… to break up monotony of everyday’s scheme …
Lilith Etch in Brussels,
Shot on my 1958 Rolleiflex TLR with Kodak TMax100
you are welcome to comment, see you again soon,
no I haven’t been to Paris recently, so these images are, well, from a while ago (late 2017), I have published a single image from this trip already, but here is a more complete set. All taken with the Rolleiflex 3.5 TLR, in dark and difficult light this time (interior, winter, …)
What is it that convinces me to shoot film from time to time? I talked about this before, but here’s one other reason, I started thinking about it listening to an vlog about Photokina, and how this is all about gear and how the big brands have missed the revolution on the mirrorless camera’s and now need extra marketing efforts (and lies) to get to pace with the competition etcetera, etcetera. … (Michael Zelbel from goodlightmag)
when shooting analog it makes me feel that I am not running into this treadmill of commercial marketing ‘have to sell’ rush that the mainstream photography world has become since it became a mass-product. Look at the average photography magazine on the book store shelf. Half of the pages will be about new gear that has reached the market, how the latest gear has reached new levels of ‘better’ since the last best camera. How it will improve your photography, become an extension of your eye, and even bring you the ultimate shooting experience. blah blah blah, I have been in marketing for a while myself … The other half will be divided in ‘how to’s’ on the use of the latest software updates to make that perfect camera shot even better, or how to use the latest lighting gear to enhance your vision and creativity. Duh. … If you are lucky, there is a small section in the magazine that will cover large exhibitions, and maybe some portfolio’s from photographers (a couple of pages from the 100+ total number of pages)
I am sure that the Rolleiflex came with its own sauce of marketing blahblah at the time it was launched, but that’s a long time ago and I’m not bothered with it. Even now, new film camera’s are still made, but have you ever seen an add for one? They don’t really push, they wait till you go looking for them and then you’ll find them.
I shoot this antique Rolleiflex camera, with black and white 120 film that exists for ages now, and no accessories. When I use it, I simply can not feel the need to rush to get my images on the web (FB, Insta, … ) because that is literally impossible, with the film needing to be developed. I don’t get stressed on having to recharge batteries, because it has no batteries. I do not have to decide which lens or focal length to use, because it comes with a fixed focal lens that is not removable. I even don’t have to decide to shoot horizontal or vertical, because the image format is square. I can allow myself to just observe my environment, look at what people do, try to capture moments, details, … that come to my attention. If I miss a shot because my gear isn’t up to date, well I missed it, maybe I will be lucky next time. …
long live simplicity (maybe I’m getting old 😉 )
The pictures, with a little word, so you can find out where I’ve been strolling.
the queue for the Irving Penn exhibit that ran in the Grand Palais in Paris
part of the exhibit on Irving Penn
preparing for a kite flight on the Esplanade des Invalides
taking a break from cooking – the chef at Café de Mars – Rue du gros Caillou
plagiarism at Fondation Louis Vuitton
smooth curves architecture by Frank Ghery (Fondation Louis Vuitton)
people enjoying the audio-installation at Fondation Louis Vuitton
Me taking a self portrait at Fondation Louis Vuitton
time to prune the plants maybe? – artisan fleuriste at Rue Vieille-du-Temple
cheers, hope you come back here soon.
If you want to see more images taking with the Rolleiflex in Paris, look here
If you want to re-read a previous article about shooting on film, this is the place: shooting film
from a while ago,
I shot with Vita Goncharuk in a public park near Brussels earlier this year. I was a bit worried about not having a location with full and agreed access, so we shot outside. The park is open to the public, and you might wonder if there are no risks of being caught. There is actually not really a problem as long as you are not shooting porn or really shocking the eventual witnesses. If you get caught by the owner of the place, you might get expelled from the premises, but they can’t file a complaint unless they can prove you did harm to their person/business/property.
