Back around 2015-16 my friend Kathy wanted me to take pictures of her for use as her official author photo…so far the book(s) she was writing have yet to materialize (I’d love to read them) but when they do hopefully the back photo will feature the photos I took of her using Cinestill 800T. She liked the portrait I’d done of our mutual friend Duncan and wanted something similar but in color and I did my best I could back then; I think I could probably do better now. But one thing that I did insist on trying more just for myself, was to put a couple shots through my Canon 7 rangefinder because I wanted to try that Summarit lens out with some Double-X. And here are those results:
There’s just something about Double-X that just works for me: the tonality, the contrast, whatever it is, it’s one of my favorite films for portraits. I don’t even think she saw these shots, the roll took a lot longer to use up and even though I posted some of the shots a long time ago I lost the digital files before I uploaded anything on here. I recently had my scanner out of storage and took the opportunity to rescan a few rolls I seemed to have misplaced, this was among them.
Actually these photos are quite ancient now, mid-2017? I forgot about this post, it was way down near the bottom in the drafts. One of my favorite instructors retired, and we had a party for him at one of the school facilities. It’s a bit of a trip down memory lane for me, as most of the students have graduated and moved on, and since I completed the music program I don’t see the professors and instructors much these days.
As another season comes to a close I realize I have an incredible backlog! I’ve posted some pics of last year’s season, but I’ve grouped the majority of the pictures here (there’s a Part II as well). They’re separated by camera because I’m pretty sure that these were taken with the Canon 7. However, that said, it was so long between when I shot them and when I actually looked at them: I think there was a roll in there shot on the Spotmatic.
Anyway the Canon 7 has taken a few hard knocks and the rangefinder patch is out of alignment. I haven’t used it for about a year now, haven’t gotten around to sending it out for a CLA. Another thing to note is that while I usually take my film to Cameraworks, all the rolls of film last year were processed by Mike’s Camera in Boulder.
Colorado gets about 300 days of sunshine and is very dry, so something that is quite rare for us is foggy days. It happened once before when I was driving tours through but I didn’t have my camera that day, this one I did; it was early October (last year) and this cloud was thick, heavy and hovered over Colorado Springs all day.
People that day weren’t very enthusiastic about tours, which gave me plenty of time to drive around the park myself and take pictures.
If you walk into our headquarters, you will see caricatures lining the wall, portraits of all our drivers. Sketch has been hired to do those for years now, and that led to him getting a job with us last year.
Dutch used to be a professional photographer back in the ’70s and ’80s, has some camera equipment lying around that I’m trying to get him to give/sell to me. It’ll happen sooner or later.
(don’t tell anyone but I think he’s about old enough to be my grandpa…)
Because for some reason Tri-X just isn’t enough for me. When I want something a bit different I go for the 5222, Eastman Double-X. Reasons to use Double-X? Though grainier, it’s sharper, and it gives a different look, lovely tonality. And cost, if you’re willing to invest in a 400ft roll of the stuff!
Tri-X is an everyday film, Double-X is for special occasions, and I used it for a few specific projects including my 2-semester-long (and just wrapping up) document of making Overwhelming Majority.
This current iteration was developed by Kodak in the late 1950s and then left alone, so it will give you a classic, mid-century look, especially if you use older lenses/cameras. And that is something I recommend! It requires fairly precise exposure and development can be tricky since it’s designed to be used with Kodak D-96, and anything else will boost the contrast quite a bit. Using older, low-contrast lenses will tame that somewhat. I tend to shoot it inside if the light is good enough, or outside on overcast days. I’ve seen some pretty good results from pushing, etc, though I’ve never had much luck myself.
It’s Thanksgiving, so what am I most thankful for? Tri-X, of course.
I suppose it’s all about the mood. There’s a lot of darkness in these photos, perhaps because I tend to use Tri-X where there isn’t a whole lot of light, and it always gets the image. You can push it, pull it, overexpose or underexpose it and still get results. It’s the most versatile film I know of, the best damn black and white film ever made.
You will notice that most of what I have here are people. I suppose that with larger formats it would work great for landscape photography (which I don’t do a whole lot of in black and white), and I was experimenting a bit with caffenol back in the day, pulling film a stop and using a semi-stand development to reduce grain. Fuji Acros 100 seems to be the king of black & white landscape photography these days, but I’ve always said it’s Kodak for black & white and Fuji for color (and I’ve always said that I’ve always said). One of these days I’ll mix it up.
I’m not the only person in the world to love Tri-X, it does happen to be the best-selling black and white film in the world. Because of its latitude and forgiving latitude in not only exposure but also development, it’s used in a lot of photography programs (including mine). It was used by newspaper photographers from the 1950s to the 1980s, used by combat photographers in Vietnam, and countless street photographers to this day. Think of a famous black and white photo and chances are it was shot on Tri-X. Classic Americana.