A LomoChrome Purple

Shooting the LomoChromo Purple is a gamble or, more positively, a challenge. Here’s my second attempt.

Until solved, the tint of this film sometimes renders frames mundane by not having a lot of colour contrast; Street Corner is one example, Forest another. Yet at other times, this is it’s greatest strength (perhaps going back to its origins in the special-purpose Kodak) and it will separate things normally blent together, such as in High-speed Sheep.

And finally, sometimes the colours are just right making for an interesting alternatively such as Silver Roof, or the soft colours fit the scene nicely as in Love Plant.

Spring Shots

Spring is a great time to take photos. Not only is a long photo-crippling cold winter coming to an end, colours are also shooting out from everywhere.

I like Spring and the bright green colours of the tree; I still remember taking the photo, waiting for the wind to lift the leaves to show their lighter bellies.

Wedding and Breath of Air were taken at a typical French wedding hosted at a country side castle.

Another Lomography X-Pro Slide 200

When the exposure is right I really like the Lomography X-Pro Slide 200, but it seems I’d somewhat forgotten this while shooting this roll: don’t overexpose!

I like Trains, shot on a winter evening, of this little, rather specialised, store around the corner from Place de la République. As a kid we had a large track in the basement, and one can only be happy to realise that these toys have not gone completely extinct yet.

The colours in Ida are exactly what I’d like most shots to look like, yet unfortunately there aren’t many like that on the roll due to overexposure; Sleeping under the Bridge for instance is nice for the scene of SDF’s (refugees?) camping under a metro bridge, but it’s hard to argue that better colours would have made it better.

Winter and Charlie Hebdo

As in these two rolls of film, the tragic Charlie Hebdo shootings filled up a large part in-between the typical events this winter. Having participated first and foremost as a peaceful demonstrator, I’m happy that bringing the camera along that day allowed me to capture a bit of that very unique atmosphere.

The first roll contains a bizarre mix of family christmas photos, random walk around Paris, and a scenes of shootings.

The second roll covers the peaceful demonstration, as well as more winter travelling.

Both were Kodak Portra, and on a technical note I’m actually surprised how well it stood up to the clearly underexposed evening shots.

First Ilford XP2 Super 400

Unlike the black and white films I’ve shot so far, the Ilford XP2 Super 400 (together with the Kodak BW400CN) are meant for standardised machine processing in C41 chemicals. People claim that the quality suffers a bit, but it is a lot easier to just drop it off at the developer’s and ask for prints than locating (or turning your kitchen into) a darkroom!

A bit disappointingly, the prints have less contrast than I’d normally go for in either scanning or making prints in the darkroom; perhaps simply due to me picking the same cheapest print option that so far has worked fine for colour prints, yet it takes some of the motivation away (and makes you wonder what the colour prints would look like in a premium print). On the other hand, the negatives seem to contain a lot more detail than the prints show, so as such there might not be much lost going with this film, despite not having struck printing gold — and some prints are better than none I suppose.

As for the shots themselves, I think Behind the Shop, The Lucky Middle, and Parc des Buttes-Chaumont turned out well. I really like the light in Scooter Light and the scenery in View on Montmartre was simply spectacular.

First CineStill 800 Tungsten XPro

CineStill takes Kodak film used in the cinema industry, splashes on chemicals to adapt it to C41 processing, and rolls it onto 35mm spools. Apparently best suited for indoor low-light scenes, it took a few months for me to finish my first roll.

I find the results so-so to be honest, mostly because they are underexposed and look more pale than anticipated. I believe I exposed it correctly as a ASA 800 film, yet didn’t ask to have it pushed during development — CineStill themselves mention that this is a possibility, and from what I’ve seen here it might also be my recommendation.

Not all is lost though, and had Midnight Walk just had a bit more exposure it might have reached what I was expecting. Also somewhat like the colours in Marina, at least enough to want to try out the daylight calibrated version of the film, the CineStill 50Daylight — more to come on this.

From Academia to Industry

So, now that the year is coming to an end and I’ve been in my first “real job” for about half a year or so, I figured it was about time to write a few lines about what happens when you enter the software industry as a full-time software developer, coming rom days spent reading papers, attending seminars, teaching, and trying to make proofs go through.

Well, there has obviously been a lot of catching up to do. Getting used to the Android ecosystem is one thing (which is understated given my rather limited prior knowledge), but also a refresher of the basic skills and an update on where the industry has been going over the last 5-6 years — since I already have my nose in Android a lot these days I’m only going to mention here that 1) I like the upgrade from iOS and am not missing the latter at all, and 2) I’m surprised how much guessing is involved in developing for this system due to inadequate, or at least uneasy to find, documentation.