Some people have been asking about public wandering around. First of all, get this agreed upon with your model. Most professional models don’t care much, some don’t like it. Vita didn’t mind at all. When somebody shows more interest than normal, I just go to them an say hello. I do a little chit-chat and then I give them one of my business cards and mostly they disappear after that, or they take some more (comfortable) distance. Some even send me an email about my website or my work afterwards. I even had one person sending me some behind the scenes images. (with Erika in Brussels)
The weather was splendid, the camera did very well, All shot on Ilford film, with the Rolleiflex TLR camera. I love the look of film, it gives a soft, rich tonality and it has some imperfections that are creating a romantic atmosphere. It has a natural grain, that adds to the softness of the images. The medium format (6x6cm) camera has a great shallow depth of field, (hard to focus though) and enough detail in the negatives for really big enlargements. It can’t beat the current 50Mpx camera’s, but its very close. I also love the time-span between shooting the images and having the developed film ready for scanning. The fact that you do not see results is a benefit for working slowly. When shooting digital, I get a little overwhelmed by the immediate results, which stresses me to shoot more and more and more. When shooting analog, I thing about every image, about light, about framing, about what to leave out of the frame and what to get into it, about pose, about a possible story, … I feel that I do not take the same amount of time when shooting digital. You shoot far less images when shooting film, but you get as many good ones than when shooting hundreds of digital images. … I experience a great feeling of joy when seeing the images on the developed film for the first time. They are a physical result, they have a more ‘real’ presence in my opinion than digital files. Film is not dead, at least not for me, and I’m sure for a lot of people with me. 🙂
I have about ten more films that just have been developed, but need scanning and retouching … come back again soon,
well yes, sometimes things don’t go as expected, certainly when shooting with an old camera and film, you are having no instant feedback and surprises occur 🙂
there is no automatic film advance stop, so you have to look for film frame numbers in the dark red window at the back of the camera. Clearly I saw something that wasn’t there.
shot with a Voightländer Bessa I 6×9 film camera, with Kodak TMax400 film, in a small roof flat in Leuven (Belgium)
Model Yana Mood, click for bigger version
in my series ‘strolling trough … ‘ a new chapter, coming South from Scotland last summer I had a stop in Cambride, where I shot a couple of rolls of 120 film with my Rolleiflex.
I find the Rolleiflex to be a fairly good camera for street photography. Since you are looking down as a photographer, people don’t really notice you as being one, and you can stay unnoticed a little longer, enhancing the chances of taking a good shot. I got trapped once in this series, you’ll see 🙂
All shot with Kodak TMax 400 film, on a grey day.
Enjoyable time with friends. Not.
Cows on the bike path
And two more shots from a village called Osmotherley, near North York moors National Park (UK), where I camped the night before.
well yeah, next to beauties of the human race, I also tend to have a certain adoration for mechanical beauties. …
Early november I was strolling the Paris Boulevard Beaumarchais, to look for camera shops, both secondhand an new, to see if I could find some information on view camera’s and to look out if there was something else that interested me, when I came across the Harley dealership situated in this same boulevard. I’m not especially fond of this particular brand of motorbikes, but the boulevard seems to have almost as much motorcycle dealerships as it has camera stores. I happen to like both equally 🙂 . I am however quite charmed about the beautiful finish of the Milwaukee brand, with the chrome, the air cooling fins, the valve push rods and so on. This is mechanics and beauty, and it expresses both power and lifestyle.
I just snapped a small detail of just a random bike parked outside, probably a customer’s bike, before or after servicing. It is in that understanding not polished and it has some weather marks on the chrome, let’s say it’s alive.
I took this picture with my Rolleiflex TLR, probably older than the history of the ‘low rider’ Harley Davidson model. Square frame image format, which I like the best. Image shot on Kodak T-Max 400 film, developed in Ilfotec 29 developer.
For the noobs, 107 cubic inches is the cylinder displacement volume of this particular engine, or 1753 cc, in other words, this is a big engine for a motorbike. It has plenty of torque, and as we now from H-D, “more than enough” horsepower.
thank you for watching and reading, come again soon, I have other images from Paris that I would like to show you.
I have invited two people to my studio and did a small analog vs. digital test.
I have, for the first time ever, linked my studio flashes with my old Rolleiflex 6×6 camera, and shot a roll of images with it, next to my Canon 5Ds with 100mm Macro lens.
What about the outcome, is high res digital better than medium format analog?
I think quality wise that is a no-brainer, our new camera’s and lenses are waay, no waaaaaaaay better than the old stuff, they are sharper, AF is spot on every time, they have less grain (or noise) (films shots done on Ilford FP4 Plus 125) and for sure less dust to retouch. Digital is more convenient, more flexible, more secure (with immediate feedback) … it seems to be more of everything.
Then why still use analog? To me it is more fun, more concentration, at the same time more relaxing, it lets you look forward to the results, it’s more challenging, … people react differently when shooting with a 60 year old camera, they are curious, they are amused, wondering what might be the result, … I also find the images to have some sort of ‘alive’ feeling, the out of focus area’s are more interesting, the framing is square by nature, which I love … although the last arguments might all be nostalgia.
