17. oktober 2011

First Hasselblad and medium format experience \o/

Exiting times!

A couple of weeks ago, I received a Hasselblad 503CW in the mail.

I bought the camera second hand from a very friendly working photographer and the body and lens looks nice and very well taken care of.

I have the "black edition", which doesn't have the brass corners like on the photo.

Also, the same week, I received a whole bunch of various packages in the mail, consisting of films, developers, fixers, negative sleeves for 35mm and medium format and even a brand spanking new Epson v750 scanner.

All I needed then, was the weekend to try and figure out how the camera and lens operated (how to load and exit film, how to mount/unmount the lens safely among other things) and then, later, some helpful people that could model a bit for me.

New stuff:

- New camera and operation
- New film loading procedure, loading the film-back and reattaching that.
- New manual focus and recompose procedure with a split screen ^^
- New light measuring technique, the Hasselblad doesn't have a built in light meter.
- New developing-spool loading procedure

Difference between 35mm and 120 film

- New developer. I ended up using Rodinal  for the shots in this blog entry
- New developing scheme.
- New scanning procedure with my new scanner.
- New negative scanning loading procedure.

Other than that, everything else was known, which isn't much  :)

I wanted to try out Fomapan 100 ASA 120 film, which has dark shadows, some really punchy mid-tones and pretty high contrast. Also, it seems to be less sensitive to red tones, behaving a little like orthochromatic film did in the olden days (dark reds).

I used my Seconic L-358 and my brain to figure out an exposure, worked out pretty well I must say. :)

This was surely what you would call "testing" in the purest sense, so I was very lucky to have three wonderful girls stepping up to the plate for me.

First up, was Sunniva, I've never shot her before, so I brought my 1ds mk II with me as well, and snapped a couple of shots as backup if I were to mess up any of the new variables mentioned above. 

Fomapan 100 ASA, Hasselblad 503CW, Rodinal 1:50 for 9 minutes

Conditions was heavy overcast and late in the afternoon, sun was about to set, as far as one could tell anyway. I was forced to use f2.8 on the lens and a shutter as low as 1/30s to 1/15s.

I had some issues with the focus, as the focus-plane is very very thin at this aperture on medium format, but the tonality in the resulting photos was just wow in my opinion, almost a silvery/metallic feel, just what I am after. =)

And Sunniva was cute and did a great job as well =)

Second shoot was with Eilin.
The conditions on this day, was sunny, low sun/sunset, so I opted to shoot in the shadow as much as possible. Still, I wanted to try at least a couple of shots in the sun, to see how the film coped.

As Eilin is a blonde, and the light was flatter than on Sunniva's shoot, the characteristics of the resulting photos was different. Interesting to see how the same film, same developer looks totally different with only the change in diffused light characteristics:

Fomapan 100 ASA, Hasselblad 503CW, Rodinal 1:50 for 9 minutes

Interesting to note: On the photo where Eilin sit by the three, I have detail both in her skin and in most of her black tights, the resulting scan is deliberatively lower in contrast than the other photos to show this.
Nice to see that this film has a fairly wide exposure latitude, even though it is a pretty contrasty film- type.

The final shoot, was with Sofie.
Again the conditions were different, this time it was lightly cloudy and late afternoon, which made for a little more fill-light than with Sunnivas shot and a little less flat than pure shadow light, as with Eilins shoot.

Fomapan 100 ASA, Hasselblad 503CW, Rodinal 1:50 for 9 minutes

I especially like shot number three here, half profile shot, lovely skin tones, and look at that shiny hair!
Looks like it was taken from a movie with fancy light of some kind ^^
(All the photos in this blog-entry, were shot using nothing but natural light)

I learned a whole heap of things from these three shoots, and I am very thankful to the girls who volunteered for these shoots, as the (any) result was not guaranteed.

My initial goal was to get photos -at all-
Second goal was to get the exposure right :)
Third goal was to get sharp photos by using manual focus
Fourth goal was to create something a little more personal and intimate in the photos and to create a little different mood than I usually do.
Fift goal was to get an impresion of contrast, grain and genereal behaviour of the film in this developer.
....and a gazillion other little things.
Final goal is off-course to leave people like Bresson, A. Adams and the whole oldie-lot in the dust.... haha!
(Hey, if you are to have goals, why not aim high? :P)

I am very happy with how things came out on these first shoots, and I am looking forward using this camera in the future, loving the huge negs and the major "KLAKK!" when you take a photo with the Hassy  :)

10. oktober 2011

A visit to the abandoned school

This weekend, I took a trip somewhere in the south of Norway to get up close and personal with an abandoned school that I heard of.

Apparently, the school was abandoned several years ago, so it still has some time left before it gets that really haunted feeling. Still it is pretty wrecked due to water leakage trough the roof. (which school in this country DOES NOT leak like a sieve anyway?).

The smell of mold hit me as I entered the building, even though the building was rather airy, due to several broken windows.

Also, some doors were slamming now and again, creating a bit of an eerie feel to the whole excursion :)

I am not afraid of the dark, so walking around and photographing a place like this really doesn't bother me, but the sounds kept me on edge, because there are people living near by and I was unsure on the activity.

- The "Klack, Klack.........KLACK" noises from my camera as I took my three, bracket-exposures also seemed to linger in the corridors somehow. :)
The first room I came to, was a regular classrom I suppose, a map of southern Norway hanging in front of the black-board, water damage on the floor and in the ceiling.
All the desks and chairs were removed, so there were only empty rooms left.

The setting sun made for some nice,warm light.
Geography class
1ds mark II, 3 exposure bracket, tonemapped HDR.

On the black-board it said "Last day, have a nice summer!".
- No one was to return, so last day indeed. :)

The next room I found interesting, was the school kitchen classroom (don't know the proper word for the place where you have the cooking-classes, Home Economics???).
Anyway, the tell-tale sign, was the fan-systems hanging from the ceiling.

There was a huge puddle on the floor in there, which I used to the max to get some nice reflections in the shot.

The shot could have been a bit messy, if it hadn't been for the lighting conditions, because the reflected sunlight, creates almost a gold-feel to the various objects in there.

Still, this room was far from gold plated :)

Kitchen classroom
1ds mark II, 3 exposure bracket, tonemapped HDR.

The final room i shot (there were several I didn't shoot), was also a regular classroom, just simply a few lamps dangling from the ceiling and some really gunky water damage on the floor (I actually think I saw something move or grow in the gunk, haha!).

Three lamps
1ds mark II, 3 exposure bracket, tonemapped HDR.

Unsure about the over-all light on this one, but the lamps came out pretty cool. ^^

Generally, the quiet mood and the sense of being vacated more or less in a few weeks, gave me the idea of giving at least a few photos a warm, end of summer-feel. Pacing around the corridors, passing doors with signs like "School nurse", "Science room" and so on, made me think about my own time from 13-16, being in school, getting vaccine-shots, being madly in love with some girl in the other class, getting slightly more mature in thought, hopes and dreams for the future and endless hours in the classroom, being utterly bored. =)

Not sure how this place will work as an location for future shoots, because a car pulled up as I was heading out and two men were checking out the building from the outside.
I had to wait until they rounded the corner before I sneaked out and left.

It's a two-floor building, but I never really did explore the lower parts, due to time and fading light, but I am sure there can be interesting things to be seen in the lower parts as well.

What I really liked about this place, was the absence of graffiti-crap.

Made for a real "Take only photographs, leave only footprints" experience. =)