Given its colour tint and demand for light (I tend to shoot it at ISO 50), the Lomo Redscale is not an easy film to find good scenes for. Combined with a long period of me living out of boxes, this roll ended up staying in the camera for around a year. And when it was finally developed it turned out to contain a few other surprises besides that of re-seeing old frames.
The first surprise was to see the frame on which I suspect the roll had been stuck on in the camera for around 9 months. I’m not completely sure it’s the real reason, but it is striking that Left in Camera is the only frame with two very different colour tints.
The second surprise was that the tint appears to have somewhat shifted over the year, with some shots be quite heavier in the red tones than others. Again this may have been some rustiness on my part, but there was a clean pattern.
At any rate, turns out there’s some evidence to the old advice of not keeping a film in the camera for too long.
I’d been wanting to go to Japan for years, and now seemed as good as ever. Taking the best of two days for travel, it had to be limited to nine full days there, with five spent in Tokyo, two in Kyoto, and two for what lies in-between.
It should come as no surprise that Tokyo was amazing. The cleanliness, the cityscape, and the seeming separatism from the US (compared to large parts of Europe at least). My impression is that it would be hard to move there for good — but coming back to work there for, say, one year is on my list now.
Unfortunately there wasn’t much time left over for Mount Fuji, but we did take the advice of many and stayed a night at a tradition Japanese inn, which is hereby passed on. Got to see the mountain though, and driving past a Fujifilm factory on the way I also finally made that connection (ever wondered why the network gigant is called Cisco?).
In Kyoto the most impressive thing was the Fushimi Inari Taisha shrine, with the entire Inari mountain essentially covered in Japanese Torii gates.
And of course everything was documented with Fujifilm, specifically Superia 200 and 400, and shot on a Nikon FM.
First up is a Rollei Chrome CR 200. Not overly impressed and not overly forgiving, it does have some likeable browns and reds when the exposure is right.
Second up is the CineStill 50 Daylight X-Pro. which, unlike the other CineStill is calibrated for shooting outdoor at daylight as opposed to indoor with low light. Much better first impression of this one and looking forward to shooting the next roll — skin tones and blues in particular seem great.
Last one is an Adox Color Implosion 100 which gave a few interesting shoots, such as the dreamy toning in East Paris. Cute film though perhaps also a bit demanding and picky.
Although seemingly unknown to the non-French speaking part of the world, La Reunion island a few hundred kilometers east of Madagascar is an amazing little place, offering everything from sandy beaches, whale watching, parachuting, downhill biking, water rafting, lava tunnels, jungle, forgotten mountain villages — and of course wonderful diving. Only bad part is that the roughly ten hour flight makes it expensive to get there.
We went there for an active vacation and got exactly that: up around seven every morning and sleeping tightly before ten. We had rented a small hillside bungalow on Airbnb for 30 euro a night and a silly little Peugeot that, while never failing us, didn’t seem to be in its right element.
Volcanos play a significant part on the island, separating the rough weather on the west side of the island from the clam and sunny east side. And providing the centre with yet another climate: rain forest.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.