Here are the images, the square ones are analog:
I still had time to spend, same day as part II – Dunure
I had a ferry at about 18:30 hrs, for good three hours to Campbeltown. Waiting time always inspired me to take pictures, for me it is a perfect pastime, and it might result in some nice souvenir images. I tried to check in at 16:15, but they didn’t take checkin for my ferry until half an hour before departure time, because they have very limited waiting lines. One at a time is their slogan 🙂
I had parked my motorbike along the harbour quay, quite deserted at that time, except for two young men fishing. Time to eat a bit and look around. Always something to discover in a harbour. It’s an important traffic hub, and it mostly has plenty of character. It started raining and I pulled my motor into the open garage for shelter, I shouldn’t have done that, because the floor was full of oil and diesel smudge, and almost caused me a crash late in the evening, because my tyres were all slippery. (didn’t realise it until I took a sharper bend). What you see in the images: the local fuel store, the ferry before mine, waiting to be loaded, the harbour, a boat workshop more of the harbour.
After shooting and waiting for a couple of hours I could check in, but not board yet. Rain started pouring again, now for real. I got wet, I got cold, couldn’t go anywhere because I was stuck in the waiting line. The ferry went well but I didn’t really get warm again. I managed to put up my tent at about 22:30hrs, in the dark. Happy to have a good warm down sleeping bag. (I slept at Peninver Sands – I hadn’t seen the owner in the evening, so in the morning I called him to pay my bill. ‘I’ll be there in 3 minutes he said’ when he arrived we did a little chat, when I asked him how much I owed him, ‘a bike and a tent’ hes said, he thought a bit and made a little calculation and then said ‘Oh, never mind, a lot of people wouldn’t even bother calling me’ and he wished me a good trip. Scottish hospitality I presume.
One roll of Kodak TMax400, shot with the Rolleiflex 3,5. All images of this film shown.
next I had three days of bad, really cold weather ahead, I left the Rolleiflex in the bag till my arrival at Osmotherly, back south (North York Moors NP.) for a village stroll. Soon to come.
thank you for watching,
Coming from Glentrool, and taking the ferry in Ardrossan late in the evening, I could spend a couple of hours at ease in Dunure, a very small fishermen’s town a couple of miles south-west from Ayr.
That is one of the main joys of travelling alone, not being influenced by companions, to make way, or to discover more things on the go, but just decide for yourself when and where to stop. I had driven past a small road sign along the A719 pointing to Dunure, and then another one, and I saw the rooftops of the houses just along the coast, from this main road, so I decided to turn around and check it out. It proved to be the ideal midday stop. What you see in the pictures is Dunure Castle and surroundings, in some images you will see an island in the distance, (Isle of Arran). Some images of the harbour area, and the facade of the Harbour View Coffee shop, where I had lunch that day. It is the first place that shows up on Google maps when you zoom in on Dunure, and very well documented by pictures as well. Little did I know 🙂 They provided me with a fine meal, and a place to charge my cellphone. Lovely lady-owner, very friendly and servile.
Time was all overcast when I arrived, but with sun coming trough after noon. A very enjoyable time there. I shot one roll of Kodak TMax400 with the Rolleiflex 3.5 6×6 camera. So here you see the entire film, I have not made a selection, you see what I’ve seen and what I’ve shot. Lab developed, home scanned and digitally redeveloped in Adobe Lightroom. You’ll notice some scratches on the left side of the images. These are probably from the lab, that’s why I decided to start developing film again myself. Oooo, it’s been like 25 years, exciting 😀
Ok, something I wanted to do for a long time:
On some fora, people have been asking how I scan my negatives, actually I’ve quit scanning, and digitise my 6×6 negatives with the Canon 5Ds high resolution camera, and a Canon 100mm Macro lens. For me it is quicker than scanning, I get a RAW negative file to work with, and I had all gear I needed for building a simple setup.
I have been looking for a new scanner for a while, genre Epson V800, but found them to be a little too expensive for my taste and limited use. I already had this Canon 5Ds camera, and I had a Macro lens, so I wanted to give it a try digitising with the camera in stead. I’ve built this setup to do so, (actually writing this blog post has inspired me to make it even better) …
see images below …
• I have two lamps (generic building LED lamps from a DIY store) that I point to the back, where I have a white foam board installed. I don’t care about the white balance because I work with black and white film, so I get rid of all colour anyway.
