Hasselblad street photography

Not every day shooting goes well! Sometimes you’ll arrange to meet a friend to spend the day shooting and just have a day where you have 0 inspiration and all your shots turn out blurry. This is exactly the day I had last August when I met my friend Conor and borrowed his Hasselblad for a shoot.


We started the day by swapping cameras (See Conor’s experience with my AE-1 here) and I was faced with a camera very different to my own. I would be shooting on a Hasselblad 500 C/M for the day, it’s massive compared to my usual AE-1 and also takes medium format 120 film as opposed to my usual 35mm. I loaded up a roll of Portra 160 and had twelve shots with which to capture my day.

It was a wet miserable day so it was umbrella’s galore in Dublin city centre, to try and keep the camera dry I was looking for shots which I could take from under a shelter. My first shot was taken from under the Royal Hibernian Way, I noticed people would often stop and wonder if they could take shelter there so I pre-focused and waited for the perfect pair to walk into frame.

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From there we went to Stephen’s Green which was where my issues began. I’m very comfortable with my AE-1 but couldn’t get used to the focusing on the Hasselblad, I also couldn’t get my timing right for the shots so my photos were a bit of a washout… literally!

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From Stephen’s Green, we moved down to Grafton Street. I had heard that a Hasselblad was the perfect street shooting camera as it’s waist level viewfinder makes it discreet and not at all obvious what you’re shooting… that didn’t work for me. Just when I thought I was going to capture the perfect moment the person blocked the camera with their umbrella, this is one mistake that works in my favour though I think.

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Our second last location was to be George’s Arcade, we chose it because it’s indoors and the rain had gotten worse! My inspiration was low though and my final shot I like was taken in a roof mirror in Gino’s, because why not go to an Ice Cream parlour when it’s lashing rain!

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While I didn’t have a very successful day shooting, I did learn a lot from it. Stepping away from a camera that’s essentially become an extension of my eye made me think more about everything I was doing. While there are only three shots I’m happy with from the day, 3 from 12 isn’t bad, I used to have 10 selects from the hundreds I’d take when I shot digital so my ratio is still good!

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