Film Landscape Photography

Film Landscape Photography

…in Fuerteventura, Canary Isles.

Matthew Osborne Photography / Mr Leica

December 2017

Leica Landscape Photography

Intro

I just returned from a short vacation to Fuerteventura in the Canary Isles where I met family who were out there on holiday. It was my first visit to this island but I have been to the neighboring island Tenerife a couple of  times. The weather in this part of the world is a real treat when visiting from the UK during the winter as the average temperature in the Canaries is normally in the mid 20s. (degrees Celsius).

Landscape Photography Camera Bag

  • Hasselblad SWC/M camera + finder
  • Hasselblad SWC focus screen + WLF
  • Hasselblad A12 6×6 film back
  • Hasselblad A16 645 film back
  • Leica M4-P camera body (film)
  • Leica M240 camera body (digital)
  • Leica Elmarit-M 28mm f2.8 lens
  • Voigtlander Color Skopar 35mm f2.5 lens
  • Tripod

Before the trip I had bought the Hasselblad SWC/M wide-angle camera with the Zeiss Biogon 38mm f4.5 lens (equivalent to 21mm on a full frame 35mm camera). The SWC/M camera is well suited to landscape photography but I bought it mainly for people photography, weddings, fashion photography and environmental portraits. That said after the purchase the camera I found myself watching 10hrs+ of YouTube landscape photography videos (while eating my evening meals each day). I’ve never studied landscape photography so found certain aspects of the videos both interesting and inspiring.

Hasselblad SWC/M Landscape Photography

Hasselblad SWC/M Landscape Photography

After being inspired by the landscape photography videos I decided to pack my Hasselblad SWC/M to take to Fuerteventura together with a tripod and cable release. Being a family holiday I didn’t have as much flexibility to go and take photos at any time of the day compared to when I travel alone but I did go out early one morning before sunrise to take pictures. I soon realized I really needed to car to get to any of the wow scenes up in the mountains so instead settled for a few simple long exposure shots to blur the sea/ water in my images. It was a surprisingly slow process to me and I only took four images within the hour I was out. There was no sunrise to speak of and the 21mm field of view was often too wide for the scenes I was trying to compose and capture. My first landscape photography experience (with all the gear) was OK but it didn’t blow me away with excitement.

Ironman Training

ironman

Even though my first Ironman triathlon is complete I continue to enjoy training whenever I can and I plan to enter more triathlon events in 2018. My brother and I hired road bikes for three days I was there and we did a ride at first light followed by a run along the coast before breakfast. The next morning we did a 50 mile ride up into the mountains. The sun was already up and the landscape looked breathtaking in the low directional light. I really love the barren landscape in Fuerteventura with the red-yellow sandy ground contrasting nicely against the blue sky, the often derelict buildings littering the hillsides and the various cactus plants providing an assortment of shapes. Trying to take landscape photos in a ‘Brits abroad’ holiday resort yesterday wasn’t really working for me despite it being one of the nicer resorts. Getting out into non tourist parts of Fuerteventura and up into the mountains was much more my thing. I wish I had a camera with me on the bike ride but we only stopped once for a quick selfie at the top so I wouldn’t have had chance to use a camera anyway. It did however get me thinking.

Leica Landscape Photography

On my last morning in Fuerteventura my new plan was to cycle back into the mountains alone to take landscape photos. Sadly the weather had other ideas and I woke to cloud cover and an unlit landscape. I decided to have an extra hour in bed and then run along the coastline instead to give the sun time to burn through the clouds. Sure enough by 10am we had hazy sunshine so after the run and quick breakfast I grabbed my bike and headed off towards the mountains. The original idea was to take both the Hasselblad SWC and a Leica camera and shoot them both handheld in the bright light. Unfortunately both cameras would not fit in the back of my running hydrating vest main pocket. I therefore packed light and took my Leica M4-P film camera with Leica Elmarit-M 28mm f2.8 lens, a Sekonic light meter and a spare roll of film. I think I would have chosen a slightly wider lens (15mm, 21mm or 25mm) but 28mm was the widest I had with me. One advantage of the Elmarit-M 28/2.8 is it is nice and compact compared to my 21mm and 25mm Zeiss Biogon lenses. Another benefit of using a 28mm lens is the M4-P has 28mm framelines in the viewfinder to aid composition.

Leica Film Landscape

I had 35mm Fujicolor C200 already loaded in the Leica M4-P and took another roll of C200 with me. Some of the images I was taking suited black and white film but I will convert the colour film to monochrome in post processing. Cycling along the open roads in the sunshine was amazing in itself but then being able to stop at any scene that caught my eye was fantastic. Often when traveling by car it is not possible to stop when I see a photo to capture but on a bike I could stop anywhere even on a busy road and just pull in to get my shot. I cycled 10 miles out stopping along the way taking photos both in front of me with sunshine over my shoulder and also back at the sun in the opposite direction. I wish I had brought a small circular polarizer filter for the Leica to cut through some of the haze but it was a nice practice session regardless.

