Film Format and the “Full Frame”

Over the years I’ve had to opportunity to do my photography using both film and digital cameras. Occasionally the word “full frame” comes up which concept and size comes from the 35mm film camera and the frame it produced on film (36mmx24mm), which is in todays language the “full frame” sensor we speak about in 35mm digital photography.

With this in mind, I thought it would be great to show just how large this 35mm “full frame” is in comparison to the film I have used during my career as a photographer. You may have heard or even used a 4×5, which is the largest film I used while using Sinar F or Horseman 4×5 cameras. Also known as Large Format.

Another format using 120mm film is also known as Medium Format. This is a very versatile format using either a fixed camera which would be a larger version of the 35mm camera, or camera’s like the Hasselblad V or Mamiya RB 67, that have interchangeable film backs.

The most common formats using the 120mm film that has been used in commercial photography have been 6×7, 6×6 and 645 as seen below. Depending on which one you used will depend on how many frames you would get on one roll of film. A 6×7 would give you 10 frames, 6×6 would give you 12 frames and 645 would give you 15 frames per roll.

Some of these film backs were however made to fit onto a 4×5 camera and would give you a format of 6×12 as seen below.

The more famous 35mm film would come in three lengths, 12, 24 and 36 exposures and if you had a 12, that’s all you had, 12 photographs on one roll of film. That would be the same as shooting with a 6×6 medium format camera giving you 12 frames on one roll of film. Needless to say, 36 exposures on one roll was better that 12 when you have a lot to do. Some cameras like the Hasselblad XPan, would give the option of shooting a panorama by doubling the frame. This can be seen below along with the standard 35mm frame.

Film would be available as “negative” to use for prints and “positive” like the ones above, that need to be scanned, then digitized before retouching and going to print for magazines and advertising etc. Another use for “positive” film were slide shows where images are projected onto a screen or wall. Today however, we make use of programs like Keynote and PowerPoint and insert our digital photographs into these programs.

Photography has come a long way from film and continues to expand the digital horizon both in 35mm and medium format. The legacy of film has not lost its charm and many are using film for the first time, or out of nostalgia, or just because it is still one of the best ways to slow down the digital pace, think about the shot and create something beautiful in a non technological way.

Full frame 35mm digital photography has become the standard by which many photographers, be they professionals, students and amateurs live by. This is a format that will not be going away soon, but will continue to adapt itself whether as a DSLR or Mirrorless. Below are the different formats in perspective from 4×5 to 35mm. So next time you look at a 35mm camera, whether film or digital, remember the journey that has led to this powerful format.


Food Workshop

I was invited to do a food workshop at the Stellenbosch Academy of Design and Photography this afternoon. Setting up a food shoot in their studios with their equipment without a stylist but an eager group of 21 students was the challenge of the day.

We worked on shooting both flash and daylight options. We looked at shooting tethered for “immediate” review of the images and the importance of using a grey-card to colour balance the shots especially on a rainy day like today.

With the use of the flashes, we created a fresh “daylight” look and with a few light adaptors, we could change everything to a “dark moody” look. The use of a tripod, reflectors and mirrors were added into the setups. All that was left was to shoot a natural light option which we shot from the top.

With food photography, props and styling either make or break the images and of course there are the “tricks of the trade” that also come in. So a special thanks to Caro who not only organised the workshop but also brought all the produce and props to make our “dark moody” shot.


The Braai

On Friday I went to Noordhoek to photograph a braai (BBQ) story with Arina from Landbouweekblad for the next Boerekos issue. Being Cape Town winter, we have been having some stormy weather and Friday was no exception. I departed in the rain, arrived in the rain and returned in the rain. Fortunately, the braai area where we were to shoot was under roof and protected us from the rain, but there was no shelter from the icy wind that blew all day long.

So how were we going to accomplish what we set out to do? I had a bag of tricks up my sleeve, that was given to me to test for Sunshine Company. The first, was the FLM tripod and ball head. It was light, flexible and has friction control in the ball head, allowing one to do small adjustments. An easy to use locking system for the legs made leg adjustments effortless compared to previous systems.

