Nowhere in the world is the surf culture more in evidence than in Southern California, and so it’s fitting that in a studio just off the famed Venice Beach Timothy Hogan should be working on his epic personal project to celebrate the classic beauty of the often overlooked, but crucial, element of surfboard design, the fin.
Timothy’s approach to photography is heavily tied in to the capture of the truly astounding detail that reveals itself as the viewer moves closer to study his images, and so the search for ultimate quality is something that is ongoing.
Inevitably it led him to try out the brand new Hasselblad H5D-200MS, a camera that has the capability to deliver an awesome 200MP file by capturing a sequence of six identical 50MP images, which are then combined to create a file that is not only packed with ultra high resolution but also contains none of the distortion or artefacts that can sometimes be found in single shot images.
The camera was brought in for a still life shoot that saw Timothy meticulously assemble a selection of individual surfboard fins to create one giant composite fin. He photographed the set up directly from above to create a beautifully simple design that delivers so much more for the viewer on closer investigation.
Timothy’s style of photography is very hands-on. He has to work with things to understand them. When he’s setting up a picture such as this it’s a very intuitive process and he lets the subject guide him, but it’s very tactile all at the same time. He needed to pick it up, look at it from different angles, really absorb the subject itself so that he knew how to bring out the qualities he wanted to show.
The Hasselblad has been an integral part of Timothy’s approach since he moved into digital, and the chance to work with the H5D-200MS was something he had been looking forward to immensely.
“It’s been amazing,” he enthuses. “The files are insanely good. The 200MS is giving us clarity that we can’t get any other way, and that’s very important for this project. We’re spending so much time bringing out each little part of these fins, each minute subtlety, which is very, very important when we’re telling the story of that specific fin.
We need to have an incredible digital file to be able to print to the huge sizes that we’re looking for, with the quality I insist on. This is especially important for compositions like this, where we’re 12 feet up in the air and you can see the tiniest pieces of dust, the tiniest scratches. You can even see the texture of the mould marks on the wave set fins, which is incredible. The 200MS also delivered outstanding colour depth and subtle tones, and there’s nothing else like it. There would simply have been no other way to take this picture.”
Shooting tethered and locked off to the rafters, Timothy didn’t get much of an opportunity to try out such innovations as the new 100% view that’s offered or the refreshed ergonomics of the H5D, but his first reaction was still highly favourable. “I felt very positive about the camera,” he says. “For whatever reason, the camera just feels better than the H4D.”
Having worked with the H5D-200MS once, there’s no doubt that Timothy will be coming back for more, and it’s exactly the kind of tool he needs to advance his project and to take it into hitherto unexplored areas. It will also allow him to produce stunningly high-resolution images that are guaranteed to appeal still further to those who collect his prints.