As I have posted previously, this past summer we took a road trip out to the western part of the United States, seeing North Dakota, Montana, Wyoming, Idaho, and South Dakota along the way. You can read the earlier post here.
While the previous post was all with shots taken with my iPhone, this is all about the shots I took with my Hasselblad 501CM. The Hasselblad, for those who are unfamiliar, is a film camera that shoots 120 film, or medium format film. You can read my post on the camera here.
I have to say that I am in no way a landscape photographer. In fact, I’d say it’s something I really struggle with. I wish I could see things the way Ansel Adams did–I suppose even the great ones struggle with that–but I just can’t seem to always put it together in a way that is visually appealing, and doesn’t come off as trite, or cliche. So, admittedly, it’s a work in progress.
However, I took the Hasselblad along this summer to document the trip we took, knowing that the camera can produce some stunning images when handled well. What I found along the way is that one can’t really turn any which way without stumbling upon something absolutely breathtaking, and I ended up making a great many images.
**We interrupt this blog post for a brief public service message: If you’ve read this far and are still interested enough to continue on, I should maybe tell you that by clicking the images, you will go to the source images on my flickr page. Feel free to peruse around there and see the rest of the images in this set that I didn’t post here.
Now back to the blog.
Those who follow the blog, and have done so since it started almost two years ago, will know that I generally take photographs of people. Or at least, they have people in them. Out west that was hard, if not impossible, for the most part. The Hasselblad does not lend itself to candid captures and lends itself to the more methodical approach to image-making. For the most part, that was what I did out west.
After the recent announcements regarding the discontinuation of a great many varieties of reversal film, I wanted to make sure that I could use the last of my stock to good effect. So I packed just about all the slide film left in me inventory for this trip, anticipating that the light conditions would be good enough to shoot Provia 100F. I prefer the Kodak Ektachrome E100G, but that was discontinued a few years ago, making me sad indeed; I took the last box I have with me and shot that as well, but the bulk of the shots were with Provia.
This trip was made all with film. No digital camera came along–but then, as I did an entire post with shots from my phone, perhaps I can’t say that. In this day and age, what is a camera anymore? Most devices are some hybrid anymore, and provide constant connectivity; this is another reason I really enjoyed the all-film aspect of the trip. Somehow, it seems appropriate to me.
It wasn’t merely the fact that electricity was hard to come by for charging batteries. No cell service (for the most part), and no real electronic gadgets to speak of meant that this trip–in a sense–reminded me of the trips to summer camp as a child. Back in those days (yes kids, it was positively medieval) we didn’t have Internet access, cell phones, or iPads. We read books, had campfires and talked to each other, and called home once in a while, when we could. I didn’t intend to wax nostalgic about the days gone by, but this did remind me that unplugging is great for all of us.
Shooting all film really helped with that.
Each camera, and camera type, has a different way of interacting. Some favor certain types of situations; others favor certain types of people. And these are not mutually exclusive. For the Hasselblad (and some other medium format cameras), looking down through the ground glass is amazing. I really enjoy the experience. If you’ve never done it before, do yourself a favor and try one out at a used camera shop while you can, or borrow a friend’s–or just buy one cheap online. They can be had for good prices these days.
Focusing and composing that way is really something I love. Maybe it’s not for everyone, but I thoroughly enjoy it.
As I said before, you should check out the other photos from the trip out west if you’re interested. You can see the flickr set of the trip here, and another set of just panoramas taken with my phone here.
I hope you enjoy them, and I’d love to hear your feedback on the shots, the thoughts, or anything else.