Me: "Hi, I am Alexandre and I am a gear addict."
The room: “Hello Alexandre…"
One medium format camera is not enough. Here’s the first roll I shot on the Mamiya RB67. For those of you who don’t know, the RB67 is a studio camera system rather than a simple camera. You can interchange and customise everything: the viewfinder, the back, the focusing screen. You can change the lens too, of course. You will see the issue I had with the system: with so many parts, the light leaks I got then (and had for a year as you will see) could come from anything. Big deception. But big hopes too, as the colours and contrast this system provides are spectacular. And it looks awesome.
Focusing properly with the RB67 is both a pleasure and a challenge. It is as precise as you can be, but moving targets are tricky to capture in a shallow depth of field. You know kids... so yes, it is blurry. But I love the colours. Skin tones on Kodak film are hard to beat. As usual, Inès is enjoying the modelling part of the exercise.
Photography is about saving memories and remembering special events. Sarah's return to Europe called for going the extra mile to document the goodbye between her and Inès so I got the tank out. Still blurry. Still loving the tones. The RB67 is a studio camera and should deliver more on a tripod than that. But I'm still discovering the beast.
As soon as I mastered the process of shooting with the Mamiya, I had to try it outside. It's not for "fainted heart", given its bulkiness and weight, but the charm of the trade often lies on the "premise" that convenience is not essential to the making of great photography. I took a tripod and went for a walk on St Kilda pier. There I met many seagulls, a lot of wind and... fishermen! And funny ones at that. I started to setup the tripod and instantly got their attention. I guess I was providing more entertainment than the fish they were after. After a quick explanation that I was just documenting life in St Kilda, that it was just a camera and that they should keep on doing whatever they were doing and ignore me as much as possible, please, they decided to ignore my last comment rather than me. Cue jokes, funny faces and laughter. I waited until they got tired of me and started to remember the reason they were out in the cold. I snapped it as soon as they all looked away at the same time. I'm pleased at the composition and colours, but the white band you see here on the left side is ruining it. Keep on reading to know what it is and my desperate efforts to get rid of it.
I wanted to include this picture to show the extend of the issue I was facing with the RB67. This is called a light leak. Light peaks through a crack in the body of camera (or the film back, to be more precise) and exposes the film when it should be kept strictly out of any light source. This is not a hipster filter I added in post production. To this day I still don't know what part of the camera was the source of the problem, but the seal between the body and the rotating film container was surely part of it. You will see it in most other rolls from the Mamiya. In order not to leave anything out, I have to say that the view from this rental in Lorne, VIC was astonishing. Even without the leak, the picture did not convey half of what was going on... #doublefail
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