the contrast was a little below normal. This print (the enlarged negative) is then flattened and taken to my ULF copy stand, where I make a direct positive exposure in the 8×20 camera using my lens of choice. This workflow offers incredible flexibility and the option to control many variables in an otherwise impossible way.

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8x20 Ultra Large Format (Siloam Springs Cow Portrait) by Tim Layton © Tim Layton Fine Art
Cow Portrait – Siloam Springs © Tim Layton (

For this first set of prints, I decided to use Ilford FB WT and develop with a standard Ilford MG developer. I always selenium-tone my fiber prints using my standard 1:25 ratio for about 5 minutes. This combination yields a really nice and subtle warm-tone print that I really enjoy.

You can watch the first print in its fixer bath in the video below.

In a few days, I plan to make two more of these prints, one not selenium toned and the other developed with Ilford WT developer and selenium toned. I will review all 3 prints in a future video on the YouTube channel.

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