Return to film: Spring flowers in San Francisco
By Dirk Dom
The last two years I’ve been serious about black and white on film and I grew to enjoy grain very much. With my Hasselblad Xpan I shot Kodak Ektar and fuji Superia 400 and I immensely liked the results. My Olympus PEN digital camera is extremely good, but I got tired of color noise. Film grain is beautiful, digital color noise is ugly.
So when I went to san Francisco this easter, I had my Xpan, my canon F1 and my Olympus PEN with me. And, not to my surprise, I didn’t shoot a single digital shot.
I wanted a creamy and graphical look for my flowers. The cream comes from shooting with a Canon FD 85mm f/1.2, at f/1.2. The graphical part comes from Fuji Superia 800. I used a 3 stop ND filter all the time. I used extension tubes. I don’t think there is any modern camera system that allows this kind of shots with modern lenses. Digitally, the Sony A7 with Canon FD 85mm f/1.2 and extension tubes and a $30 adapter would do the job perfectly. But I shot at ground level a lot, you’d need to use the screen, then.
Today I got my negatives back and I’ve met my objectives. This was what I had in mind. Sharpness freaks will be disappointed: this is not about sharpness but about beauty and atmosphere.
Film is beautiful.
Pacifica. A lily.
At the beach.
Also near the beach.
Poppy, Golden Gate Park.
Golden Gate Park. Shot through a flower in the foreground, focused on a flower behind. With the Canon F1 speedfinder I can shoot right to ground level.
The 85mm sometimes gives rainbows.
Beach near the Golden Gate: great diversity of flowers. Unfortunately, they were mowing the path when I got there.
Poppies at f/1.2.
Grain. Love it!
Bernal Hill, all the flowers were already gone.