In my previous post on Street Photography, I spoke about the preference for black/white over color film and that color does have its place for the right situation in street photography. Now it is only a question of what kind of film and lens combination to achieve the right effect based on the editorial or photographer’s viewpoint. Using the right lens and film combination, be it analogue or digital has a direct impact on how the image is viewed and perceived by the audience.
The camera applications I mostly use are: 6x6, PureShot, MPro and of course Hipstamatic. This time deciding to experiment with Hipstamatic and a number of different lens/film combinations. Previously, I have used the John S lens with Claunch 72 Monochrome film when covering the alleys or streets of San Francisco’s Chinatown.
On other occasions I have used the Jane lens and Rock BW-11 film or BlacKeys B+W, or John S lens with Claunch 7, all of which I have had good success under the right lighting condition, including Loftus or Jane lens with DC (Domenica Catelli) film. The Jane lens with DC film is my overall favorite setting for color photography, as there are no LoFi anomalies which alter an image.
Though it is very easy to fall into a habit of using one or two lens/film combinations, one should remember to pre-visualise the purpose of the photographs one is trying to capture and what point-of-view one wishes to express.
The following samples in this post were all taken by me, with no post production or any manipulations applied. These images therefore reflect the raw and unvarnished truth that was captured using an iPhone 4S.
San Francisco, Monday, March 11, 2013
It was a sunny and bright day and the usual fog that would cover the city in the morning hours was no where to be seen. This meant that my preferred weather, overcast or a hazy sky, now required a shift in my thinking and I would not be applying the usual lens/film combinations.
The lens/film test combinations that were employed in today’s venture:
Lens/Film: John S — Rock BW-11
Lens/Film: Jane — Rock BW 11
Lens/Film: Libatique 73 — Ina’s 1935
Lens/Film: GSquad — Nike AO DLX
It was still early in the morning when I arrived at one of my favorite locations, capturing the Chinese out shopping for groceries at their local markets. Normally I would use MPro, my favorite dedicated B/W app, but that day it is all about Hipstamatic: Lens/Film: John S — Rock BW-11.
When trying to review what I had been photographed, it was difficult to judge the results, even in the shade. After a dozen or so captures, I switched to another lens but kept the film the same; Lens/Film: Jane — Rock BW 11. I was hoping for better results, felling things were just a little too dark. I also did not care for the anomalies of ghost spots or fixative spots as I refer to them, that appeared randomly throughout the image, especially as illustrated in the above photograph.
The Jane lens opens things up, giving me more detail in the shadow areas, as we see in the woman’s sweater and jacket. However, one must not forget that lighting conditions also play an important roll in the apps rendering of the scene, as we see in the next photo, which was taken only two minutes later.
Back on Market Street and Powell at a Muni bus stop, where I spotted an interesting character, smoking a pipe and wearing a hat. A few weeks earlier I used Lens/Film: Libatique 73 — Ina’s 1935 to capture a street scene with wonderful results and so re-reset the camera’s combination in the hope to repeat my earlier success.
Approaching the subject as though I was waiting for the next street car, I held the phone near my chest and guessing not only when the moment might be right to take the picture, but shooting blind, as I normally do not look at the phone’s screen when trying to take a picture.
One of the features of the film Ina’s 1935 is a visible grain that adds a softness to the images already soft faded colors with a light green tint, only this time I was not convinced this was the right combination for what I was after. I wanted something more reflective of traditional street photography when, one used moderate to high speed analogue film. Now I decided to give Lens/Film: GSquad — Nike AO DLX a try.
My focus still remained with construction workers, considering the amount of new construction that was going on and they seemed to be everywhere.
I was finally achieving want I wanted in the first place by using the Lens/Film: GSquad — Nike AO DLX combination. This selection of film/lens that reflects the street photography of the 60s and 70s.
Yet once again we see how light influences ones selection of lens/film combination in the way it has rendered a scene. The two construction workers were in the shade, sheltered from direct sunlight by the narrow street and the tall buildings, thereby rendering the photo as if I were using a Jane lens with BlacKeys SuperGrain.
Part two will continue the story with Lens/Film: GSquad — Nike AO DLX combination, as I head into San Francisco’s savory and seedy area, known as the Tenderloin, where the darker side of life lurks and danger is just a step away.
All photographs taken with an iPhone 4S by
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