The Hoff – Rolls 15 & 16 AmeriCARna

A quick note for those reading for the first time. The Hoff is my Hasselblad 2000fcw and this series is documenting how I am getting on learning to use this camera by shooting 52 rolls through it.

Every year for the last three years a town near me, Horsham , has held an American car festival combined with US street food and music acts. It is a fun day out and has got bigger each year. I take my camera with me each time and this year was the turn of The Hoff. Unfortunately the weather was not great this year with lots of rain forecast. I had initially wanted to take black & white film as the other two times I took colour. Going through my 120 film stash I realised I had run out of my favourite Ilford HP5 which I wanted to take but shoot at 800. The other B&W films I have in 120 are a bit more specialist i.e. Washi S 50iso.

Thus I picked one of my favourite colour negative stocks, Portra 800. I love the colours from this film. It is expensive but as it is C-41 development I can justify the cost. It is also very adaptable and I prefer to shoot it rated at 400iso. You may now ask why don’t I just buy Portra 400? The answer is, because I find it too orange/warm. Portra is designed for Portraits which is why I guess it has that warmer feel for the skin tones. Portra 800, to my eye, is much truer to actual colours. Also a side note here for the film manufacturing industry, not every one is light skinned the warming does not work for all skin colours.

So off I ventured into the rain. I set my meter ( Gossen Digisix 2) to 400 iso. As per my previous post the meter is new to me and I am finding it easy to use and very accurate.

The next thing that I will remark on is something that will be obvious to seasoned photographers but has taken me a while to get my head round. When metering, for example through my Olympus OM1n, I would get the needle in the right place and take the shot. What I really wasn’t thinking enough about was adjusting either the speed or aperture from this starting point to get the look I wanted. The new meter is helping me think more the final look I want and not just be driven by the original meter reading.

Out I went with The Hoff into the rain to take some photos. The camera got wet, but it didn’t bother me too much. So now I have bored you all with words, here are some of the images. All Porta 800 rated at 400 iso some scans adjusted using Snapseed.

The Hoff – Roll 14 a day out with Ashley

So I finally got round to shooting The Hoff again. I purposely did not take it on holiday with me as where I went I was travelling light and the temperature averaged 34C most days and I didn’t want to subject myself and the camera to that. Also it was a holiday not a photography trip.

I was excited for the day’s shoot for three reasons:

  1. I was trying out a favourite film of mine Kodak Vision 3 50D. I had never tried it in 120 format before, you can normally only get it in 35mm. This is a cinema film stock and has a covering known as remjet. Thus it needs to be processed by labs that know how to handle it. If sent to a ‘normal’ lab the remjet could foul up their machines. The other reason I sent it to a specialist lab ( SilverPan Film Lab in the UK) is to have it processed in its native chemicals ECN-2. You can get this film with the remjet already removed and thus processed in a ‘normal’ lab in standard C-41 chemicals and that is CineStill 50D 35mm, which is lovely.
  2. I finally invested in a dedicated light meter. A Gossen Digisix2. Previously I had been using a light meter app on my phone. The phone app was relatively reliable, but it started to become a hassle to use having to take my phone out before each shot, unlock it, open up the app and then meter the scene. Also the phone app only gave one reading ie not settings across all the different speeds or apertures. Never having had to pay attention to metering before (my OM’s are through the lens meters) I had to do a bit of reading on the differences between incident and reflective metering. It will take me a while to judge when to use which one.
  3. The main reason I was excited was that I was getting to meet my friend Ashley (@Grumpyfck on Twitter). Ashley is a fantastic photographer and loves his old cameras and black and white films and great guy too.

So it will come as no surprise to anyone who knows us that we met up in a pub in Covent Garden. A couple of beers later we figured we should actually make an effort and go out to take some photographs. I loaded up my film in the pub, obviously I started to load it the wrong way round and then struggled to get the back on to the camera body, much to Ashley’s amusement.

Covent Garden was very busy so finding space to shoot was not easy. This was my first shot using the new light meter.

We decided to head towards the river as it would have been less crowded and there would be more light. We walked along Waterloo Bridge up to the National Theatre, there may have been another stop in a pub en route….

We walked back across the bridge towards Somerset House.

