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 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’

E6 cars

I have not posted a blog in a few months due to being very busy so I aim to start posting regularly again.

I took my trusty Olympus OM1n to an American car show recently and shot a roll of Velvia 50 and a roll of Provia 100F. Below are some of my favourite images of the cars on show. Hope you enjoy viewing them.

Orange

Sometimes with a roll of film I like to challenge myself with a theme. Thus recently I loaded the Fuji GA645 with a roll of Fujifilm Velvia 100 and set myself the challenge of the theme of Orange. So please see below for the images. Processed E6 by SilverPan Film Lab (in the UK) and scans tweaked in Snapseed.

All images from the same roll, except the chairs one.

The Sound of Sussex – The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

If you follow my blog posts you will see I am a bit of a fan of the Washi S film. This is a black & white sound recording film that I really enjoy using but can leave me with mixed results. So far all the rolls I have shot have been 35mm so I was very pleased to see it was also available in 120.

I was staying at hotel in the Sussex countryside for a weekend away with the family so thought I would give it a try there. I loaded the film in my Fuji GA645 and placed an orange filter on the front. All my previous Washi rolls have also been shot with an orange filter.

Let’s get right to the point these are mainly really bad. I have analysed why and believe the Fuji was not the right camera to use for this film. Ok hang before you say a bad workman always blames their tools, let me explain. Previous Washi film shots I have taken were using my Olympus OM1n. With this camera I could meter through the lens and point the camera at various different parts of the scene and then adjust accordingly. With Washi S it can really blow the highlights if you are not careful and conversely if you are too respectful of the highlights all you will get is really dark areas elsewhere.

I did not use a handheld meter with the Fuji and left it to its own metering, I firmly think this film needs to be shot in a camera with full manual settings and use the TTL metering or a handheld meter. I won’t go into all the different types of metering as quite frankly I am a real novice with this and would just be making things up, I just know through practice and experience with my OM1n how the film works for me.

I will try some more Washi S in 120 but this time in the Zeiss Ikon Nettar with my iPhone light meter. Let’s see if it improves. Anyway enough talking now here are the images.

The negative as I thought you may be interested, shot on top of an iPad, hence the funny patterns

The good:

The Bad:

And the Ugly (although love the clouds in these):

Chrome Headlights

I was lucky enough to visit a show in London recently called the London Concours. This was basically a selection of some of the finest sports and classic cars. I anticipated bright sunny weather and knew the cars would be bright and colourful. so packed some slide film for the afternoon.

The challenges on a day like this are basically crowds and reflections. Thus for certain shots I concentrated on the details to avoid both of those challenges.

Here are a selection of shots, taken on a Fuji GA645 with a mixture of Fujifilm Provia 400X and Kodak Ektachrome 200 EDP developed in E6 by SilverPan Film Lab.

Let’s get lunch

I was kindly sent a bunch of Kodak Vision films from @Dizd (Dizzy Cow on twitter). Some 250D and some 50D. I am a big fan of these Vision films especially when they are processed in their native chemicals ECN-2. Nik and Trick in the UK sell the developing kits for this.

I finally had a chance to try a roll a week or so ago, so I wanted to shoot one as practice. All shots are taken on an Olympus OM1n loaded with Kodak Vision 250D developed in ECN-2.

A little side note before sharing the images. Every single roll of film I shoot I see as a practice roll, even if I am going for a specific project. It’s all about learning for the next roll and the next roll and so on. I am never disappointed if I get things wrong in a roll, I am only disappointed if I don’t learn from it. With film photography I firmly believe I will be practising for years and years to come and thus only the last photo I ever take before putting my camera down will be ‘The Shot’

Anyway all this talk has made me hungry, what shall we have for lunch?

The sound of St Paul’s

As followers of this blog are aware, Washi S sound recording film is favourite of mine to try and experiment with. This film really intrigues me and is one I will keep persevering with. It is an extremely high contrast film and there can be very little between the deep blacks and the harsh whites.

The images you will see in this blog have all been shot using my favourite camera the Olympus OM1n using either a 50mm f1.4 or 28mm f2.8 lens with an orange filter.

I generally use an orange filter just because that is what my research told me. Reflecting on this now, I’m not sure this film needs the added contrast of a filter, so next roll will be no filter to see how that goes.

So back to the details. For this roll I picked a subject of St Paul’s Cathedral. Partly because it is very close to my work, but mainly because it is one of my favourite buildings in London. My plan was to start at one corner and walk around the cathedral taking photos. This walking around did not mean I had to stay close, just that I could see it. All images were taken over the course of about one hour.

So enough talking, come on the walk with me around St Paul’s and see what you hear from this sound recording film.

The starting point a bit of artistic inspiration

I dragged myself out quickly as otherwise no photos would have been taken

Then time to cross the road starting with the mystery door

Then the steps

Time to climb the steps and look out from the main doors

Back down and a couple of images from the front

Time to head into Paternoster Square

From here I headed toward a small shopping centre called One New Change

One the roof of One New Change there is a restaurant and a bar, but more than that there is a place to just admire the views

By now it was time to wait for the lift to get back down again

Couldn’t resist one more shot of this view

Now time to get around the other side and see what shots I can get from there

Moving towards the front of the building again

And finally time to reflect on the walk I just did

I hope you enjoyed walking with me, look out for the next in the series of ‘The Sound of….’