On behalf of my team, I am excited to introduce the February edition of the Medium Format Magazine. This month we have great pieces for you authored by Paul Sanders, Vieri Bottazzini, Holger Nitschke, Marie Calmes by Sally Jennings, Janet Dwyer, Alex Burke and Ian Howorth, with an introduction by yours truly. In this month’s interview we go deep into the fascinating world of seeing of Ned Pratt.
We start off on a very positive note with “Ode to Joy” by Paul Sanders. Paul has written a series about contemplative photography and this article is an extension of this important subject. We all struggle with our photography and photographic self from time to time so Paul’s article should help us to put those struggles in perspective. The piece is accompanied by poetic visuals which set the tone for the much-needed break we all need.
In this month’s interview we talk to Canadian photographer Ned Pratt. His book “One Wave” has made a huge wave in the photographic industry. The accompanying imagery is being sought after for private and public collections all over the world. What I find remarkable about Ned is his uncanny ability to talk about the process of seeing and crafting unique and personal imagery. Did I mention that Ned is one of the nicest and most genuine people I have ever encountered in this industry!? Sally Jennings and I couldn’t be more thrilled to present our readers with this fascinating interview.
This month, Vieri Bottazzini shares with us a highly personal account of “The First Sunrise.” It is so easy in this busy and demanding industry to forget about our personal experience. Vieri tells the story of one morning and its sunrise and takes us along on an unforgettable journey. His piece is accompanied by visually rich and colourful sunrise vistas.
The first time I saw Holger Nitschke’s portrait of Lilly I thought, “You have to tell us more about it.” There is no shortage of portraits online but the simplicity of the image, the striking beauty of the model and the rendering of the lens/camera combination makes this portrait a true gem. Holger Nitschke agreed to give us more details about the photoshoot in this month’s HOW IT WAS SHOT.
Marie Calmes has a special way of observing and capturing the world with her Hasselblad film camera. Sally Jennings, our language editor and wordsmith, wrote a short piece about Marie and her work based on some answers Marie sent us. This piece about Marie and her journey wouldn’t be complete without her photographs, which provide an immersive experience into the life and seeing of Marie Calmes.
In the next article Janet Dwyer introduces us to the craft of photo-scanography. She writes: “This unorthodox method continues to present interesting possibilities for large format imaging and printing.” With plants, flowers, nets, feathers, etc. as her key visual elements, Janet crafts remarkable and unusual imagery with her scanner as camera. I am glad to report that Janet has agreed to write a series of articles about her work.
This month, Alex Burke is challenging us with a very important question: “What makes a compelling landscape photograph?“ Alex breaks down this question into smaller visual considerations and puts together a compelling picture of the genre which has been cherished and practiced by so many photographers around the world. As always, Alex shares with us his latest work from the field captured with a large format camera. So much to think about and enjoy!
In his article, “The Move to Digital – Part 2,” Ian Howorth continues his outing into the world of medium format. Having been a film shooter most of his life, Ian is exploring different medium format digital systems and comparing the outcome to his film work. This time the Phase One back P65 has caught Ian’s attention with its CCD sensor which “creates an experience closer to what I’m used to, and a thought process behind creating images that I prefer.” As always, great imagery and writing!
Our issue concludes with the Readers’ Exhibition section where you will find the super imagery submitted by our readers and patrons. I am sure you will find inspiration and zest for seeing by slowing down and looking at each other’s imagery. I‘m planning to grab a glass of wine and look at these images at a pace they deserve.
I trust you will enjoy all the content our writers and contributors prepared for you. We have recently signed some new amazing photographers and writers and you should see their new columns and articles starting in March 2020. I am looking forward to our next issues and much, much more. Thank you for your readership and support.
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In every issue of the Medium Format Magazine you will find the monthly section, HOW IT WAS SHOT. This is where we feature one image and the story behind it. In the January 2020 edition, Peter Delaney shares with our readers not one but two images and stories behind them. One of them is a truly stunning photograph from our January cover titled “The Matriarch.” The second image is “Virginia Tree” (below).
Today we would like to share with you the third image from this truly spectacular series. Enjoy!
In my photography, serendipitous moments are few. Sometimes, we see all the elements that will make a great composition but they are out of alignment. It is then that two crucial aspects come into play—patience and Lady Luck.
