UK-based YouTuber Graeme Simpson enjoys landscape photography and shooting with film. We sent him a Sprocket Rocket camera to test out and he talked to us about his experiences shooting with this panoramic 35 mm camera.
Hello Graeme, please tell us a bit about yourself and your YouTube channel.
I'm a professional videographer and photographer with a large UK company. I fell into photography 17 years ago when my mum asked me to photograph her wedding. I didn't even own a camera, digital or film! I bought what I thought was a good camera (Fuji finepix s7000 I think), and although the shots were ok I realised I'd made an error in terms of being able to grow with the camera, so quickly moved onto a mighty Canon 350D. A few lenses later and lots of learning I eventually made a jump to a more professional camera, the Canon 5D MK1 (that was the current model) and I was hooked on full frame.
My job evolved into taking more and more photos for various departments to the point where my job changed to become the in-house photographer. Then the 5D MK2 came out....video DSLR! In the same way my photography job grew, video became part of my role and has now become my main responsibility. Shooting various videos and stills in a corporate environment I decided I needed a different creative release and started doing landscape photography. It was suggested that I should do videos of my little trips and that's where the YouTube channel started.
How did you get into shooting with film?
I always had a curiosity about film cameras. They looked great cameras with their classic black and silver design. I saw an old Zenit E on eBay that had been covered in a new light brown leather skin. It had the stunning Helios lens as well so took the plunge and bought it. What a learning curve that was! So much wasted film as it turned out the light meter was about 2 stops under exposing. This put me off for a while but I did continue buying more film cameras...the more quirky cameras. A Zorki 4, Zorki 10, box brownies, Polaroids etc.
I was gifted some film and so I picked up the Zorki 4 and really gave it a go...result! All the shots came out and that was all it needed for me to keep going. Since then I've tried well over 60 cameras (we don't talk about the cost) and now probably shoot more film than digital for myself. My favourite cameras to use at the moment are the Canon New F1, RB67, Pentax 6x7, Graflex 4x5 and a little Olympus Penn EE.
How did you get on shooting with the Sprocket Rocket ?
Coming from a varied background of different, quirky cameras, I was confident about using the Sprocket Rocket. It's really simple to load, operate and enjoy snapping away with. I just had to remember to not knock the aperture setting, and remember if I had wound on or not.
Do you think this format lends itself well for landscape photography?
Absolutely! I think that the wide angle it gives is ideal for intimate landscapes as well large vistas. I wish I'd tried some urban photography with it as I do believe it could be so much fun.
Any tips for shooting with this cameras?
I see it as a midday camera. It needs quite a bit of light so either shoot ISO 800 (or push your 400) or shoot midday for better results.
What's coming up next for you?
I'm going to continue with the search for unusual cameras and mix it up a little. I have a half frame battle coming up with the Olympus Pen EE Vs a Canon Dial 35. See who wins.