Expired Kodak BW400CN

This film was on sale at my local camera store, expired between 2006 and 2008.  I decided to give it a try, I mean why not?  So this is about the last week in November and first week and a half or so in December.

It’s not bad stuff.  I shot it sometimes at ASA200 and sometimes ASA100, and think it works well outside: shadow detail can be a bit lacking otherwise.  Also for some reason the film scans always came back really dirty, lots of stuff like dust, etc, on the negatives.  I shot a lot of Ilford XP2 last year and I will say that it’s nice having at least that chromogenic film stock available but I wish that Kodak would bring this back at some point…and also Plus-X.  Shooting the expired stuff is fine for a bit of a change but all my reflexes at this point are for shooting ASA400 film and I don’t really want to change that up too much.  I think I had 6 rolls total and they’re all gone; I don’t plan on getting more.

My mother’s camera: the Minolta XG-A

This is the camera that I grew up using, for as far back as I can remember…considering that it’s older than I am and my dad got it for my mom before they were even married, I suppose that makes sense.  Now, she didn’t use it much, really after 2004 when she got her digital camera; I got her to use it once about 5 years ago and that was it as far as I know.  Just like most people of the earlier generation, they were mystified by the high technology as well as the convenience of DSLRs and never went back to film.  Most of the cameras I use are much older and less complicated/electronic than this one.  Minolta had an entire series of X cameras of which this was the simplified model with aperture priority only; with a full range of manual speeds as well (as the X-700 has) I would find this camera more useful but did bring it out occasionally back when I was shooting the MD mount system back in my early college days.

If you follow my blog regularly you might know that my mother died recently.  For her memorial service and as a tribute to her, I wanted to take pictures and of course take them with her camera.  Also included are some valuable time spent with friends/family before/after the service.

Three rolls of film, in order: Cinestill 800T, Kodak T-Max P3200 (both expired), and Kodak Tri-X pushed to 1600.  There are a lot of photos here that have some technical problems and I don’t know exactly what the problem is because there are too many variables.  I used a 3v lithium battery when I think before it was always alkaline.  Two of the three rolls I shot were expired high speed film that had been in my mom’s freezer for years.  I dropped off the film and expected it to be ready in a week but I guess they ran into staffing problems or something, and had to rush process the film for me, a mistake could have been made there.  And of course it could be that the shutter speeds are off, though usually they tend to get slower with age; of course it could be that the electronics are failing.

What it comes to is that the film all looks underexposed and shadow detail is often lacking, even with overexposing the expired film by one stop.  The better-exposed shots were ones that I took outside or near an open door, which brings up another possibility: that it just doesn’t read dim light correctly.  And of course I’m not sure how much having light sources in the frame might have affected exposure as well. When there is too much light the shutter won’t fire, so there were times I missed shots because of this, going from one part of the church to the other where the light changed too drastically.  After having used shutter priority with the Canon AE-1 I find it much more freeing setting at 1/60 and having the lens stop down as much as needed, it made it easy to set and forget whereas with the aperture priority I was forever worrying about whether the aperture I had it on would make the shutter speed too slow.  It was more an unfounded fear as nearly everything doesn’t show motion blur but I also wanted to give myself as much depth of field as possible because the lens would be focusing in the opposite direction from what I’m used to.  What it boils down to is that I was using a camera that is now unfamiliar to me after having shot Pentax and Nikon for most of the last decade and more.  I don’t know that I will use it much or ever again for that matter but being a family heirloom like my grandfather’s cameras I of course can’t let it go.

Road to the Peak

Well actually this is the road from Pike’s Peak, but whatever.  This is the last view of the summit before reaching the toll gate in Cascade and Ute Pass.

2020 was an exceptionally dry and hazy Summer/Fall with quite a lot of forest fires, you can see that here with the amount of smoke in the air.

Project part 1 – Advanced Photography (redux)

Winter/Spring 2019 I retook Advanced Photography.

I was just getting the ball rolling at this stage, there weren’t too many things going on in January/February.  The most important thing was to hit the ground running.  I had to convince the class that my Cowboys & Jeeps project was worth it, but I did narrowly succeed.

The alternative was to revisit my personal project from the first time I took Adv.Photo, but I wanted something fun, and could shoot this project while working which was a big plus.  I was shooting bulk rolls of Tri-X but it hadn’t come in yet so I pulled out my old bulk roll that expired 20 years ago.

Half these pictures are the result of my instructor suggesting that I make a series of pictures of coworkers off-duty, and that didn’t go over as well with the class so I promptly dropped the idea.  Of the rest are a picture when my cousins came to visit as well as a few from Garden of the Gods’ annual bighorn sheep day.  It took some time to really home in on what this project would become but there are a few seeds in one or two of the pictures.

Eastman House

I honestly didn’t shoot that much, I was so busy just looking around.  This was one of the places I’d been wanting to check out since I found out the next Blackburn Reunion would be near Rochester.  Just standing in the same rooms that the Great Man stood, walking where he walked, it was special.

Compared to the McMansions that are made today and some of the places I’ve seen Eastman’s house seems modest, even austere in a way.  But one thing that I was aware of is that everything is of top quality.  There were some very nice grounds with flowers and at least one pond, but I enjoyed the grape vines more, at least they’re something useful.  I tasted one too, they’re way too sour.  Besides that the only souvenir I took was an acorn that fell from one of the oak trees in his front yard.  Everything else has a bit of significance too: a long exposure in the camera obscura, a mirror selfie in Eastman’s study, the nitrate archive, and Eastman’s love of music (wouldn’t let me get close enough to the pipe organ).  Probably these pictures aren’t very interesting to anyone but me, that’s ok.  If you’re in Rochester and you love shooting on film, go make your own pictures there.  Just don’t buy a roll of film in their gift shop, it’s outrageously expensive.

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.

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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Out with the old…

…and in with the reliable.  Just look at that old piece of crap: my mom bought me this officially-branded Chicago Blackhawks duffel bag when I was about ten years old, so I’ve had it more than two-thirds of my life.  It carried my clothes to sleepovers way back when, to film festivals in Colorado, and housesitting jobs as recently as last month; it got a lot of love along the way.  After 20+ years it’s finally getting retired in favor of a BAD Bags #3 duffel/backpack hybrid.

It’s a pretty important investment for me because I’m flying to Ohio towards the end of March and I’m sick of borrowing my mom’s luggage.  I certainly couldn’t take the Blackhawks bag with holes everywhere and no working zipper…