Saturday Edition on a Holiday: Hasselblad 501CM, The First 3 Rolls

Kamel sometimes writes, usually on Saturdays, or when something fun pops up. More of his photos and for-sale prints can be found at

I started out my photography life with film. During my art school days, everything was on film. I learned how to shoot, develop and print film. It was so much fun and very hands on – much more than on digital. From only having 12-24 shots per roll, to risking ruining everything if one small detail went unnoticed during development, to having to spend hours printing dozens of test strips to get the print just right. Hours would go by to get a single print. Lots of chemicals, washes, waiting for drying and lots of playlists on the iPod.

Then came digital and removed all of the waiting, the science, the touch and feel of printing. Removed the risk. I could take thousands of photos, and blast through them in Photoshop. Narrow it down and end up with a small collection of work. This was great for shooting weddings as it made everything so much faster. But the quality suffered a lot. The images didn’t look as good, just good enough. The time saver and convenience were a blessing and I generally love shooting on digital, but I always did miss film. Especially the larger formats, 6×6 being my absolute favorite.

During the years after school, I would every now and then rent a Hasselblad and go shooting. I would drop off my rolls to get developed and scanned at a low resolution and be left somewhat unsatisfied. Shooting was just as amazing as ever, but I no longer had any control because I no longer had access to a dark room. The small scans were all I could afford, since scanning at high res could cost up to $40 per roll. Even then, it was up to the discretion of the lab tech as to how it would be scanned.

So for my birthday as you all know, Lauren got me my own Hasselblad 501CM and for Christmas I got an EPSON V600 scanner from her parents. Yay!

This meant I could finally shoot 6×6 whenever I wanted, drop them off for a quick “develop only” (which is a 1 hour thing), and then scan them exactly the way I wanted to scan them. I could then take the giant files into Lightroom (I tried Aperture again for a few months, but went back to the better app) and get close to the printing experience I used to love.

In the end, while I can no longer spend entire nights in a lab making C-Prints or B&W fiber based prints, this new workflow will do just fine. I get to have the best of both worlds. The quality and aesthetics of film with the ease of the digital post processing world. To keep it fair, I only made same minor changes – things I would make in a real lab – removing dust, balancing exposure and color balance.

Here are some of the highlights of my first 3 rolls of Medium Format film:















Out of the 36 shots, I ended up with these 14. Not bad. The more I shoot, the more I remember and the easier this becomes. More photos to come in the next few months! Especially with all the new life changes coming…

13 thoughts on “Saturday Edition on a Holiday: Hasselblad 501CM, The First 3 Rolls”

  1. Lauren!!!! You look so beautiful!! Not being able to be there on the daily to see you and hang out makes me sad – but thank you Kamel for sharing that awesome photo of Lauren!

    ps: Kamel, you rock, I’m glad you are getting back into photography. I borrowed my friends camera recently, a Pentax digital, and I’m loving it!

  2. I love the picture of the Mission! It brings me back to afternoons exploring and eating from the street carts with Ry on those sweet sunny, breezy SF days.

    Also, you look gorgeous. 🙂

  3. Kissing penguins ! Hippo peeking his head out!
    Beautiful, reflective Lauren.
    Kamel, you are a great photographer. And your city-shots are making me super excited about coming to SF!

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