On Wednesday, October 23, 2019 the Hasselblad Experience Studio organized a 2 hour NYC photo walk with special guests, Hugh and Claudia Brownstone, the delightful and talented team behind Three Blind Men & an Elephant. This was a dream opportunity to photographically explore NYC’s West Village with a pair of street photography professionals who cheerfully shared advice, even though they were coming off an intensive 3 day workshop, and others who enjoy visually stalking the urban streets for that “decisive moment“. As if that wasn’t exciting enough, we were allowed to borrow medium format Hasselblad cameras. Speaking strictly for me…it was heaven.
If you check out my Pre-digital Album you will see that back in the days of film I enjoyed walking around the city freezing moments of time on silver coated plastic with my 35mm Nikon or my medium format Rolleiflex film cameras. In these digital camera days, I still do, but my involvement in environmental education and the landscape that is now my home more often have my gaze focused on non-humans and natural landscapes. I do miss my film days but certainly appreciate the ability to capture hundred of images and instantly review my results. The only thing one wastes when one takes too many images of the same thing is the time used in deleting most of them. My Lightroom catalog, like my attic, is overflowing with items I have to sort through and toss in the garbage bin.
To borrow Hasselblad equipment for the Photo Walk all we had to do is bring an SD card so we could take home the images we captured, and a government-issued ID that we turned in, in exchange, to prevent us from taking those beautiful and expensive cameras home.
Below are some of the results of my captures. I was loaned the mirrorless Hasselblad X1D II 50C, with a 45mm, and later a 90mm lens. The camera body though bulkier than my tiny Sony A7II mirrorless, is sleek and feels nice in my hands, and I have small hands. It is certainly much lighter and less cumbersome than the digital SLRs I currently have but have been using less and less.
The walk started after 5pm so the light was getting low. I originally had the ISO set at 200 but for the last couple of images here, I raised it to 800. Hugh had recommended not to shoot at anything higher than 800 because of the noise you start to get in your images. I liked some grain in my silver based images but I don’t like too much distracting noise in my digital ones. Finding where to load my SD card was easy, I just looked at another person loading theirs, but generally all dials and settings were easy to find and adjust.
I really enjoyed my first experience with a Hasselblad. Here is a link for better understanding the benefits of a medium format camera. They may not be the best cameras for high speed photography, such as needed for capturing wild birds flittering in the trees, but the stunning results on landscapes and posing primates (humans too) is unmatched. See this link for examples from medium format pros.
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