What’s a more portable way to do a trip and still shoot medium format? A folder camera of course!
Back in October 2019, I needed to go to Milan with some friends for a conference and I needed to pick a single camera and lens to go with me since I like to travel light. I could bring a 35mm camera, but since this was my 3rd flight away from Portugal I wanted to have more impactful images from the trip. This made me opt for my medium format camera, the Mamiya Six Folder rangefinder camera with its Zuiko 7.5cm f/3.5 lens. The choice of film was simple, I already had a couple of rolls of Fuji Provia which fit exactly what I wanted – to look directly at the slides years from now and remember it.
On the first day, we went to the (very popular) main Milan Square, the Piazza del Duomo. It was late afternoon, already the golden hour. It fascinated me how the sunlight differs between locations around the globe (I had already been to London and Berlin at the time). The sunlight brought this warm and soft orange cast on the beautiful Cathedral and the Galeria Vittorio Emanuele II.
If it wasn’t the best time to shoot slide film, then I don’t really know what is! I metered for the highlights with my phone app and took a total of three frames as I entered the Galeria. By shooting with a 6×6 camera, I find it best to go for symmetry which was fairly easy to obtain from this architecture. Looking back at the images, I really love the gradation of light from the warm sunlight to the shadows as well as its beautiful symmetry.
On the third day, I managed to get a free morning in which I didn’t need to be at the conference. So, I woke up early and did a long walk alone through Milan that I had already planned to do. I just wanted to absorb the city life and, of course, get some interesting shots along the way!
I recall it was a dark, cloudy day with some rain now and then but nothing serious. What I loved the most about the city was how much the buildings merged with plants as well as the number of small parks and interior gardens. I took some frames of them and I am sharing here two of them. In cloudy and shaded places such as in these two frames, the film’s cold cast is very clear. That’s why I highly recommend using a warming filter if you have one (I just didn’t have one for the Mamiya Six). Fuji Provia’s rendition of greens did not let me down, they are beautiful! That is one of the reasons I prefer to use Fuji stocks when I know that I’ll be taking photographs in places with plants and trees.
Back home, I sent these rolls to be developed in a lab and scanned them myself with my trusty Epson V550 scanner and Silverfast. Now that I am writing this article, I grabbed my 2019 archive and went through the slides once again over my light table. They look as great as when I scanned them almost 3 years ago. This is why I photograph – to remember.