Ahiaruhe House

I’ve driven/ridden past this house so many times over the years, but never taken the time to get up close. I did take one photo recently while on a motorbike ride with my Dad. This is without a doubt the most photographed house in the Wairarapa - wanting to avoid a cliche shot I got down in the grass:

Shot on Ilford HP5+ pushed two stops / Minolta XE-7 / 50mm 1.4

Shot on Ilford HP5+ pushed two stops / Minolta XE-7 / 50mm 1.4

Some friends (and fellow film shooters) came to the Wairarapa and were keen to check the place out, so we headed out one overcast morning. I was shooting two rolls of film I’d never shot before:

  • 35mm Delta 400 in my Minolta XE-1

  • 120 Ilford FP4 (expired) in my Hasselblad

Shout out to Zach and Xin for the good company! You can check them out on Instagram: @zachetc / @___xin.__ . They just completed a big roadtrip of the North Island and are currently sharing some of their images.

Shooting Thoughts

I don’t often shoot one subject with two cameras (I’m usually carrying one camera with me for the day) but this was a chance to finish off both of these rolls I had loaded so I took both cameras along. My lenses were 50mm on the Minolta and 80mm on the Hasselblad, both ‘normal’ focal lengths for their negative size, so it was relatively easy to switch between the two.

One thing I’ve been struggling with lately is the 50mm lens, especially after using my inherited Olympus XA with it’s nifty 35mm lens. The 50mm lens was a great lens to learn on, lending itself to simpler compositions and subject isolation. I still love it for portraits (and I’ve taken heaps of my favourite photos with it) but I find that over the last year or so I’ve been increasingly looking for a wider field of view - for portraits that capture more of the environment, more dynamic lines/angles that a wider lens can capture. That would have been especially handy in this situation i.e. inside the house. The missing staircase had some interesting light coming in from upstairs and broken stairs in the foreground, however due to the positioning of the walls I just couldn’t get it all in.

Interestingly I don’t have the same feeling with the 80mm lens on the Hasselblad - perhaps this is because the square format lends itself to different compositions, so I’m not looking for the same dynamics in a shot as I would be when shooting on 35mm film with a 2:3 aspect ratio. Any photographers relate?

It was also nice to shoot a still subject - usually I’m trying to capture kids playing or people interacting so this was a nice change of pace. I really “got in the zone” of shooting as I was able to take as much time as I liked to think about/frame a shot. Maybe I’ll find some time to do more landscape-type photography.

Take a look through the photos and let me know what you think!