This cider house rules: The new face of craft cider and the Hasselblad X1D

by Aug 18, 2017Field Day, Gear

Nick’s gonna give me shit for calling him the new face of craft cider but, hey, that’s marketing. So everybody check out Xylem Ciderworks, coming soon to the Portland area!

The impetus for this shoot was simple desperation. After spending a week or so on my Hasselblad X1D review, I had about two hours left with the camera before I had to ship it back — and I had yet to shoot any portraits. Pro tip: When you need a last-minute subject, it’s good to have friends who are starting businesses and need free promotional photos.

Despite still being under construction at the time, Xylem made for a good location. The warehouse-style building isn’t exactly large, but the way it is divided adds intricacy, providing multiple different backdrops. You can make it look bigger than it is just by narrowing your focus and avoiding the big picture. The green wall (Nick’s handiwork) was particularly fun, especially with the large bay door beside it that let in plentiful light. In the near future, I suspect this wall will become the backdrop of many an Instagram post by satisfied customers.

As for the camera, the Hasselblad X1D is incredible in the right hands. I’m not convinced those hands are mine, but it definitely grew on me over the course of my review period. In fact, I wish I could have held on to it longer. I wasn’t terribly impressed with the lenses, which were simply too slow to achieve the desired “medium format depth of field” that is so coveted. While I really would have liked to spend more time with it to truly put it through its paces, I feel lucky enough that I got to shoot it at all. It’s not exactly cheap.

I think most cameras spoil us today. They are too fast, too good, too easy. The X1D, and medium format in general, asks more of you as a photographer and forces you to put in more work. Whether you do it begrudgingly or willfully, this helps you produce better photographs. It’s as simple as that. And coming to appreciate a more involved process will make you a better photographer on any camera.



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Daven Mathies / Blog

Editorial style portrait photography in the Columbia River Gorge.

For rates and other inquiries, please email me at davenish(at)