Tag Archives: Street Photography

Fear/Update Part II

truck

I was looking through old scans and forgot about this one.

I’m pretty sure I know who this truck belongs to, and this picture of this truck seems a fair reflection of his personality.

FYI- YASHICA CAMERA” arrived today, and was a miserable disappointment. The film advance isn’t really connected to anything, the mirror is stuck up, and the shutter won’t cock. These problems are probably all related, but the point is that the camera is definitely not usable. After all of that waiting and frustration, it is utterly worthless. Now begins the delicate eBay refund tapdance. Though my dealings with the seller so far aren’t exactly confidence-inspiring, I hope this one isn’t too painful. Moral of the story: Don’t be stupid like me- learn your lessons.

I loaded up my students’ cameras with Tri-X tonight, and they’re off into the world of hybrid black-and-white photography. Most have never handled a 35mm camera before, and none has used a manual camera before. One pair is using a KR-10 from my personal stash (actually, it’s borrowed) in place of the disappointing Yashica. I forgot that it has a light leak, so I’ll have to track them down tomorrow with some electrical tape.

It’s strange trying to explain exposure and film and metering to people who have never tried it before. It’s easy to forget how foreign these things feel at first, especially to those of us hailing from the digital age. There’s a difference between explaining and teaching, and I’m hoping this week of playing with the cameras will help take me from the first to the second. Only time will tell.

Probably my KR-5 Super II loaded with Plus-X. I should write these things down.

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Filed under Black and White, Film, Self-Developed, Street Photography

Speed I

speed-1

More toy cameras.

I shot another roll of redscaled film last week with much better results. Wide angle lenses (even if they are plastic and attached to a $3 camera) ar great for close-up perspective-disorting shots. I like how huge the (admittedly huge in real life) brake rotor looks. I had a dream last night that I bought some sort of used Triumph, and it reminded me that I wanted to post this.

Kodak Gold 200 film (expired six years ago and salvaged from my roommate’s mother’s closet) redscaled and shot in a Fuji Smart Shot II toy camera.

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Filed under Color, Film, Street Photography

Intrusion

jmsharp

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).

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Filed under Color, Film, Street Photography

Authenticity III (or The Literal Other Side)

top-down

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.

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Authenticity II

eli

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.

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Filed under Color, Film, Street Photography

The Other Side

fmn5

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.

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Shadow

silver-shadow

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+.

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Filed under Black and White, Film, Self-Developed, Street Photography