Medium format

I have a very odd relationship with medium format film. I love the technical advantages it offers: quality, depth of field, relative grain size, etc. A lot of my medium format frames come out looking great, and I suppose this is due to the restraints imposed by the camera I use. I have a Seagull TLR with no meter and no prism finder (finder image is horizontally reversed). This necessitates more thought and effort put into making a frame; otherwise we’re using up one frame out of the twelve in a $5 roll. Not exactly economical.

I was so excited to use my new medium format TLR when I bought it back in 2008. So much so that I messed up my framing, which lead to some overlapping frames. (The Seagull TLR I have allows for 6×6 or 6×4.5. I prefer the square 6×6.) Looking at the large waist-level focusing plate was ephemeral; elemental. I loved it, despite the lack of meter and the frustrating horizontal reversal of the finder.

Overlapping frames from my first roll of 120.

I suppose those frustrations, and a constant cognizance for economy, led to only a handful of rolls exposed over these years. (Can you believe I had one roll in the camera for over a year?) But medium format is always on my mind. Always wanting to expose more frames. Thoughts of what to photograph. I have this restricting urge to only photograph meaningful frames with 120 film. After all, it’s an expensive roll with few frames. I’m more willing to fire the shutter without looking through the viewfinder of a 35mm camera; it’s only one frame of up to 36.

From a more recent roll.

In retrospect, some of my better frames have been exposed on medium format film. I’ve been trying more frames; and plan to soon make the plunge into color, and pay a lab to develop for me. Let’s see where this leads..

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