KSENIYA IN STUDIO

@ Egg Studios

Kseniya Bella Agency Brooklyn New York Model Emanuel Hahn Photography 1
Kseniya Bella Agency Brooklyn New York Model Emanuel Hahn Photography 2

I always wondered if the studio's pocket wizard attached to my film camera's hotshoe would trigger the studio flash. I was surprised to find that it did! Unfortunately my shutter speed was too fast and it caused about half of each image to be underexposed. Still, it's not a bad effect and most of Kseniya's face was still visible and in focus. Lesson learnt for next time!

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YOSEMITE ON FILM

I had heard so much about Yosemite that I had such high expectations going into the trip. I'd seen photos of Half Dome and El Capitan everywhere on the internet and wondered how just a slab of rock could look that good. Well, it can. Not just good, but awe-inspiring and sublime. On the many occasions when I went to the edge of the various cliffs of the surrounding mountains, I would feel my lets shaking and breath quivering. People talk about the grandeur of mountains and I experienced that firsthand. 

My photography at Yosemite was split 50/50 digital and film. I'd initially planned to use film only on portraits of friends that I was traveling with. But over time, switching between my Canon 5DM4 and my film camera proved too much so I decided to focus on film for the majority of my later shoots. Digital images of nature are all too pervasive so I decided to mix it up and shoot more on my film. Here are the results:

Melody @ Taft Point (Portra 400)

Melody @ Taft Point (Portra 400)

A girl, her camera, and a tree (Portra 400)

A girl, her camera, and a tree (Portra 400)

A girl and her red cape (Portra 400)

A girl and her red cape (Portra 400)

Stop & Stare (& Pose) (Ektar 100)

Stop & Stare (& Pose) (Ektar 100)

I love the cool tones of Ektar 100 (Ektar 100)

I love the cool tones of Ektar 100 (Ektar 100)

Intermittent Sun (Ektar 100)

Intermittent Sun (Ektar 100)

Melody @ Tunnel View (Ektar 100)

Melody @ Tunnel View (Ektar 100)

(Portra 400)

(Portra 400)

Glacier Point at Blue Hour (Ektar 100)

Glacier Point at Blue Hour (Ektar 100)

David (Portra 400)

David (Portra 400)

"Yosemite Falls" (Portra 400)

"Yosemite Falls" (Portra 400)

(Portra 400)

(Portra 400)

Half Dome (Ektar 100)

Half Dome (Ektar 100)

#visitcalifornia (Portra 400)

#visitcalifornia (Portra 400)

Upper Yosemite Falls (Ektar 100)

Upper Yosemite Falls (Ektar 100)

Tunnel View (Ektar 100)

Tunnel View (Ektar 100)

(Portra 400)

(Portra 400)

Half Dome @ Glacier Point (Portra 400)

Half Dome @ Glacier Point (Portra 400)

Self (Portra 400)

Self (Portra 400)

Layson NYMM Test Shoot

Had an awesome time shooting with Layson!

One thing I realized was just how much I love shooting on film. Shooting on film is so much more enjoyable, not just because of the aesthetic of the end product but because the shooting process feels more relaxed and less like work. Shooting digital feels like work - mechanized, high-pressure, moving quickly to the sound of shutter clicks, the machine-gun barrage of go, go, go. I think the implication of shooting digital is that the relationship between photographer and subject feels more professional and clinical, like there's a clear boundary.

On the other hand, shooting on film feels more intimate, like getting to know someone and not feeling rushed. You're more in tune with the slight movements of the subject because you have to focus and make sure the subject is posing in the most appropriate way. The collaboration feels less hurried and more natural. Knowing that you have a limited number of exposures forces you to slow down and frame each shot with purpose. I believe this slowing down puts the subject at ease and allows them to be more unforced in their poses and expressions.

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FILM (KODAK PORTRA 400)

Kristin Ratcliffe Portrait Session at Egg Studios

I'd been meaning to shoot in a studio for the longest time so when my friend Tom asked me if I wanted to shoot at Egg Studios in Bushwick, I jumped at the chance. (BTW - Egg Studios is a fantastic studio, if you're looking for a space to shoot in, look no further!)

To make the best of the space, I decided to turn the shoot into a mini-production. I'd been inspired by simple portraits that strongly feature complementary colors and put together a moodboard to drive production decisions. I was also fortunate enough to have a model (Kristin Ratcliffe), HMU artist (Lexi Doto) and assistant/friend/DJ (Anna Bouma) helping me in making this production a reality. 

The first phase of photos were shot with 2 Profotos Acute 2 D4s attached to a battery pack - the key light was shot though a 36-inch Profoto Octabox while the fill light was shot against a white V-flat. I got bored after awhile with the too-even lighting and so killed the fill light Profoto and instead just used the V-flat to provide some fill. In hindsight, this wasn't the best idea because it muddied the shadows too much and it was difficult during the editing process to get the colors and shadows to be exactly what I wanted. Nonetheless, there were some shots in which the new lighting worked.

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The final phase of photos were shot of film utilizing light coming in through the windows as the key light and the V-flats as fill light. I used a combination of Ektar 100 and Kodak Portra 400 film on my Canon A-1. While I usually love the cool tones of Ektar 100, I definitely pushed the ISO beyond its limit (I think I was shooting at ISO 400) and that created some dirty greenish shadows, which I could only correct to a certain degree in post. For one of my rolls, there was light leak, which initially concerned me but after I saw that it created a pretty interesting effect of creating a nice color combination of blue yellow and red. Now I'm wondering if I can load up film and shoot in a way to create intentional light leaks... haha we shall see.

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