So the new year has landed, with all of the challenges and opportunities that come free with the passing of time. I have some plans afoot for this year, but I missed a proper post last month and thought I’d do some retrospective catch-up stuff first.
Back in November I went to London with my friend Adam, an accomplished editorial photographer I’ve been pals with for a few years. He had a shoot lined up with some London based models and I sort of invited myself along. I alway enjoy watching Adam work and this was one of the first outings for his newly acquired FujiFilm GFX50s, (a camera that I’m in no way jealous of and do not want). Given that he was going to be shooting medium format it only seemed fair that I should do the same. This was a perfect opportunity for further experimentation with my 120mm Makro lens.
Hayley was kind enough to let me shoot her with the Hasselblad after she’d finished her shoot with Adam. The 120mm is something special when it comes to headshots, but manually focusing with such a shallow depth of field continues to challenge me. I may have to surrender to a slightly deeper depth of field.
Easy like a Tuesday morning
I like an easy life, and so decided I would pack my rollerbag, then I wouldn’t have to carry my gear, I could just drag it behind me. It looked pretty empty with just the Hasselblad in it so I added Canon EOS3 with the 85mm f/1.2 partly because it had film in it, and partly because pointing it at a model is hard to pass up. There was still some space left in the case, so I added my Leica and a couple of lenses, some light meters and a stack of film.
The last time Adam and I had been on shoot together we had been inside, I hadn’t checked, but this time we were shooting in the street in Camden, at 9am. I have come to learn that the roller-bag is superb for getting to shoots, but not so great once you are there. Getting things in and out can take a while, require space, and lack grace. It’s also limiting in the street – shooting a manual camera while keeping one hand on the bag is difficult. Listening to the wheels on rough ground is pretty wearing, as is negotiating a busy London pavement with an unwieldy suitcase. Had I taken a messenger bag I would have taken less with me, and been able to shoot more….
I first shot Elizabeth in a pub roof garden, rapidly finishing of the roll of film inside the EOS3 as if I were shooting a DSLR. I have had all sorts of thoughts about switching my f/1.2 for the soon to be available f/1.4L IS, but the f/1.2 is so good I’m going to struggle to give it up.
That nice chap, Hamish Gill has let me borrow his 7artisans 50mm f/1.1 lens, (the titular Handsome Loaner). He expects me to like it, and to buy one from him. (He has started importing them – you can get yours here). So when I dropped the Leica into the bag it had this on the front of it.
The shots below are from my first roll with the 7Artisans. At very wide apertures the bokeh is pretty bonkers (but in a nice way). Once you start to stop the lens down the bonkers moves progressively towards the edges of the frame, leaving a sharp and contrasty image that is both fast and characterful.
I’m nuts for fast lenses, I had three f/1.2 lenses in the menagerie prior to this len’s arrival and I like that I have the option to shoot very shallow if I want. I hope that bearing the bonkers in mind will help be wean myself off the super shallow DOF, we shall see.
(Those of you with long memories may remember me being rude about using a 50mm on the Leica last year. Turns out I don’t hate it after all, this could be because I’m more practiced with a rangefinder, but might be because I didn’t want to like that Elmar).
I joined Adam for another shoot in snow a few weeks ago. In the run up to Christmas he invited me to join him atop a Malvern, British camp to be precise, for a fashion shoot with Annabelle Hoy. I’ve been experimenting with film emulation, adding a film look to digital images. I took my Canon 5D mkiv and the 85mm f/1.2 so that I could put some images side by side.
Do the treatments look similar? Yes they do, do they look the same? No, but for good reasons. I’m not going down the rabbit hole that involves shooting identical subjects in order to pick at the differences, the important thing is that I like the way they look.
I’ve continued to shoot my Canon F1, racking up a few more keepers and posting a 5 Frames With… on 35mmc. I was also pleased as punch to have won the building category in the Sam Driver White Memorial Art Competition. Run by Harrison Clark Rickerbys Solicitors in memory of Sam Driver White, a Senior Partner at the firm until his death in February. Mr Driver White was a keen supporter of the arts. I won with my picture of Sansome Street and nominated Mind as my charity of choice. David Harding from the Hereford branch was good enough to come and receive the cheque for £250. I took the intern along to the ceremony… Pictures below are courtesy of f8creates.
I need to say a huge thanks to Hayley, Elizabeth, and Annabelle for being such good sports and being so much fun to work with, I also have to thank Adam for letting me join him on his shoots and should probably thank Hamish for loaning me the lens. A fair amount of horning in on other people’s rackets then, Neil and his racing, Hamish and his lenses, Adam and his model shoots. First job of 2018 is going to have to be finding a racket of my own…