Love of film and the 2 1/4” square format make the Hasselblad 501C my camera of choice (or any of the 500 series). I do concede this is not the most adaptable camera. The fastest shutter speed at 1/500th sec makes artificial lighting almost necessary in attempting to capture fast motion stilled sharply, although being able to sync flash at 1/500th gives room to work with when balancing artificial and natural light. This system uses removable backs enabling the change of film at any moment without having to scrap unfinished rolls. This is certainly not as effortless as turning the dial on a DSLR but as far as medium format film outfits go, it’s quite efficient.
Lens options are a 150mm f4 or 60mm f3.5. Long live the long-lens! When apt I try to give myself up to the 60mm but the narrower view of the 150mm is chosen more frequently to fulfill my penchant for an image’s architecture to be articulated well. Precedence is often given to the design of the composition while striving to capture the essence of an event (speed, magnitude, etc) becomes subordinate, though not abandoned. I occasionally question this order of priority but it has yet to change.
At first I was accustomed to the reversed image of the waist level finder but found it limiting in how low the camera must be held to view the ground glass to focus (often with tripod). For some time now I’ve been using a prism finder that displays a corrected image and affords eye-level focusing. This setup gives me more freedom while searching out perspectives and greater confidence achieving focus as a lens magnifies the ground glass image. The Prism finder does not have a built in meter so I turn to a Sekonic L508 Zoom Master light meter. With incident and spot metering, as well as many information storage features, it satisfies all my requirements for reading any lighting situation and exposure/development calculations.
Artificial light is provided by two Lumedyne 400 watt Action Packs controlled with Pocket Wizard radio slaves. The size and output of the flashes are great. They’re relatively easy to pack for travel and can freeze motion in direct sunlight without having to have the lens wide open. Recently I’ve had some trouble with a flash battery shorting and I hope this is not the beginning of a long painful road. Others who use the Lumedyne system have also experienced many malfunctions and have showed premonitory sympathy about inevitable misfortune. I fend off discouragement this being the equipment I currently have and for some time am stuck with.
There are only three films that I use regularly: Kodak’s TMY400, TMX 100 and Provia 100F. Almost everything I shoot outside of BMX is done in Black and White (the first two films). For whatever reason action shots and many of the environments visited shooting BMX draw me toward recording things in color. I will stray from this especially when color itself is not adding something vital to the scene and the design represented in a grayscale image seems of greater visual potency.
Other gear rotated through use is a Nikon D700 that’s out more and more because of it’s versatility, a Sunpak and Vivitar flashes, Bogen tripod and lightstands, and that’s about it.
– visit Brian’s Flickr HERE