Budapest Models (II)

Budapest Models (II)

Matthew Osborne Photography / Mr Leica

Budapest Models

November 2016

I managed to fit in another model photography trip to Budapest before Christmas after a successful trip there back in June. For the last visit I had just purchased my digital Hasselblad H3D-31 so took the Hassy together with my trusty Leica M240 camera. As such I had no space for any of my analogue film cameras. After the initial digital Hasselblad honeymoon period I was soon back to my love of film.

Cameras

For this trip I had lots of cameras I wanted to take but as usual I was limited by my hand luggage capacity. The first must pack camera was of course the digital Leica M 240 so I could capture digital images to give to the models and model agency. Next was a 35mm film camera so I packed my Leica M2 with Voigtlander Nokton 35mm f1.4 lens. For the M2 I took colour Kodak Vision3 200T motion picture film and some black and white film, Fomapan 100 and Kodak T-Max 400. Next camera was my newly purchased Fuji GA645 medium format film camera. My first GA645 developed an electrical fault so I bought a replacement. It packs small and has a super sharp 60mm f4 lens. Lastly I was split between my 35mm Nikon FM SLR or my Fuji GF670 folding camera. I wanted to give my GF670 another chance so chose that as like the Fuji GA645 it packs small and has a super sharp Fujion lens. For 120 film I took black and white Kodak Tri-X 400 and Fomapan 100 film.

Models

I like to be busy so booked 11 model shoots over my 2.5 day stay.  It was a mix of agency models with international experience and model friends with a similar interest in photos. Overall the standard of models looked to be some of best I have yet to work with and it included two recent Miss Universe Hungary winners! NumberOne Models Group model agency kindly provided all the new-to-me models for this trip. Excited!

Location

I booked an apartment in central Budapest to use as both a base and also for photos if needed. November in Hungary is pretty cold and temperatures were not forecast to exceed more than a few degrees Celsius. That said, it was at least forecast to be dry so better than the current wet weather we have been having in the U.K!

Model Photography – 3 Days

I bring it on myself but day one was fast and furious. I had arrived into Budapest late so had not had chance to go food shopping then the first models arrived Sunday morning before the shops opened. I shot five models back to back the first day and managed to dash out quickly at 5pm between models to buy a quick Burger King late breakfast/lunch/dinner rolled into one. The weather was indeed cold so nearly all the photos were taken in the apartment. This really pushed my creativity limits, trying to use the same space to make different pictures for each model.  It was also dark by 4pm so I had to use a speedlight for the evening photos.  The light levels even during the day were really low inside so I was using both Leica cameras with their Voigtlander Nokton Classic 40mm and 35mm lenses  wide open at f1.4 and with shutter speeds of 1/15-1/60 handheld. I had high hopes to use my medium format cameras more but there was just so little available light I couldn’t. I did try a few photos with the lenses wide open at f3.5 / f4 and again with shutter speeds as low as 1/15 and shooting ISO 400 film at 800 and 100 speed Foma at 400. What little daylight I had really was beautiful and I loved every minute of shooting on location and being out of the studio. If money was no object I would be a 100% location shooter.  I find it much more stimulating and inspiring.

Day two was pretty similar to day one in terms of when I was shooting inside the apartment but the pace was more relaxed having only four models not five. The upside was I got to shoot outside with two of the models so it was really  nice to see beyond the four walls of my pad and some of the local area. I also got to play with colour a more after mostly black and white photos inside.

For my last day I had to check out by 10am so we shot inside first then outside. For the inside photos again there was some overlap of styles I had shot with other models but the models themselves hopefully got some nice pictures. I think I had used every inch of available light space by the end of the trip!  The last photos of the last day were perhaps the most crazy.  We climbed out the luxury apartment window of the city centre model agency head office onto the scaffolding platform outside. I proceeded to shoot a series of images whilst the model smoked three cigarettes in quick succession and then we clambered back in through the window we came from.  All in the name of art! Surprisingly after the initial shout of I guess ‘what are you doing?’ in Hungarian from the workmen we simply said “jó reggelt” (good morning in Hungarian) as the workmen manovered past us on the scaffolding planks as they just smiled went about their work.

