Welcome our old friend, Ben! Some of you may have already met him at our Lomography Embassy Store in Taipei, where he use to work. He recently opened the B Shutter Workshop where his enthusiasm for Lomography remains unabated. Ben loves exploring and challenges everything with photography so we sent him the HydroChrome Sutton's Belair Camera to test out. In this article, Ben shares some valuable tips and tricks for shooting with this camera and encourages us all the try out the B-mode.
Continuing the passion for photography with B Shutter Workshop
Whilst working in the store, the thing that made me happy was being able to share my photography knowledge with the guests and to see their smiles from discovering new photography techniques. I hope to continue my love for Lomography and my passion for photography, so I founded the B Shutter Workshop.
Shooting with B mode means you can hold the shutter as long as you wish - unlimited exposure time. I hope the knowledge or techniques I share will be applicable in your creations and help to unleash your imagination. With a lot of Lomography cameras, if you wish to create some distinctive effects, it normally requires the use of the B shutter. Therefore I wanted to share with you all some tips with using the B shutter. And you know what, my name is Ben starts with a "B", so you know who to trust!
First impression of the HydroChrome Sutton's Panoramic Belair Camera
At first glance, really cool! I am quite weird in some ways so maybe that's why I am drawn to unusual cameras. Compare to taking good photos with Leica or Hasselblad, sometimes, I get a stronger sense of accomplishment when I got my amazing and interesting shots from these strange cameras.
LomoMod No.1 got me surprised when it came out, but the size is a bit big after assembling, plus it is made out of thick cardboard so I'm afraid of it being exposed to rain, water slashes, or being crushed in the bag. For the HydroChrome, I don't have to worry about anything while shooting with it.
Among all of the Lomography cameras, Sprocket Rocket is one of my favorites because of its magical wide view, the aspect ratio of the frame, gives the picture a cinematic feel. When it comes to shooting, in addition to having a clear character as the subject, the scene is also another important element. A clear scene can depict the background story of the character. Using a wide scene can bring in more background details and therefore create much richer and exciting story content.
The gear counting function is great, how it works is: If the gear can continue to rotate, it means you haven't finished filming. If it doesn't rotate, it means the film has already been filmed. I found this very convenient and newbie-friendly!
Take advantage of the wide-view scene
A lot of the time when we are shooting landscapes with a wide-angle lens, we may not be able to capture the whole picture, there may also be a chance of distortion. But with a wide-view camera like HydroChrome, its single lens can take in everything you want to be in your frame, with minimal distortion. So this time I went to Danshui to take some landscape photos.
"The great thing about having a wide-view is the panoramic scene, so this time I hope to emphasize the details and bring in more details into one picture."
I know that there is a photographer who uses telephoto lenses to deconstruct pictures of buildings or landscapes one by one, and then uses the printing method to reconstitute a complete photo. I wonder why it is necessary to use a telephoto lens, if I use this kind of ultra-wide-view camera to shoot, will reconstituting my pictures become easier and more accurate? So I tested it myself with the HydroChrome and the results are very satisfactory.
Ben also has a piece of advice when shooting at the metro.
"When shooting at the train station or subway, using a wider frame can easily depict the people flow."
Tips for shooting with the HydroChrome Sutton's Belair
Here are two things to pay attention to: one is the choice of film ISO, and the other is the level of the picture when shooting.
1. Choose your ISO wisely
In order to create a clearer picture, as well as the need for pan-focus shooting, the aperture of the Sutton lens is relatively small. When shooting under a weak light source, it is hard to not use the B shutter. I would recommend choosing a high-sensitivity film or using a high-sensitivity film for intensification so that when using the N shutter, the picture can get enough exposure. For beginners, you can avoid using the B shutter, to avoid shaky imagery. But once you have got used to the camera, please challenge the B Shutter!
You can also choose a film with high tolerance, such as LomoChrome Purple or LomoChrome Metropolis .This kind of film allows flexibility and can be used from ISO 100 to 400, resulting in an interesting change in color.
2. Pay attention to your camera level
Sometimes when we shoot with a standard 135 format, if the horizontal deviate a little bit, we can correct the level back through the secondary cropping of the image, but for cameras with a wide-frame like the Sprocket Rocket or HydroChrome Sutton's Belair, a little horizontal deviation will be obvious. And you won't be able to crop the photo unless you want those unique sprocket holes to be gone!
Developing and Scanning Tips
The frame for HydroChrome Camera is very special, so a normal film processing store might not be able to handle it. The scanning will require using a special film clip flatbed scanner to do the processing, and each picture has to be scanned one by one manually - very time-consuming, sol please wait patiently.
To me, every photo is like my own child, I should not be biased to any of them. But I think this photo reflects the characteristics of the camera the most. Although it is made of plastic, it needs to be added with water. It’s a strange lens for taking pictures, but I don’t think the sharpness is lost to other cameras. The outlines of the subjects are captured clearly.
"I remember using a small aperture f/11 for this double-exposure photo. Through the processing of the negative film (Kodak P3200 pushed by 2 levels), the exposure of the picture still achieved a good performance. The ultra-wide frame brilliantly captured the people flow in the subway. That’s why I had to choose this as my favorite this time."
Upcoming plans for analogue
I have two for the Sutton lens: First, I want to transfer this lens to my normal 135 camera. It was inspired by some foreign photographers who transferred this lens to a 4x5 large-format camera for use. I think this is a very interesting concept. But since I don’t have a large-format camera, I am thinking to test it out on my 135 camera. I found out that it can be attached to an M42 camera body through an adapter ring.
The second project is about experimenting with black and white contrast. Recently I am into black and white films, there are many color filters for black and white photography for creating different black and white contrasts, I also want to experiment with that. So I thought if I inject the color liquid into the lens, can I get a similar contrast effect. However, I have got shooting plans going on as my work is relatively busy, so no real shooting result yet, please wait and see!