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.

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A new manual film camera?

Well here’s some more good news: a company called Reflex is making an all-new manual SLR, which would make it the first since Cosina-Voigtlander made the Bessaflex (which was what, 13-14 years ago?  Not quite as long as the article is claiming but whatever).  Their Kickstarter campaign will be going live in about two weeks, the original story is here: http://www.film-traveler.com/reflex-1st-new-manual-slr-25-years/

Like the article mentions already, the shots on their Instagram are taken with a Super-Takumar lens, so I do really hope that like the Bessaflex this is an M42 mount camera!  Of course, whether or not I can buy one, that will depend on the price.  I did just get a full CLA for the Spotmatic which cost me $120, meaning that the entire amount of money I paid for that camera body (including the battery) is somewhere around $137.  I doubt that a new manual camera would be less than $400, and also doubt that it will have the same build quality as a Spotmatic.  Hope I’m wrong though!

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.

Love those trains II: Durango-Silverton

I was able to take a train ride while attending the Durango Independent Film Festival in the beginning of March.  Being winter, the line was only open for the bottom half, so it made a nice morning trip and something to do before attending my first screening at the festival.

While the scenery was nice, I was of course more interested in the steam locomotive itself.