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Old abandoned rowboat, Stonington, Deer Isle, Hancock County, Maine, USA

October 14th, 2014

Colorful soft focus photograph of an old rowboat in Stonington  Deer Isle Hancock County Maine

I was always a big fan of the early Hollywood portrait photographers like Clarence Sinclair Bull and George Hurrell who used special lenses designed for soft focus like the Wollensak Veritos to create their dreamy, glamorous images of stars like Greta Garbo, Theda Bara, Mary Pickford, Jean Harlow and Hedy Lamarr.

Back in the 1990ís, when I doing actors headshots in Manhattan, I indulged myself by having a 10″ (254mm) Wollensak Veritar, a 1950ís version of the earlier Veritos with a coated lens, adapted to use on a Hasselblad 2000F ( focal plane shutter body) with a Hasselblad macro bellows for focusing.

Later, on one of my many trips to Maine, I decided to dig it out and try it with my Canon 5D Mark II. I picked up a Hasselblad to Canon adapter on eBay which worked out well.

This is one of the more successful images from the rig. There are a couple of drawbacks that make it somewhat unwieldy though. First, the 254mm focal length is a bit long to work with, both because of the magnification and distance you need to the subject and that the bellows isnít long enough to allow focusing on subjects closer than 12ft. or so. Second, thereís no way to rotate the camera body for vertical compositions and the whole rig need to be rotated, which didnít need to be done with the square Hasselblad, but is a cumbersome arrangement with the rectangular 35mm format.

I love the effect though, itís quite different than using a soft filter on the lens or adding diffusion in Photoshop, so Iíve picked up a 7″ Verito and am on the lookout for a reasonably priced 6″ Verito, and looking into using a Novoflex Balpro tilt shift bellow, both for the addition of camera movements and being able to rotate the body.