Pushing Forward

I always strive to improve my photography with every shoot I do. I realize this is not always possible but I like to be constantly learning and pushing myself to keep it interesting and fresh. For me a good photo, in model photography terms, needs three key elements. A beautiful model lit with beautiful light positioned in an interesting location (just my thoughts) and the forth would be some kind of feeling, story or emotion capured in the image. The standard of models for this visit exceeded all expectations and the beauty before me was so mind boggling at times I think I giggled like a small child.  I tried to use the window light we had inside to excentuate this beauty yet further and make model / pose fit the surroundings.   There was only so many angles I could shoot at to use this light but I would like to think I tried most of them!

Results

From the Leica M240 LCD preview I am hopeful I captured some nice images that are sharp enough to share.  It is fingers and toes crossed for the film photo results as I was pushing both the film and my hands to limits taking photos frequently as slow as 1/15 and 1/30 second.  I was disappointed I could not shoot the medium format cameras more, especially the Fuji GF670 where I only shot one roll and even then had to finish it at the airport. I did use the Fuji GA645 a bit more but a lot of it was with the speedlight so I think the results will be less dramatic than those shot using only available light.  I was happy with both the Leica M2 and Leica M240.  I found even the 40mm Voigtlander too telephoto at times so I have certainly become more of a 35mm man than a 50mm shooter.  I didn’t miss a 50mm once and I even wanted to go wider such as a 28mm or 25mm.  Next time maybe!

Thanks

A huge thanks to all the models who gave up their valuable free time for photos and to Andrea at NumberOne Models Group who helped facilitate everything and even modelled again.  Models Tamara, Natalia, Niki, Kyra, Dora, Petra, Rebeka, Eszter and Francesca, THANK YOU!

New images coming soon!

Matt

P.S. To put in perspective quite how much I was on cloud 9 after this trip, I managed to completely miss my flight home and worse still didn’t really seem to care. It wasn’t going to spoil my day. I just wrote this article while I waited and had a coffee. 🙂

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New York Photography Workshop (2)

New York Photography Workshop (2)

Matthew Osborne Photography / Mr Leica

January 2016

Brooklyn Bridge New York Panoramic

New York Trip

As crazy as it sounds, I was back out teaching model photography in New York again this week. I’d never visited NYC before then to go twice within 4-5 weeks was quite a surprise! I feel very fortunate that was asked to go once let alone twice.

For my first workshop in New York I was teaching model photography using speedlights on location (mostly) and with iconic landmark backdrops (mostly). For this second NYC photography workshop I focused on using available light on location to light a model. This was normally daylight during the day then any existing light sources we could find for the night shoots.  It is one skill to create light but another to see existing light and visualize how it could light a model. This time we did not have to carry lights and stands so could work faster and lighter. With that intention, I decided to leave my beloved Hasselblad 501C medium format camera and monopod behind and instead used all rangefinder film cameras.

The recent purchase of my new Hasselblad Xpan 35mm panoramic rangefinder camera was no coincidence. I bought it quickly so I was able to take it with me to New York. On the first trip to New York I shot 6×6 film with the Hasselblad 501C and digital photography with the Leica M 240. I have been less than impressed recently with the Leica M240 CMOS sensor images for my model photography so decided to leave it behind and packed the older Leica M8 instead.

Camera Bag

  • Leica M8 digital camera body
  • Leica M6 film camera body
  • Leica M3 film camera body
  • Leica Summilux ASPH 50mm f1.4 lens
  • Voiglander Nokton Classic 35mm f1.4 lens
  • Voiglander Color Skopar 35mm f2.5 lens
  • Zeiss Biogon 25mm f2.8 lens
  • Voigtlander Super Wide Heliar 15mm f4.5 lens
  • Hasselblad XPan film camera body
  • Hasselblad XPan 45mm f4 lens
  • Hasselblad XPan 90mm f4 lens
  • Fuji GA645 medium format film camera

35mm Film

Amongst the high rise buildings of New York there is often less light when compared to say the open beach location I shoot at in Poland. As such I only shot one roll of ISO 100 film and that was on the last day photographing Brooklyn Bridge. For colour film I shot mostly 35mm Kodak Portra 400 and some old Fujicolor C200 plus a roll of Cinestill 800T. For black and white film I shot almost entirely with Kodak Eastman Double-X 5222 (aka Cinestill BWXX film), at both ISO 400 and ISO 800. Excited to see the results from all of the above!

