The local camera store dug up a roll of developed film that I’d handed them 2 years ago and forgotten all about. I was sure that I’d just lost it! I think that this was just the 2nd roll of 120 format film that I’d shot on the Bronica 645. Definitely a treat.
For the second post of my blog-a-day week I’ll share what I consider one of the loveliest spots near Waterloo, the crossing of the Conestogo River on Three Bridges Road. Located just west of St. Jacobs and a short drive from where I work, it’s a great spot to go during lunch or at the end of the day to grab a few shots.
In the summer, the river is shallow and slow-moving. In the late winter and early spring with a heavy melt, it’s a torrent and the low bridge is lost completely beneath the water. Regardless of the seasonal changes, I’m still amazed at how many different types of photos I can get at the same place. It just goes to show that you don’t have to travel far to get great shots (or pretty good shots, at least).
I used a wide range of equipment for these photos. The bodies (Nikon D300s, D7000 and N80, Bronica ETRS) were paired with lenses (Nikon 17-55 f/2.8, Nikon 35 f/1.8, Nikon 60 f/2.8G Micro, Nikon 85 f/1.8G, Tokina 11-16 f/2.8, Tokina 50-135 f/2.8, Sigma 50 f/1.4, Bronica MC 40 f/4, Bronica EII 75/2.8). On the self portraits I used Nikon SB-700 and SB-900 strobes with CLS control.
I’ll give a prize to the person who gets the most correct gear-to-photo matches!
This post shows an alternate, and quite different, take on one of my favourite images of 2012 (the other version is here). While the first image I showed was a panorama taken with a DSLR, this version was on film with the Bronica ETRS.
Two pieces of equipment were absolutely necessary for this shot. First, a tripod with the ability to set the legs at independent angles. I had to set the tripod on a pile of rocks and being able to position each leg to follow the terrain helped considerably. Second, a graduated neutral density filter. These filters are divided in half, top to bottom. One one side they are transparent and on the other they block light by a fixed amount without adding any colour caste (hence, “neutral”). The interface between the two halves is a gradient with one fading into the other so there is no sharp transition edge.
Bronica ETRS with MC 40mm f/4. Probably around f/8, 1/8s on Fuji Velvia 100. Scanned with the Epson V500. Colour correction, levels and sharpness in Photoshop CS5.
Portt and I had a great photo adventure at the Brick Works this past May. Naturally, we were armed with way more gear than we should have been. Although far more developed than the last time I’d visited (over 10 years ago) there are still many cool details that reflect how the building once was.
Here are a few shots with the D7000 and Nikon 35mm f/1.8
And some HDRs with the Nikon 17-55mm f/2.8
This next shot was with the D300s and 17-55. I’m using two lights, controlled by CLS and triggered from the onboard flash. The rim light, coming from the back right of the image is a snooted SB-700 at +1EV. The main light is a SB-900 with full CTO gel through a Lumiquest Softbox LTz at +3EV. Exposure compensation on the camera was dialed down to -2EV to dim the ambient and WB was set to Tungsten to cool everything down.
This setup is extremely portable. Two small light stands and two Speedlights. The Lumiquest snoot and softbox both fit in the laptop slot of my camera bag.
Finally, here are couple shots with the Bronica ETRS. First, with the 75mm f/2.8 EII and second with the 40mm f/4 MC.
Thanks for looking!
Over the past year I’ve been borrowing my uncle George’s Bronica ETRS as a fun diversion from the world of digital. I’ve shot about 10 rolls with the camera now and I’m loving the camera. It’s taught me to slow down and think hard about each shot. A roll of 120 film only has 15 shots on it, requiring considerably more focus than shooting digital (or a willingness to waste a lot of film). This summer I had four rolls of slide film developed at Dwayne’s in Kansas, two rolls of Provia 100 and two of Velvia 100, and tonight I finished scanning the last roll.
Here’s an image that anybody following my Flickr site will recognize, since I also shot it digitally and with my Nikon N80. This is with the MC 40mm f/4.
I think of all the versions of the image, this Velvia shot is my favourite. The tones are natural and soft. I did have to bump up the foreground with curves and a gradient mask. I also painted in a flat curve with ‘Screen’ blending over the waterfall and trees along the horizon. It’s a shame that I didn’t take this photo a few minutes earlier, as the setting sun reflects from just a small patch at the far end of the falls The next two were taken in my mom’s garden on Velvia with the 75mm f/2.8 EII
The next two photos show the dual nature of the MC 40mm bokeh. On some images, like the first, it is incredibly harsh. I find it almost painful to look at, although the sharp bricks in the foreground really pop with a 3D effect. The image of the barbed wire shows that the bokeh can occasionally be nice with this lens. The downside to shooting film, of course, is that it took me months to even see what kind of images this lens could produce. Now that I have a better gauge of the lens’s strong points (sharpness, distortion, colour) and weak points (bokeh, vignetting with filters) I’ll be able to use it more effectively.
Thanks for looking!