This image was published in a feature article about the restoration of Gretel II in Sails magazine October/November 2011 issue.
I previously added an image of the interior of Gretel II showing the mast and supporting plates. Here is what the other end of her mast looks like.
Taken from a bosun’s chair, winched to the top with the sail winch. Distance to the deck is approximately ninety feet (or, 30 metres) and, although it doesn’t look that far in the shot, it certainly felt like it at the time.
I took four cameras up the mast with me: a Canon EOS 35mm SLR with zoom lens for the extra focal length; a Rolleicord loaded with Velvia transparency; a 500C/M loaded with black and white; and my trusty Fuji digital. After thumping the mast, the batteries fell out of the digital (happily, without hospitalising the crew on the deck below), so it then became an analogue-only event. This particular shot was taken with the Hasselblad.
Camera: Hasselblad 500C/M medium format SLR
Lens: Carl Zeiss Planar 80 millimetre f/2.8 lens @ f/2.8. Shutter 1/250 or 1/500
Film: ILFORD Pan F Plus (ISO 50) black and white film, developed in ILFORD ID-11 developer and ILFORD Rapid Fixer.
This was an interesting and technically challenging image to make.
The 500C/M had its standard waist level viewfinder fitted at the time as it was a long day and I’d left the prism at home to save weight. So, bagging the shot meant holding the camera out at arms length, with the lens pointed straight down, using the reversed, and upside down image on the focus screen to compose the shot. All of this had to be done as I tried to steady myself against the mast swaying, by wrapping a leg around a cable stay. I can’t begin to describe how challenging it was to get all the compositional elements correctly framed and aligned under the circumstances, but I’m fairly pleased with the result. There is a leg intruding into the shot, but I was dangling from the top of the mast at the time, and attempts to move it out of shot would start me tipping out of the chair, so I decided it could stay…
If you’re wondering what all this looked like as it was unfolding, you can see the image my friend and fellow red bubble member Odille captured from the dockside here
A couple of days before I went up for a look, another guy was given a ride up the mast to get some shots, but he chickened out half way. I guess he missed out, as the view from the top was amazing and I loved it.
BEST VIEWED LARGE
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