film photography · Photo essay · photography

Catching the Light – Still Life with my Hasselblad

I haven’t done a review of my Hasselblad 500 C/M yet, but I want to use it and get to know it well before I do. The main thing I have done with it is still life. I just got the negatives back from the lab of a roll of Kodak Portra 800 I shot back in August, and after scanning them I thought I’d share this experience.

My fiancé regularly buys me a bouquet of blowers from the grocery store for me to practice my still life photography with. One day she brought home these beautiful pink Alstroemerias that I had never seen before and she arranged them in a glass vase. I had it sitting in my usual area where I set up my still life next to the window. I had tried several shoots with them over the days and wasn’t crazy with the results in black and white.

One day as I walked past them sitting on the table I noticed the afternoon light trickling in from the window and I knew I had to catch it quickly before the sun started to set behind my trees.

Kodak Portra 800

I quickly set my Hasselbald up on a tripod, and shaking, loaded a roll of Portra 800 into the back. I am surprised in my rush that I was even able to coherently load and wind the film correctly because it is still something I am learning.

Kodak Portra 800

I didn’t have a lot of time. I could see the sunlight was already moving, so I couldn’t put much thought into the composition itself. I arranged some fake fruit around it to add more color and then just started metering and taking shots.

Kodak Portra 800

The sunlight through the window started to weaken and the picture started to become darker so I decided to add one soft box to the equation facing the ceiling.

Kodak Portra 800

Adding the soft box in the front made it possible to get some light on the vase and the fruit where the area would’ve otherwise been total darkness.

If you follow the above sequence of photos, you can see the sunlight slowly move from the left side of the flowers and slowly dissolve on the right until you see just the soft box lighting in the last photo.

In the end, I really like the way these turned out. I think I might even print and frame one of them.

I hope you’ve enjoyed this. If you did please don’t forget to hit the follow button and to sign up through email to be notified when I put out new articles.

Until next time, stay motivated and keep shooting.

8 thoughts on “Catching the Light – Still Life with my Hasselblad

  1. Lucky you to get flowers! Really nicely done still life studies. The top one is my favorite – color, contrast, dark background and lighting. I have a skylight in my kitchen and if I place flowers on the corner of the counter, sometimes I am stunned by the beauty of the light and the flowers. Looking forward to more about your Hasselblad.

  2. These are stunning! Especially the last one, after you added the soft box. The evenly lit flowers against the black background is just killer. Well done!

  3. I would print three of them -maybe even contact print size- and frame them together in a triptych. Most ‘flower’ pictures look OK, only a very few are special like these

  4. Hi Aly thanks as usual for your post. It would be helpful to know which lens you are using with your 500… perhaps the chrome single coated 80 Planar? So you have a typo to correct.

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