Hasselblad XPan

I was super excited to try the new Hasselblad XPan 35mm film panoramic rangefinder camera. I bought the 45mm f4 and 90mm f4 XPan lenses. There is also a 30mm XPan lens but it is quite pricey and wider than I normally need.

Many purists write you should only shoot the XPan in panoramic mode (and not the standard single 35mm frame mode). To an extend I agree but in a real world situation and when traveling reasonably light the 90mm lens shot in standard mode makes for a nice portrait lens. I normally use and carry 35mm and 50mm lenses on the Leica cameras so the Hasselblad XPan 90mm gives me more reach and compression if needed.

The Hasselblad XPan is compact and easy to use. It is about the same weight as Leica camera body and lens but a little wider. I relied on the XPan light meter and used perhaps 50:50 the 45mm and 90mm lenses.

My only small complaint and observation at this stage with the XPan is if I load film and then want to change to a different film mid roll I can’t manually rewind so as such the film rewinds fully into the 35mm film canister. I then need a film retriever to pull the film leader back out so it can be used again. I realize it is probably not normal to swap film in a camera mid roll but I do it a lot with the Leica (and Nikon) film cameras.

Leica M8

I realized I don’t use my Leica M8 often enough. I enjoyed the crop factor that lets me focus tighter for portraits and the rich CCD sensor colours. I shot the M8 similar to my Leica film cameras so used it at a ‘normal’ ISO range (ISO 160-640 on the M8 range). I also enjoyed the sharper M8 images vs the M240 and Leica M9.  The M8 is still king for digital B&W photos for me (of the cameras I have owned).

Leica M6 and Leica M3

I took the Leica M3 and Leica M6 film cameras so could load one body with colour film and one body with black and white.  As it happened having the Hasselblad XPan too (and keen to use it) meant I did not need 3x 35mm film cameras.  As such after the first roll of colour film in the M3 I then left it out my bag for the rest of the workshop. I enjoyed using the Leica M6 and built in light meter and did not use my handheld Sekonic light meter at all meaning I can travel lighter still and work fast.  I also made use of the Leica M6 35mm framelines and swapped between 50mm and 35mm with the Leica M8.

Fuji GA645

I packed the lightweight and compact medium format Fuji GA645 as I thought I would miss the larger film format.  I only took a single photo and I think that was a cityscape!

Conclusion

It was nice to work lighter and faster due to a combination of small cameras with built in light meters and using available light on location.  I did do some strobist work in the apartment for an evening shoot to give a Hollywood glamour styling lighting with a single speedlight and DIY light modifiers only.  We experienced a 50-60% cancellation rate from the models again but with a lot of emailing we still had models each day to shoot with.  A big thank you to models Aubrey, Sara, Olly, Cat, Laura and Rozi for joining us.

Photography Workshops 2016

In 2014 I was teaching mostly in the UK and ran some small group workshops in London.  For 2015 I concentrated on teaching 1-2-1 photography tuition and taught both in the UK but also in Zurich, New York and Amsterdam.

For 2016 I will continue to teach 1-2-1 photography sessions both overseas and at home as requested.  Photography workshop costs vary on a number of factors so I now address each on a as requested basis.  I am happy to travel globally as long as the travel costs are covered.

For those of you that are unsure, I am normally asked to teach model photography workshops which includes providing the model(s) and showing you how I use light to illuminate the model on location.  I shoot both film and digital Leicas during the workshops but you can use whatever camera you normally use.

My website link below has a list of some of the photography topics you may want to cover during the workshop and each course is bespoke to your needs.

http://matthewosbornephotography.co.uk/Photography-Courses.html

NYC (II) Photos

I will post some of the New York photography workshop photos once processed.   Due to the different cameras I was using I will share posts by camera rather than all together.  Posts to follow include:

  • Leica M8 in NYC
  • Hasselblad XPan in NYC
  • Leica M6 in NYC

Here is a sample! Aubrey with my Leica M8

1-2-1 photography workshop - NYC

I still have the NYC (I) Hasselblad 501C photos to share.  I now have the colour film back from the lab so will share some 6×6 negative scans soon!