It was day four of our Masai Mara adventure; my guests were three gentlemen from the Philippines who were passionate wildlife photographers.
We had spent an hour photographing a lion pride. The pride was on the move from the swampy grassland to higher rocky ground where it was drier underfoot. I decided to pre-empt the lions and get to the rocky area before they did, allowing us time to position ourselves and get the right angle to photograph them as they approached.
As our 4×4 began the ascent of the small hill, we climbed slowly over sharp rocks. Luckily the grass was short, and we could navigate without damaging our vehicle. The last thing I wanted was to break down with a pride of twenty lions heading our direction. We climbed higher, rolling back and forth, hanging on to our equipment for dear life. I glanced towards the top of the hill where a lone tree stood proudly against a backdrop of beautiful white cloud. My first thought was to stop our driver Benson to capture this incredible scene.
But then, out of the corner of my eye, I saw a small herd of five elephants happily grazing and moving slowly along the hilltop. My mind went into overdrive. What if?
I voiced my thoughts to my guests. I painted a picture of the elephants standing close to the tree, adding that extra element needed to make a great composition.
My driver and guests all stated the apparent flaw in my vision—the elephants were some distance from the tree.
I pointed out that they were, albeit slowly, moving in that direction.
We kept to our original plan of photographing the lions who had now reached the rocks. A male and female were sitting close to each other and that would be our photographic subject while we waited on the slow progress of the elephants heading towards the lone tree.
Clouds began to roll in from the east; the wind picked up; time was not our side. If the storm reached us, the chance of a flash flood on one of the Masai Mara bridges we had crossed over was high.
Two elephants stopped grazing, lifted their heads, and strolled towards our tree; it was as if they could read my mind and had decided that they would play their vital role to complete my vision. I decided to move our vehicle away from the lions and gamble on the elephants and tree. I advised my guests to change lenses to medium focal length which would help to compress the view and allow enough space for the tree, elephants, cloud and some breathing room if we needed to crop in post edit.
I pointed out to Benson the best position to park the 4×4—a low angle further down the hill to accentuate our angle of view and have the tree in the middle of our composition; the two elephants were walking side by side towards the tree. We needed some space between the elephants, or the photograph would not work. For the second time I felt the elephants were reading my thoughts. One elephant walked to the left of the tree, the other to the right—an almost a perfect mirror image. I shouted, “Now!” We all pressed our shutters.
Within a 500th of a second, the synchronicity of the photograph had disappeared. The elephants ambled on. Patience and a little bit of Lady Luck had completed my vision. I glanced at the EVF of my GFX100, holding my breath as I waited for the image to appear. I had managed to get three photographs, but the middle picture was the one that made me smile, as both elephants were equidistant from the tree. Everyone on board was happy with their day’s safari. We headed back to camp looking forward to sharing much-needed refreshments.
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The GF45-100mmF4 R LM OIS WR lens has a 35mm equivalent focal length range of 36mm and 79mm. One of the most important features of this newly announced lens is “powerful 5-axis image stabilization, one super ED lens element, and a near-silent, high-speed autofocus motor.”
Here are the key features of this lens (quoting as per Fujifilm announcement):
The GF45-100mmF4 R LM OIS WR lens consists of 16 elements in 12 groups, including three aspherical elements, one Super ED element and one ED element to effectively control spherical aberration, field curvature and chromatic aberration. This minimizes the negative effects of various forms of aberration, such as luminance shift and color bleeding, to deliver astonishing image sharpness.
Compact and lightweight large format standard zoom Weighing 2.2lb (1,005g), measuring 5.69in (144.5mm) long, and having a diameter of 3.66in (93mm), the lens is extremely portable and compact despite being a 2.2x zoomfor a large format camera system.
Fast, quiet and highly accurate AF. The use of an Internal Focusing system has minimized the size and weight of the focusing group, which is driven by a linear motor to achieve fast, quiet and highly accurate AF.
The lens is equipped with five stop image stabilization (CIPA guidelines), allowing photographers to make the most of the high-resolution sensors found in GFX System cameras, especially when making images hand-held. Highly robust design that withstands various shooting conditions.
The GF45-100mmF4 R LM OIS WR lens will be available in late February 2020, at a manufacturer’s suggested retail price of $2,299.95 USD and $2,999.99 CAD.