Whilst this may seem like a short walk this took us most of the afternoon as we were strolling, talking and taking photos. It was also thirsty work, so we may have stopped in another pub after Somerset House.

Overall I am pleased with this roll shot through The Hoff. The light meter was easy to use, the film has given me the colour palate I had hoped for and I had a great afternoon out. It was a pleasant change from the last few rolls of misadventure to get back on track.

The Hoff – Rolls 9,10,11,12 and 13

It’s been a while since I updated on my on going adventures with The Hoff. Life got very busy. This update is actually from when I took The Hoff to Scotland back in April.

I shot five rolls of film in my time there. Expired Fujifilm Neopan 400, Expired Fujifilm Pro 400H, expired Fujifilm Provia 400X, Fujifilm Velvia 50 and Fujifilm Acros 100.

I started with the Neopan and shot it on a day out Culzean Castle. I knew the film was a bit of a risk as I had no idea of it previous storage. I had the odd frame that came out (see below), but most of the rest the film was pretty damaged from poor storage.

I next went with the Provia 400X and took a walk along Ayr Beach. I had a CPL on the lens so set the meter on my iPhone app to 320 to compensate. Unfortunately something went very wrong. Everything was totally underexposed. (Pic sent by my lab). The big white square exposure is that thing where if you don’t set the shutter speed quite right. The lines are just from the poor compression of the photo.

This is where things really started to go horribly wrong and completely down to my error. I next loaded up the Velvia. These are the results

White square again, where I hadn’t selected the shutter speed accurately. The rest, can you guess what happened? Yep, my meter was still set to 320. Anyway blissfully ignorant I then loaded the Acros 100 with and orange filter on the lens. Do you think at this point I adjusted the meter.

No I had continued my error. The negatives were very underexposed and only a ton of post processing has even managed to get the pretty poor image you see above.

Again blissfully unaware of my errors, I loaded the Pro400H. I know what you are thinking, the meter was right again, even though it was by chance. You are correct, however we now circle back to the beginning and how I started with the Neopan. The film had been badly stored so most of the images were spoilt. The below is my favourite where I asked my daughter to pose, but I purposely added in some camera movement and her moving as a bit of an experiment.

Thus as you can see I terms of photography the visit was a bit of a bust. Most of it user error, rushing and not be patient or detailed on my part. The expired film being ‘bad’ is just one of those things you need to accept if you are going to shoot it.

I haven’t shot with The Hoff since, only because of time not because I am put off. Let’s see if I can remove the user error next time. One thing I have done is purchased a dedicated light meter (Gossen Digisix 2) as it is more user friendly than the phone, now I just have to remember to change the settings when I change the film.

Ooh Wheels- Kodak E100 Ektachrome

A few weeks back a town near us had an Italian festival and part of that (aside from the food and drink) there would be a display of Italian supercars and other car nationalities too. The weather was to be good, so I figured what a great opportunity to finally try a couple of rolls of the new Kodak E100, Ektachrome slide film.

This is not designed to be a film review and I have posted warts and all shots, but I thought it would be interesting for me and hopefully you to talk through my thoughts during the day shooting these cars.

Thus setting out the easiest decision was which camera. My OM1 was still halfway through a roll of Ilford HP5, so I took my relatively new to me Olympus OM2n. I did not want to carry a lot and I like simplicity thus I only took one extra lens. In the past shooting cars I had good success with the 50mm lens so obviously that wasn’t the one I picked. No, I decided to take the 28mm which I knew deep down in my soul would be too wide for crowded places and also my 100mm as you can get a different point of view with it. I regretted not swapping the 28 for the 50 for most of the day.

I started with the 28 on the camera and I don’t know about you, but it takes me a few shots to get warmed up. I think this is for two reasons, one being that it takes me a few shots to get into the swing of what I am shooting, almost practice shots. Even though I have no screen on the camera you get a sense pretty quickly what works and what doesn’t. Secondly, being there on my own amongst crowds I also feel a bit self conscious walking round taking shots like I’m some kind of photographer and feel (for no reason at all) that I’m being looked at by those with their phone cameras having fun with a ‘who does he think he is David Bailey.’

