Blackburn Reunion 2018, Pt.II

Part II: with the Minolta Weathermatic Dual 35, which I had along ostensibly to use on the water, but which also came handy for other snapshots when occasioned.  Starting with a roll of Kodak Gold 200, then a roll of T-Max 400.

That roll of T-Max cost me $12.00 or so at the Eastman House gift shop (for a 24exp roll).  I’ll never let myself get ripped of like that again, but I felt I wanted to at least buy one roll from there while I was in Upstate New York.  One day we were visiting different wineries around the Finger Lakes

Blackburn Reunion 2018, Pt.I

Every couple of years my college buddies get together around Labor Day Weekend to hang out.  This year we stayed at the house of one of our uncles, on Canandaigua Lake in Upstate New York.  I miss this area quite a lot, we spent some time here when I was a boy and it was great to make it back to such a beautiful spot.  There was some hanging around as you can see, board games, lots of meals, generally stuff that we did together when we all lived in Columbus.  Flying into Rochester, NY and staying around the Finger Lakes I of course left all my Fujifilm stocks at home.

The roll of Cinestill 800T was downright ancient, I think I’d had it in my fridge for almost four years and it looks rather grainy.  It’s also the first roll I’d shot in a while and I did shoot it outside now and again, with my orange filter.  That worked better than the first time I tried.  Strangely, I had to work with the indoor shots much more to find an acceptable color temperature (not my strong suit).  I was anticipating some late nights in near-darkness and the T-Max 3200 definitely came through for me there, this is the second roll of the stuff that I’ve shot.  One of my goals was to take a good portrait of each of my friends, though there was some resistance to that.  I got a pretty good shot of most everybody (and they even turned the camera on me once or twice too).  I also tried a cigar for the first time ever and puked my guts out about half an hour later (then it became a true college party); ironic that one of my buddies had mentioned earlier that he never took whisky and cigars together for just that reason, and I had to learn the hard way too…power of suggestion?

The T-Max 3200 was bought last year (in an order from Cinestill).  I think I’m acquiring a bit of a taste for this film: the grain is certainly pronounced (in fact compare it to the last time I pushed Tri-X to 1600), but I love the moodiness that it gives the pictures.  In fact next time we get together I might just keep it all black & white because I’m a bigger fan of that roll of 3200 than anything else I shot.  Then I could roll out the f/1.4 Yellow 50; this time I knew I wanted to shoot some Cinestill 800T so I brought out the 1.8/55 SMC Takumar.

So is the 3200 really any better than pushing Tri-X to 3200?  I honestly don’t know, I’ve only pushed Tri-X to 1600.  I have heard that the results can be a bit unpredictable to go beyond 1600, but then perhaps I should put that to the test myself.  Or maybe look at T-Max 3200 shot at 1600, to compare the grain.  It does look very grainy, more than I would have thought.  Where does the T-grain have its limitations?  The outside night shots here were T-Max 400 shot at 3200; it might not be the most scientific comparison, but I don’t see much difference.

On Tri-X: Tri-X on Tri-X

What I used during Advanced Photo.  I pulled out my old bulk roll of Tri-X that expired two decades ago, last time I used it was 3 years ago, but it did come in handy allowing me to shoot ASAP while waiting for my new bulk roll to come in.  It wasn’t the case until recently, but thankfully shooting 100ft bulk rolls of film is back to being an affordable price.

Boxes and cans, 20 years apart.

In fact, I ended up buying another 100ft roll which got used up the first week in June.

The latest shipment

This summer’s order from Freestyle Photo.  20 rolls of Tri-X for continuing my Cowboys & Jeeps project plus I’m finally going to try out the new Ektachrome.

About this time last year I got a big shipment of super 8 film to continue the documentary.  I might have put that on hold so I can finish this photo project.  I’m on my last roll of Christmas present and already have 6 rolls of this batch in my camera bag right now.

What Fuji reworking Acros 100 means

Old news now, but I’ll start off with the link if you haven’t seen it already: https://emulsive.org/articles/news/brand-new-film-from-fujifilm-neopan-100-acros-ii-announced-begins-shipping-autumn-2019?fbclid=IwAR1AHH93iDb-r_nGjKXmUnBZzfNoZqA6ezcfFvBf_moKLVE-JXQOSp5LtQY

This is the kind of news I would have thought to read on April Fools’ Day but I’m incredibly happy that this is happening for real!  The best thing to take away from this announcement besides the new Acros is the intimation that Fuji has been restructuring their manufacturing, scaling down to meet current demand.

I’ve read the rumors that Fuji made one last gigantic batch of film and has been selling it off piecemeal for the last few years, and it sounds like a plausible one to me.  If true, perhaps it wasn’t because they had decided to stop production and scrap their machinery, as much as it was to streamline production, and rework their emulsions to use more easily-sourced ingredients.  I’ve been one to spread the message of doom and gloom in the past, I hope I was wrong there and so have an alternative.  If Ektachrome can be bought for $13 after Kodak had to spend a lot of time and effort with reworking the emulsion, I see no reason why Velvia and Provia should be selling for nearly $20.  The constant price hikes in the past few years could be explained as a way to manage demand while they were working on restructuring, which would mean that they should be going down.

Now that Fuji has reworked Acros, I expect to see announcements for Velvia and Provia to come soon, and probably the color negative stocks as well.  Here are a few other things to hope for:

-reworked emulsions for Neopan 400 and 1600, Reala 100, Provia 400X, more?

-better prices, around $7-10 per roll

-better communication with customers.  It’s obvious that they’ve been reading what we’ve been writing.  Kodak needs to work on this more as well, but at least they’re trying.  Fuji has been a black hole of information and it’s annoying.

Dinosaur bones

The Dinosaur Resource Center in Woodland Park, CO is one of the top 3 paleontology research centers in the country, and I’m glad to have it so close to me.  It actually took my cousin’s family coming to visit for me to check it out myself.  Being on the Front Range where there was so much uplift, it’s been a good place to find so many fossils.  As far as they’re telling us, there used to be many sites in Colorado that paleontologists were digging them up, but at the moment it’s only in Colorado Springs.

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Elliott Patterson/Mercy Club

Friends of mine at a recent house concert.  I’ve shot Mercy Club (in a different guise) before.  Their nephew Elliott is a former piano student of mine; I’d like to think I gave him that first push and of course claim credit for whatever musical success he has later on.

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