Sunday, October 26, 2014

How A Shot Develops - Mamiya Universal Press (MUP) at the World War II Memorial

I had a couple of hours free this morning, so I packed up my MUP and drove into Washington, DC, to the World War II memorial. Planning to capture some people out in the fall color, I spent a little time doing that, and then walked over to the memorial itself. I saw a nice composition in my mind, with the columns and wreaths of the memorial (one for each state) tapering off into the background, and nice contrasty light separating them from the foreground. A steady parade of people, including veterans, mostly in wheelchairs, was coming up the walkway.
I set up the MUP on a tripod, changed the film back to my Polaroid back, which was loaded with Fuji FP100C color pack film, and started shooting. I shot a total of six images. They're shown in the contact scan below, and are in order from left-to-right, top-to-bottom.
"Contact Scan," by Reed A. George
You may notice the wider perspective in the first shot. It was made with the Mamiya 50mm lens, which is very wide on the MUP, especially with the oversized image of the pack film. Notice the vignetting in the corners, which is normal, since the MUP is designed for 6x9 image size and the pack film is larger than that. After the first shot, I changed lenses to the 100mm f3.5 "normal" lens for the MUP.
I was shooting at about 1/250 sec and f16 throughout the series.
I also slowly moved my tripod to the left as the series developed.
In the beginning, the veterans that were being escorted up the walkway were just too far away. I wasn't trying to make portraits of them, but wanted to capture some detail of them in the context of the memorial.
I consider the final two images to be pretty good, but the last one (bottom right in the contact scan) goes furthest in telling a little story of our remaining World War II veterans and the memorial that reminds us all of what they gave for their country.
Here it is, scanned at higher resolution:
Final Shot, by Reed A. George
Remember that these instant films are not really designed to be enlarged, so the image you see on your screen is probably much larger than intended by the engineers at Fujifilm. I think the color came out very nice, and there's enough detail to see what's going on here.
I've become very interested in how a decent photograph develops through the shooting process. This interest was sparked by starting to read the excellent book Contact Sheets by Magnum press. I highly recommend this book. Be sure to read the introduction, as it discusses a lot of aspects of contact sheets, like the fact that many photographers, including Henri Cartier Bresson, were not in favor of sharing them with viewers.
If you decide you want this book, please buy your copy by clicking on the Amazon link below. You'll get a great book for the same price as going directly to Amazon, and help support my blog in the process!