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photoblogography - Just some stuff about photography

Stylejacking

Going all negative

in Film , Thursday, November 06, 2014

In film circles, Kodak Portra 400 is a very popular choice. Actually there’s not all that many alternatives left these days, but even if there were, I suspect Portra 400 would still have a considerable following. Based on the name, I always assumed that the film was designed for portraiture, and as I’m not really into that, I never really tried it. I think I used a few rolls of Portra 800 many years ago to shoot a flamenco show, and that’s about it. But it also has developed a following in landscape circles, where it seems to be the anti-Velvia option.

As a negative film, Portra lends itself very much to broad daylight photography, unlike most slide film, given soft, luminous, pastel tones. I’ve read advice to overexpose it, so I did so, using it in my Xpan with +1 stop exposure compensation. The fun thing about this film is that it seems almost impossible to burn the highlights. On the other hand, the shadow density is a bit weak.

One drawback of negative film is that it can be very trick to scan. However in this case, using the Silverfasrt Portra “NegaFix” profile worked pretty well straight out of the box. As you can in a previous post, the overall colour compared to an E100G slide film shot is pretty close.

Here are a few examples, shot in and around Dorgali and Oristana in wonderful Sardinia:

xpan_sardegna1409_01_7
xpan_sardegna1409_01_20
xpan_sardegna1409_02_03
xpan_sardegna1409_02_02
xpan_sardegna1409_02_08

This was possibly the first time I’ve really set out to mimic a style. It seemed to work out quite well. However, as enjoyable as it was, it’s not really me. I’d just better remember to reset the exposure compensation on the XPan before I go back to slide film!

 

 

The Kodak Challenge

fun with film

in Film , Thursday, October 16, 2014

Continuing the report on my trials with Kodak Provia 400 in Sardinia, I’ve now got the heavyweight stuff processed, i.e the rolls that went through the XPan. Interestingly, without really planning it, I have two shots taken a few minutes apart of the same scene, one on the last frame of a roll of E100G that was in the camera, and one on Portra 400. Both were taken handheld, so the framing is a little different. And the light changed slightly, it was a little sunnier for the top image.

Both were scanned on the Opticfilm 120, using Silverfast. For the Portra, I used the 400NC Negafix profile. Both images are straight scans, no further processing. Can you tell which is which? (Try just looking at the colour, there are a few other giveaways for the more astute viewer…)

xpan_sardegna1409_01_2
xpan-sardegna1409-03-1

 

 

Ferrania — Kickstarter

100 more years of analog film!

in Film , Tuesday, September 30, 2014

100 More Years of Analog Film by FILM Ferrania — Kickstarter

Still want to shoot film ? Now’s your chance to put your money where your mouth is. I certainly will be.

ferrania
 

The Portra Report

sentimental journey

in Film , Friday, September 26, 2014

As I mentioned a few posts back, partly inspired by the photography of Johnny Patience and a few others I discovered through his blog, I decided that on my recent trip to Sardinia I would take just 5 rolls of Portra 400, and my resurrected Minox ML. Oh, and my Hasselblad XPan.

The Monox was a lot of fun to use. With no real expectations, there was no pressure, and I just pointed it at things and clicked. I’ve just received the processed films and low-res scans back from the lab (Fotolab.ch) and below are a few samples. I’m very pleased with the colour and tonality, but the scans are a little dark and of very poor quality. There is a linear defect running all the way across most of them which is not on the negatives.  And one film came back with a handwritten note saying “the emulsion was damaged”. Possibly time to change labs, and I certainly would think twice about sending mission-critical stuff to them.

I don’t know if I’ll carry on with film, or at least with negative film, but I have to say aesthetically I can see the attraction.

36710033
36710010
36680020
36660006
36710029
36710001
36680009
36680017
36660004
36710006

There are some shots I’d never have attempted on digital. Then again, others that I couldn’t take with Portra 400.  All a matter of choices.

 

 

Negative Time

reversing into the future

in Film , Thursday, September 04, 2014

Tomorrow evening we’re off for a long needed week of relaxation, in the very familiar surroundings of Sardinia. My initial thought was not to take any camera at all, because if I do I’ll feel under pressure to use it.  Last year, also in Sardinia, I did get a few interesting shots, but by and large I’d probably have done better just to settle for the beach.

But, well, what I’ve ended up doing is I’ve decided to try something different. I’m getting a little jaded with digital cameras, even though the Olympus E-P5 is very nice, and the Sigma twins are fabulous when they’re having a good hair day, I just don’t feel like dragging all the paraphernalia of chargers and whatever with me.

So I bought some film.

Drm 2014 09 04 P9040335

I’ve never used Portra 400 before, but since sooner or later I’m going to need to move away from reversal film, I decided to give it a try. It gets a pretty good write up from all sorts of people.  Hopefully it will be better than Ektar 100, which is a bit too Velvia for my tastes.

My earliest visits to Sardinia were film-only, so this is a bit of a nostalgia trip. Not decided yet if the XPan is coming along. I might just take the Minox. And maybe the XA, one with Porta, the other with Scala. E100G is reserved for the XPan.

There’s a lot of talk these days about the revival of film, and how film is better and just switching to film turns you into an instant mega-hip star photographer. Well, frankly, that’s utter bollocks. Back in those pre-digital years when everybody used film, was everybody a totally brilliant gifted photographer ? No, they weren’t. Most were crap. A far higher proportion than today were utterly hopeless. The instant feedback and accessibility of digital has had a huge impact of helping many, many people to become brilliant photographers.  Most people who have “rediscovered” or just started using film are producing truly ghastly work, seemingly believing that drastic overexposure will turn any sow’s ear into a silk purse. Of course there are exceptions - many exceptions - but as a trend, it’s all more than a little hollow.

I’ve also just discovered and download a nice little iPhone app made by Kodak - remember them ? Anyway, it’s largely a bit of marketing fluff for Kodak film, but I’m all for that, and it is very pretty. I haven’t found the section on Kodachrome or Ektachrome yet though.  It does include a location finder for approved development labs and film retailers.  In my case, these (both of them) are 250km away, on the other side of the highest mountain range in Europe. No one said shooting film was getting easier.

Kodak

(I can highly recommend Photo Studio 13 by the way. One of the very, very few labs that still process Agfa Scala)

 
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