I am not pleased with CVS. It isn’t the first time.
This roll was my first experiment with redscale photography. Basically, it’s shooting film backwards. Because the backing layer (which is now in front) is red/orange and the light must pass through it to create the image, the resulting print leans heavily toward red/orange tones. This is completely analog- no Photoshop filters or anything to alter the colors (just a little “S” in the curves after scanning, which had more to do with how thorougly CVS destroyed my negatives. More on that in the next sentence).
The redscale train really derailed when I brought the film to CVS for developing. I had rolled the film (Fuji Superia 400) in a Kodak Gold 200 cassette (it’s much easier to reroll it in another cassette than into the same one) and marked it “FUJI 400 REDSCALE” so I wouldn’t forget. The clerk looked completely overwhelmed by this, and after I explained it, she looked even more confused (never a good sign). When I came back to get my negatives, I was amazed. How anyone could think negatives looking like this are acceptable (this is with digital image correction in the scan). I can’t even imagine what one would do to make them look like that. Perhaps add some pond scum to the chemistry?
Fuji Superia 400 reversed for redscale, Minolta XD5, custom CVS “distressed” developing.
This was going to be posted on Valentine’s Day before I shot something I found more appropriate on a number of levels.
Pentax digital SLR, Polaroid-inspired processing.
I’m pleased that I’m pleased with two of the images from my very first cross-processed roll. My expectations were low, but I am going to go get some more Elite Chrome tomorrow (the store was closed today). I think this is a nice contrast to yesterday’s Valentine’s image. Between the two, it seems like everyone should have something to identify with. This one was so sharp (with none applied in scanning) that I actually backed off the clarity a little in Lightroom. I have learned three things about cross processing E-6 film in C-41 chemicals: It’s unpredictable, it’s grainy, and it can be so sharp it makes my head hurt. My hypothesis: Bright sun and overexposure make the colors go crazy (more formal testing of that one will commence when I get more film).
Kodak Elite Chrome 400 slide film (expired 10/2007) shot in a leaky KR-10 Super and processed (poorly) C-41 by the drones at the CVS in town.
Happy Valentine’s Day.
After finishing up a particularly long week on Friday, I stopped by the camera store in town to chat with the owners. They’ve been at photography longer than I’ve been living, so they have all sorts of interesting perspectives on various things photographic (especially vintage gear, which is all I have now that I’ve parted ways with my digital SLR). After talking to one of them for probably an hour, I asked about expired film and found that they had a gold mine. After attempting faux cross processing before, the prospect of expired Elite Chrome slide film was too exciting to turn down. I bought a roll, shot it the next day (yesterday), and had it developed at CVS that evening. Here are the results of my real live cross process: Grainy, ugly, tinted, and supersaturated. Hope your Valentine’s Days were as good as mine was.
Kodak Elite Chrome slide (E6) film developed in C41 color negative process at CVS. Shot in a Ricoh KR-10 Super which apparently has light leaks.
I wish this were a real Polaroid.
I’ve started to find Polaroid images fascinating recently. Unfortunately, this corresponded almost exactly with Polaroid’s ceasing of film production. It didn’t matter much, because with my keeper ration, there was no way Polaroids were going going to be cost effective at $20 for a pack of 10 ($2 per exposure- my black and white film cost me $1.25 per roll). I stumbled across a posting recently on another blog with some samples from a fake Polaroid process, and I got very interested. After spending probably forty minutes looking for good presets for Lightroom (my editing program of choice), I stumbled across Poladroid, which is a fun program even if it does have its shortcomings. The post that inspired me is here, and I’d be lying if I said it was the first time Kappii’s blog has given me an interesting idea. Highly recommended, especially for those looking for creative options with a film/scanner hybrid process. Oh, while I’m throwing out links, the only interesting Polaroid-inspired Lightroom presets I found are here (they’re modeled after 54 and 55, which were black and white films).
From a photographer’s standpoint, I am very conflicted about these images. I have nothing against post processing (some photographers carry a grudge against “Photoshopping,” ignorant of the fact that most of the common post-=processing methods are based on darkroom printing techniques), but this pushes it pretty far. Something about letting a program run the post rather than doing it myself makes it feel very forced. On the other hand, a photo is a photo, and the steps one uses to make it are just means to an end.