I was out for 2.5 hours, covered 20 miles or so and thoroughly enjoyed every minute. This may well become my new favorite pastime combining training, exploring and photography and without the restriction of always being reliant on a model for my photography. Model photography is amazing when I have models but can be almost depressing when I have a beautiful location and then no one to photograph. This new past time of cycling and landscape photography means I can visit any country without the limitation of needing to consider if I can find models on my arrival.

Leica Elmarit-M 28mm Landscape

Possible camera gear for my next Leica landscape photography (on bike)

I would take a Leica M4-P film camera again due to the 28mm framelines for composition. I might look to take the Zeiss ZM Biogon 25mm f2.8 lens and use the full viewfinder area to approximate my field of view. As mentioned I will also consider the 21mm ZM Biogon and the Voigtlander Super Wide Heliar 15mm f4.5 lens. One observation I didn’t mention above is for some scenes I wanted to compress a scene or take a crop of the landscape and the 28mm lens was too wide. I like the idea of carrying two lenses, one wide lens and a short telephoto lens. Because I need to pack small and light I think both my Leica Summicron 75mm f2 APO lens and Summicron 90mm f2 lens will be too large and heavy. My plan is therefore to try taking a compact 50mm lens instead, the Leica Summarit-M 50mm f2.5 lens.

Leica Landscape Photography

My landscape photography research suggested that the best lenses to use for landscapes are often wider than the normal 50mm field of view humans see or longer telephoto lenses. That said I love a 50mm focal length for much of my photography so I will see if I can get it to work for me. The other thing I must pack for my next adventure is a circular polarizing filter and some colour filters for black and white photography.  Red and yellow filters will both darken a blue sky and lighten a yellow building or dust track road. Lastly I want to pack better suited film stocks. For black and white film I will try 35mm Fuji Neopan Acros 100 speed film for crisp B&W tones and perhaps Ilford Delta 100 for super high-resolution. For colour negative film I think I would choose Kodak Ektar 100 for saturated colours and fine grain but if I really wanted to invest in the art I would shoot the expensive 35mm Fuji Provia 100 E6 slide film for its superior colours and resolution. Fuji Velvia 100 film is often preferred by landscape photographers due to the super saturated colours but I already have 35mm Provia in my fridge so will try this first. Lastly I would be sure to take my Sekonic light meter as weather and light levels can change especially if cycling up mountains.  I would take the Sekonic L-308s light meter rather than the Sekonic L-758 light meter as it is smaller and light.  If and when I get really keen at landscape photography I will swap to the Sekonicl-758 spot meter for zone metering.

sekonicv2

Taking the Hasselblad SWC exploring

I have certainly not ruled out the Hasselblad SWC for future adventures and I think once I take it on one trip and see the images it would probably come with me on all future landscape trips. The Hassy SWC is a compact camera even if it is heavier than my Leica with lens attached. If I pack the SWC with finder, a few filters and a light meter I should be able to find one of my running rucksacks that will accommodate it’s size.

Bad weather landscape photography

Many of the best landscape photography photos are taken in less than perfect weather conditions, often mist, fog, rain, snow and varying degrees of low light-darkness. As such a tripod is usually a must have. That said, I want to enjoy my cycling as much as the photography and I like being out in the sunshine. If I am only doing fine weather photography at f8-f22 with a shutter speed of 1/60-1/500 I will choose to travel light and without a tripod. A full height tripod is out the question for my current lightweight cycling setup. If I find I enjoy landscape photography enough to do it without including the cycling aspect then I can look to drive to locations in the early hours in potentially bad weather and then take a tripod with me (and as much camera gear as I want in a normal camera rucksack.  If I find myself sticking to landscape photography (and by bike) but decide to do some early morning first light shots I may look to get one of the table top Manfrotto tripods like the Manfrotto PIXI EVO 2 tripod for a ligghtweight option.

manfrottopixi

My next cycling-photography adventure

After three days in the sunshine I am already set to book a follow-up trip cycling holiday / photography adventure to see if I can hone my camera skills and keep fit in the process. I will certainly visit the Canary Isles again for this type of holiday as I love both the landscape and the climate.

Some of my past attempts at landscape photography!

