Ponce de Leon Park – Punta Gorda, Florida – Large Format Photography

“It takes a village to raise a child”. This is an old expression. However, “It takes a box of film to get one photo.” could be a photographer’s version. Well, it wasn’t quite that bad. But one never knows where they may end up, even if it’s on their knees. Let me back up a little.

When I bought the new “old” camera, the 8×10 film camera, there were photos that I knew I wanted to retake with it. There is a patch of mangroves by themselves that are easily accessible on land. The first day I went out, I did actually take a couple of sheet of film, however when I got home and developed them, it was after some research that I realized that I had been a victim of lens flair. One side of the negative was much lighter than the other. After testing the bellows, film holders, lens board, etc, it was discovered that the sun was almost in front of the lens. I don’t see it as a waste, I learned from it and have the negatives tucked away.

The second time I went, I thought I would go at high tide. The reason for this was that I wanted the water level to be as far up on the mangroves as possible. I looked up the tide table and arrived at high tide. It was high tide alright, so high I would have been knee deep in water. Not being prepared for getting the equipment wet, I decided to try for another day.

A few days went by and I was with a friend. We decided to stop by and again, the sun was right over head, this was going to be a no go. Frustrated at this point, I was ready to just pack it in and leave. However, my friend who was with me, looked around and said we came this far, we should at least take one photo. I agreed and started to look around.

After a few moments, I saw these mangrove roots leading up to the tree. This looked like it might be a good scene. I pulled out the Artist’s Viewfinder app that’s on my iPhone and checked the composition. As I thought it had some interest. I decided to set up the camera and take a photo.

When I developed the film, I was pleasantly surprised to see how the photo looked like when I was standing there. My goal is to have lots of detail in the shadow and highlights. This can be a challenge depending on the lighting. I was happy with the way the textures were recorded and how the roots lead your eye up to the main trunk.

I have come to really enjoy working with film, there is a satisfaction that I get holding a finished photo that I never really got with digital. It does take about six hours to clean up the dust and scratches on the photo. There is so much detail on the 8×10 negative, when it’s printed at 40×50, all of those little imperfections will show up. Even with that, it’s still great to see the vision of the scene hang on the wall.

Until next time…

Keep Your Glass Clean




Spencer Pullen used his large format 8x10 camera to take this magrove root at Ponce de Leon Park in Punta Gorda, FloridaMangrove Roots – Spencer Pullen © 2017 All Rights Reserved

  1. Very informative. Love the lapping water background. Image turned out super.
    You’re an amazing instructor and went above and beyond for this one. Well done😀👏👏👏

  2. One word — Gorgeous! Don’t know if I’d have the patience.

  3. The photo turned out great. Thanks for sharing with the video.

  4. Nice Job!


  1. Mangrove Island – Ponce de Leon Park – Punta Gorda, Florida – Large Format Photography | Spencer Pullen | Southwest Florida Photography Classes - […] convinced me to take a photo of something since we were there already. This is when I took the…

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