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Portraits and Parklands: An Analogue Exploration in Clifton Hill ft. Charlie & Clémentine

Updated: May 21

Please note that all photographs displayed in this post have been edited and colour-graded in Adobe Lightroom for optimal presentation.


For those familiar with my work, you'll know that I've primarily been capturing portraits on 6x7 medium format cameras. My trusty Pentax 67 and Mamiya RB67 Pro-S have been my loyal companions on many photographic journeys. However, tucked away in my gear collection is another medium format camera with a different aspect ratio – the 6x6 format.


I've always had a soft spot for shooting in 6x6, but somehow, I've never had the opportunity to fully explore its potential. My only 6x6 camera of choice is the Yashica Mat-124G, not the fanciest option out there, but it gets the job done. Of course, my ultimate goal is to acquire a Hasselblad, but until then, the Yashica will do just fine.


Yashica Mat-124G
© Lomography

The Yashica Mat-124G sports a fixed 80mm f3.5 lens, roughly equivalent to a 40mm lens in 35mm terms. Since it's not interchangeable, it does limit my creative choices. I've always had a penchant for shooting portraits with telephoto lenses, typically 85mm or above, so a 40mm lens isn't my first choice.


However, I've decided to give this little Yashica another shot at capturing some captivating portraits. A few years back, I tried it with a model, but I wasn't entirely satisfied with the results. Now, armed with what I hope are improved photography skills and a sharper eye, I'm eager to see if I can produce better photos with this little gem.


So, I dropped a message to my good friend Charlie, with whom I've had the pleasure of collaborating for quite some time. "Hey, up for a shoot?" It's the kind of spontaneous exchange we're used to, and, as expected, we quickly settled on a date and location.


Here's a rundown of the gear I packed for our little adventure:

- Yashica Mat-124G

- Pentax 67 with a trusty 165mm f2.8 lens

- Nikon F3 HP paired with an AI'd 85mm f1.8 and an AI 105mm f2.5


When it comes to film, I made sure to bring along a selection:

- Kodak Ektar 100 in both 120 and 35mm

- Kodak Gold 200 in 120

- Fujifilm Neonpan Acros II 100 in 120


Interestingly, this shoot marked the official debut of my newly acquired Pentax 67 165mm f2.8 lens. Sadly, as I write this post, the lens is away for repairs, and I can't help but feel a pang of disappointment.


It is the 30th of December of 2023. Our destination: Clifton Hill, a charming suburb just a stone's throw away from Melbourne's bustling CBD. What makes this place truly remarkable is a hidden gem of a trail and park that's a bit of a challenge to uncover. It's the kind of spot that tricks your senses into thinking you've embarked on a three-hour journey to some remote mountain range, but in reality, it's a mere 15-minute drive from the heart of the city. Hats off to Charlie for discovering this picturesque location.


Now, let's delve into the photos I took with my 6x6 Yashica Mat-124G.


Yashica Mat-124G, Kodak Gold 200


Among the collection, these two stand out as my personal favourites. They were taken from about 10 meters from Charlie, giving the impression that she's been engulfed by the wilderness. What truly captivates me is the seamless fusion of her vibrant red dress with the backdrop, forming a striking contrast against the azure sky and lush green hills.


I don't mean to boast, but these two shots genuinely exude an album cover aesthetic. Here's an interesting tidbit: Charlie happens to be a member of a band, so don't forget to explore her musical repertoire!


Next, I decided to capture some up-close portraits with the Yashica Mat-124G.


Yashica Mat-124G, Kodak Gold 200


Surprisingly, they turned out rather well from this distance, with minimal optical distortion. I'm particularly enamoured by the dreamy quality in the foreground, which creates a mesmerising spiral effect. Additionally, the lens's sharpness shines through, allowing you to truly connect with Charlie's essence through her expressive eyes!


After this shoot, I'm inspired to experiment more with the 6x6 format and my Yashica Mat-124G. It promises a unique creative journey ahead.


Now, let's dive into the photos taken with my trusty Pentax 67.


Pentax 67, 165mm f2.8, Kodak Ektar 100


This particular shot stands out as my absolute favourite from the entire roll, if not the entire photoshoot. The sharpness achieved with the 165mm f2.8 lens is nothing short of breathtaking. It combines exceptional sharpness with a pleasing bokeh effect. If memory serves me right, I shot everything at f5.6, so you can truly appreciate the remarkable quality of this lens.