Quick note. All shots were at box speed, with a circular polarising filter on the camera. Some have been tweaked in Snapseed ( the ones I liked) the rest as per the scan. Oh yes, importantly all developed in E6 #SayNoToXpro chemistry.

So here are the first practice shots, as you will see I really had no idea yet what I wanted to capture.

Pretty boring eh, like I said test shots. I was also struggling with crowds at this point so I put the 100mm lens on to try something different.

That all felt better, I was starting to warm up and at this point it’s normally where I slip back into rushing again because I was excited and getting in the mode.

Aaaaaaaaand I was right, I started thinking more about the lens I was using rather than the image. More meh shots ensued.

I call this next set, ‘standing in a crowd waiting for the event to start and as I have a camera in my hand I should take a shot’. I should have shown patience instead.

After giving myself a telling off, I reminded myself that car details can be interesting.

‘Ooh wheels’. Not sure why I thought it would work as I have taken these shots before and was never really inspired by them.

‘Oh look you can see the engines.’ To be fair to myself, better composed and focused these could have been ok.

Again gave myself a bit of a talking too and then tried again with a lovely Porsche

‘Obligatory side shot’

‘Back in the swing of things and concentrating’

Then I tried to get a shot representing Porsche past and present, one close focus, one further. These haven’t really worked but it was worth a try. More patience and thought as well as considered lens choice next time.

‘Ooh wheels.’ FFS man what are you doing

After a short pulling myself together session, I tried concentrating again

Better and then…… ‘ooh wheels’. Dude!!

Concentrate again

‘Ooh Wheels.’ What is wrong with me (answers on a postcard, not in the comments)

Concentrates again

I tried a couple more through the windows shots but they didn’t really work

and a couple of more lined up shots that are OK

It then got to that point in the day when it was time for a drink before heading home. It was then the curse of 36 exposures struck. I was on my second roll and there were about 6 exposures left. So what else was a boy to do but

Dog

Wine

Pigeon

Dog

Flowers

So what is the point/learning of this post.

Well firstly, I am very impressed with the new Kodak E100. I still need to learn to pick my moments better and not get caught up in the excitement. For a while now I have been at peace with the fact I should not expect 36 ‘winners’. Experimenting is fine and good, trying new compositions is important as long as you learn from them. To stop wasting the last few frames on a roll of 36, I mean a Pigeon!! Mainly and overall STOP TAKING PICTURES OF WHEELS.

The Hoff – Rolls 7 & 8 Come Fly with Me

Here is the latest instalment on my continuing progress learning to use my Hasselblad 2000fcw (“The Hoff”)

For this update I shot a roll of Rollei RPX 400 and a roll of Portra 800. I was visiting a museum close to me, The Gatwick Aviation Museum. I had not visited before.

First thing you might notice is yes I have a second A12 back that I purchased. One of the advantages of a system like this is that I can now switch between films. This one came with a plastic bit stuck on the back which is frankly a bit ugly but it has a slot to hold the dark slide which is very handy.

A couple of updates from last time:

  • The lens hood I purchased, which did not fit, was apparently for older lenses so I need to be a bit mindful buying my next one.
  • When I first purchased The Hoff I expected to want a Prism Finder and I got to try one. I actually found it too heavy and cumbersome compared to the waist level view so for now that idea is parked
  • The screen going dark when I wound the shutter crank is apparently because of some kind of depth of field view and I need to change a switch on the lens. I have yet to try this, but will give it a go.

So what have I learnt this time:

Firstly to make sure when I set the shutter speed, it clicks in place. If you shoot and it has not quite clicked, the shutter locks and you will not be able to get another picture until you click it correctly onto the setting. You end up with something like this

Second thing I have learnt is that having two backs, to remember what film I have loaded. I had the Portra 800 back loaded, but realised, luckily in time that I had the orange filter on the lens, thus removed it. I had however forgotten that on my lighter meter I has set it to compensate for the filter (1 stop) and I was already planning to shoot the Portra rated at 400.

