Following on from the posts earlier in the year about getting back into film (see here and here), I thought I’d give a progress report after having bought the Hasselblad. There’s also the Intrepid 5×4 to consider.
Once thing that’s quite interesting is how little 35mm I have shot (with one exception, which we’ll come on to later) – it’s mainly been medium and large format. But when you’ve got a Hasselblad, why wouldn’t you concentrate on that?
I managed to cram the Hasselblad into my luggage when I went to Amsterdam, but somehow managed to mis-load the roll of B&W film I shot – no idea how I managed it, but it meant I lost half of the film images from there.
The next block of photos are from Caen Hill Locks (see Day Trips), which I think worked well – exposures all looking pretty good. On that note, the photos I took at the Pershore Confetti Fields weren’t so good – all a bit over-exposed.
Then we come on to France, where I shot a good range of subjects (vineyards, foggy fields, sunsets and a Chateau).
And finally Aust, as my recurring subject!
On the development side, I did all of the B&W myself, with no issues. I’m tempted by having a go at developing slide film but haven’t been brave enough yet.
I managed to shoot quite a bit with the Intrepid 5×4, and felt I had reached the point where I should have a go with slide film – no small step given that it’s £90 for a box of 20 sheets, plus processing.
I shot quite a bit in France, tolerably successfully I think, and then had a good session out at Aust (where else?), and finally at Cumberland Basin in Bristol where I’ve been wanting to shoot the warehouse for a long time!
Developing the B&W myself all went well, but there are some slightly strange colour casts on some of the slides.
Apart from starting with the slides, the other change I made was to buy a Nikkor 180mm lens as the wide-angle 90mm Schneider was getting a bit too restrictive – the Aust and Cumberland Basin images were taken with the Nikkor. I may actually sell the 90mm and look at something in between.
For 2019, I want to shoot some portraits and also try and diversify a bit – shoot something a bit different. The large format group I belong to on Facebook has an awful lot of beautifully exposed and detailed landscapes that are actually crashingly dull – large format shouldn’t be the raison d’etre for the images, they should have some merit in themselves!
I did see some nice l/f shots of vintage cars, which made a nice change, but I need to have a good think about it.
Large Format, Direct Positive Paper
And less successfully we have my experiences with Direct Positive Paper in the large format camera. I had a long series of spectacularly unsuccessful attempts with it, all of which showed very little image at all.
It’s taken me a worryingly long time to realise that these are positive images and they’re therefore all badly *over* exposed and I need to reign in the exposures. It got better on the last attempt, shooting autumnal leaves in Clifton.
I’m definitely going to try and get these right in 2019, because they look fantastic when they come out.
Shitty Camera Challenge
Finally we have the bit of 35mm photography – I found something on Twitter called the Shitty Camera Challenge, which is to shoot something worthwhile on the worst camera you can find. Their definition of “shitty” is where the film probably costs more than the camera.
I found a beauty at a car boot sale – a Vivitar Ultra Wide & Slim, which I picked up for 50p. What caught me eye was the 22mm lens – very wide. It’s also completely manual, hardly even that – it has 1 shutter speed (1/125) and 1 aperture (f11). Beyond that, the only moving parts are the film wind mechanism, and even that recommends 24 exposure films as it can’t handle the stress of 36! Very plastic, very basic, very shitty.
And boy is it bad. The suggestion is ISO200 for sunny days and ISO400 for cloudy ones, so you’re going to be lucky to get much.
I have got a few semi-decent images from it, but I’ve also got quite a few photos with my fingers in it – that 22mm lens – and it’s definitely more “miss” than “hit.
I think I actually need a slightly less shitty camera – but it’ worth noting that the Vivitar does actually sell for a few pounds on Ebay so I’m going to sell it, and probably the Lubitel 166 as well, also a pretty shitty camera although it can occasionally take the odd decent image (there are a couple in the Bristol Harbourside set from this year).