the tale of the taking of a photograph

First published on forum – 20/07/2016

“’Ere, Tone,” said Emma the hairdresser (friend of Mrs S), interrupting the snippety-snip-snipping of her tonsorial attentions as I sat in her kitchen one sunny Sunday morning in June. “You’re the best person to ask.”
“Surely not,” thought I, “there must be millions more qualified than me, in every conceivable subject.”
“I’ve taken a picture of my fruitbowl.” She continued.
“Steady on, girl,” I spluttered, “children present!”
But it turned out she was actually talking about an actual fruitbowl, not some bizarre euphemism… I breathed a sigh of relief.

“And I want it framed, nice and big to fill that wall.” She explained, pointing her scissors out of the kitchen door towards a bare patch of wall in the hallway.
“OK,” I replied, “where’s the picture?”

Now, gentle reader, you know what’s coming next, don’t you?

 “Here,” she said “on my phone.”
You know that sinking feeling, when you have to try to explain print resolution and pixels to someone who really doesn’t understand it, because “it looks fine on the phone screen”… well, after a long and fairly one-sided conversation I began to explore the options. I explained that the digital file she had on her phone would only realistically give a 10 inch print, so how about she take some more shots and we’ll frame them as a triptych? 
“Don’t you have a digital camera that can take a big photo?” she asked, hopefully.

I figured that to get the 36 inch wide print she desired would need a sensor size of well over 30 megapixels, significantly more than my little Nikon P7000 is packing, so “no! But I could shoot it on medium format film and get a nice big print from that.” 

So, fast forward one week, and the following Sunday, I’m back in the same kitchen with beautiful soft light flooding in and a freshly constructed fruit and flower arrangement in front of me.
A couple of light readings and some test shots on the digi compact to show what I was getting… I shot a roll of provia 100 with the Mamiya C330f, keeping Emma involved in the process by asking her to hold a reflector to throw a little light back into the shadows.

Peak Imaging provide a nice quick turnaround with the development, so I resolve to reward them with the printing.
To get the aspect ratio required, I made a high res scan of just the central portion of the 6x6cm slide, ending up with an image size of 9144×4191 pixels, which gave a 36×16 inch print when printed as a digital C-type at Peak’s printer resolution of 254 ppi (or is that dpi? – I don’t know, you decide).

Nicely mounted and framed in antique gold, at a generously proportioned 40×20″ish” inches it now fills the previously empty wall, looks the part, and most importantly, Emma’s happy with her unique piece of art, film trumps digital (again), and I’m in for some free haircuts.

So, after probably the longest preamble in blogging history, thanks for reading, and here’s the pic… 

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