Category Archives: Travel

Ginza, An Extract From The New Magazine

Tokyo is an easy city to shoot, even with the Hasselblad H6- usually a digital but for this trip it reverted to its roots with the addition on a film back.

Back in the day the Hasselblad square format was the “go to” camera for some big time photographers names like Bailey, Weston, Avedon and many more. I first encountered a 503cx when I started as an assistant many years ago and subsequently learnt my trade on this body, from that point on I was hooked.

The square format worked for me and still does even though the larger Mamiya cameras were more common and your average art director seemed more at home with the rectangular format the lenses with their Zeiss optics made the images from the little Swedish box shine with a special something.

Fast forward to digital and even Hasselblad has moved to the more common 6 x 4.5 format and so it was with a back loaded with Kodak Ektar that I hit the streets of Ginza.
Colour negative film has a certain latitude that transparency or positive film does not but still it requires fairly accurate metering to get the best out of it and the H6 managed quite well, it also helps that I have access to one of the best scanners made- the Hasselblad X5.

Film has the benefit of being scalable, meaning you can pretty much produce a file that will print to any size given the right scanner especially the larger medium format film- this is where the medium format quality comes into its own, big pictures.

Ginza is premium shopping district in Tokyo so all the big international brands are there and no one shops like the Japanese, it’s a national pastime and obsession. I don’t think I know of any country that takes consumerism to the level that the Japanese manage.

All in all its a great feeling to shoot a camera designed with a 100mp back in mind using film, it really is an experience even though it isn’t square or 6 x 6 for that matter.

You can see more here-

Tokyo by Johnnyshoots

Results From Today’s Dev


  • Ilford HP5 rated at 400ISO
  • Developer- Kodak D76 Stock at 20 degrees
  • Agitation- Continuous for the first minute then 10 seconds every subsequent minute
  • Time- Eight minutes
  • Fix- Ten minutes
  • Wash- Twenty minutes
  • Scanner- Nikon LS9000 using Silverfast 8, 16 bit and multi-pass for a 150 megabyte file
  • Post- Lightroom clarity and sharpening

I exposed most of this by estimation and I was pretty much spot on, good to see that after twenty or so years of shooting I can still nail an exposure without resorting to a meter.

The older Hasselblad lenses are not as contrasty as the CF ones so you get beautiful creamy tonality with excellent edge sharpness- not bad for a lens almost as old as I am.

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The 500CM Goes To Shinjuku

The 500CM was introduced in 1957 and remained in production until 1970, my one is from the mid “60s and is very worn. I shot exclusively on Ilford Hp5 developed in Kodak D76 or ID11 (pretty much the same developers). For a camera this old it didn’t miss a beat, no light meter so I guestimated the exposures and mostly was pretty close. The Reciprocal Rule works like this-

The ISO equals the shutter speed at f16 on a bright sunny day. So for the 500cm with 400 ISO film it works out as: f16 at 1/500 sec.

Scanned on the Nikon LS9000 scanner using SilverFast, slow but the quality is amazing.

I worked around that, opening up in the shadows by a couple of stops as needed, usually works fine and is a hell of a lot quicker than stuffing around with light meters.

Still have to do an edit

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Kickboxing Via The LS9000

The LS9000 scanner lives and its time to scan the back catalogue. First cab of the rank is some kickboxing shot nearly fifteen years ago in Bangkok. HP5 is the film and the camera was the Nikon F90 with an 80-200 f2.8. These negs have been kicking around in a box unsleeved and unloved for the whole time. I have done a quick spot in Lightroom but left them pretty much as is. This trip turned out to be the last time I ever shot only film, shifting completely to digital shortly after.

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A Bit Of A Rethink

Initially I rendered these pics in black and white, my medium of choice for most things but he onset of winter has led me to crave some vibrancy and colour. I am not sure if this is the right subject matter as they still retain some of the uneasiness of the mono versions but I thought I would give it  go. Everything is shot in raw so Lightroom can go either way and do it well. Wouldn’t min seeing them printed to really get a feel for the subject. All of these were shot on the NEX-7 with the 24mm CZ lens.

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