In My Photography Bag: Graham Tait

In My Photography Bag: Graham Tait

 

What is inside photographer's bag is usually a well-kept secret. Some photographers are happy to share it, some keep it to themselves, but on average we almost all use the same tools and the final result depends more on the creativity of the photographer, technical knowledge, eye for composition & small details, luck and of course post-processing.

'In My Photography Bag' series of articles we aim to collect and look at the work of established & upcoming skateboard photographers of past and present, as well as riders turned photographers and show what can be achieved with both simple & sophisticated tools available on the market.

We start the series with Graham Tait - film photography advocate & photographer behind North Skateboard Magazine.

Graham is an analogue photography supporter and despite all the difficulties that come with that - still shoots on both 35mm & medium format film. His setup is simple but very effective - legendary panoramic Hasselblad Xpan camera for 35mm stock and medium format workhorses - Hasselblad 500 CM & Hasselblad 2003 FCW cameras with just 3 medium format lenses - 30mm fisheye, 80mm standard and 150mm telephoto. As for lighting - he's got affordable and time-tested Sunpak 555 flashes.

Graham was kind enough and provided us with a selection of his work shot with the cameras and accompanied it with insights into each photograph.


Hasselblad Xpan panoramic camera + Hasselblad 45mm f/4 lens

Chad Muska - Wallride, photographer Graham Tait.
Shot with Hasselblad Xpan & Hasselblad 45mm f/4 lens at f/4. Ilford Delta 400 ISO film at 1/1000th sec.

'I was working as the manager of Focus Skate Store at the time and Supra were selling like hotcakes in the UK. There was a high top boom and punters couldn't get enough of them! 

When I got word that the Supra team were coming to Scotland and wanted me to show them around, I was so hyped! Almost nervous actually. This was just before I started North so I thought it would be a good chance to maybe get an article out of it. It's rare that any companies come to Scotland so to have so many 'big names' in Edinburgh was amazing, I wasn't going to miss out on trying to shoot some snaps.

I took them to the infamous Bristo Banks, if you've been there you'll know that they're tough to skate. To be honest, once we all got there I thought that getting a photo was going to be a nightmare. Two other photographers, a filmer, a dozen skaters and limited space to work with, especially with the camera I had chosen to shoot with!

To get a photo of Muska - is stuff you dream of when you're a kid. But to get a photo that looks like you're there on a solo session was even better. To top it all off, he's one of the nicest dudes ever.'

Chad Muska portrait, photographer Graham Tait.
Shot with Hasselblad Xpan & Hasselblad 45mm f/4 lens at f/4. Ilford Delta 400 ISO film at 1/1000th sec.


Daniel Nicholas - Truck Blunt, photographer Graham Tait.
Shot with Hasselblad 2003 FCW & Hasselblad Zeiss Sonnar 150mm f/4 lens at f/4. Kodak T-Max 400 ISO film pushed to 1600 ISO at 1/2000th sec.

'This spot was called Plastic Beach. It was the result of an indoor park closing down and skaters transporting and remaking the mini ramp. I had recently invested in the Hasselblad body and wanted to shoot a natural light photo. This spot was perfect as there was so much light.'
 


Dave Lane - Fs Shove, photographer Graham Tait.
Shot with Hasselblad 500 CM & Hasselblad Zeiss F-Distagon 30mm f/3.5 fisheye lens at f/5.6. Fuji Provia 100F film at 1/60th sec.
Lighting - 2x Sunpak 555 flashes.

'This section of the Bristo Banks doesn't really get skated, it's like hitting a brick wall. This was the first time I met Dave, I was hyped he went for it!'

Miles Kondracki - Crook, photographer Graham Tait.
Shot with Hasselblad 500 CM & Hasselblad Zeiss Planar 80mm f/2.8 lens at f/5.6. Fuji Provia 100F film at 1sec.
Lighting - 1x Sunpak 555 flash.


'This spot was horrible! It's located in an alley right in the centre of Edinburgh, that usually serves as a pissing spot at the weekends. We went on a Sunday afternoon to check it out and were lucky enough to find a human turd in there, right next to where I shot actually. It was so dark and narrow in there that I didn't hold much hope for a photo as I didn't have much room to place flashes. As a result of 'not holding much hope', I thought I'd play around with shutter speed and see if I could get some natural light trails. I got lucky!'

*This photo was used as the cover for North Skateboard Magazine Issue 2.

Graham Anderson - Nollie Backside Tailslide, photographer Graham Tait.
Shot with Hasselblad 2003 FCW & Hasselblad Zeiss Sonnar 150mm f/4 lens at f/5.6. Fuji Provia 100F film at 1/250th sec.
Lighting - 3x Sunpak 555 flashes.


'I usually shoot with two flashes as it makes my bag lighter and I don't really like too many flashes. This spot was perfect to hide a third behind the wall to light him up. I really liked the lighting on this one and use it as a reminder to stop being lazy and use three flashes more.'

*This photo was used as the cover for North Skateboard Magazine Issue 8.

 
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