I was eager to develop a roll of film I had in my Plaubel Makina 67 which was shot at a beautiful Christmas village the day before. I had four frames left so on my way to the photo lab, I took some street shots.
Now, the Plaubel is not by any means a stealthy camera. It’s big and the extended folder mechanism makes people curious about it. But that was not a problem for me since I was not trying to be stealthy. When I do street photography I am not trying to hide. I am just walking with the camera and choose the subjects. With the Makina you have to manually choose aperture and shutter speed. Also in many situations I take some time to focus properly since with a 6×7 camera you can’t always use zone focus successfully (the depth of field is much more narrow than a 35mm camera). So, it can take a few seconds of preparation before I make the shot. It’s inevitable that people will notice you. From their initial reaction you can understand if they are comfortable with you taking the photo or not. There are many times when I have started a conversation explaining what I am doing and also many times they have shown a high interest about the ancient camera I am carrying !!
The Kodak Portra 800 I used is a great film which I rate at ISO 640. It has great color and its fast speed allowed me to choose smaller apertures and higher speeds than usual which can be very helpful in street photography. It lacks the character of the TRI-X when converted to b&w but it also leaves you with the choice of keeping the color image if it looks better. For example, the image below in b&w would not be so good in b&w since the colors are the main interest here.
The Plaubel’s viewfinder is parallax corrected but I have been so much used from shooting a Leica rangefinder that I often forget this very useful feature (that’s why I didn’t frame the above scene correctly).
(c)2012 Konstantinos Besios. All Rights Reserved.