5 frames with...

5 Frames on the Beach with a Yashica Electro 35 GSN – by Lee Webb

I remember being in a hostel in Thailand once, just minding my own business, when another guest returned from the beach. Someone politely asked them how it was. The reply was “nice, but I couldn’t get any good photographs because there were too many people”.

The beach is perhaps a good demarcation for what kind of photography you prefer. A line in the sand, if you like. Some want postcard-like people-free sunsets. Others want photojournalistic people-filled scenes. I’m in the latter camp, which makes a crowded Chinese beach ideal for me.

Jinshan is about an hour from downtown Shanghai, and the manmade beach there is probably the best you’ll get within a reasonable distance to the city. I’m not sure it’s ever going to be too deserted but going on a public holiday, as I did, guarantees you’ll have plenty of human subjects to shoot.

The 5 frames here were shot on Fujicolor C200 in a Yashica Electro 35 GSN. It was my first time shooting this particular stock, although I knew it to be a favourite among budget-conscious film photographers who prefer not to have those warm Kodak colours. The ones that make your day on the beach look even sunnier.

When I first got the Yashica Electro, it took a roll or two to get comfortable and confident with the rangefinder focus. Fiddling with the little squares in the viewfinder was slowing me down, and even when I thought I’d got them lined up, I still wasn’t completely sure what results I was going to get.

That’s when I really learned the value of zone focus. If you’re only really shooting wide scenes with everything in focus and never mixing it up with shallow depth-of-field pictures, which is pretty much what I do, there’s no need to even change the focus between shots. So that’s what I did here.

Starting at the west end and walking east along the sand as the mid-afternoon sun began to think about going down behind me, using zone focus kept everything simple and meant I could just snap away. f8 and beach there, I think I heard someone say.

Thanks for reading my first ‘5 frames with a…’ post on 35mmc.

If you’d like to see more film photography from China and elsewhere, you can do at My Favourite Lens or on Instagram at @myfavouritelee


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  • Avatar
    Tom Sheppard
    August 25, 2019 at 10:13 am

    Yep – f8 and everything’s great!
    The Yashica f/1.7 lens is a beauty as you have shown, and the film has handled the beach very well.
    Beautiful social commentary.
    I love the last image – you can’t beat the power of suggestion.

    • Avatar
      Lee Webb
      August 27, 2019 at 11:01 am

      Thanks Tom. Yes, I actually had one of these lenses that had been modded to fit on my Sony mirrorless before I ever had the Electro. It was great on there too. Can’t beat using it on the Electro itself though. 🙂

  • Avatar
    Martin Hugh Henley
    August 25, 2019 at 10:14 am

    Great review and images, Lee. That Fuji C200 film is perfect for the beach – love the colours – and seems to work well with the lens. Thanks for sharing!

    • Avatar
      Lee Webb
      August 27, 2019 at 11:10 am

      Thank you Martin. I benefited from the great light but yes, the film did well. I hadn’t shot C200 before so wondered if the colours might be a bit more muted. Am happy with how they came out. 🙂

  • Avatar
    August 25, 2019 at 10:08 pm

    Hiii Lee,
    Great photographs, great color, great grain, great composition.
    I have never been there because to busy at Shanghai. This camera is great, I prefer the 3 D of my Minolta Hi-Matic 7SII, but this one is also very very sharp. Thanks so much. Keep doing. {Xa Ya No]

    • Avatar
      Lee Webb
      August 27, 2019 at 11:13 am

      Thanks for all the kind words Eric. Yes, not easy to avoid the crowds in Shanghai. I will keep doing this for sure though.

  • Avatar
    Tobias Eriksson
    August 26, 2019 at 9:03 am

    Great Lee! Those are super photos! I bet you’re happy with the camera.

    • Avatar
      Lee Webb
      August 27, 2019 at 11:20 am

      Thank you Tobias, I appreciate that. I’m very happy with the camera, yeah! Hoping it keeps on trucking for a good while yet.

  • Avatar
    Paul Pacurar
    October 4, 2019 at 6:57 am

    Is Fujicolor 200 capable of such details and contrast? Amazing

    • Avatar
      Lee Webb
      October 11, 2019 at 11:00 am

      Sure seems to be, Paul 🙂 The great light I was lucky enough to have that day helped a lot too I’m sure.

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