The best trick of all was the CamRanger wireless camera remote control. The software was installed the night before and a few tests were done. CamRanger allows one to shoot from camera to laptop, tethered via a built in wifi. Yes there is a cable, a small one connecting the device to the camera, and so the camera and CamRanger sat in the wind and smoke from the fire while the laptop sat inside the house near the fireplace. It took about 10 seconds for the images to come up on the screen, but that was because I had one more trick. Using a setting within the CamRanger software, I was able to make a “hot folder” within a session I created using Capture One Pro¬†shooting directly into the Captures folder.¬†CamRanger ran the camera, Capture One did the editing it is renowned for.

Whether it was fish, chicken, beef, pork or lamb, all in all, the great styling and preparation from Arina, the braaing done by Chris Burgess, editor-in-chief of Landbouweekblad, and Lucille the assistant editor helping everywhere, the day was a great success.



Mini Gerbera

Flowers are part of God’s unique creation where no two are alike. They resemble beauty beyond our grasp and we as mere man, can only be in awe of what is displayed for us to see. While passing by a florist, I saw these mini Gerbera’s. They were all bundled according to their colours. “But what if I could make a bundle of my own” I wondered. Wondering turned into question, so I asked the owner if it was possible. While giving me the nod, I had to ask one more question. “Would you mind if I hand selected my bundle, I need to photograph it?”

Giving me another go-ahead, I selected tree bundles of each colour, took them apart and reselect a multicolour bundle just for me. Yes, I know it seems a little selfish, but it was for a good cause and I’m sure you will agree.

Featured here are Rosalin in white, Damar in orange and Showgirl in pink.



Kambrook Appliances

I was asked to shoot an advertorial that would go into three magazines. The appliances photographed were part of the range of Kambrook which is now avaialbe at Clicks stores around South Africa.

For the shoot we had to find a suitable location, and we chose Peter Osborn’s shop in The Palms in Woodstock. Danny Toua did the amazing styling.

Theses images will be appearing in the latest issues of Sarie Bruid, Fairlady Bride and True Love Bride.

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Flowering Garlic Chive

At home we have our little herb garden near the kitchen door. I’ve been watching the herbs as they grow from season to season. This time however, I marveled at the white flowers of the garlic chives and waited till they were in different stages of flowering before doing this shoot.

My inspiration for these shots came from some birthday cards my wife bought years ago which are framed and hang in one of our bedrooms. I prefer these images in black and white making them more timeless.

There is just something about black and white photography that I love. It has the potential to outlast colour.

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Macro Workshop

The Cape Town Photographic Society asked me to host a workshop on macro photography for them. I had been one of the judges at their monthly meeting and this was a great opportunity to show both them and myself how to get closer to ones subject.

To start the session, there was a mystery shot that I took the day before. The one who guessed it right, went home with a decadent chocolate. It took quite a few hints before the prize was won, but that is because the world of macro can look so different from the norm.

Photographers got to do some shooting first before the session with live shooting began. After our time together, we went and shot the same things that were done before we started. The transformation of the images was amazing, as one smile after the other come back to show their shots.

Macro is an amazing world, an adventure to discover the not so obvious.

Here are some of the shots taken during the workshop.


The Small Things

With a world filled with big ideas, God in His infinite wisdom is filled with small details. The things we pass by and hardly look at, are some of the most beautiful in all creation.

We often look at the stars and say WOW, I know, I do. But today, I’m stopping and looking at the small things. The things that are created to perfection. The things that had to be designed in Heaven and showed on earth. These are the wonders of the small.


Daily Bread

Something most of us do each day of our lives is to have some bread. Which ever shape or form it takes, bread has become our daily bread. For instance, my father in law always starts his day with a slice of bread and coffee. At home, I make the sandwiches for the kids to take to school. Bread has been the one food source that has stood the test of time. Today, we don’t just bake bread, we make and create bread.

Daily Bread

Shot on location with food editor Arina Du Plessis


Chocolate Mousse

Mmmm…..what can I say about the delights of chocolate mousse.

I’m on location with food editor Arina Du Plessis and this is my first shoot with her this year. So she thought, the best way to start the year was with chocolate mousse and I have to say, I agree. The chocolate mousse is decadent, I know, I’ve been eating it, and the recipe for this mouth watering mousse will be in the next Boerekos Magazine, available in May 2013.

So, to get you to want some of this, I thought it best to show you the photo we have just done.

Chocolate Mousse