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.
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.
You have probably read all about why film is better than digital or digital is better. What ever side of the fence you fall on this post is not about that. This is why I still shoot film.
Film makes me a better photographer. It has limitations; number of shots on a role, set ASA number, frames per second, and more. I add limitations to that as well; I use set lens focal lengths and manual focus cameras. How do these limitations make me better? Well I’m glad you asked. Having a limited number of shots forces me to be a more deliberate shooter. I need to make sure that the subject is one I truly feel strongly about. This goes hand in hand with a set number of frames per second. I cannot rely on my camera’s speed to capture a moment, I need to anticipate what will be happening. Having a set ASA number pushes me to have a steady hand, at times I need to be able to use a slower shutter speed than I am typically comfortable with. In order to have the shot be sharp I need to be able to hold the camera still. Limiting the focal length forces me to look at the world differently. I know I cannot zoom in with my feet staying still, I have to move to compose my shots. The last thing on the list is manual focus. Having to focus the lens by hand allows me to recognize focus points faster, sometimes an autofocus lens just cannot pick focus correctly and I know this will not slow me down.
Those are the practical reasons why I still shoot film. On to the non-practical. When I was young my father taught me how to shoot with a Canon AE-1. I learned everything I know about photography from him and Canon. I still know the layout of that AE-1 like the back of my hand. Shooting with film also holds a special nostalgia for me. There is something special about the wait. Not knowing if your photos will be great, or that you captured the precise moment in time is magical. I also enjoy the feel of vintage cameras. The old metal and leatherette is something that you need to experience if you haven’t had the chance to.
I don’t shoot solely on film and appreciate the speed and ease of processing digital. I just hope we never lose the opportunity to use film for photography even if it is solely for the nostalgia.
I love classic and vintage things. There is something about the way they are built and designed that will never be replicated. I collect and use vintage cameras, have owned vintage motorcycles and cars and drive a ’73 BMW 2002 almost daily in the summer time. One of the vintage events I regularly attend an event called Coffee and Classics, this is a casual gathering of mostly vintage european cars. This past summer I took my father out with me to one of the events. It was great spending time with him along with checking out some great rides. It was also my first time out with my Canon 7D.
Enough with the back story. When this 300SL turned down the street almost everyone took notice. When my father and I went to take a closer look, I almost pushed him out of the way to get this photo. I noticed the clouds reflecting of the polished paint and heard the jet overhead. I almost missed the airplane, but managed to get myself in position and snap this photo. When I have my camera with me (almost 100% of the time ) I notice things more, my eyes are open to light and reflections and I am always thinking of composition. This photo is was a great opportunity to enjoy multiple
2012 was a great year, I can’t wait to see what opportunities 2013 will bring. Happy New Year!