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Ultra Large Format Photography Diary – Cow Portrait Continued

In yesterday’s update, I shared Cow Portrait # 1 with you.

For images like this, I take a hybrid approach because using my ULF cameras for animal and wildlife portraits isn’t feasible.

I need the mobility, speed, and flexibility that small format 35mm offers, along with long telephoto lenses to isolate my subjects.

Once I have the image I want on 35mm, I 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.

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This workflow offers incredible flexibility and the option to control many variables in an otherwise impossible way.

I created this image right after sunrise on a cold winter morning. I was enjoying just watching the younger cows when I noticed their breath was visible in the crisp morning air. This little calf captured my attention, so I monitored her breathing pattern and then timed my exposure the second she started her exhale, and I captured this fun image in a single frame.

8x20 Ultra Large Format (Siloam Springs Cow Portrait 2) by Tim Layton © Tim Layton Fine Art
Cow Portrait # 2 – Siloam Springs © Tim Layton (

For this print, since the cow is black in real life, I think a standard developer with fiber glossy silver gelatin paper that is selenium toned is a good choice for the print. My typical Ilford Multigrade developer with Ilford Multigrade Fiber Glossy are my materials of choice. I always process silver gelatin fiber prints for archival permanence, so I selenium toned this print at 1:25 for 5 minutes.

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