Fujifilm has announced development of two new lenses for the GFX medium format system.
FUJINON GF 30mm F3.5 R WR: A wide-angle, prime lens. This wide angle 30mm lens is an equivalent 24mm focal length in the 35mm film format.
Of course, the FUJINONGF 80mm F1.7 creates the most excitement among photographers. Fujifilm in its official statement says about the GF 80mm F1.7, “A unique, wide-aperture, standard lens. A standard 80mm lens with an equivalent focal length of 63mm in the 35mm film format, which is incredibly suitable for portraiture and making images in low-light conditions. This will be the lens with the widest aperture among GF lenses and be an incredible solution for portrait photographers who want beautiful, creamy bokeh with their GFX System Cameras. This compact and lightweight lens will have a wider angle of view than the highly popular GF110mmF2 R LM WR and deliver the same level of incredible image quality.”
The team at MediumFormat.com is in touch with Fujifilm and as soon as this lens become available, we will bring you more information.
The original Hasselblad X1D was the first mirrorless medium format camera on the market. But that wasn’t the only first. The X1D was also the first medium format system which was small and light enough to take outside the studio and be comfortable to travel with. Of course, the accompanying XCD lenses were also relativity compact, matching the X1D and enhancing its portability.
In fact, I remember when I had the original X1D, and now its successor the X1DII, in my hands I couldn’t believe it was medium format. As someone who travels and teaches photography around the world, portability and image quality are of great importance. I usually travel with one camera and one lens combo.
Therefore, I believe that the latest lens release from Hasselblad—the XCD 45P—is an important and exciting development for Hasselblad users.
This is why:
First, the X1DII paired with the brand-new XCD 45P creates a small, light and portable combo, allowing those who seek medium format quality to travel and shoot medium format with a combo even smaller than some of the smallest full frame cameras.
Second, the XCD 45P lens offers a 35 mm full frame equivalent, which is a perfect focal length for most types of photography and certainly for travel, urban, street and even environmental portrait photography. For years I have travelled and shot with the one camera, one lens combo (35 mm focal length) and I never felt the need for more. This combination is not only highly liberating, but it has improved my photography drastically.
Third, in short, the image quality. Although there is plenty of grumbling online, especially in the context of medium format vs. full frame, those who appreciate the subtleties of medium format never look back. The tonal transitions, depth, flexibility of the files and so on are simply unmatched. Now with this new lens, Hasselblad shooters have it all in a small and portable package.
Fourth, the light and portable X1DII plus the XCD 45P combo matched with the Phocus Mobile 2 gives a window into a very portable workflow solution. Although I haven’t had a chance to test it just yet, I will certainly report on my findings.
Fifth, this may not appeal to the tech crowd but, personally, I find it is important. The X1DII paired with the XCD 45P lens is one of the most beautiful combos on the market. The camera feel, buttons and materials are among the best I have seen and the matching grey-titanium-like colour of the lens and the body proves an attractive match.
Sixth, one of the most common misconceptions is that medium format is very expensive. I also used to think so. As I work with many photographers, we often take a look at all the money spent on cameras and lenses. We found most photographers use only one or two lenses and leave all the rest gathering dust. For many, especially those shooting with higher-end full frame or even APS-C systems, total spend on such hoarding could easily purchase the Hasselblad X1DII with the XCD 45P. In fact, the new lens cost just US$1099, less than some full frame counterparts. That brings the total for all you need to craft great photography in stunning medium format quality to $6,849. It is cheaper than some full frame Leica offerings without the lens. Keep in mind that the replacement cycle for medium format cameras is much, much longer than for other formats. Or in other words, how much did you spend on all the gear sitting on your shelves? This equation becomes even more appealing once you consider investing in a medium format camera on the second-hand market with the ability to add an excellent lens for just US$1,099.
In sum, the addition of the new Hasselblad XCD 45P lens has made the X1D system even more appealing to those who seek medium format image quality and portability. We are currently testing the X1DII and will give you some comprehensive imagery and a review of this new lens.
If you are considering or are already shooting with medium format, make sure to join other medium formatters and subscribe to the Medium Format Magazine, the #1 publication dedicated to medium format photography. Subscribe now and gain access to the January edition and all previous issues.