Hey Diddle Diddle: Self-Portrait, Architecture and a Sleepy Afternoon

Anthony N. Chandler Photography

The Hasselblad CFV-39 made its way safely back to Headshots Rentals in Toronto, but not before I realized that I did not attempt to test it out on the Hasselblad SWC/M camera with its super-wide Biogon 38mm lens. So out of the case, onto the camera, and then look for something to capture. Sadly, I am alone at the moment, as the dogs are gone and V. is in Rome, so I had to make do with what I had: the Tip Top Lofts and me. Despite what regular readers of the blog may think, I am not really into taking self-portraits unless I need them for business purposes, but it is an easy way to test lighting and not need to rely on another person who may not shoot you properly [recent headshots taken for my work are a prime example of what a photographer can do to make you look 40 pounds heavier and goofy with a wide angle – ugghh].

For today’s self-portrait I had four minutes to guess the exposure and the distance, as the SWC has no through-the-lens viewing. In the end, the shot I chose took advantage of the lenses strange qualities, and I came away with what has to be one of my favourite photos of myself. While it is not in tack sharp focus [my hat rim and sleeve are], the CFV-39 and SWC combination gave me enough range to work the file into a pretty solid composition photograph at f.5.6.

CFV-39 with Hasselblad SWC/M camera

Next up was an infinity focus, f.11 shot from my patio at Tip Top Lofts. While not the most compelling subject, I can totally understand why architecture photographers use digital backs: the resolution and range is just so high. Given where the sun was and that I snapped this off in my second attempt at exposure; I was happy with the results. Final verdict: the CFV-39 and SWC/M camera combination does work quite well, as long as you know the camera and deftly press the shutter release to wake up the back [a slow squeeze will result in a fuzzy magenta mess].

At the end of the day, I wish I could order a CFV-50 and abandon my other cameras, but I know that is not feasible right now. As Zack Arias noted in a recent blog comment, “Rock what ya got”, and the man is right to the nth degree. Still, if you have the means, the talent and the desire to produce the best work that you can, then the $17,000 price tag should not bother you. It might bother your accountant, but I am uncertain what lifestyle/professional choice would not bother an accountant.

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