Quick Shot: Where Film & Digital Meet

Every so often I get this crazy whim to try something really bizarre.... this weekend it was to merge some film and digital exposures together....

The first image ("Queen") was taken with my Hasselblad using Fujifilm Cameras medium format film as the background. The overlay is a chalk painting from Trafalgar Square that I photographed using my Leica Camera SL and f/0.95 Noctilux. The second image ("London Southbank") uses the same cameras, but the film was a double exposure, making the resulting image a triple exposure photograph.

Of course there is no reasonable way to merge the film and digital images "in camera" - so I developed them all and merged them using Adobe Photoshop. The result is a little crazy and a little fun!

Which do you like better?

The Queen

London Southbank

Quick Shot: Lost in Paris

"Lost in Paris" - this was an interesting double exposure on film. I was trying to merge some of the architecture and landmarks of Paris into a single image and was hoping to do so without any people in it. I stood ready to fire the shutter on one of the images for several minutes in the rain, but people kept walking into the frame. So I waited. Eventually, a little girl walked into the scene and leaned up along the glass of the Lourve pyramids. I fired instantly.... the girl was exactly the subject I needed!

The resulting photograph is perfect - here's all this Paris architecture, with a little girl looking lost in it all.

Quick Shot: Locks of Love

I have been busy traveling and collecting frequent flyer miles, but that doesn't mean I have neglected my photography! Quite the contrary! I have been editing hundreds of images and developing almost ten rolls of film from recent jaunts through Denver, Atlanta, London and Paris. 

I have to give credit to my friend for this image - we were in Paris and he suggested a photograph of this couple I hadn't seen cuddling in the corner. I had just taken an image of the forever locks on the fence nearby, so decided to make it a double exposure before advancing the roll. Kudos to him for finding the couple, because I LOVE the resulting image.

Shot with Hasselblad 503CX on Ilford Delta 100 Pro film.

Quick Shot: Two Eyes

The London Eye is quickly becoming a popular site for tourists who wish to have a tremendous view of the London skyline. The ferris wheel has little glass bubbles that rotate with the wheel over the span of 30 minutes. To get this double exposure showing an eye within an eye, I centered the wheel in the center of my focus screen, then took a few steps back and shot again. This image was created on my Hasselblad 503CX using Ilford Delta film.

Quick Shot: Big Ben(s)

As I often do, I shared these photos with some family and friends before sharing them online. When I sent these to my dad, he replied with the following question, which I thought was worthy of sharing and answering online:

"Why waste all that film when you could use photoshop to more accurately and directly control the images?"

Well (dad) and everyone else - it's not about the most effective way to create an image.... it's about art, creativity, and fun! If I sat down at my computer with a blank Photoshop document, I would never have dreamed up the images I created. And assuming I had thought up these photographs, I would have spent hours manipulating and playing with them to be 'perfect' rather than accepting the creative randomness that I experienced.

I really didn't put much pre-visualization into these double exposures - which is unlike most of my photography. Normally I have clearly planned my perfect image in my head before I arrive on site or take the photograph. Although film photography means I don't know the results of my shoot until after I've developed the film, I still try to pre-plan photographs. The exception came with these double exposures.

I knew the general themes I wanted, but much of the final composition was to be decided in person. It was only when I was looking at Big Ben that I decided to try and compose upside down. It was only after I took that shot that I thought "I bet it would look interesting sideways." Being creative and artistic means that sometimes you operate without a plan and try something crazy. It means that sometimes you try something you couldn't do in Photoshop!

Shot with the Hasselblad 503CX on Ilford Delta 100 film.


Quick Shot: Not So Normal

One thing I really like about film photography is the ability to do some not-so-normal things with it. For instance, unlike with a digital camera, I can combine two different scenes on one negative to create a single image, called a double exposure. In this case, I shot a wooden plank door on one of the colleges in Cambridge, followed by a scene overlooking punts on the river Cam. 

The interesting thing about these shoots is that it's very difficult to pre-visualize the resulting image. In this case I really didn't have high expectations, but the resulting negative is one of my favorites from the roll. I particularly like how the trees in the upper right corner are almost 'segregated' by each wooden plank from the door.

The photographic society Magnum used to require photographers to submit prints showing the borders to prove there was no cropping or funny manipulation. So in a nod to Magnum photographers, I have scanned it so you can see the whole border of the print - no photoshop involved!

Shot with Hasselblad 503CX + 80mm f/2.8 lens on Ilford Delta 100.

Quick Shot: Double Exposure

One of the fun things film can do that digital cameras cannot is the art of a double exposure. In film, a double exposure is achieved when the film is exposed twice - with two different images - creating a composite on the negative. 

As a photographer, this is rather fun, because you don't know what the outcome will be until you've gone home to develop the film. In this case, I had to wait almost two weeks after taking the images before I could leave Venice to return to my developing studio. The wait was worth it, and I was excited by the resulting images.

Here's a quick shot to introduce the concept - the first image was of the gondolas along the grand canal. The second image was with my Leica camera in the scene.

Shot with a Rolleiflex 2.8F on Ilford Delta 100 Pro film.