Pentax 67, 165mm f2.8, Kodak Ektar 100


Take a closer look at Charlie's hair in these two photos. You'll notice how the sunlight gracefully reflects off it, without sacrificing any sharpness. The colour rendition is simply brilliant and devoid of any imperfections.


Now, when it comes to monochrome photography, I brought a roll of Fujifilm Neopan Acros II 100 in medium format. This film has always been a personal favourite of mine, but surprisingly, I had never really used it for portraits. Well, it was high time to change that and seize the opportunity while it lasted. And I can happily report that the results were nothing short of impressive.


Pentax 67, 165mm f2.8, Fujifilm Neopan Acros II 100


I must admit, I did tweak the contrast slightly during post-production. My intention was to bring out those subtle details hidden within the photo. I can't help but express my affection for this particular shot. What captivates me the most is the interplay between the foreground and background. If you look closely, you'll notice the tree branches transitioning from a soft blur to a sharp focus. With Charlie perched on the tree, it evokes a sense of being lost in the woods, both figuratively and literally. There's a hint of storytelling in this image, and that's precisely why it resonates with me so deeply.


Pentax 67, 165mm f2.8, Fujifilm Neopan Acros II 100


I also captured some half-body shots on this roll. Personally, I have a fondness for this one where Charlie gazes off into the distance, as it imparts a sense of melancholy and emotion. Another aspect that strikes me is how the lens has managed to capture the intricate details of the rock against which Charlie leans. It's moments like these that remind me of the unique depth and authenticity that film photography brings, something that can't quite be replicated by AI-generated images.


Inevitably, I shot a roll of 35mm film on top of medium format. When it comes to 35mm, I tend to adopt a more casual approach, allowing myself to focus less on intricate details and instead shoot in a relaxed and spontaneous manner. Here are some of the shots captured using my Nikon F3 HP with Kodak Ektar 100 film stock.


Nikon F3 HP, AI’d 85mm f1.8, AI 105mm f2.5, Kodak Ektar 100


Now, let me introduce you to Clémentine, a talented tattoo artist hailing from France who happens to be a close friend of Charlie's. She joined us during the shoot, and towards the end of our session, I extended an invitation for her to participate. I wanted to capture some special moments that celebrate the pure bond of friendship between Clem and Charlie.


Pentax 67, 165mm f2.8, Fujifilm Neopan Acros II 100


Pentax 67, 165mm f2.8, Fujifilm Neopan Acros II 100


I don't have extensive experience with shooting multiple subjects in one frame, so this was also a valuable opportunity for me to practice and explore. I was particularly pleased with how Clem's intricate tattoo came to life in the monochrome film, standing out as a striking focal point.


Nikon F3 HP, AI’d 85mm f1.8, AI 105mm f2.5, Kodak Ektar 100

These photos truly capture the genuine friendship, the strong bonds, and the deep connections between them. Here's to celebrating and cherishing enduring friendships!




 

✨🍄 EP LAUNCH 🍄✨


Vulcara is elated to be releasing their very first EP titled ‘Emerge’ through the magical technological realm. To celebrate, they will be playing at Ringo Barr on the very same night! They warmly welcome Propane Trio to join. Be prepared for some very groovy shroomy tunes!


Vulcara is a technophilic, avant-pop multimedia band. It thrives in mossy and fungi-rich landscapes, seamlessly weaving organic samples into an electronic tapestry that showcases the cutting-edge possibilities of technology. Vulcara consists of ethereal vocals, textural beats and lush guitar improvisation. Their work delves into themes that include nature, states of consciousness, and confronting life experiences.


The band is composed of beat, bass and synth wizard Fynn Michlin, audiophile guitarist Finan McLaren and eccentric vocal-saxophonist Charlie Clark.


Purchase tickets here!


 

Book your model portraiture shooting session at https://www.thomasc137photo.com/portraitureshooting

 

What is Roll Trip?


Join me as I document the intricate tales behind multiple rolls of film, capturing the essence of varied photographic escapades. This series is a collection of detailed narratives, revealing the behind-the-scenes nuances of diverse shooting journeys. From the hum of city streets to the quiet of natural landscapes, discover the stories, techniques, and spontaneous moments that each film roll encapsulates. Melbourne After Hours on Film is the first of the series.

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