I think the third and main thing was in regard to focal length. I have the 80mm lens which I believe is roughly equivalent to 50mm in 35mm. A lot of the museum was indoors and quite close quarters. Thus a wider lens might have worked better in some instances. I was thinking about this afterwards. My initial thought was do I need to buy a wider lens. But on reflection I feel this was the wrong way to think of things. The answer should not be what am I missing and need to buy, but more what do I have that is most suitable. This was a visit that I would have been better taking my Olympus OM1n camera with the various lenses I have for it. It would have been much more practical. Thought and preparation before going out should have been better by me.

Anyway enough waffling. Here are some of the images. There was an issue with the backing paper on the Rollei film, hence the look of it. I am pretty meh about these images, but that’s OK as I have learned more again for my continuing journey with The Hoff and that sometimes The Hoff should stay at home.

The Hoff – Rolls 5&6 oh man not again

My continuing journey in learning the ways of my Hasselblad 200fcw.

This update, as the sun was out, I thought I would try a couple of rolls of slide film in The Hoff. Those of you that know me well know I am a big fan of slide film for colour work.

I thought as it was a special occasion, for my first slide films in The Hoff I would go for two special films. Fujifilm Provia 400X a sadly discontinued but absolutely fabulous film in 120 format (for some reason I’m not such a fan of it in 35mm) and a roll from 1995 of Kodak Ektachrome 200 that I knew had been well stored from new.

I loaded the Provia 400X first and spent two lunchtimes walking around the City of London taking what I consider the best 12 images I had ever composed. When I finished the roll I unloaded it and…….

I’D ONLY BLOODY GONE AND DONE IT AGAIN. I HAD LOADED IT BACKWARDS!!

But still best 12 images ever and no one can prove me wrong.

Note: I plan to rescue this roll by re-rolling it back in dark bag, Provia 400X is too good to waste.

You may recall from a previous update I said I should get a lens hood. I found one on eBay for a really good price as it had a small dent and some scratches which didn’t bother me

I looked up that it was for an 80mm lens and it arrived nice and quickly. I took the camera out to put the lens hood on and…..

IT DIDN’T BLOODY FIT, WHAT IS THAT ALL ABOUT!!

Note: I haven’t had time to research into this yet, but will hopefully let you know in the next update what I did wrong.

Anyway I am not one to dwell on failure and like to get up and start again. So I loaded the roll of Kodak Ektachrome 200.

A little side note I like to use a polarising filter when shooting slide film. Not for every shot but it can really make the colours pop. Try Velvia 50 with a polarising filter and E6 process and you will see what I mean.

The very nice man who sold me this camera (Hi Mike) gave me the B60-67mm adapter so I could use 67mm filters on The Hoff.

So out I ventured again and guess what

I LOADED IT THE RIGHT WAY AROUND THIS TIME!!

So excited was I a put another roll of Fujifilm Provia 400X in and went out again.

Thus before sharing some images with you there are two more things I wanted to mention.

Aside from the mishaps is there anything else I have learnt about The Hoff this time. Well actually there is. Don’t wind the shutter crank on until you are ready to press the shutter. Basically compose your image fully first as once you wind the crank and the shutter is ready, the view through the viewfinder is much much darker so it is much more difficult to compose. This was a change in process for me compared to how I shoot my 35mm camera.

Secondly, I purchased a 2nd A12 back so now I can shot two different types of film at the same location.

Enough from me now, here are a few images from both the Kodak and Fuji rolls

The Hoff – Rolls 3&4. Learning the Hasselblad 2000fcw

If you are following this I have embarked on a journey to learn to use my newly acquired camera by shooting 52 rolls through it and then putting down my thoughts on this blog.

Last time you may recall I had an issue with the film, there were overlapping frames on the negative and I did not know why. The advice I received was to wind on the crank in a more gentle fashion to see if that helped and if not get the magazine serviced.

Thus I set out on a trip to Brighton (UK) carrying two rolls of Portra 800 as the weather was changeable so I did not know what light I would get.

I choose to load the film on the train down to Brighton. About 20 or so minutes of trying to spool it, it suddenly occurred to me what I had done wrong last time and that I am an idiot ( no no please don’t all rush to correct me).

Turns out I can’t read instructions properly and secondly it seems to be a theme with this camera and I, I feel the need to over complicate things based on its reputation.

What did I do wrong. Let me explain.