(Approximate order newest to oldest using a variety of cameras)

Hasselblad XPan Panoramic Landscape
Cinestill 800T Film Landscape
Fuji GF670 - Soller, Majorca
Leica M2 Landscape
Leica M2 Landscape
Portland Bill Lighthouse Fisherman
Leica Summicron 50/2
NT Packwood House Estate
ARAX Landscape
Samyang 24mm f1.4
Samyang 24mm f1.4 Landscape
Samyang Summer - 35mm/1.4 @f2 SOOC
Mount Teide, Tenerife
Autumn sunset, Devon

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Nikon F4 + Fujicolor Fashion

Nikon F4 + Fujicolor Fashion

Matthew Osborne Photography / @MrLeicaCom

June 2016

Nikon F4 Portrait

Here are a selection of photos I shot in May with Sophie.  All photos were shot on Fujifilm Fujicolor C200 35mm film and lab developed / scanned.  Photos were taken using daylight only and with my Nikon F4 SLR camera.  I used two lenses on this shoot, a Tokina 100mm f2.8 Macro lens and Voitglander 40mm f2 SL-II pancake lens.  Photos watermarked in Lightroom.

I tend to prefer black and white photography / B&W film photography but on occasion I really like colour film.  This is one of those occasions and I was really pleased with how the photos came out.  I am getting to the point now where I have far more photos to share than I can post in 1’s and 2’s on the likes of Flickr and Facebook.  As such I  have started to share similar photos in groups of 3 on Instagram – @MrLeicaCom

That said I will also try to share more frequent smaller blog posts like this one containing a series of similar images.

47510015LR47510016LRv247510017LR47510019LRv247510021LR47510022LR47510023LR47510025LR

AGFA Vista 200 Review

AGFA Vista 200 Review

AGFA Vista  200 review comparing 35mm AGFA Vista 200 Plus film to Fuji C200 and Kodak Portra 160. AGFA Vista can be purchased in the UK from Poundland stores for only £1.00 making it the cheapest camera film available (to my knowledge).

#AGFAfilm #filmphotography on a budget. £1 a roll #Poundland. www.MrLeica.com

Find it here – http://www.poundland.co.uk/agfa-photo-camera-film-20024

Even when considering C41 film developing costs of £2.99 per roll (I use AG Photographic  film lab in Birmingham) the cost of AGFA Vista film plus developing is still approximately the same cost as a roll of cheap black and white film developed at home in low cost Rodinal film developer.  For those film photographers that do not develop their own film AGFA Vista is the cheapest option for 35mm film photography (that I am aware of!).

Is AGFA Vista 200 film suitable for professional work?

I took some AGFA Vista 200 to Poland to test for my portrait photos / model photography, to a location model shoot in Birmingham and also shot some AGFA Vista at a recent wedding.  Results below.

Ryanair Flight to Poland!

Gdansk Old Town

AGFA Vista plus 200 Fashion

Agfa Vista Plus 200 24 Exp

Leica M3 + AGFA Vista Film

London City Life

Leica M3 Fashion

Leica + Agfa Vista 200

£1 Agfa Vista Plus 200 film

AGFA Vista plus 200 Film Wedding

AGFA Vista Plus 200 Wedding

Analogue Film Wedding Photography

AGFA Vista Plus 200 24 Exp

(Photos taken with Leica M3, Leica M2 and Nikon FM SLR cameras)

AGFA Vista Plus 200 vs Kodak Portra 160

AGFA Vista film gives more saturated colours than Kodak Portra film but has a similar bias to yellow and red tones (from my personal experience).  Portra films have more latitude and can be overexposed (and underexposed) more without losing highlight and shadow detail.  For Portra I tend to overexpose by one stop or more but for Vista I tend to shoot it at box speed or slightly over. AGFA Vista 200 vs Portra 160 gives me almost half a stop more light which can be useful in low light conditions even when using a slow shutter speed and a fast f1.4 aperture lens.

AGFA Vista Plus vs Fujicolor C200

I have used Fujicolor C200 film in the past and to my eyes the colours of AGFA Vista are quite similar to C200 in certain conditions.  I think C200 has a similar ‘Fuji’ look to Fuji Pro 400H with greens and pinks but for reds and yellows it is similar to AGFA Vista.  I think C200 has slightly finer grain and ‘better’ colours (from my examples) and I don’t believe AGFA Vista is rebadged old C200 stock as some photographers have considered.  To me, AGFA Vista has grain more similar to 400 speed film whereas C200 has finer grain closer to Ektar (I think).  I have yet to use AGFA Vista when we have leaves on the trees so spring will be the real test for that.

Fujicolor C200 example photos as a comparison –

AGFA Vista the same film stock as Fujicolor C200?

Leica M2 goes on Holiday

Leica M3 + Noctilux Engagement

Leica M2, Soller Mallorca

Fujicolor C200 looking more like Fuji Pro 400H

Fujicolor C200 Skin Tones

Fujicolor C200 Portrait

Would I use AGFA Vista film again?

