My new baby :-) / by Neil Alexander

Well I've gone and done it. Went to PFD in Manchester day before yesterday, and an hour and a half later I walked out with a 503CXi Hasselblad with the 80mm F2.8 lens. My new babyIt’s a beauty, and I'm chuffed to bits with it. Great bunch of guys there if you ever need any camera equipment (its like an Aladdin's cave!). It has the standard A12 back with a waist level viewfinder. From the condition of the tripod mount it looks like its barely been used. Also got a light meter and several rolls of out of date Fuji NPS160. I was also going to get some B&W, but I'll hang on until I've found somewhere that'll do E6. Apparently Pro2Col in Manchester went bump last month which is a real shame. The only places I've found so far are in Sheffield or Huddersfield and I don't really fancy treking all the way over there every time I want a roll of film processed! Anyway, back to the 'blad. Got detailed demo from Howard (at PFD) on how to load film etc etc. I've used plenty 35mm in the past, but this baby is completely different from anything I've ever used. Also got some in depth instructions on changing lenses and stuff, but as I've only got the one for the time being, it all kinda went in one ear and out the other. It cost me a tidy some, and 'blad lenses certainly ain't cheap so I think I'll be getting the max useage out of the 80mm for the time being.

Its first excursion in my hands was down to the Bollin half an hour before sunset. Extra pleased that my Manfrotto quick release plates just slot onto the bottom so no extra tripod mounts required, though I could do with another Manfrotto for the digi lens I whipped this one off. To be honest, in the field, it took me longer to get my head round the light meter than it did the camera when I actually got down to using it. Made a few of cows and fields - that sorta thing. Then headed over to the airport, and the Terminal 1 car park to put it through its paces in really low light (the sun had set by now, and I was guessing exposures). Filled a couple of rolls in total.

I'd been reliably informed that the old Newton Heath football ground was still accessible with some delapitated buildings around which I've been meaning to investigate for some time. So the next morning I headed over to the co-ordinates I'd been given. Could I find it? I spent about half an hour going round in circles trying to find this elusive greenery and eventually gave up about 15mins before sunrise (If anyone knows where this hallowed turf is, then PLEASE let me know!) and headed East towards Manchester.

Shot a roll around Harpurhey and another round Ardwick. I think I've just about got it sussed now - but we'll see when I get the negs back from Pro-Imaging in Stockport. I have a horrible feeling that through my inexperience, I may have inadvertantly exposed the first 2 rolls while removing them, but by the time it had got round to 3 & 4, I'm pretty confident that I didn't damage the film. So its just down to my ability to use a light meter and interperate the results. Am desperate to get out shooting with it again ASAP, but I think I should hang fire until I get the results on Friday.

Still got backlog of processing from the weekend to wade through at some point. I've also got to redo all the images I've used for the calendar as I've stupidly exported them AdobeRGB when the digital press that’s used uses the sRGB colour space. DOH! So that'll take me an hour or so. Fortunately, or not for the 'blad, is that the forecast is crap for next few days, so hopefully I'll be able to catch up.

Incidentally stumbled across another good podcast today. It’s a renowned French landscape photographer called Alain Briot who discusses composition and printing at great depth along with his wife Natalie - very interesting listening and highly recommended.

Siging off. Giddy Knickers……..

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