A quick post with a few photos from Christmas time around Blåvand, snow in Amsterdam, and a Paris flea market. Not too good with exposure on this one for some reason.
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?).
And of course everything was documented with Fujifilm, specifically Superia 200 and 400, and shot on a Nikon FM.
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.
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.
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.
I know I recently wrote about falling back in love with Kodak Portra, but fortunately there’s no requirement that we stay monogamous when it comes to film. Here’s a few from a Fujifilm Superia 200. Continue reading
By a series of coincidences I again this year ended up spending part of the summer in Sweden. This time also in a tent, but with an old friend instead and with even less modern day luxury.
From our little trip to Norway and tenting in Sweden last year I’ve been wanting to try a more Bear Grylls kind of trip close to nature, and for some reason my old friend Tim has also had the idea that hiking might be the way forward.
We talked about the south-east of France, Berchtesgaden National Park in Germany, and even the highlands in Scotland. But in the end it was pretty hard to beat the Swedish Allemansrätten; not least because of its liberties and the country’s beautiful nature, but also because our nordic bigger brothers have laid out very promising routes with spots for drinking water and shelters: without a car and unable to find concrete route suggestions in the southern countries we started to wonder if we could find accommodation every night, and decided that it must be the intermediate stage.
So, we ended up settling on Öresundsleden in Skåne. It turned out to be a great choice, both because of the nature it took us through, but also because it seemed to fit our beginners level pretty well: we hiked for a week and managed to just cross the line where a bit of padding on our own shoulders seemed in order.
As the pictures show the route takes you through a lot actually: open landscape, dense forest, and what (by a Dane) could be called mountains. We also went through a lot of small fishing villages and as a result enjoyed splendid fish, often several times a day. Highly recommendable!
By the way, I only brought along an old analogue camera (an Olympus OM-1). For one, I’ve been more into that stuff recently. Secondly, it doesn’t run out of batteries so no worries if there are no outlets around. And thirdly, it’s cheaper to replace if broken or lost.
I shot a total of around 50 frames on two different films — a Fujifilm Superia and half a Kodak Portra — and besides some issues of not being able to focus too well (only took the 35-70mm) they came out pretty decent. Since I just used my little table for setting the exposure, with the errors this implies, both films also seem to be quite forgiving, and hence candidates for a good general purpose colour film.
And Allemansrätten? It worked great; brilliant concept! And only once did we add to the statistic of Danes breaking it; in our case a kind park ranger knocked on the tent at 8am to inform us that we were in a restricted area and had to leave.
When I handed over a colour film to Negatif+ a few weeks ago I decided to try their option of also having the negatives scanned; given that it takes me at least four hours to scan a (black & white) film at this point, I figured the 4€ extra might be a good deal if the quality matches up with their usual excellent service.
.. and it was! I’m positively surprised by both the Fujifilm Superia 200 film and the scanning. Besides lightening up the shadows a bit on a few of them I haven’t otherwise done any post-processing:
For comparison I also tried to scan some of them on my Epson V600 scanner; and given that it is a much cheaper consumer-level scanner than the one used by Negatif+ (apparently a Fujifilm Frontier SP3000) it actually did a pretty decent job, even on automatic, and both in terms of resolution and colour!
So a few pros and cons arose.
The scans from Negatif+ are slightly better resolution, have slightly less noise, and I like their warmer colour cast. Also, it’s pretty hard to beat 1€/hour.
On the other hand, to my surprise they are also slightly cropped for some reason (I somewhat suspect that the OM-1 exposes more than the typical 35mm frame) and come as a relatively small JPEG. The latter might not necessarily be a disadvantage of course, but on a few of them it wasn’t really possible to change the choice of burning out the highlights or closing up the shadows, and as a result I’m stuck with whatever Negatif+ decided; and part of the reason why scanning on my own takes longer is the time it takes to make this choice.
So there it is. The price for development is 6€ and for both 10€. For the next few films I’ll go with the scanning option again to have some very usable files and in order to spend my efforts on a selected few instead.