The days of drugstore 1-hour photo are gone

At least in my town.  I’ve been up at my mom’s recently, and noticed that the Walgreens where I did my film processing back in the day no longer has their minilab, sadly.  Now this doesn’t affect me at all, but was still a bummer to find out.  Maybe I should have asked one of the employees about it all, but really I was done with that store years ago.  The last time I took film there it cost me $18 for three rolls of film and they didn’t scan them, because evidently they started some racket where they wouldn’t give people scans unless they bought prints as well.

Even then, I’d still try to give them business–though I was never successful, I’d encourage my Woodland Park friends to shoot film and get it developed at Walgreens.  They never took me on, and sadly it’ll be that much harder for anyone in this area to try film.

The local processing may be gone, but the film remains.  City Market sells Kodak Max 400 and Gold 200 (plus single-use cameras) and the Wal-Mart sells 4-packs of Fuji.  The last time I went to Wal-Mart though, which was right after Christmas, I noticed that they no longer sold Fuji Superia 800, and that seems to be all across the board, at least in Colorado.  Too bad, because I love that film and now I don’t know how to get ahold of it cheaply.  Then again, I haven’t used it since experiencing the wonders of Cinestill 800T, so how does this all affect me?  Not at all.

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Final project: portrait outtakes – Intro to Photography

Fall 2013.  A continuation of this post.  Here are images that for one reason or another didn’t make the cut.  Some I printed along the way for critiques, some I didn’t look at until after I had scanned everything.

Minolta SRT-MCII Outtakes:

Canon AE-1 Outtakes:

Pentax Spotmatic SPII outtake:

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Kodak making film even more affordable

It’s a bit older news now, but still good:

http://www.kodak.com/ek/US/en/corp/Press_center/Kickstarter_and_Kodak_Launch_New_Initiative/default.htm?utm_source&utm_medium&utm_campaign

Wow, now this is the kind of thing I love seeing.  It seems that the smaller a budget one has, the harder it is to afford to shoot film, especially if a DSLR is available to use for free, but it can be done.  I made my first film with two 35mm still cameras, three rolls of film, and iMovie on my church’s Macintosh.  Overwhelming Majority, my latest film, had a budget of $1000, but most of that went to the purchase of and processing for super 8 film ($600 for processing alone).

I didn’t run a crowdfunding campaign plus Kodak is looking at larger productions than mine was, productions shooting on 16mm and 35mm film.  But for the low budget feature getting money from crowdfunding, Kodak and Kickstarter bringing a deal together seems wonderful.  Up to $15,000 worth of 16mm film or $20,000 of 35mm film?  I’d call that great incentive, a great opportunity for films with small budgets to better afford shooting on film, and Kodak helps you help yourself.  Remember, if you keep shooting it, they’ll keep making it!

In other news, it seems that the waitlist for preorders of the new super 8 camera are over 5000 now, according to this article.  That’s fantastic, as is their film division head’s statement that sales have been climbing quite a lot: in Europe alone film sales have doubled in the last year.  Film is on the rise.

Edit: It seems that Kodak is taking interest in lower-tier filmmakers as well, starting with covering entry fees for any projects shot on film and submitted to the Louisiana Film Prize.  In addition, there are discounts for film processing as well.  While this is only open to projects made in Northern Louisiana, I’m sure someday soon there will be waivers available for many festivals, and that makes me happy.

Final project: portraits – Intro to Photography

Fall 2013.  I had been taking portraits here and there throughout the semester, this time around I decided to pursue it in a more serious way.  I started looking at other photographers’ work more, looking at what it means to take a good portrait.  They say that all portraits are actually self-portraits of the photographer, to some degree.  Living in a small mountain town, I have some nice-looking backdrops pretty much wherever I go, and some pretty interesting-looking friends as well.  The first I found that was a keeper was actually taken Summer 2013 before the class even started, with the faulty Hi-matic 9 that I have since given away.  It featured a son of some friends of mine, one of my favorite photographic subjects:

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It’s really hard to just put these up without talking about them, so I’m going to group pictures a bit.

Woodland Park used to host several different series of local music, all non-profit (don’t know how many there are at the moment).  The one that I was affiliated with was called the Mountain Acoustic Music Association (MAMA), unfortunately due to lack of attendance and too large a venue, they had to shut down.  This was the last show they put on, bittersweet memories.

Being in a photo class, I decided I had an excuse to spend a few bucks on a portrait lens, and the local camera store just happened to have a few new Canon FD lenses in, which was nice because I really wanted to try out the AE-1 I’d been given and see how it compared to the Minolta.