• At a relatively small distance (30cm – 1 foot) I have a cardboard box, fixed to a base board (same white foam board, cardboard box taped to it), with a hole in the back end, a little bigger than the negatives I am working with. On the inside of the box, I have put a black paper, with a square cut hole in it, to better fit the actual size of the negatives. The front side of the cardboard box is open, and takes the camera.
• I use a negative holder from an old scanner, but I cut the film frame a tad wider, to be able to see the negative’s edges all around. I kept the original diffusor window.
• On the base foam board, I fixed a sort of slot (foam board strip with double sided tape fixing) that holds the bottom of the film holder, between the slot and the cardboard box. On top of the cardboard box, I fixed a second slot, that holds the top edge lid of the film holder, and I slide the film holder in from left to right (right to left on the images)
• I put my camera to fit the film frame (with a little margin all around) and I have my settings to give best quality: ISO100, f8 1/6 sec … I vary shutter speeds based on the negatives I have (sometimes the negatives are a tad under- or overexposed, I try to have as much light as possible in my ‘scans’ without clipping the highlights). Low Iso for the least noise possible, f8 seems to be the limit aperture before diffraction sets in on this camera, shutter speed long enough to get rid of the flickering effect in the lamps. I work on a tripod and with a 2 second interval between mirror lock-up and opening the shutter. (standard available on the Canon 5Ds, to prevent camera shake due to the mirror flipping up)
• I import the images in LR and reverse them by using the tone curve panel. In this same panel I also manage the white and black point settings by moving in the left and right corner point to where the histogram starts/ends, and eventually a lightening or contrast tone curve.
• Then I further develop the image using the standard development panel and local adjustments (that takes the most ‘getting used to’ because all sliders work ‘negative’)
• I remove dust and scratches in photoshop.
the images should clarify a lot:
the complete setup:
the negative holder removed to change the film strip
the back end of the cardboard box, notice the black paper frame on the inside, and the (modified today) film holder slot for top and bottom edge of the film holder.
film holder sliding in place, notice the top ‘tab’ being held by the slot
film holder in place, looking on the diffusor
Lightroom, tone curve for negative-positive conversion
I manage to scan a film of 12 exposures in about 15 minutes, with a resolution of at least 5000×5000 pixels. That is perfectly fine with me, and gives me all film detail, up to the grain in the film.
there is a collection in this house, of wild boar’s, in all shapes and sizes, on paintings, sculptures, drawings, teeth, … everything that reminds of the wild animal living in the heart of the Belgian Ardennes has received its place on these walls, in this castle …
the study is the most quiet space in the castle, where one can stay all day without being disturbed. Old books are being well taken care of, and this place is not influenced by day-to-day matters.
Meet Eva Evian, my model for this day, experiencing the atmosphere of the place, enjoying the quite and calm of the day.
All shot on Kodak TMax400, with Rolleiflex 3.5 camera.
thank you for watching,
I have been on a motortrip to Scotland last summer, and I had quite some doubts for taking the Rolleiflex (analog camera from the late 50’s) with me, for sake of luggage space, camera safety, etcetera. I have to say that it gave me a lot of pleasure during my trip. It helped me to literally stay still from time to time, and to take the time to enjoy the landscape.
I have stopped in several places with the aim to shoot an entire roll of film in each place.
These images are from my first picture stop.
This place called Glentrool, and Loch Trool, and is located in Galloway forest park, Scotland. Here I shot a roll of Kodak Tmax400 film on a late sunny evening, I had pitched up my tent, cooked a simple but welcome meal after a day of riding (from York that day, over Barnard Castle, trough the North Pennines, along the Hadrian Wall into Dumfries and then Galloway forest park. The bike was filled up with gas for next day and I had some time left before the sun would set. First some images near the Glentrool Visitor Centre, just next to the river ‘Water of Minnoch’, where I met the first midges, then up on my motorbike again I followed a small and bumpy road up to Loch Trool. Despite literally a million midges by the lake, I kept going 😉 . I had my mini tripod with me on the trip, and a wire shutter release, so I could shoot till late in the evening (the lake shots).
there’s more to come from this trip, stay tuned.
All images shot with Rolleiflex 3.5 on Kodak TMax-400 film. Shutter speeds and aperture settings vary.
thank you for watching,
this is from a while ago.