The refreshing part has been quite enjoyable, and involved going through the CLRS algorithms book again, re-finding the beauty in software architecture and general design patterns, and covering concrete Java stuff such as best practices and its concurrency library.

At the same time it was also good to catching up on where the industry was gone. There were some things that I didn’t see coming at all (JavaScript on the server for instance), and some things that I was particular happy to see, such as functional languages (e.g. OCaml and Haskell) growing in popularity and influencing the mainstream languages. Finally having the time to go deeper in the NoSQL databases was good, and again happy to see that some of the more theoretical concepts are making their way into industry such as graph databases (agreed, relational database has relational algebra, but never found it overwhelmingly exciting).

All of this was before getting a job though, and after starting it’s been incredible nice to actually have some energy/time/conscience left in the evenings to look into other interesting things — and since this is pure pleasure I’ve been taking a breadth-first approach opening several books at the same time:

Besides software-related topics I also finally had the time to get a non-algorithmic point of view on game theory, including concrete games and mechanism design. And finally, getting involved in business, management, and interviewing processes at work has also been very interesting, admittedly still having to draw a lot from teaching and early university group work.

Two Quick Colour Shots

When I received my Nikon FM, the eBay seller was kind enough to send along two rolls of old film she had lying around and (probably) wouldn’t need anymore. It was two 24 frame Fujifilm Superia 200, expired along ago. At the same time I had an old Lomography Color Negative 400 sitting in the fridge that had expired a while ago as well. As a result I didn’t expect much and (unlike normally) finished them over the cause of just a few walks around town.

The first one is the expired Fujifilm Superia 200 which to my eye shows no sings of having deteriorated. I couldn’t tell you why it was all about shooting blue skies, but at least the houses vary a bit. I like Before and After for its colours and the difference in the trees, and Versus for the variation in clothing and again the colours. The blue sky in Rooftop Monster is splendid and not what I expected from this film.

Second film is the Lomography Color Negative 400 of which I bought a three-pack years ago. However, I was never too happy with the result it gave when shot on the cheap Lomography cameras, and as a result it was allowed to just sit in the fridge until it apparently expired a year or two ago. Wanting to get rid of it, it was the perfect follow-up to the expired Superia.

Now, it seems clear that the film is of lesser quality, yet its much better than I remembered and in particular like its rendering of for instance Square, Lighting Cracks, Sunday Crosswords, Spotlight, and Three Kids (which is more like what I’d expect from the Superia actually). For the latter, note that there were actually three kids up in the tree, with me waiting patiently for one of them to move into the light; in the end they won though and I had to settle for this.

Finally, while I would like to have that the composition and expression in each photo I take is at least at the level of Skatboard Admiration or Sunday Sun, I have to admit that once in a while it’s not too bad to just shot a film without being too picky. The average quality is higher than I imagined it would be, and still find a pleasure in most of the shots.

Film #15

Another black and white night film finished, push-processed at ASA 800 up from 400. Underexposed but with a few good results.

I consistently get the exposure wrong for night scenes, shooting around EV3-5; with a fast f/1.4 lens and a Kodak T-Max 400 shot at ASA 800 this should give me a comfortable minimum of 1/30s shutter speed to compensate for shaking. Yet looking at the negatives, most scenes on this roll required at least another stop to be properly exposed. As I’ve mentioned before though, it’s mind-boggling how much information is still in the negatives, and how much of it can be extracted by my mid-range Epson V600.

I like Midnight Hook-up for the empty atmosphere and corner romance; being underexposed is perhaps even adding to the picture here. Likewise, the sharp contract needed to pull anything from Piggyback fits with the blur and mood of the picture (this was not what some might call an artistic choice; I simply did not want to stop walking while taking the shot). Finally, I also really like Midnight Metro, and wonder if I did not get a fair amount of mood for free here by using an analogue camera.

First AgfaPhoto CT Precisa 100 (in E6)

It’s my impression that the AgfaPhoto CT Precisa 100 these days are mostly used for cross-processing, yet after having seen what it can do there I got curious to see it’s true colours as well — not least after having seen the beautiful blues of another positive film, the Fujifilm Velvia 50.

Overall I was hoping for more, yet to be honest this is likely to be because the film requires more accurate exposure than I offered it.

In some cases, e.g. City Beach, Rinck, and especially Rain Clouds, we did a great job and got what I wanted. In other cases, e.g. Under the Bridge I’d like to think that the result could have been better on a higher quality film; however, while Stripes and Circles also falls in this latter group not all mishaps are actually that bad.

Verdict? At less than half the price of Velvia 50 it’s still a candidate for nature/post-rain scenes like Rain Clouds.