Yes. I just bought another 10 rolls of AGFA Vista 200.  At £1 a roll I really cant go wrong!  I think for wedding photography film portraits I will continue to use the less saturated Kodak Portra 160 and 400.  For fashion photography Kodak Ektar 100 has stunning fine grain and more saturated colours vs Vista.  For low light / night colour film photography I would use the new CineStill 800T (examples coming soon) but for anything in between such as holiday snaps, detail photos or colour film street photography in good light AGFA Vista Plus 200 is fine.  Lastly, if you ever buy a 35mm film camera and want to test it works OK AGFA Vista is the perfect solution!

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MrLeica.com started in March 2013 after my Flickr followers kept asking me to share some of my thoughts.  The blog has now grown to 400+ articles!

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Mr Leica – The Blog

Leica M cameras are my workhorse tools for all types of photography, both digital Leica cameras and Leica film cameras.  I also use medium format cameras such as Hasselblad and Mamiya (+ 4×5 large format cameras) and develop my film in house.  The majority of the blog content is either Leica M camera related or film photography.  I photograph people; models, fashion, lifestyle, wedding photography so most of my photography is portraits, experimenting with various cameras, lenses and films.  The digital Leica M240 camera is my do everything digital M camera but I shoot film whenever possible.

Mr Leica – About

Hi, I started this blog page in March 2013 after my Flickr followers keep asking me to share some of my thoughts. To give you a brief background, my photography began in 2008 after getting a Panasonic Lumix TZ5 for Christmas.  Today I have a lot of cameras and offer Photography Tuition to those who often get paid for their work. Besides teaching, I shoot as a Wedding Photographer and Model Photographer.  I am 100% self taught so thought a blog would be a great way to share some of the things I have learnt so far.  At the end of 2012 I started to develop a passion for Film Photography and in the summer of 2013 I bought my first Leica camera.  I am now officially a Leica nut and use a digital Leica M240 and M8 plus Leica M3s, M2, M4-P and M6 film cameras for most of my photography.  This includes Leica wedding photography, Leica lifestyle photography and Leica fashion / model photography.  I also enjoy using medium format film cameras such as the amazing Hasselblad 501C 6×6 camera (my main medium format film camera), Fuji GF670, Rolleiflex SL66E, Mamiya RZ67 Pro2 to name a few and 4×5 large format film using a 1947 Pacemaker Speed Graphic and Sinar F2.  In 2014 I started to teach portrait photography and lighting in London running monthly group photography workshops. Currently I teach photography on 1-2-1 basis providing 1-2-1 photography tuition (normally with a model) on location, often in London if on location and in the UK, from my Coventry UK studio or overseas such as New York, Zurich and Amsterdam.

Destination Leica Wedding Photographer

Leica Wedding Photographer offering desination Wedding Photography both in the UK and overseas. Natural documentary style wedding photography fused with stylised wedding portraits.  As a Leica photographer I like to work quietly as an observer in the background and photograph by available light where possible.  I use both digital and film Leica cameras but my passion is film photography.

Traditional Film Wedding Photographer UK

Film wedding photographer that still prefers film cameras in the digital era.  I use 35mm Leica film cameras, medium format Hasselblad cameras and large format film cameras.  If you appreciate film photography as much as I do then I would be delighted to cover your wedding.  You may have already booked a wedding photographer but like the idea of a few special images shot on film?  I would be happy to oblige!

Engagement Sessions

Engagement photography is very rewarding and I enjoy working with a couple to create natural yet stylised images using a aray of cameras to give you as set of unique looking images.  E-sessions are invaluable for giving couples experience in front of the cameras ahead of their wedding day and it gives us a chance to get to know each other too.

Large Format Portrait Photographer

Large format camera portrait session that gives one of a kind photos.  4×5 format sheet film images and instant Polaroid photos.  I fuse my model photography experience with my passion for film photography.

Leica Lifestyle Photographer

I have realised from how I direct my model shoots that I am in fact a lifestyle photographer.  Posing often everyday people in everyday situations to look very natural.  I have not yet branded myself as a lifestyle photographer but it may be a route I take in the future as this style comes very naturally to me and I find it easy to work closely with my clients to get the best from the images.  If you are looking for new and creative photos for your social media site, blog, website or business then do get in touch.

Model Photographer

Studio based model photographer in Coventry specialising in black and white female portraiture using both digital and film cameras.  I help new models build a model portfolio and regularly collaborate with model agencies and published models in the UK, Europe and the US.

UK Photography Workshops

I provide 1-2-1 photography tuition and lighting workshops from my Coventry studio and on location.  I will help you to understand light and your camera to enhance your photography. Through 2014 I was running London photography workshops teaching small groups of photographers how to work with a professional model on location.  Currently I focus on providing 1-2-1 tuition rather than teaching groups both here in the UK and overseas.

I hope you find the content as enjoyable to read as I find it is to document.

Matt