Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Back to Basics

I hate to admit it but I like so many people got caught up in the (new fad) of digital photography. don't get me wrong I think its great, problem is it can shut down your creative process if you let it. what does this mean>
With even the high quality digital cameras there is very little thinking involved, we get all caught up in the pixel process and we for get to advance our skill as creators. Its easy to simply point and shoot - seems that quantity prevails and quality is a hit and miss reality.
I remember long the thrill of creating a picture that "worked", I had a pretty good idea of why it worked when I made it. I was concerned with such things as shutter speed, depth of field and of course composition. I don't have the same thrill, not because I've lost the passion but I think because I've gotten into the point and shoot mentality.
The Solution
I've gone back to the basics, I've acquired enough skill over the years (wisdom too I believe) to create wonderful images if only I slow down and take the time to think about each exposure (don't hear that very often any more).
I've always considered the Hasselblad 500CM, an amazing camera with superior quality elements. I believe if you can't make a good picture with a Hasselblad - its you; not the camera!
So my journey continues, over the past few months I've been busy hunting down all I feel I need as far as equipment goes to create the images I know I'm capable of. I've looked at images I've made with a Hasselblad decades ago and although Nikon digital is a fine camera with great optics, I feel it just can't compete with the Zeiss optics.
The Film
An apparent sign of the times - I went into a Wolf camera yesterday to check out their supply of 120 medium format film, I didn't think they would have a large selection but I figured it would be more convenient than ordering online. The guy looked at me like I was from another planet - he had no idea what medium format film was, I would have expected this response form the photo department at Walmart but not from a large photo retailer like Wolf Camera. I guess its back to online!
Anyway as I immerse myself back into this medium I have decided to go right back to the beginning with the best film I've had the pleasure to use. TMAX 100, This film provides super fine grain and wonderful shades of gray from deep black to bright white and the larger size 6cm X 6cm is very exciting.
Mixing The Old And New
I'm not a fan of the dark room nor do I enjoy the smell of chemicals, but yet I want to be involved in the final process of image manipulation - the solution; I've found a lab that will process the negatives and scan them to disc. I don't know what to expect as far a quality goes but I'm confident that aspect of technology will serve me well. I'll be able to manipulate the scanned image and when I'm satisfied upload it to the lab for printing. I'm curious to see how it all works out. I'll post the new images on my website .


JPShar said...

I know you posted this a long time ago, but I just read it while doing some research on Hasselblad 500cm setups. I've got a Yashica Mat-124G now, is it worth the upgrade in cost? I feel the same way you do about digital - it's fantastic, but almost too good, my thought process when shooting has shortened dramatically since the film days of the mid-90s. Have you enjoyed the Hassy since purchasing, and do you use it often enough to justify the cost? Thanks in advance!

D'Arcy said...

Thanks JP Shar for your comment and question. I wish the answer was simple but it isn't. Here goes.
I've made a lot of money using a simple 3mp digital camera. As a matter of fact i've made money using each of my cameras. As you know each system will have an advantage over the other. For instance, if I were shooting a baseball game I'd want a Nikon digital (Nikon is my preferance for a dslr). The Hasselblad is too slow and cumbersome. Without listing the uses for each system I think you get the idea.
Ultimately here's how I look at things.
The advantage of a high end digital is low cost post production (no film or processing). You can also take hundreds of shots of the same subject and sort through to find the greatest one.
The advantage of the Hasselblad, and this will sound perhaps a little cheesy; simplicity. Cost will actually work in your favour. How is this you ask? You will discriminate before you release the shutter. You will ask yourself, How is my composition? Is the light right? Should I be using color or B/W film and if so what speed.
My goal lies in the ability to create great images - to be a great photographer, not a lucky one. By understanding all the elements that go into the making of a great image one's success should improve by simply being more selective.
Now does the cost warrent the purchase of a Hasselblad? I say yes. With many pros jumping on board with digital, you can pick up a great Hasselblad 500cm for about $1200.00 on EBay. You can also by the way get your 120 or 220 film on Ebay. I have my film processed locally, scanned then uploaded and the digital file printed, kind of the best of both worlds, although I believe printing directly from the negative is better.
I hope I've answered your question.