Photo envy

I’m no pro photographer.  At best, I’d consider myself an “advanced amateur”.  Which is to say, I can do pretty good work with digital and 35mm SLR gear.

But for the longest time, I’ve been trying to take decent photographs with my Hasselblad 500C/M.  Over countless rolls of 120, I can just never seem to get the results I want, no matter how much experimentation I do with aperture and shutter combinations, lighting conditions, and film stock.  I bracket and meter and re-meter.  I try to get accurate depth of field.  When I want soft shots, I get sharp ones.  When I want contrasty shots, I get washed out ones.  And the same applies in reverse.  Honestly, I get more predictable (and more satisfying) results from my $20 plastic Holga! Very frustrating.

I know it’s all a learning process, and medium format isn’t as forgiving as 35mm, but it still annoys the crap out of me that a lot of other photographers in my skill set range can get great results with the same camera, yet I Just Can’t Seem To Do It Right.  Especially in light of my discovery of the Apollo 11 film library yesterday.  I mean, when a guy — in a spacesuit, on the surface of the moon, in 1/6th gravity, pumped full of adrenaline from being the first person to set foot there, wearing a huge helmet and operating the camera with enormous gloved hands — can take an amazingly well exposed and focused photo like this, with minimal photography training, and essentially the same camera that I use, then what the hell is my problem?

Photo by NASA, scan by Kipp Teague

Nice photo, Neil Armstrong, you spacesuited bastard.  Astronauts are such showoffs.

[ Update: a reader pointed out to me that the Apollo crew did indeed have quite a bit more photographic training (in both equipment and technique) than I gave them credit for.  Doesn’t make me feel any better though. h/t Derek ]

posted 6/12/08 at 2:45pm to Me me me, Photography, Snark · 0 replies · permalink