A few weeks ago I was offered the opportunity to shoot with a wonderful vintage camera, a Hasselblad 500C. I have learned a few lessons with this camera.
Take your time.
There is no rush when using a medium format camera. The 500c doesn’t have an onboard meter, so I used a vintage light meter to check the exposure. Then you focus and then pop up a little magnifying glass to get the focus just right. This while looking down, the image is reversed so you have to really be aware of the direction the lens in pointed. This process takes time, then you do it again to make sure the photo will come out. Remember a tripod is your friend.
6×6 is a challenge.
The challenge of composing a photo in the square format is a lot different than trying to do the same with 35mm film. If you want to have good photos don’t assume that the same type of composition will work.
Shooting film will make you think more!
Only 12 photos on a roll of 120 film. You have to really think about the photo you are planning to take prior to pressing the shutter. There is chance to view the moment after, no delete button. Only the hope that you got the photo you intended. This will make you a better photographer and when you do shoot digitally you will get more “keepers”.
Embrace and learn from your mistakes.
Arrogantly I thought that I would be able to spool and develop medium format film, just like I had 35mm. Boy was I wrong. This was my first attempt at developing 120 film. When I spooled the it on the reel I ended up having it lay on top of itself and not get developed properly. I know I need to get more practice getting the film spooled properly. I will have the chance when I start taking my Yashica twin lens out. It would probably help if I used the more modern plastic reels and tank versus the stainless steel ones I currently have. I did get a chance to embrace my mistake with the shot above. It ended up looking kind of cool with the damage to the negative.
I loved shooting with the Hasselbad, it makes a distinctive sound when the shutter is pressed. I’m glad I had the chance to learn and improve on my skills. In the future expect to see more medium format film photos posted by me.
I love my home town of Chicago. It is one of the best places to just hang out and shoot street photos. This photo was captured near Millenium Park. I noticed this gentleman sitting on a bench early in the day. He has a unique style that I wanted to capture. The fact that he made this incredible facial expression when I pointed the lens in his direction just added to the photo. Remember to be observant and always look for the characters who make up our daily life.
Its official I am obsessed!
Obviously I am obsessed with photography. That is a simple one, but I am coming to realize I am obsessed with a a women. I love looking at pictures of her, but really I love looking at the photos she took. Her name is Vivian Maier, and I am not a bit ashamed that I am obsessed with her. If you know the Vivian Maier story keep reading, if not go here and read this first. The story is incredible, yes, but that is only a small part of why I am writing this. Vivian Maier’s photography is incredible. This past weekend I had a chance to check out the Vivian Maier’s Chicago exhibit at the Chicago History Museum, most of the prints I had seen at one point or another, impressive, what I expected. What I wasn’t expecting was around the perimeter of the room. There lies the reason I am obsessed with Vivian. The exhibit has photos from complete rolls of film. 12 shots (a complete roll of 120 format film) taken at different locations and points in time of Chicago’s history. I am amazed at how many flawless shots she was capturing in a row. If you have ever seen the contact sheets of most street photographers you know that it typically takes a photographer a few attempts before nailing what Henry Cartier-Bresson calls the decisive moment. Besides the single moments that have made Ms. Maier famous, the mastery she proves in 12 shots has left me speechless. I wish I was able to capture or express the emotions I felt checking out what is one of the greatest photographers in Chicago’s history, but alas I can’t do so with words. I will try my best to capture those emotions with photos as I continue my journey in photography.
Thank you Vivian Maier for being an inspiration to me!
My wife doesn’t thank you for me wanting a camera similar to what you used.
Occasionally you are out shooting an image just hits you. On this day I headed to a road I take to work everyday. To the right of this road a small lake had dried out and between the clouds in the sky and the dried lake, it would be an impressive scene. After shooting photos of the lake, I began to walk back to my car. At one point I turned over my shoulder and noticed how dramatic a completely empty road (in itself an odd thing in Chicagoland) looked. Making sure there was no traffic, I shot out to the middle of the street and captured this. Not something you would expect to see near Chicago, this image reminds me of how interesting the day to day we travel is.