Working with a Medium Format Camera

Working with a Medium Format Camera

This is a brief post as a follow-up to my promise to myself  at the end of my previous one responding to my tutor’s feedback on Assignment 3 of P&P

My road towards medium format has been a slow one.  It began back in 2011 when I began studying with OCA and first went on Study Visits. I noticed that most of the images were large format prints and so clear in the detail.  I acquired a 35mm film camera but still had that yearning to try medium format. Towards the end of last year I succumbed and bought a Fuji GA645Zi with a 55-90mm zoom lens (35mm-55mm) (there’s a review here)  This camera came out in 1998; so it’s relatively modern, with autofocus and automatic wind-on, which is good for me as a nervous newcomer and means I haven’t created double exposures or even, yet, taken a photograph with the lens cap still on.  I do tend to circle cautiously around anything new and so only used one roll of film in several months with the camera in program mode.

However, as I wrote previously the visit to the Landscape Exhibition at Somerset House gave me some new inspiration/enthusiasm after looking at some of Simon Roberts’s landscape work . I know that this is large format but at least medium format is along the way towards this, and so I went off to the Common to make some more photographs. The film is Fuji Superia 400 120 and,  this time I used the camera on aperture priority, which is more adventurous.  Here are some of the results:

I took some A4 prints along to the OCA Thames Valley Group meeting a couple of days ago and got some positive feedback and encouragement to do a longer term project along the lines of ‘figures in a landscape’. Of course, I was asked, “Why film; why medium format?” It’s because of the soft clarity that medium format film can give.  I know that there are filters I can use in Photoshop, e.g. in Nik software, to achieve similar effects but they’re not quite the same as actual film.

I have another location in mind to visit and gradually want to put together a series.  I can’t envisage this being for P&P because of the time element but this will be a personal project to undertake alongside my coursework.  I recently emailed my tutor to update him on progress on my next assignment and he has suggested that I also have a look at  Peter Bialobrzeski . who was also shown at the Landscape Exhibition and I’d made a note of his series Heimat   which had examples in the Pastoral Section. Bialobrzeski uses an analogue “Box” camera for his large scale landscapes and focuses upon the way in which cities and landscapes are changing.

22nd April 2013