Take a look at picture 5. It is showing that the tongue of the paper should be put into the take up spool. Last time I read it completely different. I somehow managed to read that as run the paper through the rollers, not over them. Thus I had threaded the film through one roller at the start then across and under and through the other end before putting it on the take up spool. How did I know this is what I had done, you ask? Because I spent the best part of 25 minutes trying to load the Portra 800 exactly the same way and was getting extremely frustrated at not being able to get the paper in between the first roller. It was then I stopped looked at it rationally and thought. No way would they make it this hard, took another look at the book and had the lightbulb moment of Oh so that’s what they mean. The film was loaded in seconds after that.

As you will see, no issues with frame spacing or camera advance this time.

So what did I learn or take from my shooting for the day? Firstly, the camera does attract a lot of attention. The couple of times I have used it now people have come up to me asking about it and photography in general. Thankfully not saying “wow they still make film for those things”. I don’t mind this at all as it’s interesting to meet people and hear their stories about photography.

The next thing that struck me and this is hard to describe as it’s a feeling, but it feels very intuitive to use. I can fire off a couple of shots almost as quickly as I do with my OM1n the only difference with The Hoff is that I need to meter the scene first. At its basic set up for shooting, it really is not a difficult camera.

The other thing to mention is that I was hesitant buying this camera because of the waist level finder and imagined I would need a prism finder. This was based on the fact that when I used a Yashica Mat G I felt as seasick as a landlubber that had just got on a small fishing vessel in a storm. For some reason The Hoff does not do this to me. I think and Mat G people please correct me if I am wrong but it helps the up and down are the right way, was it the same on the Mat G? But mainly it also helps that the camera is long with a lens, almost like playing a driving game and having the car bonnet in the scene to help.

As mentioned I loaded with Portra 800 a favourite c-41 colour film of mine. There is no doubt it is an expensive film but I can live with that for a few reasons:

  1. Most of my colour shooting is done with slide film and processed E6. Thus the Portra 800 with C-41 development actually works out cheaper for me when you add both the cost of the films and the development and scanning of them.
  2. I love the colours of Portra 800. I have never been a fan of Portra 400 (too warm/orange for my tastes)
  3. It is very versatile film and handles different light, even within a scene really well, You can shoot it rated at 200, 400 or 800 and mainly get good results in terms of colour and exposure. It’s not a miracle worker though!

So in terms of images here are some that I will share today

The one below is an example where I shot a bit too much into the sun. One thing I probably should think of getting, even though unlikely to help in this scene is a lens hood.

The other ‘accessory’ I need to get is a good strap. The one on the camera is the standard thin leather Hasselblad one. Nothing wrong with it, just don’t find it overly comfortable. Now I could be sensible and get a new one that had all the supports and recommendations and looks very nice, I believe Optech (?) come highly rated, but I won’t. This is a beautiful camera and I want a beautiful strap to complement it. I don’t care if that makes me a ‘Show Pony’ yes it’s a working camera but why should it not also be adorned in the finest. Tap and Dye are current top of my list, but I continue to research.

Anyway, I hope you have enjoyed this update, plenty more to come.

The Hoff – Learning to use a Hasselblad 2000fcw. Rolls 1&2

Back in November 2018 I picked up a Hasselblad 2000FCW. I had been looking for a Medium Format camera for a while. Having shot/owned a Holga, a Zeiss Ikon Nettar, Yashica Mat124G and Fuji GA645 all great cameras in their own right I still felt I hadn’t found ‘the’ MF camera for me.

I knew I didn’t want a rangefinder. Shooting the Fuji in 38 degrees centigrade in Cyprus for 2 hours only to realise the whole roll of Velvia 50 was shot with the lens cap on pretty much convinced me of this. The Zeiss Ikon Nettar was fantastic but a little too slow and more importantly lacked flexibility in terms of other lenses, using filters etc. The Holga, to this day some of my very favourite images were created with it but it was a real love/hate relationship.

Thus to cut a long story short, I have ended up with the Hasselblad 2000FCW as next on my list to see if it is the one. A little side note about me, in 35mm I use an Olympus OM1n, I know this to be the one for me and have zero interest in any other 35mm SLR. I want this ‘feeling’ for an MF camera, I like the simplicity of one camera choice for each format.

