If the name lily sounds familiar to readers it’s because I first worked with Lily in September of 2012. On that last shoot we did a wooded area that I just fell in love with the moment I saw it. And knew I had to shoot it with someone as good as lily. So when she came into town it was a no brainer as to where we’d shoot.
For this shoot, which is my second of 2016, I decided we’d shoot someplace with a different look than our last and I also decided that I’d shoot entirely on film. No digital camera whatsoever. And I wanted to also capture more images for my pinhole nudes project. More on that later.
What I ended up bringing was my Bronica Zenza ETRSi medium format SLR as my main camera and the Lubitel 166+ medium format TLR as a backup camera. I also brought my Harman Titan 4×5 with 4 sheets of Delta 100 and 4 sheets of HP5 loaded.
I started out shooting on the Bronica with 4 rolls of Tmax 100 and then once I finished those rolls I switched to Ilford HP5.
** Warning highly technical discussion of ISO and light sensitivity**
One of the things I tested on this shoot was to see if I could shoot an iso 400 film in a situation where I’d normally use iso 100 film. It sounds a little risky provided it was a paid shoot but considering this is the year I’m going to be shooting entirely on film… it was information I needed to learn.
The problem I had was that I had 10 rolls of iso 400 film and only 4 rolls of iso 100 film in my bag. Not wanting to buy more film, I set out to see if I could shoot at ƒ16 with a shutter speed that would work with iso 400 films and with shutter speeds that my cameras had. The Bronica tops out at 1/500 sec. and the Lubitel’s top shutter speed is 1/250 sec. Under bright lighting conditions with the sun as my main light source, I can get a shot at ƒ16 using 1/125 sec if my film is and iso 100 film. If I use iso 400 film I’ll want an exposure setting of ƒ16 and 1/400 of a second. (sunny 16 rule) The Bronica shutter speeds go in 1 stop increments 1/125, 1/250/ 1/500. and 1/500 might be too fast and therefore I’d need to shoot at ƒ11 and 1/500th to make that work… but it was all theoretical. I also know I can get the same exposures if my meter reads ƒ16 at 1/125 and ƒ8 at 1/250, and ƒ4 at 1/500. The depth of field will be different between each of these shots but the light values will remain the same.
** End tech discussion **
So back to the shoot. I felt pretty good about using the Bronica as a main camera. It’s waist level viewfinder is quite large and allows composition and focusing very well even with out the magnifier. However you are kinda stuck to landscape orientations for every shot since it’s difficult to hold it sideways and still look into the viewfinder. But the film is so large that if you find you want to shoot in a portrait orientation compose it like a portrait with the subject in the center third of the picture and you can crop it later with out sacrificing too much. That’s why I love medium format!
I also did the shoot with my Harman Titan 4×5 pinhole camera. While that’s a totally different kind of camera to shoot with the principles are the same. except the only things you can control are shutter speed and iso. the aperture is fixed at ƒ206. At that aperture, a sunny 16 shot ends up being a 1 second exposure. a shot at ƒ8, 1/125th ends up being 3 seconds. I use an app on my phone called Pinhole Assist. I make nothing by recommending this app and have no affiliation to the company that makes it. It is a good app for the pinhole photographer though. I do find though that it overexposes my shots by a half stop. so I compensate for that and end up with exposures that I like. But it is still an education in progress. This camera is so different than any other I use that I find the process challenges me. which I enjoy.
I made 4 exposures with Lily using the pinhole camera. Two shots on Delta 100 4×5 and two shots on HP5 4×5. I feel that the shots on HP5 feel better to me but in all honesty I like them all. it’s not a sharp camera by any means. but it produces great images and I’m hoping that in the next 18 months I’ll be able to collect enough nudes by pinhole to make a book. we’ll see on that.
Overall we had a blast creating and making wonderful images together. I’m hoping she’ll come back again so we can create more soon.