These frames were selected from a recent test shoot on my new (to me) Bronica SQ-A and first medium format shots that I had ever taken with extension tubes. I began my film journey mainly by accident; I had taken digital photos for years prior to giving film a shot.
It had never crossed my mind until the winter of 2020 when I was helping my grandmother clean out some old boxes in her basement and a particularly heavy box caught my attention — inside was a Nikkormat FT3 in decent condition and a Yashica 635 that looked almost brand new. Apparently, these cameras had belonged to my grandfather in the late 70s and had simply sat in a box for all of these years.
There was one roll of exposed film left in the box, so I gave it a shot and attempted to develop it to see if I could breathe life into some old memories. After pushing two stops in development, I actually yielded 2 barely discernible pictures of what I can only assume were from my grandfather’s house, decorated in lights for the Christmas season.
My next adventure was to verify that both the 35mm camera and medium format TLR worked properly so I ordered some film and waited patiently for it to arrive. Luckily, both models were fully mechanical so there were no electronic parts that could fail over time – but that did mean I would have to manually meter each one of my shots. With a few rolls under my belt, I began to feel more confident shooting film and began incorporating each camera into my workflow as a supplement to my digital shots.
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Over time, I began to favor medium format results over 35mm and continued to shoot through my TLR regularly. I loved most of my shots, but the lack of parallax correction in my viewfinder meant that a lot of the portrait work that I did close up resulted in strange framing and unintentionally clipping some of my compositions. I began to research alternatives and examined the Bronica SQ-A, Mamiya RZ67, and Hasselblad 500CM. I felt the Bronica was the best balance between price, form factor, and quality of glass.
I picked up my Bronica from KEH, along with 50mm, 80mm, and 150mm lenses; the 150mm has been my favorite thus far. I love to collapse the distance between camera and subject with my portraits so that focal length really suited me, but I had the urge to get tighter on some of my shots so I located an extension tube on eBay. The set shown here consisted of a purple pastel background, the model, Erin, in a light teal shirt, and a subtle blue makeup look provided by my friend Emme that felt right to shoot with ILFORD HP5 PLUS.
I couldn’t be happier with the results and really like how the green filter plays nicely with the choice of backdrop color and the skin tones in the photos. Here’s to more shots on 6×6!
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