Christopher H Photo - Film Photography in Washington, DC

March 26 2023

I had an awesome March 26!  I took a train ride; I haven’t done that since pre-COVID.  I took the Hasselblad out on an adventure; I’ve only done that twice before, and one of those times the camera locked up on me 8 frames in.  I took the newly acquired 150mm lens out for a workout along with a few rolls of Kodak’s NEW Gold 200 120 film.  And, I got to do all of this on a perfectly clear spring day in Washington, DC among the blooming cherry blossom trees!

I stepped outside of Union Station into the crisp Sunday pre-dawn air.  There wasn’t a cab to be seen.  “Oh well”, I thought to myself as I hefted my heavy camera pack over my shoulder, “I suppose I’m hoofing it.”

The capital streets were silent as I made my way to the National Mall, where the air seemed even cooler and maybe a bit misty.  The birds waking up in the trees were chittering excitedly.  I imagined they were already anticipating how nice of a day it would be.  Only the most diehard of runners were out this early, maybe half a dozen were scattered around the Mall paths.  So far, it was a perfect morning.

My plan had been to be at the Tidal Basin right at first light.  I glanced behind me to see how much time I had left and saw the blazing orange glow behind the Capital dome.  Eh, I wasn’t going to make it.  Keeping my sights ahead, I re-hefted my pack and picked up my pace toward the Washington Monument, which was starting to glow in the early morning light.

Any thoughts that I’d had about avoiding the crowds getting to DC so early were immediately dashed when I arrived at Independence Ave.  The sidewalks were already jammed with visitors and the police were setting up crosswalks.  Cherry blossom time in Washington, DC is HUGE, to say the least.

Avoiding the crowds, I found a quiet little spot to get geared up.  I got the Hasselblad out of my Lowepro pack and put on the 150mm f/4 lens that I had just recently bought used from Roberts Camera.  I was excited to get some first images from it.  I wound my Sekonic L-558 light meter strap around my neck and jammed it into my jacket pocket - the Hasselblad doesn’t have a built-in meter, so I needed this handheld meter, which I had also picked up used/Mint+ after lusting for this super-pro spotmeter for years.  Then I loaded up a roll of Kodak’s new Gold 200, a 200 ASA film that I had heard nothing but rave reviews about.

I had perfect weather, beautiful light, plenty of film, top-shelf gear, and the whole day ahead of me.  It was time to go looking for photographs…

There wasn’t a cloud in the DC sky that day, which made for stunningly crisp photos.  The Hasselblad performed flawlessly, as it always does.  The combination of the standard waist-level finder for composing and the Sekonic for metering kept me to a pace where I could enjoy setting up every photo.  I’ll have to do a journal story on just the Hasselblad itself.

Kodak’s Gold 200 is going to be a new favorite 120 film!  200 ASA is a perfect sweet spot for a bright sunny day.  The color is natural and gorgeous.  The grain is subtle, but present, just how I like it.  The film has a nice warmth to it and kept awesome detail in the bright whites of the stone monuments.  Kodak had told me that I’d like this film when they were setting up my feature images on their sites.  And PhotoVision, who does my film processing and scanning, also gave Gold 200 a rave review.  Of course, they were both right!

Shout outs:  Hasselblad for my classic 501cm, Kodak Professional and their Gold 200 film, PhotoVision in Salem, OR for all my film processing and scanning (and fixing!), Roberts Camera for the used Hasselblad 150mm f/4 lens (which looks brand new, BTW), Amtrak for the relaxing train ride and attentive crew.  And a shout out to the weather, which made the kite festival get moved from Saturday to the Sunday that I was there!

Know your film, trust yourself.  #believeinfilm #kodakprofessional #portra #gold120
(Be sure to click on “Beyond Weddings” in my menu to the left to see more photos…)

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