Sample! Tegan with the Hasselblad 501C

Hasselblad + Ektar Portrait

 

 

New York Photography Workshop

Mr Leica New York Photography Workshop

Matthew Osborne Photography
December 2016

New York Photography Workshop

I was fortunate enough to be invited to New York City to teach 1-2-1 model photography for a week. It was my first visit to NYC so I had a lot to look forward to!

After organising the models for the week the next step was to select camera equipment for the trip. Not a quick task!  As you may of gathered from some of my recent blog posts, the camera of the moment is still the Hasselblad 501C.  Taking the Hasselblad was a given as was my digital Leica M Typ 240.  I then wanted a second film camera as a backup so I chose the compact Fuji GA645. Being Mr Leica you may have expected me to pack a 35mm Leica M3 film camera rather than the GA645.  I’m currently enjoying the medium format film negative resolution so I wanted to ensure I always had medium format film body to shoot with.  If I had taken one more camera it would of been a Leica M3 but I was trying to keep it simple with less gear (believe it or not!)

Final camera gear for NYC

  • Digital Leica M Typ 240 camera body
  • Leica Summicron 50mm f2 v5 lens
  • Voiglander Nokton Classic 35mm f1.4 lens
  • Voigtlander Super Wide Heliar 15mm f4.5 lens
  • Hasselblad 501C 6×6 medium format film camera body
  • Hasselblad A12 film back (x2)
  • Hasselblad 45 degree PM prism finder
  • Hasselblad Zeiss Distagon 60mm f3.5 CF lens
  • Hasselblad Zeiss Sonnar 150mm f4 CF lens
  • Fuji GA645 645 medium format film camera
  • Speedlight, trigger, light stand
  • 5in1 reflector
  • Sirui carbon monopod

Film for New York

  • 120 Kodak Tri-X 400 B&W film
  • 120 Kodak Portra 400 colour film
  • 120 Kodak Ektar 100 colour film
  • Expired 120 Fuji Velvia 50 E6 colour slide film

Leica lenses

I selected the Leica M mount lenses based on their compactness.   50mm is my go to focal length and I wanted a small lens rather than dramatic result for digital test shots so I picked the Summicron 50f2 over the Summilux ASPH 50f1.4 or Noctilux 50f1.  The Voigtlander 35mm f1.4 is smaller than my f1.2 ASPH and the Voigtlander 15mm is super compact and great for landscapes and street photography.

Hasselblad lenses

I bought a few new Hasselblad lenses ahead of the NYC trip with a view to take them.  The Zeiss Planar 100mm f3.5 CF lens is sharp and compact but is designed to be best at infinity whereas my Zeiss Makro Planar 120mm f4 is designed for close up work.  As both lenses are a similar focal length I decided to return the 100mm Planar as I rarely focus to infinity with my portrait work.  The other lens I purchased was a Zeiss Distagon 60mm f3.5 CF lens to ‘replace’ both the Zeiss 50mm Distagon and Zeiss 80mm Planar for such trips.  The 50mmf4 Distagon is nice and sharp but distorts easily and the 80f2.8 Planar is not as sharp as my other Hasselblad lenses.  The 60mm focal length falls between the popular 50,80,150mm Hasselblad lens trio but is a real gem.  The 60mm Distagon is sharp wide open and seemingly distortion free. For my Hasselblad Poland model photography trip I shot almost exclusively on the 120mm Makro Planar lens and I found it pulled me in close for mostly head shots.  The Makro-Planar is my sharpest Hasselblad lens so would be the obvious lens choice but I wanted to mix it up a bit so instead packed the Zeiss Sonnar 150mm f4 lens.  The Sonnar will give me a different look and also more compression in the images.

