Why I love Double-X

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.

Here are some great resources if you’re going to shoot Double-X:
Project Double-X (sadly defunct due to the death of its owner)
Through the Viewfinder’s 400ft Roll Project

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Why I love Tri-X

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.

Overwhelming Majority released to the world

Overwhelming Majority is an experimental documentary dealing with issues of alienation, isolation, and social anxiety.  I remember my teacher Jane sending me this article when I was making the film and being very intrigued by that aspect, something I’d never considered.  OM has been screening at film festivals for the last year and a half, but in light of recent events like Las Vegas, perhaps it’s time to be seen by the rest of the world.

WINNER: Best Experimental film – 2016 Blissfest333
WINNER: Best Experimental film – 2016 UCCS Short Film Festival
NOMINATION: Best Experimental film – 2017 Wales International Film Festival
NOMINATION: Best Documentary Short – 2016 Blissfest333

OFFICIAL SELECTIONS:
2017 London International Documentary Festival
2017 Carmarthen Bay Film Festival
2017 Colorado Short Circuit
2017 Wales International Documentary Festival
2017 Durango Independent Film Festival
2016 Southern Colorado Film Festival

Chapel interior

The chapel at the United States Air Force Academy, Colorado Springs, tends to draw quite a few visitors because of its interesting shape (you can search for pics online).  But also due to its unique architecture it has always suffered problems with leaking, and will therefore close for renovation next year.  If you’re planning on visiting Colorado Springs soon, you might want to check out the Academy chapel as your next opportunity could be at least 5 years from now.

While giving a tour of my city I took the opportunity of the bright sunlight to really let the stained glass do its thing inside the chapel, and the Ektar 100 really let the colors pop.  Below is a view of some of the dormitory buildings.  If you enjoy mid-century modernism the Academy is fantastic, and offers striking contrast with its surroundings.

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Home movies

Home Movie Day, October 2016 at the Southern Colorado Film Festival.  I saw Kodachrome projected for the first time and have to say that I was totally blown away with the colors.  The more I see the more I understand how big a hole it left, which the new Ektachrome will probably not be able to fill.

Filmmaker Eric Stewart was our projectionist and film enthusiast extraordinaire.  I also included a picture of some of his optical film printers that he’s working on restoring in his garage.

What is Kodak ColorPlus 200?

I found this at one of the stores in the Springs a few months back, and originally thought it might be something new, but it seems it’s something mainly for the overseas market.  I have no idea why the cartridge says Kodacolor and the box says ColorPlus.  I think Kodacolor was something that was sold back in the ’90s, had no idea it had come back.  Or has it?

 

As an all-around consumer film it does alright, especially with the blues.  It doesn’t seem to pull detail out of the shadows as well as some of the others, and I really hope this isn’t being brought in as a substitute for Gold 200, because I think Gold beats this by a significant margin.  Like with Gold 200, I shot it at ASA100.

Now the bad stuff: the first few shots were of wind generators in Eastern Colorado.  I don’t know what was up with the film, but there was some strange mottling that’s most apparent during those frames, plus reduced contrast, almost looks like it’s expired.  I suppose it has its uses as an effect, but I would have expected better from Kodak.

Unfortunately it wasn’t just that roll either.  I took my second roll to Durango with me and had the same problem with that one.

I spent $8.00 a roll on this.  Never again.