Large format, Photography, Spotlight

With 4×5 in New York – The red beast on tour!

5. May 2015

*Above are Instgram shots (just sayin…)

Just came back from my trip to New York City. It was my second time in the city which never sleeps and I have to say it’s always a challenge to get some “new” perspectives. I just don’t want to be the thousandth photographer which comes back with the same kind of images like literally everybody else has.

If you have ever been to New York then you will know you have to walk everywhere to explore it. Of course you can buy a 7 days pass for 30 bucks (which are btw is a good investment) but taken the Metro still sucks because of its network. I learned that when the metro system was built, there were a lot of private companies involved and that’s why nothing really works together. If you want to go up or downtown no problem, but east to west and the other way round – nope, you’ve gotta walk!My first time in NYC was in 2012. Five days straight only for photography reasons. I didn’t do much sightseeing past then neither was I interested in touristy stuff. I had my D800, my tripod and some ND-filters in the backpack. All I wanted was to build up my portfolio and have some good shots for myself. Three years later, probably more experienced I showed up with the red beast – a Polaroid 110A Conversion built in 1952 and refurbished in 2014. No tripod, No ND-Filter but plenty 4×5 sheet films.

Well, Ok… There is also my iPhone (see pictures above) for the snapshots in between but I have to say that I didn’t miss my D800 much. I also didn’t want to catch every single corner of New York, which we know is of course not possible. It’s also not necessary in my opinion. I just wanted to slow down a little bit. I always say “What I can’t tell in 20 pictures I won’t be telling in 100 anyways”. I don’t necessarily need a film camera for slowing down for my kind of photography but it helps me.

If you running with a hell of a 4×5 camera in your hand along the streets of New York City, it doesn’t take long you get recognized and people look at this red thing and sometimes ask you questions about it. Actually this is or was exactly what I expected and also wanted – I called it Camera-Marketing! If you carry a mirrorless or dslr camera – nobody will show any interest but if you carry a camera which has the size of a football and heavy as a brick. Yep, then you will get some attention! It also came that I was the first time in the B&H Superstore and I have to say WTF is going on there? People are running like ants from level to level and leaving the place packed with stuff where you normally need a Sherpa (you know the Everest guys who carrying all the expedition equipment). That’s just crazy shit…. I honestly have to say I also bought some small stuff, mainly sheet films because of the selection.

Anyway the interesting part was, that I was accidentally talking with a sales person about Fuji mirrorless system cameras and it turned out that the guy owned some 4×5 camera. I pulled my red beast out of my backpack and was suddenly surrounded by some more sales personal. They all knew about the possibility to convert a Polaroid 110A but nobody has seen one or better had the chance to hold one in his own hand. I can say, the camera left quite an impression and I think there will be soon some more New Yorker out there with a handheld 4×5 rangefinder camera.

For everybody who is interested what kind of film I used. Well, I first have to say that I am not the fastest in terms of scanning and post process my pictures, not matter if I took the pictures with my D800 or on film. I currently working also on some other (non photographic) projects, so therefore I am a little bit lazy. Anyway what kind of film did I use. There was a TMax 100, Ilford FP4, Portra 400, Ektar 100 and my favorite but expensive Fuji Provia 100F. I know slide film is not as good as negative film in terms of exposure handling etc… It’s a little bit tricky to work with. Doesn’t like much under-or overexposure. I shoot in total 18 sheets of film and expect to be 6 of them really usable. For some of you this might sound not that much but my expectations are really high in terms of quality. So this should be enough…

Please don’t get me wrong. I am not shooting film because of the actual hype about it. I am not one of the IamNowShootingFilmBecauseIamAHipsterDude. I just like the taking pictures with analogue equipment and also the finil product and feel of it. That’s all. BTW The follwing two pictures are taken with my Polaroid 110A Conversion and the 125mm fixed lens. Kodak Portra 400 and slide film Fuji Provia 100F)

Apropos film cameras. Are you guys still shooting film and what kind of cameras are you using. I am just curious!




Polaroid 100A/B 4x5 Conversion

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