This is not the first roll of film I ever shot. My first roll was shot in the 80s. But this was the first time I knew what I was doing while shooting it. After weeks of hesitation, I had decided to buy a RB67 as my first medium format camera. But then I saw my Yashica in a display case in “Lost & Found” (a vintage shop in Fitzroy). I tried the waist level viewfinder, gave myself 24h of cooling period, and returned to get it the next day. This camera, the Yashica 635, is a medium format TLR (twin lenses reflex) with a twist: it features a 35mm adapter. So I bought the first roll of 35mm film I found at the local pharmacy, put it in and started shooting.
This is the first picture I took on the Yashica, ever. 20 minutes to load the film, following a PDF user guide on my iPad in a cafe. Most of this time was to install and setup the camera’s 35mm adapter. Once the Kodak 400 GC in, I metered with an iPhone app and shot the first thing I saw from my table, which happened to be the table next to me. Note that the 35mm adapter of this camera mandates portrait orientation over landscape. But we will get to square pictures in the next roll ;) The main outcome: it is metered right! I was surprised how easy it had been to meter for this camera. Remember there is no battery, no metering system on the body.
Strolling in St Kilda, shooting my first roll of 35mm on the Yashica 635. This statue of Captain Cook is located near the Royal Melbourne Yacht Squadron. The film was colour but I changed it to black and white in postproduction. I also pushed the whites to completely wash out the sky, which was not very exciting in the first place. Contrast and texture only remain.
I was not documenting dates for each pictures back then, but I know it was late July. I brought my camera to the office and shot the sunset from the level 25 on the top of Collins St, Melbourne. I cropped the picture and boosted the contrast, but the most surprising thing with this picture is the way colours are rendered. It doesn’t match my memories of shooting film as a teen, when I felt all pictures lacked vibrance. Not the case here. I love the mood and colours this sunset has.
As you will see in most next rolls, my daughter is my favourite model. But capturing kids on film is challenge on its own. As you know, digital photography allow you to spray and pray. You trust your auto-focus and 5 frame per seconds combo to get 50 pictures of your moving child and you will get some keepers. Film is different. You have one shot. You do the focus thing. I have to say she is used to pose for me now but she was only two years old back then and I was surprised again at the result. The red tint is the result of the red parasol we were under on this sunny winter day at the South Melbourne market.
If you live in Melbourne, you know how many times this vista has been featured in pictures. Too many. The St Kilda Pier is a true landmark. And I have to say it is photogenic indeed. From a framing perspective, I now realise how mandatory portrait orientation actually helped me with this one, as I think it worked much better than a landscape orientation would have in this instance.
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