Granada (Andalucia) and travel camera advice?
I'm going to Granada for a week in mid-May and will be taking a camera or two with me.
I'm struggling to decide what to bring with me and also to decide what sort of film to take.
i) Is it going to be sufficiently sunny that i can get away with slow-ish black and white film e.g. Neopan Acros or Pan-F or similar?
I'll be handholding every shot -- no tripod. 400 ASA film, is it going to be too fast? i.e. I want to be able to choose how I shoot, rather than just forced to shoot at f16 and 1/500 all the time.
Recently I've been shooting Neopan 400 and Acros quite a lot but am also fairly familiar with Delta 100.
ii) Any recommendations for a good colour film to take?
I usually just use Reala or Superia 400 but if there's another good quality colour film with colour rendition appropriate to Spanish conditions at that time of year, I'd love recommendations. I won't be using transparency film, only print film. What about one of the Fuji or Kodak 'pro' print films? Pro160s/Pro160c, Portra160NC/VC? I don't like super-saturated colour, but don't want flat prints either. I probably won't be using any filters with the colour film -- I'm likely to be mostly using a rangefinder which makes using a polariser a pain.
iii) Re: cameras. I really don't know what to take.
I had thought my Fuji GS645S -- it's medium format, has a really sharp lens and is relatively small.
Then I thought I might also take something pocketable -- an XA2 or perhaps a little fixed lens rangefinder.
However, that leaves me with two problems:
1) I'll have two cameras with 'wide'-ish fields of view -- approx 35-40mm equivalent (on 35mm).
2) I won't have anything that's really any good for low-light or pictures of people with shallow depth of field.
At the moment, I'm leaning towards two solutions i) just forget it and make do with the wider angle lenses -- the Fuji isn't awful for people shots and the lens isn't super-wide and it keeps the load light, and I'm confident I can hand-hold it at pretty slow speed or ii) bring an SLR or an interchangeable lens rangefinder.
However, this is taking me towards an uncomfortably heavy load -- this isn't a dedicated photography trip and I want to be able to fit everything in a small shoulder bag. My wife will not be too happy for me to be packing around a huge sack full of gear!
So, what to do? Leave out the medium format camera and just take an SLR or soviet rangefinder and a pocketable compact -- my EOS650 + a fast 50mm lens is about the same size as the Fuji? Stick to the wide angles and not worry about the lack of a really fast lens or longer focal lengths? Just take my soviet rangefinder, a couple of lenses and an XA2?
Also, any recommendations for good stuff to see in Granada? Apart from the Alhambra, obviously.
I don't think that you will have any problem with a fuji and XA, probably the most common pictures you will see there will require a WA. During the day iso 100/21 might be enough, but, specially for the MF, I'll carry a few 400 rolls instead more cameras, remember you said that's not a photography trip. Too much to see, even more if you can move to near villages.
I did a photo excursion to central Spain in October a couple years ago, and I've also been to Granada in the summertime. The light around Granada is VERY intense. You'll find yourself wishing one moment to have a slow film like FP4+, and another to have something fast, like TMAX 400. If you want a one-film-fits-all film, try the T400CN chromogenic film. You can shoot it at 100 most of the time, and you'll have gorgeous (but dense) negatives. For when you need the speed, drop it back to 400 again, and you'll still have quite printable film.
Also, because Spain is on continental time, but is actually west of England, the sun rises and sets an hour later (by the clock) than it should. You'll have daylight until about 8pm or later, even in May. I would definitely limit the gear you're carrying to something normal, and something wide, no tele anything. If you can swing something wider than 35-40mm equivalent, I'd do that. Maybe pack the EOS with a 50 and a 28, and take the XA for pocket snaps. Just to give you an idea of what I hauled around with me (my trip was a dedicated photo trip), I had my Hasselblad with 50, 80, 120, and a Superwide with the dedicated 38mm. I also brought an Xpan for panoramics. Streets in the old cities of Spain tend to be very narrow, and if you take a wander through the Albaicin (the old arab quarter of Granada, which is worth the effort, just be careful of your gear and your wallet), there are lots of interesting buildings to take in. There is an old Arab marketplace whose name escapes me, but it is nestled down an alleyway, and the courtyard in the marketplace is still shaded the same way they did it hundreds of years ago, with positionable canvas shades that they move with the sun.
There is also the cathedral, which houses Ferdinand & Isabel's remains, the Sacromonte hill, with gypsy cave dwellings, the La Cartuja monastery, and near the Plaza Nueva are 11th century Arab baths.
When you go to do the Alhambra, plan an entire day for it. Book your ticket as early in the morning as you can, take the tour, and then stay as long as you can wandering around taking photos. There is so much to it, you'll never see enough. Make sure to take in the gardens - there are some beautiful and tranquil spots, with little fountains and reflecting pools nestled in the trees. One of the fountains was designed in such a way that the single stream coming out of it has just enough force to suspend a small round object, like a walnut or a pebble - look and see if you can see it. Of course, there is the famous courtyard of the lions. For a dramatic change of pace within the Alhambra there is the Charles V palace - itself a marvel of Renaissance architecture, but because it is plonked down in the middle of the Alhambra, it gets rather short shrift. At the least, stop through and take in the circular courtyard.
Both very helpful replies. Thanks.
I did think of taking chromogenic black and white, for the exposure latitude it'd offer me, and I will probably take a couple of rolls of XP2 or Neopan 400CN and pop them in the XA2 or another pocket camera. I generally prefer to develop my own medium format b&w.
What about taking a batch of 400 asa film and an ND filter so I can cut it down a bit when the light is harsh? Possibly best of both worlds - I can develop it myself but use the filter to effectively shift the speed of the film.
I've been thinking hard about taking an SLR instead of the Fuji as that'd give me wider and longer lenses. However, I worry about losing the benefit of the big negatives -- just recently I've started printing myself from the Fuji 645 negs and I am getting results with my 1950s triplet lens'd enlarger that I won't be able to get myself from 35mm.
You really think that the 35-38mm equivalent on the Fuji is just not going to be wide enough?
Absolutely. You'll find a LOT of shots you'd want that the 35 equivalent is NOT wide enough. That lens will feel like a normal lens in Granada, not a wide. I found that I was using my 50mm for my Hasselblad a tremendous amount (that's the equivalent of a 28mm in 35mm film terms). My 80mm (normal lens) became a telephoto much of the time. There are entire neighborhoods in Granada that are inaccessible to vehicles, and are more than three stories tall, if that gives you an idea.
If you want to do straight b/w film to develop yourself instead of taking the chromogenic, the neutral density filter is a good idea. Get a Lee or Cokin set with ND filters, which are much easier and faster to put on and take off. They're also much less expensive.
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Thanks for the information.
Am currently looking around for a compact with a wide (28mm) lens as a possible alternative to the XA2 -- if I get one, that'll be the option for wide outdoor shots and I can use the Fuji rf for most other things.
If not, I'll take the EOS
Look for a Ricoh GR 1 - it is a VERY compact (depthwise anyway) compact with a 28mm lens. They also made a version with a 24, which will be harder to find. Minolta also made a 'prestige' compact with a 28mm - I forget the model name, but it had manually settable apertures, which were actually a kind of waterhouse stop, so you got very nice smooth bokeh with it. Nikon also made a version of their prestige pocket camera- the 28ti I think was the model #.
Yes, I've been looking for an R1 (which does the 24 and 30mm shots) or an R10.
The GR1 is out of my price range.