5 frames with...

5 Frames with Fuji Velvia 100 (35mm / EI 100 / Nikon F4) – By David Hume

Back in the 90s I used to shoot “Melbourne City Scene” articles for a wine magazine where I’d write little pieces about wine bars and illustrate them with quick shots of bottles and glasses and groovy wine-bar people showing what it took to be cool.

In those days I shot Fuji Sensia 100 (the consumer version of Provia) because it was cheaper, and I thought it handled open shade well, and gave pretty good colour for people. I used an FM2N with MD12, and pretty much exclusively a 35mm f/2.8 AI-S

A couple of weeks ago I went back to Melbourne for a short trip, and I took an F4 with an AF 50mm f/1.8 D.

I‘ve only had the F4 a short while, but it seems that I have indeed fallen in love with a brick. I never could have afforded an F4 back in the day. I think only newspapers bought them; certainly not hacks like me. I wish the 50 1.8 was not so plasticky, but it’s still a great lens and I wanted to shoot it exclusively wide open and revel in the luxury of AF and auto-exposure.

I wanted also to remind myself what it was like to shoot tranny, and I had a roll of Velvia 100 that I’d bought for landscapes but not used. I was interested in seeing what could be pulled out of shadow, and how the F4 would go with its matrix metering.

So I wandered around one afternoon and looked unsuccessfully for subjects, harbouring the idea that I might be able to put together a sequence. As I was walking back to our apartment at dusk the light started coming together, and the interior/exterior light and window reflections got me going.

So here are five frames. They are not truly consecutive, but they are five out of seven. I’m pleased with them, and they’ve made me want to play around some more with shooting E6.

instagram: davidhumeart

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  • Avatar
    Aristo Ioannidis
    August 13, 2019 at 11:08 am

    Hi David. Great pictorial. I appreciate your work and success with Velvia 100. I will take a leaf out of your book and apply the same logic during my next night walk.
    Interestingly, I just picked up an F4 with the same lens.
    Thanks again.

    • Avatar
      David Hume
      August 13, 2019 at 12:00 pm

      Thank you Aristo. The F4 is such a great camera in so many ways. It is lovely in the hand but just so heavy! Even on a car trip I have at times left the F4 at home in favour of an FM2 purely for size and weight. And Velvia is not the stock I would have naturally chosen for this type of shot; I would have used Provia for more latitude, but it was interesting to see what RVP100 would do. Such contrast and saturation.

  • Avatar
    David Hill
    August 13, 2019 at 2:43 pm

    Great work, David. very fine, and you add to the mystique of transparency film — these images simply glow with light and color. I’m not sure why that works. I mean, whatever the stock, they’re scanned and processed and show up as a digital image on my monitor. Why do transparencies still seem different?
    For my part, I picked up an FM this weekend, with a Nikkor 50/2, a dead steal at a local estate sale. (He asked $10 US. I gave him $20, and still feel guilty.) I’ve wanted an FM for a long time– its the Nikon Rosetta Stone, that takes nearly any 35mm lens they ever made from pre-AI through AI iterations. Dead basic. All mechanical. Fundamental Nikon. And my wife immediately adopted it. Hers now.

    • Avatar
      David Hume
      August 13, 2019 at 10:25 pm

      Thank you David! And yes I agree that there is something here that I would not have been able to get by using a digital camera and post processing – much as I’d like to. (I don’t much like Fuji’s own Velvia or classic chrome simulations) And I am at a loss to explain that, but it does keep me shooting film. I think part of it is an empathy for the particular film stock, because I do recall being quite excited shooting these because I thought the film would respond well to the scene. There was that little window of a half hour or so when the light was right. Maybe digital does not force us to be so precise. Also agree re the FM and 50/2 – classic combo, and ironically I gave that to my daughter and it was looking at her shots with it that got me back in to film. She has lugged it around the world and every so often I just bang the sand out of it and hand it back to her.

  • Avatar
    Dorian Farrimond
    August 13, 2019 at 2:59 pm

    Wonderfully atmospheric and colourful images – thanks for sharing 🙂

    Got a roll of Velvia 50 that’s about to expire, you’ve reminded me to crack on and get it used up.

  • Avatar
    David Hume
    August 13, 2019 at 10:30 pm

    Than you Dorian. Yes, I used to shoot Velvia 50 for landscapes and Sensia 100 (cheap Provia) for people and scenes. I think the Velvia 50 might hold a little more in the shadows than the 100, but I’m only basing that on very little experience with the 100. Enjoy!

  • Avatar
    August 17, 2019 at 1:13 pm

    Hi David, really nice frames – you know how to play with light in ways that only come as ‘happy accidents’ in my photography.

    I’m waiting on the delivery of an MD-12 right now, I was transitioning away from SLRs until I read your other post – I never realized that the motor drive on the FM/FE’s meant I could shoot left eyed, because you can leave the lever in its locked position. (by the way, does that mean the meter works in the same manner, or does this logic apply just to the shutter?) I will see how I get on with it, as of right now I still greatly prefer a rangefinder patch to a split prism.

    • Avatar
      David Hume
      August 18, 2019 at 4:06 am

      Thanks Dan, and I hope you enjoy the MD12. Yep, you can meter as well as shoot with the lever locked. I don’t have my cameras with me for reference at the moment, but the very earliest FMs work a bit differently from the later ones; you have to put the ring round the shutter to the lock position or it jams up and you need to take the drive off and start again. But yeah, it’s great being able to shoot without poking yourself in the eye!

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