New toy

For some reason, I’ve wanted to have a Hasselblad for quite some time. Made by Victor Hasselblad in Sweden, the 500C was introduced in 1957 and redesigned in 1970 as the 500C/M. It’s a medium format SLR and the camera of choice for many professional studio photographers. It is also a modular camera – not only you can remove the lens but also the back, where the film goes as well as a few other parts. It’s a beautiful machine, know for its quality and reliability and I’m today the proud owner of my own Hasselblad 500C/M with an 80mm f2.8 Planar lens. Alan went out to buy some film and came home with this nice surprise.

New Toy

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Having fun with film

I have recently started playing with my film cameras again and decided to do some cross processing. The idea is to shoot a particular kind of film and have it developed using the process for developing a very different kind of film. The most common option is to use slide film and have it developed normally – i.e. as colour negative film. This is what I did. The results can be quite unpredictable – colours are usually hard to predict and it can be quite fun. This is what I got from my first roll (click on the picture to see slideshow):

Cross-processed

Portrait

Distillery district

I love pictures of people.

Although I have no problem in chatting with strangers, I’m much more self-conscious about asking them if I can take their picture. Most people actually don’t mind and are flattered when you ask but for some reason I often feel shy about asking. This saturday we went to the Distillery District and while sitting outside having a coffee, I couldn’t help noticing this older Chinese lady sitting beside us. She was colourful but what attracted me was the peaceful vibe she emanated. I finally broke down and before we left, I asked her if I could take her picture. She smiled shyly and mumbled something while pointing to the entrance of the restaurant. I guessed she was saying she didn’t speak English and her companion was inside buying the coffee. So I remembered the advice of a photographer when prompted how to ask to take someone’s picture when there’s a language barrier: I raised the camera to eye level and made a questioning look while smiling. She blushed slightly but sat up, very proud. I took the above picture and showed it to her. Her reaction warmed my heart: she gave a little excited shrill and gave me a big hug. Made my day.

New toy for Christmas

It’s official. I’ve known it for a while but I finally have to admit that I need a new lens for my camera. I used to shoot with a Minolta SLR with a 50mm lens and was quite happy with it but every once in a while it would make me wish I had a wide angle lens. On the Nikon, because digital has a crop factor of 1.6x, the 50mm lens feels like an 80mm, which is a bit too close for most urban shots. It’s great for portraits but not so great for landscape. That means I’ve been relying mostly in my little point and shoot recently and I feel bad for leaving the D80 lying around. So it’s time for a new lens.

But will it be the Sigma 10-20mm

or the tamron 17-50mm?

Black & White course

I spent 10 hours in a darkroom this weekend as part of a course on printing and developing black & white photographs. We met for five hours on saturday and five hours this afternoon. On the first day we learned how to develop our negatives and today we spent the whole time printing pictures. There were four of us sharing the same darkroom and we quickly bonded over the experience. Kathleen, Roman, Kamelia and I will certainly be getting together again to do some more printing and developing of our own…

Some people might question why should I even bother learning to develop and print when all of that can be done digitally these days. It’s true but as I said in a previous post, I wanted to keep using my trusty Maxxum 5 for shooting black & white and besides, there’s nothing quite like immersing a sheet of paper in a tray of water and watching a photograph slowly appear…  I highly recommend it!