Advanced Technique & Process 2B: Medium Format Development (studio)

2nd February 2015

Equipment used:

Mamiya RZ67 (Medium Format film camera)
120 ILFORD film
Tripod
Sync cables
Light Meter
Spirit Level
Studio lighting

In this session 2 of my colleagues and I booked the studio to practice using Medium Format film cameras so we could become more familiar with them. My personal aim was to take the mistakes I made in the first session and improve on them, and also to train my memory in remembering the details when shooting with Medium Format film. We used a variation of different light set ups, making subtle differences to create a different look in each shot.

Set up 1: Beauty Dish on subject with 2 soft boxes positioned behind to light back of hair – f8

Set up 2: Front light turned off to leave 2 soft boxes to light the hair (creating a silhouette type look) – f8

Set up 3: Front light back on, but light head changed to a Snoot, central straight onto the subject. Two soft boxes on at back lighting up hair – f8

Set up 4: Snoot on subject but 2 soft boxes turned around to light up the background – f8

Set up 5: Snoot on (new) subject but 2 soft boxes turned around to light up the background – f8

Set up 6: Snoot on subject with back lights turned off – f8

Set up 7: Snoot on subject, close up image – f8

I didn’t take digital shots in this session because I wanted my focus to be on practising and becoming more familiar with this technology. This session really helped me in becoming more confident with the medium format camera and the way it works. For example I created a process in my head to help me remember – e.g wind the mirror down, look in, focus, wind the film on, take the dark slide out (something I forgot to do a lot in the first session!), check that all the settings were correct and double check the focus, then shoot. I got much better results this way (e.g exposed the majority of the film correctly!) and didn’t waste as much film in the process. This technique within photography (using a medium format camera and film) also made me aware of the relationship with me and my subject being different. There is a lot more communication needed to make it a more natural flowing experience for the subject, because of me always having to look down into the camera.
I will scan in the negatives when I have received them back from being processed, to see how I got on.

UPDATE: After seeing the results of the negatives and darkroom prints I am so pleased I had the opportunity to try out this technique. Before, because of my struggles/under-confidence with film, I dismissed it as an option for me to use. However seeing the amazing results it has encouraged me to try it out more, be more open to it, and to not be ‘afraid’ of using film/film cameras. I may even shoot another role of film if it fits in with my project and works out with the timing of the semester.

Scanned in negatives…

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