So, I'm heading for Japan on Saturday, and I figured I'd talk a bit about what I'm packing. Photo-wise of course, I'm sure you aren't interested in how many pairs of socks I'm bringing. Well, this is it. One camera and it's film. I decided on my old Hasselblad 500cm just to make things interesting and slow me down a bit. When it's all folded up, it's surprising how compact they are for a medium format camera. It's from about 1973, and I bought it from KEH a few years ago with an 80mm lens for around $800, bargain grade and it works great. I did replace the focusing screen with a acu-matte that I found online used. It had a couple small scratches on it, but it cost $30 instead of the usual $120 for ones without a scratch. I think I can handle the damage. I've also added an op/tech strap like I use on my Canon as well. They're comfortable and I like the way they just click disconnect when they get in your way.
Next is a meter, since the 500cm doesn't have one. So I'm carrying my Sekonic 308. It's not fancy like some of my friends have, but it does the job for what I need it for, which is mostly purposes like this and when I'm shooting film with a strobe. Actually in this case I wish I had a smaller one like the 208. Some little old school analog one that took up a little less space, but at the moment I'd rather not spend another $100 for a marginal size decrease. One thing I like about the lens I've got is that the aperture and shutter speed are linked and related based on EV which is a measure of the amount of light there is available. So your meter reads 12EV, you left the lever and set your lens to 12 and then all of the correct combinations of aperture and shutter are available at a twist. So maybe f/2.8 at 250th, f/4 at 125th, and f/5.6 at 60th are all options for 12EV. Well the lens is locked to 12, so just select the combination you want. Makes it really easy, especially when your traveling and your head gets fuzzy.
And since it's a film camera, I'll be bringing film. It's all in a plastic bag so that I can ask TSA security to hand check it and not have it go through the machine. Apparently they have to if you ask nicely and make it easy for them. I always bring a roll or two of Ilford 3200, both because it's handy when there's no light, and also because it's really fast, so you can say, "Well, there's high-speed film in there, so it absolutely can't go through the machine. I plan on getting the film processed there when I can, just so I don't have to deal with security on the way back, and I've heard that I can buy film there, but I'm more of a Kodak guy than Fuji, so I thought I'd bring some just in case. So in the bag I've got:
Kodak E100G Chrome
I love this stuff, something about the subdued colors it's got. Shot some in Paris a few years ago and they were my favorite pictures. Plus looking at travel positives on a light table is so satisfying as well as making scanning easier. Some of the more observant of you might notice that there are a couple rolls of Provia in there as well, but I've replaced them with more E100G since I took this photo an hour ago. I figure I prefer the Kodak, and I'm sure I can get Fuji over there.
Kodak Portra 400VC
I usually get NC, but they didn't have any in stock so I figured I'd try the more saturated stuff. My girlfriend Holly at Calumet assured me that it wasn't too garish, I'll find out for myself. Went with 400 for times when 100 chromes are just too slow. I also threw in a roll of Portra 800 just in case.
Ilford 3200 B/W
This stuff is really fast, really contrasty, and pretty grainy, but fun for dusk and nighttime in the city. I imagine it could be magical in Tokyo. We'll see.
My goal is to shoot about 1 roll a day, which would leave me with about 200 photos over the two weeks. That's a lot of scanning, and processing fees, but when's the next time I'm going to be in Nara? Exactly.