Last summer I had a chance to visit an old friend in Szczecin, Poland, the city we both studied in. He stayed there – I left. This was a rare occasion to meet and catch up. Peter, my friend, is crazy about old cars and their restoration. As a serious hobbyist is supposed to, he runs a website where all his brought-back-to-life beauties can be seen. Do not be worried though, dear reader, this will not just be about cars, but about a few frames of a car shoot with a wonderful camera.
It was a sunny, clear sky day. “Nice “, I thought and pulled low ISO Rollei RPX 25 film out of my bag. I briefly checked to see if the rating will be fine with available light on the Mamiya 7 II, and once confident I loaded the film. We both thought that the best place to do a couple of shots would be somewhere parked with the least amount of other cars and objects that would spoil and mess up with the background.
The old Datsun 120 Y started without major hesitation. In order to express our gratefulness, we decided to treat the ‘old beast’ to a car wash. This is always good for the look of pictures. Black & white photography is more forgiving, but some dirt here and there might still show up on the photographs.
Before I continue here, I need to make a statement. Peter is not a complementary type and he likes to do things himself, including driving his precious automobiles. So, once the wash was completed, I was all the more surprised when he handed over the keys, saying, “Chcesz się kajznąć?”, loosely meaning, “Do you want to try”. I like cars too and I like to drive them. I like to think of myself as someone who can feel them. Silly as it is, but hey…
In general, it’s good to have a plan, and here is no exception, but it is also good to be at ease and see what potential deviation from the plan can bring. After 20 minutes drive, we reached a parking spot that Peter had in his mind as an ideal location. We stopped and looked at each other with mixed feelings. Nope, this was not it. The plan had had not come good, so we continued our journey, soon reaching the outskirts of the city.
We found a beautiful, empty piece of road with very low traffic, just perfect! The energy was good as well. I followed the flow and did some gymnastics to get low, changing perspective, hoping for something at least acceptable.
I kept the lens quite open to create a nice bit of background blur, but not too much – this was where shooting a low-speed film came good. The lens used was the very easy to recommend 43mm wide-angle. The Mamiya 7ii is a very comfortable camera to shoot with, but the shutter release button is quite sensitive though, so I have to beware not to accidentally trigger it.
As for the photos, I will let you judge for yourself, dear reader. I liked them, but I also found them to be nothing particularly special. I was then all the more surprised when a few days later my phone blipped with a Facebook ‘new comment from Peter’ notification.
“What happens when you get an artist close to the car? You get this. aA different view of our Datsun through Filip Wawer’s eyes… “
Peter’s website is: Sentimentalgarage.com
Contribute to 35mmc for an Ad-free Experience
There are two ways to experience 35mmc without the adverts:
Paid Subscription - £2.99 per month and you'll never see an advert again! (Free 3-day trial).
Content contributor - become a part of the world’s biggest film and alternative photography community blog. All our Contributors have an ad-free experience for life.
Sign up here.