It did alright, one thing I discovered was both light meters lied about their readings indoors: if I followed what they told me, I ended up overexposing by 1 stop with the Minolta, and underexposing 1 stop with the Canon.  I did like the winding action better with the Canon…  Up above are final presentations from two rolls of Tri-X and the only roll of Plus-X I ever bought.  Three out of four were with the 50mm 1.4 S.S.C. lens, so that $100 I spent on the 100mm 2.8 S.S.C. doesn’t seem quite worth it, and which lens did I return?  The fast-50.  The middle two came from a roll that I accidentally exposed by opening the back before I’d rewound the film.  Thankfully, it didn’t affect the early exposures!

In the Canon outtakes you’ll see a picture of two bearded individuals: that one was my original portrait, but the fact that I fudged the focus so badly (that Canon 50’s depth of field is narrow) nagged at me, and I redid it when I went over to my friend’s house to take more pictures of his beard.  I went back to the Minolta, because I still had a few more exposures in the Canon, and this particular roll I pushed 2 stops to get faster shutter speeds, the first time I’d ever pushed a roll of film before:

Once again, all on one roll.  Perhaps it was because I was just used to working with that camera?

The last thing I did was to make portraits of two newborn babies, as two sets of friends had just given birth (only hours apart).  I had just the week before (and only several days after buying that Canon 100mm lens) found a screw-mount portrait lens for the Spotmatic (and it didn’t cost $100 either) at a thrift store, a Chinon 135mm f/2.8.  I decided if there was ever a time to break out the Spotmatic, this was it.  Since both families wanted pictures in time to send out as Christmas cards, I decided using some chromogenic film was in order, and I bought a 36-exposure roll of Kodak BW400CN for that purpose, knowing I could get it developed and scanned in a day, then make my own prints at a more leisurely pace.

At the time, I’d never used Photoshop for correction, and the scans I got back were actually pretty low-contrast.  I have to say, now that I know what I’m doing I quite like the look of BW400CN.  Unfortunately, it’s no longer made.  The Chinon turned out to be a worthy lens, but I sort of retired it after I found the 135mm Super-Takumar.

I spent more time talking to my subjects than I did taking pictures, and usually I’d be taking 5-7 shots in a row; it seems that burning a couple shots up front helped my subjects relax, helped me get more natural looks.  My little bit of street photography experience helped me out as well, as some of those portraits were completely candid.

I have lots of pictures that I didn’t end up using, and they can be found here.

Ektar 100+Summarit 1.5

My first two rolls through my new (2nd) Canon 7, which I bought to be able to use some nice German-made lenses for Leica cameras.  These lenses are quite old even by my standards: the Leitz 5cm Summarit f/1.5 that I have is a relatively modern copy from 1953, and while it is coated (single coated), the contrast is not nearly what I’m used to with my Pentax lenses (younger by approximately 20 years).  The Summarit also has a reputation for being rather soft, though shooting as much as I could at f/8, I think it’s sharp enough for what I’m doing here (not as sharp as my Takumars though).  I’d still like to pick up a screw-mount collapsible Summicron for landscape pictures, but in a pinch the Summarit does nicely.  I’ve wondered about getting one of the modern Voigtlander lenses (or Lomography’s new Jupiter 3+) for color work, as I wasn’t sure how the low-contrast Leitz lenses from the ’50s and earlier would handle color film, but I was also curious what an ultra-saturated film like Ektar 100 would look like, and here are some of the results.

I need to shoot in the sun more, most of the time I was out it was overcast and that didn’t help much, but also I wonder if they weren’t underexposed a bit too.  I don’t have enough experience with Ektar to say if this is indeed the case, but roll #2 (the last 5 pics) show much improved color to my eyes.  I might just buy a few more rolls and continue testing this film/lens combination at some point.

I processed these pictures the same way I’ve been doing black & white, which is taking PSI output at -30 contrast and adding contrast back in using Photoshop.  I also have the regular PSI output, but prefer the added control.  This film captures quite a lot of information, and as someone who has more experience with black & white, it’s hard to get the color I think this film should have while still retaining detail in highlights/shadows.  But I’m learning.

I’ll probably be going back to black & white next for this camera and lens, but the experiments with color will continue!  I plan to shoot a roll or two of Provia and Velvia through the Canon 7 this Summer, and I hope that I’ll like the results of that, as I’m more used to Fuji’s color than I am to Kodak’s.  And Ferrania is coming soon as well, I hope.  I will say this about Ektar though: it handles different and mixed lighting extremely well!  I shot about half of my 2nd roll indoors and usually under fluorescent lights, and was quite satisfied with the colors even working straight out of PSI; very little tweaking was needed, and it was quite easy (a few examples are here).  Yes it was a bit slow for that purpose, but it has me considering Portra 400 for occasional indoor work now