Thus I am now embarking on a 52 rolls project to learn the camera and see if we are going to be long term partners. 52 rolls (as opposed to 52 weeks) so I do not pressure myself to shoot for the sake of it.

I do not intend this to be a camera review. That has very recently been written by Emulsive with his fantastic love letter to this camera.

https://emulsive.org/reviews/camera-reviews/hasselblad-camera-reviews/the-ultimate-guide-to-the-hasselblad-2000fcw-a-focal-plane-shutter-unicorn

This is intended as a record of my thoughts, successes and failures as I take a journey to learn it.

It took me over two months before I loaded my first roll of film in it. Part of the reason was I had been very busy at work and also got hit by a chest infection but if I am honest another part of it was I felt a bit intimidated by it and probably spent a lot of those two months overthinking it. I guess I was a bit overawed by the reputation of the camera but in January, I, with the help of a couple of people on Twitter, pulled myself together and remembered it’s just a camera, chuck some film in and see what happens. Thus film choice was my first decision.

As you can see, I seem to have quite a bit of slide film. Normally when I first shoot a new camera, test a lens etc I end up doing something stupid like loading it with some weird film stock or heavily expired film so I am adding so many variables that the test becomes a bit irrelevant. Thus this time I did the sensible thing, I loaded Ilford HP5 Plus.

And yes well spotted, I did the sensible thing and purchased a copy of the instruction manual.

Now if you have never loaded a Hasselblad before, even with the instructions it is slightly different. You have to loop the film the right way round through the rollers. My first attempt.

The above was my first attempt and completely and utterly wrong. Luckily I realised before it was too late. FYI the film side should be facing out.

Once loaded, out I ventured to take pictures in an area I was very familiar with to take test shots. Because of the light I rated the film at 800 when metering. I found the camera surprisingly light and straightforward to use. Everything felt quite effortless, even the waist level finder. With my Yashica I used to get motion sickness, but not so much with this camera, not really sure why. All was going very well until the 6th frame and the shutter would not fire. I tried everything I could, but was worried about breaking something so took it carefully. Emulsive came to rescue here and we spoke and he talked me through various options as to what the problem could be. Ultimately I managed to wind the film on to the end to save the few frames I had taken. Here are a couple of the shots from roll 1.

I loaded a second roll and as the light had faded by this time, I rated it at 3200. Another short interlude, I was using the lightmeter app on my phone for metering.

This roll went really well in terms of I enjoyed shooting it and got 12 frames. The camera felt good to use and intuitive. It was only when I got the scans back I realised there was a problem.

There were no spaces between the frames, in fact they overlapped in many cases. This could easily be and most likely user error i.e. me winding the crank too quickly. I guess I will know for sure with the next roll. Anyway here are a couple of shots from roll 2

The issues I have had with the film, has not put me off the camera. These are teething problems and precisely why I am committing to 52 rolls before making a decision. There will be many quirks and challenges but this for me is the only real way to learn.

Thus this has been Roll 1 & 2. Time to get on to the next one.

Oh yeah one final thing, yes I have given this camera the name ‘The Hoff’

Discontinued – an update

About a year ago I put up the following post

https://filmphotographylondon.wordpress.com/2018/03/06/discontinued-fujifilm-neopan-400/

In summary I had offered to send out 17 rolls of discontinued Fuji Neopan 400 in 120 format with the aim of photographers shooting it on the theme discontinued and then reporting back what they felt knowing that was probably the first and last time they would shoot the film. Then I would produce a zine with the results and their thoughts.

Of the 17 who had been successfully picked, only 10 gave me their address. I duly sent the films out. Of the 10 only 4 people have contacted and confirmed they shot the film and were ready to move to the next stage.

As such I unfortunately will need to call it quits to this project as this really is not enough to produce anything worthwhile. Thus discontinued is discontinued

A special thanks to the 4 of you that tried to see it through with me, you know who you are. I look forward to you sharing your images on the various social media sites.

Memories

Sometimes as keen photographers we are so busy experimenting and looking for new and interesting things to photograph that we forget what is right in front of us.

Don’t forget to take photographs of your loved ones with the same care and attention

Rest in Peace my little dude. Miss you so much already

Jock 2005 – 2018