Visiting Paris is something I love a lot. I have been there many times now, and I feel no real urge anymore in visiting particular places or monuments, and I enjoy more and more just being there, and observing people, looking at things happening, or seeing things being just things.
Documenting with the old Rolleiflex helps me being a more attentive observer. Trying to shoot whatever presents itself is a challenge, but is also fun and maybe a bit contradictory, a very relaxing thing to me. It is a mixture of being an observer, and in a certain way being part of the city life.
Next to this, it is also a way to get socially engaged in a certain way. I get many conversations when shooting with this old camera, from people interested in what camera it is, how it works, if it is still able to find film etcetera etcetera. I try to go unnoticed, but that is difficult sometimes, and I don’t mind.
All shot on Rolleiflex 3.5 and Kodak TMax 400/100 film.
thank you for passing by.
sometimes you find a roll of film you didn’t remember anymore taking it.
I found one a couple of weeks ago, in a corner of my desk … I had no clue of what was on it. I’m still missing a roll of Paris, (must have been lost in luggage somewhere) but this was not it. This is Antwerp. I remember having dropped of Nathalie for an appointment, near Antwerp train station, an ideal opportunity to shoot a roll of film with the Rolleiflex, just to learn to observe, have fun, enjoy slow shooting.
All shot on my Rolleiflex 3.5, with Kodak TMax400 film.
thank you for watching.
come again soon for some more Paris strolling with the Rolleiflex.
I shot this series of images in February, it took me some time to scan and develop the negatives, but here they are at last. I hope you like the story, I loved making it.
A big thank you to Rachel, for being a very patient model, on this cold and dull day. To Nathalie, for being my assistant, model hairdresser, camera-crew and guide. To Home Providentia, for giving me another opportunity to shoot at this unique location.
All images taken on Rolleiflex 3.5 camera with Kodak TMax100 and TMax400 film. Reproduced with a Canon 5Ds and Canon 100mm F2.8L IS macro, developed in Lightroom and Photoshop.
• teddybear blues or … the story of self realisation •
behind the scenes video of this shoot here: Shooting with the Rolleiflex
thank you for watching
It is becoming a bad habit of mine, visiting an exhibit at the very last moment.
So unfortunately again, this exhibit is over (till april 30th 2017), but he will be on show again in Brussels, really soon
Last Saturday I had the immense pleasure of visiting the exhibit of Christian Coigny in Tournai, Belgium. The exhibit was hosted by Event Particulier (www.eventparticulier.com) in the wonderful location of ‘Domaine de Graux’, where the organisation runs an event and exhibit centre since about two years from now.
Although I knew the work of Christian since quite some time (to be seen at http://christiancoigny.com) It has been a very joyful experience to see his prints in real life. The size of the prints varies from I think about 30×45 cm, over some larger 40×60 cm prints to about 2 m in size. All except for the largest sizes are genuine analog prints. Some 80 works were on display, all but 2 were black and white. Editions vary from a number of 30 for the smalles works, to 10 for the largest prints.
Both his ‘nature morte’s’ and his nudes are fantastic in terms of context, composition and light, and show an absolute mastery in all aspects involved. I was very charmed with the seemingly simple contents of the artworks, and with the almost out of this world serenity they express.
I decided to buy the book, and as this was the last weekend of the exhibit and the artist was present, I had it signed by Mr. Coigny. We had a short but interesting and very enjoyable discussion about photography, about men photographing nude women, and our (especially my) doubts and motivations. Very inspiring and interesting. We laughed a lot.
One quote I will gladly share with you:
“No matter if you know where you are going or not, you will eventually get there!”
a portrait of the master:
I cannot prevent this happy feeling coming back when I start thinking about this session.
We were all in a great mood, the weather was excellent (remember, way too hot today) and Erika was more than happy playing the roles I gave her. I asked her to be the lazy tourist in our Brussels most upscale shopping lane, the Avenue Louise.
Nathalie managed to fix a taxi driver willing to cooperate for some nice shots too.
All images shot on Rolleiflex 3.5, Kodak T-Max100
Thanks to Erika Albonetti for being my model, her manager for carrying all the stuff she had, my wife Nathalie for being a splendid assistant and hairdresser …
Remember, all my images are available as a fine art print, so if you are still looking for a lasting present for Christmas or New Year, don’t look any further, scroll trough my blog, take a look at my portfolio pages and take your pick!
Hey Taxi ! …
thank you for watching,
see you again soon,