The trip

I was based in mid town Manhatten, NYC so most photos were shot in the surrounding areas.  We tried not to travel more than 30 minutes to location shoots to avoid wasting time between models and also did some photos inside the apartment. Models were a mix of agency models, freelance and hobbyists and all were new faces to me.  I tried to select a varierty of looks to make the resulting photos as interesting as possible. A big thanks to models Tegan, Morgan, Melanie, Rozi, Stevie, Ashley,  Zohra, Desi, Olya and Hope.  We would have had perhaps double the number of models but experienced a high rate of cancellations for a variety of unforseen reasons. As such, some models came back for a second shoot and we also photographed some New York street scenes and landscapes to include in the photobook that will follow.  I enjoyed the printed Hasselblad images I made after the Poland model photography trip so look to print more photos going forward.

The NYC photography workshop

In addition to having the opportunity to shadow me while I worked I covered model photography by available light only, using a reflector,  using a single speedlight off camera as a key light, as a fill light and as a rim light both with and without light modifiers, using two speedlights, using coloured gels, mixing speedlights with continous light, on location and in a indoor environment.  I explained why I selected a certain lens for a situation, how coloured lens filters can impact black and white film, how film developing will impact the look of the developed film negative, my choice of film, aperture and shutter speed selection to balance the light. For models I explained the choice of clothes, hair, makeup, girl, and selecting a look for a certain location.

Voigtlander Nokton 35mm Bokeh

Thoughts after the trip

If I was asked to teach in NYC again I would pack my Leica M3 for low light available light photography.   I wished I had a tripod for the Hasselblad with me for such ocassions as when shooting colour film my low light limit was ISO 400, f3.5 1/60 or at 1/30 with risk of camera shake. If it was the M3 I could shoot at ISO 400, f1-1.4, 1/15-1/30 easily and be much more mobile too.  Another option is my Mamiya 645 Super with f1.9-f2.8 lenses (fastest) and it can be used handheld at 1/30 if careful.   I really hope the Cinestill guys manage to get 120 Cinestill 800T onto the market as it really would be the perfect film in such situations. Other than that I was really happy with the camera choice.

The Hasselblad was so much fun to use the poor Fuji GA645 didnt even get out my camera bag.  In Poland I shot the Leica M 240 with available light only and I found the images fairly uninteresting.   Using the M240 with strobes definitely helped me to enjoy the resulting photos more so I will try to fit in a speedlight for all my future model photography trips.  I am interested to see if the flash lit model photography images in NYC have more of a fashion look to them than when just using available light.  I would expect them to.

Hasselblad Film Fashion

I am working my way through developing and scanning the Hasselblad black and white film negative images so I will list a separate gallery blog post once I have enough pictures to share.  I will send the colour film to be lab developed when I get chance too.

Hasselblad has been busy!

Here is a taster!

Hasselblad 501C + Zeiss Sonnar 150mm f4 lens

Hasselblad Model NYC

Fujifilm GA645 Professional

Fujifilm GA645 Professional

                         ..Like an noisy ugly slightly overfed Leica!

July 2015

Matthew Osborne Photography

Fujifilm GA645 Pro

Fuji GA645

The latest addition to my camera bag – a 20 year old Fuji GA645 Pro medium format film camera.  Released in 1995, the Fujifilm GA645 Professional is a 6×4.5 format autofocus medium format film camera. The GA645 is fitted with a fixed lens, a Super EBC Fujinon 60mm f4 with a minimum focus distance of 0.7m.  The camera has a leaf shutter lens that operates at upto 1/400 with apertures of f4-f9.5 and at 1/700 with apertures of f11-f22.  The camera takes photos in a portrait orientation when held in the standard horizontal position.  The GA645 has a pop-up flash, LCD display for camera settings, autofocus, auto film advance and auto rewind, auto exposure with centre weighted metering and imprinted data of camera settings onto the film.

Basically the Fuji GA645 is a heavyweight medium format P&S (Point and Shoot) camera!

For anyone that has followed me for a while might be thinking, the list above is everything I said I don’t like in a camera.  For example I sold the Contax 645 as I said it was too ‘DSLR like’ and too automated.  That was almost 2 years ago.

So why did I buy a GA645?

I am still in search of my holy grail camera.  As my photography matures my desires list changes.  In the past I would be attracted to the fastest lenses with the most shallow depth of field possible.  For example the Leica Noctilux 50mm f1 lens.  I did not consider camera size, the film format, the speed of the camera use, the reliability and to an extent the cost if it was of good quality.