I did crop out the fake Polaroid border. For me, it was too much.
Pentax digital system (which I no longer own), Poladroid processing software.
Photography is now in uncharted waters.
About five weeks ago, I posted all of my digital equipment on my local Craigslist. I received a multitude of scam emails (one asking me to send the camera to the sender’s son, who was from Texas but was in Nigeria studying photography). It was time to make more serious investments in my equipment, and what I had was just not cutting it for me. About a week ago, I received an email that appeared to be legitimate. Yesterday, a young couple made a five-hour round trip with their baby, and took all of my digital camera equipment with them.
I am now down to three 35mm bodies (Pentax K1000, Ricoh KR-5 Super II, Ricoh KR-10) and a freezer full of film. I do intend to invest in more digital equipment soon, though I haven’t quite decided what it will be yet. Nikon’s old D200 is an attractive option and priced right. The other (probably more difficult) decision is lenses. It isn’t often that one gets to start from square one. Perhaps a 17mm for landscape and wide shooting and 28mm for everday use? Maybe the 28mm and a 50mm for portraits and low light shooting? What about a 55mm micro that could double as a portrait lens? It would be slower, but a micro would be a lot of fun.
“Busy, busy, busy.”
Pentax K1000 test roll, Fuji Superia 400 processed C-41, scanned and converted to grayscale.
Photography is nonlinear.
This is not new. It came from the same area as this one, but on a different day and shot on color film. I felt like experimenting with black and white with toners last night, and so I processed this as a selenium print. I think it’s a little eerie. There’s another process of this same image as a deep red-orange. I like this one better because of the juxtaposition.- the orangey autumn tones have been replaced with a monochrome in icy blue. It plays with the mind, and I like it.
Test roll in my K1000, Fuji Superia X-tra 400, digital selenium process (sorry, no darkroom).
Photography is a diversion.
I was sitting in my apartment at around one o’clock last night with lots of work to do but zero motivation to do it. I decided another shot at low light 35mm was in order, so I loaded my borrowed XD5 with a fresh roll of APX400 (setting aside the roll I took out, destined for more pulling experiments) and wandered into the night. I immediately realized that, like many manual focus semi-automatic exposure cameras, the XD5’s meter consists of a scale of shutter speeds or apertures (depending on mode) with a red dot that lights up next to the metered value. This works fine in bright sunlight, but when there is no backlight in the viewfinder to illuminate the numbers, it is more or less useless. This is why aperture- or shutter-priority cameras, though capable of full manual operation, tend to be less utilitarian than fully manual cameras for this purpose. I reloaded the film into my Ricoh KR-5 Super II, which has big bright “-,” “0,” and “+” LEDs to give a reading even in complete darkness. Unfortunately, the rewind knob on the XD5, which has always made me nervous, did absolutely nothing to rewind the film (except make the telltale “click” that should mean that the leader has unattached and it’s safe to open the camera) and I ruined some of the film. Also unfortunately, I had taken the batteries out of this camera to play with the KR-10 I had borrowed (vastly inferior for the aforementioned reasons, though built a little better). I found a quarter, swapped the batteries, and stepped out into the night. Let this be a lesson to those of you who want to maintain large collections of almost working but entirely worthless old cameras.
In the fall, I had tried shooting APX400 at 800 and 1600 with really unimpressive results. Now that I have a better understanding of film speed and developing, I decided to try a roll at as close as I could get to 400 (usually 800, sometimes an indicated 400 that wassn’t a very good meter reading anyway) and develop for 800. Within ten minutes of walking back in the door, I had the film in the tank and soaking. In less than an hour it was hanging to dry. This morning, I scanned it. This was a rare burst of productivity that may never occur again.
The exposures worked better, but the fact that most of the frames were lit in the center with barely exposed dark areas at the edges made it diffcult to determine where one negative ended and another began for cutting, and made it even worse on my scanner. I ended up with some frames cut off and a few panoramas. This is one of the cut off frames. There’s a horizon and “sky” here. I may try to resurrect it later, but for now I’m pretty happy with this.
Agfa APX400 at 400-800 developed in Clayton F76+.