November 28, 2001

Lilly by Cangle Light (Halifax, Nova Scotia)

I haven't made any new images of Lilly since 1999 but as she is both a good friend and model, we'd kept in touch. So, when she recently called me up and suggested a candlelight session, I was more then enthusiastic.
6x7 cm film
As it turned out, the best time for Lilly was on a Friday night, so we convened the session late in the evening after I'd worked a 10 hour day. I borrowed a medium format Mamiya 645 for the session, seeking a compromise between the impractical 8"x10"'s image quality, and the lower quality provided by 35mm film. After spending some time catching up with Lilly and discussing the procedure of working with candles (Lilly'd previously only modeled outdoors and in the studio), I loaded up the 645 with Ilford's Delta 3200 and we began.
6x7 cm film
Working with the 645 proved more challenging then I had expected; the lens on the Mamiya was much slower then the 35mm cameras I'd previously used for imaging by candle, which made both composition and framing difficult. Initially, I was confounded by this, because I'd done candle nudes with a 4"x5" in the past with an even slower lens. It was then that I realized that with the 4"x5", I was able to use a quality loupe to focus the camera, whereas with the Mamiya, I was using a prism finder. Once I'd removed that, and was just focusing and composing with the ground-glass, the session went much more smoothly.
6x7 cm film
After almost a full year dedicated to working with the 8"x10", it was interesting to work with a camera that gave a decent sized negative, and yet maintained a decent size; that, combined with the 3200 speed film yielded some quite pleasing results. I am certainly glad I tried the fast roll-film, which, when combined with the medium format negative, lead to a nice combination of grain and print size - certainly an improvement over the 35mm version of the film, which was almost as grainy as Kodak's infra-red film.

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