The last assignment in my photo art class this semester was “self biography”. This is the print I ended up presenting. It’s supposed to be about my background and how I experience it. Does it make any sense, at all?
(Hasselblad 500CM + Carl Zeiss Planar 2,8/80, on Rollei Retro 100 developed in Kodak HC-110.)
In August 2011 I shot my first roll of medium format film. I had just bought a roll of Ilford PanF 50+, loaded it into a Zeiss Ikon Super Ikonta III that I had never used before, and exposed all twelve frames in 15 minutes in my neighborhood, using the Sunny 16 rule, as I had no exposure meter.
I made a post about the experience. “I might post one or two frames from this film in near future” I said then. A couple of weeks later I posted a very strange scan from that roll. I didn’t have access to a proper film scanner, so I used an old flatbed scanner. I said that I would “post the proper version later, for comparison”.
Yesterday I scanned that film with a dedicated film scanner (the awesome Hasselblad Flextight x1). Here’s what that image looks like in conventional scanning:
Here are some other shots from the same roll. These are all from the Møhlenpris neighborhood in Bergen, Norway.
I’m quite happy with the exposure. I think I exposed most of these at f/4 and f/5,6 with the shutter speeds 1/50 and 1/100. Sunny 16 is as good as any meter in some situations. It’s especially useful in when it’s overcast and the light is so even and soft that what shadows there are fall within one stop from the rest. Sunlight is a different story. I find it very difficult to guess exposure in high contrast scenes.
I should perhaps make a post about the Super Ikonta III some time. It’s such a nice camera!
The Novar lens on the Zeiss Ikon Super Ikonta III is very soft, and if used at maximum aperture (f/3,5), the corners, especially, suffer a lot. One wouldn’t think that maximum aperture was needed for a shot like this – and I think it’s rather shot at f/4 – but up there, the wind made it hard to hold the camera still. I used slow film (probably Pan F or perhaps Neopan) and needed maximum shutter speed (which is supposed to be 1/500, but I suspect that it’s much slower).
I got access to a superb Hasselblad film scanner a couple of weeks ago and have started to scan the few old medium format negatives I have. Not much is worth sharing, but I quite liked this one.
My Hasselblad is old and ugly, but it’s a great tool. I haven’t learned the ropes yet; the images are often tilted, out of focus or over-/underexposed. It doesn’t matter; it’s so fun to use! Once in a while I get it acceptably right, too.
I love that it’s made right across the border by the industrious Swedes and that they let Carl Zeiss make the lenses. Very wise.
The Hasselblad slows me down. It forces me to think hard about what and how to shoot. Bracketing is a luxury. Tripod is a must. It takes about one cigarette to decide aperture and shutter speed. I make many mistakes. I learn a lot. I’m having great fun!
I’ve been looking for a medium format system for a long time and I am glad I chose the Hasselblad. Additional accessories are expensive, though, so it won’t be much of a system for some time…
Comments about things I could have done better, or different, are very welcome. Perhaps you have a Hasselblad trick or two to share?
Most of you know the American photographer Mary Ellen Mark, I should think. (If not, check out www.maryellenmark.com.) She held a book signing in Oslo during the DOKFOTO documentary photography festival in February, and I was there. I brought my copy of “Extraordinary Child” (a wonderful book with images from schools for disabled children in Reykjavík) and bought a copy of “Ward 81”. Amazing photography! We had a very brief chat about Iceland, and as you can see, she likes that country a lot too. Iceland forever!
The number of Leicas per capita was very high in the book shop that day. I brought the Zeiss Ikon and a Soviet Jupiter-8 lens, and despite being heavily star struck, I managed to hold the camera still enough to make a couple of frames. What I didn’t manage, though, was to rewind the film before I opened the back; I was so excited about the whole situation that I forgot. Luckily I had an extra roll of Tri-X in my pocket and was able to get a couple of non-fogged Mary Ellen Mark frames.
My first serious attempt to make a still life.
(Contax RTS II, Carl Zeiss Sonnar 3,5/100. Neopan Acros in Rodinal.)
This was made a couple of years ago with a Nikon FM3a and a 70-210 mm zoom lens, hand held. The grain suggests fast film, probably Tri-x, probably Rodinal.
I have been very busy lately and have not been able to update this blog as often as I’d like to. Rather than scanning I’ve spent time making prints. I hope I can find time to do both soon. I appreciate every visit and comment. It motivates me and gives meaning to what I’m doing. Thank you! (Oh, and happy Tree Tuesday!)
Marie encouraged us all to join in on Tree Tuesday (i.e. to post an image of a tree on Tuesdays, with a “Tree Tuesday” tag), and while I flicked through some scans for a presentation, I found this one. Not a great shot, but it’s a tree! It’s from last year; there isn’t much snow in Oslo these days. Happy Tree Tuesday!
Early morning on Skorpo, an island in the Hardanger fjord. Uskedalen and Englafjell in the background.
This is from a film that I developed yesterday. The next frames were made later that day. We went to another island in another fjord to have lunch. That island was a true paradise! I couldn’t decide on what pictures to publish, or in what order, so that post has to wait until I’ve thought it through.
Oh, and happy New Year, everyone!
A few minutes on the tube from Oslo city center, and you are in these woods. I walked around for three days this autumn, but didn’t see but a small part of it.
This time, I brought the little Zeiss Ikon folder, the Super Ikonta III. The lens is a Novar, a simple triplet, but it’s capable of making very nice pictures. The corners are not good at all, and it doesn’t help that I used it handheld, but the results are better than expected. With some more practice I’ll master it.