Today the most important aspects of a camera for me are compact size, maximum resolution, sharp lens, speed of use and reliability.  Tomorrow this may change.

Compact camera –

Leica cameras are compact hence I love them but I want a larger negative for maximum resolution in an image.

Maximum resolution –

The Mamiya RZ67 Pro II 6×7 and Rolleiflex SL66E 6×6 have sharp lenses but they are too big to take on my trips overseas.  The Fuji GF670 is a folding 6×6/6×7 camera so is compact but I wanted 645 format.  To me 6×4.5 format is the perfect mid ground between being 3x more resolution that a 35mm Leica film negative and giving 15 photos per roll of film vs, 50% less resolution than a 6×7 negative that only gives 10 images per roll of 120 film.

Sharp lens –

Many of my cameras are said to have sharp lenses but when a camera has a fixed lens the lens sharpness is a must have.  The EBC Fujinon lenses are well regarded for their sharpness even wide open.

Speed of Use –

The more I do model photography and fashion photography the more I realise that as a creative team we just don’t have time to work at a slow pace such as with my large format cameras, Pacemaker Speedgraphic and Sinar F2.  This was one reason for buying the autofocus Nikon f4 SLR 35mm film camera.  I want to shoot film but do it at the pace of a modern photoshoot.

Reliability –

Reliability has two meanings.  The perhaps obvious one that is mechanical reliability and the camera continuing to operate as designed during a shoot.  I cannot afford to take a camera to Ukraine for a week only for it to stop working on the first day.  Luckily this did not happen but I have a growing pile of film cameras needing some attention and are therefore not suitable to take away on trips.  The second meaning and one that bugs me a little is reliable photo taking.  I might have the perfect model in the perfect setting and the image looks focused through the viewfinder yet when I get the film back it is mis-focused due to a misaligned rangefinder or other camera related issue.  My Mamiya 645 nearly always mis-focused beyond a certain distance and even up close the hit rate is not acceptable regardless of the lens.

Fuji GA645 – Recap

So to recap the Fuji GA645 is very compact considering it is a medium format camera so perfect to fit in my hand luggage.  The lens is sharp and it has autofocus and auto film advance to allow me to work quickly if needed.  The 60mm f4 lenses is roughly equal to 35mm f2.8 on a 35mm camera such as a Leica.  With my recent film photography I often stop the lenses down to perhaps f5.6 to get maximum sharpness and also try to back up more to get an environmental portrait in my location rather than a tight head shot that could have been taken in my garden or studio.  If I am to travel to these different countries I need to help myself in capturing some of the city in the photo and a 35mm lens is better suited to do this than my usual 50mm favoured lens choice.  A good example of this was my model photography workshop in Zurich where I tried to capture the model within her environment for some photos.

As mentioned I already own a Fuji GF670 camera but I prefer the older Fuji GS645 camera due to the 645 format.  I love the GS645 but the shutter often sticks so I decided to buy the more modern more automated Fuji GA645 that is a similar size and same format, but with a 60mm f4 lenses rather than the 75mm f3.4 lens.

Creativity with an F4 lens

An easy way to take a beautiful traditional portrait is to use a very shallow depth of field.  The Fuji GA645 will not give me this so it will make me work harder for my photograph.  I need to consider the background as the detail will be visible in the photo and then I need to somehow make the picture interesting without using shallow DOF.  It will make me chose my light and composition more carefully and how they interact with the model .  I think at worst an f4 aperture lens can only improve my photography and my work may benefit when I am using fast lenses on other cameras.

Time will tell

I don’t really enjoy taking photos with the Fuji GF670 as it is so quiet and soulless.  That said the photos produced can be beautiful.  In contrast the Fuji GA645 is very noisy so I just hope it is a little more engaging despite being so automated.

Size is key

Even though I am mainly a Leica shooter when I come to pack for model photography trips in Europe I find I have to pick my very smallest Leica M lenses.  I like to take both a film camera and a digital camera.  Film is for me and digital to give something to the models for their time.  I hope to be able to take the compact Fuji GA645 on my next trip and return with high resolution sharp in focus images of stunning models in the city they live in.  That’s the plan anyway!

Test photos coming soon once the camera is shipped.

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