Thursday, April 22, 2010

Rolling, Rolling, Rollei!!!

Back in November my father gave me a Polaroid Pathfinder and a Rolleiflex TLR.  Fortunately they still make 120 film for the Rolleiflex, but I also managed to find some 3000 ASA Polaroid film for the Pathfinder, too.  Anyway, I decided I would give the Rollei a try and see if I had the patience to work with a Twin-Lens Reflex camera and Film.  I've been playing with my Nikon FE2, but it was pretty similar to a dSLR, except for the ability to "chimp."  However, the top-down view of the Rollei is confusing and somewhat disorienting, I mean you have to move left to have the image appear more to the right, etc...

I first loaded a roll of B&W 400 ISO 120 film in the Rollei and was able to advance the film, but it never stopped at each numbered frame for me to take a picture.  I ended up advancing the film to the take-up reel thinking that the camera was broken.   I took the camera to a local camera store, Henley's, and asked the elderly gentleman behind the counter for some assistance.  He informed me that we would most likely expose the film, but  we really had no alternatives if he were to troubleshoot the problem.  So the clerk opened the Rollei, rolled up the exposed film on the empty spool,  loaded the film and verified that it didn't work.  He also mentioned that the camera wasn't worth repairing and would at least make a decent prop.  Too bad, because I really wanted to see what this camera would do and it was in such stellar condition.

I went home and pulled out the Rollei manual, my Dad is really good about keeping Users Guides, and realized I incorrectly loaded the film.  What is even funnier is that the gentleman at Henley's, who stated he had a similar camera, also loaded the film wrong.  Nothing like having "local" experts.

This time I loaded a roll of Kodak Portra 160 NC 120 film in the Rollei, grabbed my Sekonic Flash meter and headed out to take some pictures around 8:00 am.  I shot about eight frames and then set the camera aside for my photoshoot.

On the day of the shoot I brought out my Rollei and connected my Pocket Wizard to the sync port.  It worked like a charm.  I already knew the exposure settings since I was shooting at ISO 200 with my D700.  I had to turn on some additional lights because the viewfinder needs a decent source of light to make the subject visible enough to focus on.   I finished the remainder of the roll and then dropped it off for developing at Henleys.

The total cost for the film, developing and burning to CD-Rom was about $12, or basically a dollar an image.  It was fun shooting with a TLR and the camera itself was easy to operate.

So what did I learn?
Read the Flippin' Manual - Yeah, I've said that before in this blog and even at work RTFM is our mantra.

Once I saw the results I decided I would always keep the Rollei loaded with film and close at hand for shoots.  I checked eBay and found some Rolleis for sale and at a good price.

I've got a shoot on April 24, with Jenna in a Saloon, so I'll be bringing my Rollei, and That's A Wrap!!!

Monday, April 5, 2010

Sensuous, Too

I ran into Jesika at her place of employment and she mentioned that she got a new tattoo and wanted some photos taken on the white sheets.  I mentioned that I would rather have her do a low-key tattooed sheets session and also a high-key white tuxedo shirt session.  We agreed and decided to shoot while I was on vacation.  Jesika and I rarely get to work together since she is in college and also working as much as possible.  Our last shoot was in January at Jezzabelles Downtown Boutique and prior to that was back in November.  She is such a joy to work with because she can freestyle pose and also likes trying anything, whether it looks good or bad, because she knows it's digital and no film is wasted.

A week earlier Teresa ordered a new refrigerator and we put the older one in the garage.  I joked with Teresa and said I would use it in one of my shoots.  Now I had the opportunity to use it.  It was more of a spontaneous few images.  I really wanted to see what it would look like if I used the ambient light from the fridge and set the White Balance to Incandescent.  I already have an idea for  another session with the fridge, but this time with some Speedlights and a Fan!!!
The day of the shoot Jesika was late, apparently she had make-up issues, and my usual MUAHS, Angel, didn't return her calls.  I told her it wasn't a big deal.  We weren't "On Location" so racing against the sun wasn't an issue and I was on vacation so I didn't have a curfew. I  have to admit that this image on the left is one of my favorites from our shoot.  I like how clean and simple it looks, especially her hands

So what did I learn?
  • I need to work with snooted/gridded lights for low-key shoots and possibly try using my speedlights instead of my studio strobes.
  • Review more Renaissance paintings to get a better idea of posing and composition.
  • On the low key stuff I really need to use my gray card.  I had a difficult time getting Jesika's skin tone correct.  One of my friends suggested the EXPODisc, but I have a gray card that is paid for and easy to use.
As always, another fun shoot with one of my angels.  Here's a quick shot of Studio in the RAW and the set-up I use for High-Key shoots. I have a few shoots lined up for April, actually I'm booked even into May with hopefully two paying gigs scattered among there, so stay tuned and until then...

...That's A Wrap!!!