I need to do more shooting, and I think I’m going to try cross-processing more slide film. Among other things, I have some Provia 400F on my desk (expired September 2004) which should be interesting. This is from another roll of the same film.
Minolta XD5, Fuji Provia 400F (exp. 2004).
I think this is a nice example of what my cross-processed Provia is doing to skies. Pretty neat, isn’t it?
Minolta XD5, MC 50mm f/1.8, Provia 400F (expired September 2004) cross-processed (C41).
Another from my Provia roll this weekend. When I first ran these negatives through the scanner (I always check the “develop only” box now that I have a negative scanner, and Ritz still charges $4.50), I was disappointed. They had the graininess and sharpness that I like from my cross processed rolls, but the color shifts were minimal and the dynamic range was impossibly thin. I bracketed each shot, and in many cases one was underexposed and one had blown highlights all over. Is Provia a bad film for cross processing? A quick Flickr search suggested that this is definitely not the case.
So why did my film look funny? Turns out the automatic exposure software in my scanner doesn’t handle weird negatives very well (specifically the white point setting). Once I went back and set it manually, I got some very interesting results. Here’s one in color:
Minolta XD5, probably an old MC 50mm f/1.8 (it could have been the 28mm, and I really should be able to tell), Fuji Provia 400F expired September 2004 and cross processed at Ritz.
Am I lowering my standards?
After my repeated CVS developing disasters (preceded by my CVS scanning disasters), I’ve finally given up on CVS One-Hour Photo Processing. There’s something so incredibly convenient about having your negatives developed while you wait (they put a develop-only through in about twenty minutes), but when they are routinely destroying rolls of your film, it quickly becomes a problem. Now that I’m taking my film to the local professional shop, the dust and scratch problems have literally disappeared. While the jump from $2.19 to $3 per roll is really hurting my wallet, the real downside is waiting for my film to come back. They only run C-41 when enough piles up, which usually comes to about once a week. Last time I walked in literally ten minutes before they were running film and had my negatives back in twenty-five minutes. The next roll I dropped off has been there for five days, and will hopefully be done tomorrow. As a result, the blog has become a bit sporadic, and when a roll doesn’t work out (for example, because I’m shooting slide film I’ve never cross processed before in a camera with a lens I’ve (almost) never used before and another that I’d not only used before but cost $3.71), it can mean a dry week.
As is my usually style, I’ve been occasionally going back to these for a week. letting them grow on me and seeing if anything I really like emerges. Unfortunately, nothing did. I do think this is an interesting shot though (if just for the documentary value), and it’s also an interesting example of what happens when you cross process. These are the “natural” colors. This is not a Photoshop action or something of that nature (my post-processing consisted of a crop, a little highlight recovery, and a slight “s” in curves to boost contrast, along with the sharpening that is a necessity for every negative scan). Cross-processed films tend to turn either magenta or green to varying extents depending on the film used and the exposure, and this is an example of a strong magenta shift. You can also see how it varies across the tonal range: The highlights (the back of the SUV) have virtually no shift, the lights (brighter portions of the pavement and sky) have a minimal shift, and the darks (farther edges of the pavement and sky) have a strong shift toward magenta.
Also, note that I appear in the image. A decidedly postmodern nod in an otherwise pointless picture.
Fuji Sensia 100 shot in a Fuji Smart Shot II (which is ghetto beyond all imagining, and please be aware that the camera in that image is the “deluxe” model, which mine is not) cross-processed C-41 (and not ruined, but unfortunately also pretty uninteresting).
Two steps forward, one step back.
There is a color version of this that I almost posted instead. See it here.
My local camera shop (fittingly called “The Camera Shop”) only processes film about once a week, but when I walked in today they were getting ready to run some in less than ten minutes. I had it back less than half an hour later. The results make CVS look like, well, a drugstore, and it only cost me $3.
This image keeps bothering me. Somehow I feel like I like everything sbout it except the fact that there’s nothing interesting in it. It comes from a cross-processed roll of Sensia that I shot the beginning of in Trenton in my XD5 last week and finished in a little Fuji point and shoot camera this afternoon. Sadly, the results weren’t exactly what I was hoping for (actually, the $3.71 Fuji camera was the one that produced the technically better images, which is maddening). After a miserable runaround with an eBay seller over a camera with a broken light meter (apparently the absence of “I promise this works” in the item description means “sold as-is”), I gave up and told myself at least I’d gotten a few lenses from the deal. Unfortunately, the 28mm Vivitar I was so excited about is so soft I briefly wondered if I missed the focus on every shot, and has vignetting that is brutal. In the future I guess I’ll try stopping down further, but I’m pretty disappointed. Oh well. No one said it’d be all sunshine and rainbows.
Fuji Sensia 100 (expired last year) in a Minolta XD5 with a Vivtar 28mm “supersoft!” lens. Processed C-41, converted to black and white.
When I had scanned all of the negatives from my cross-processed slide roll (see here and here) and was looking at my virtual contact sheet in Lightroom, I noticed something strange: The same character appeared twice. Though it seemed completely illgocial, upon closer inspection there really is no denying that the subject of this photograph is the same one shown here (note the tight white sweatshirt, bouquet, and shoes- I couldn’t believe it myself at first). The first was shot through a plastic window as I climbed a flight of stairs on one side of a parking garage, and as I wandered around the roof shooting, this guy apparently made his way all the way around to the opopsite corner where I unknowingly caught him again.
So why isn’t this one color? The more I look at this roll, the more I like them procesed black and white. Part of me feels like that defeats the entire purpose of cross processing (usually done for the crazy color shifts, which I have yet to see), but it does keep the sharpness, graininess, and high contrast intact (in fact, these things might be more noticeable). Though at first I tired to convince myself that the color versions were “truer” to the form, I think I’ll go with what makes images I like better from now on. For most of these, it’s E-6 processed C-41, scanned, and digitally converted to black and white. If I’m happy with the result, what difference does it make how I got there (assuming, of course, that I didn’t steal the image from someone else and put my name on it or something of that nature).
Maybe I should just go back to digital.
Kodak Elite Chrome 400 (expired a while ago), Ricoh KR-10 Super (unlikely to see more use due to light leaks), C-41 (color negative) cross procesing, digital black and white conversion.
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.