Monthly Archives: September 2013

Fuji Provia 100F

Greetings!

Over the past month i have been to New York, Notting Hill Carnival, working, getting ready for my final year of University, weddings, parties and all sorts of things!

A member of The Camera Club which i am holding an exhibition at in January prompted me to shoot a roll of Provia 100F next as it was one of his favourite colour films. So i did just that! To my surprise the negatives are positives which upon opening my parcel from the lab i use to process colour film i had a moment of nostalgia of KodaChrome slides.

Notting Hill Carnival was the beginning of my Provia journey, the sun was beating down on London creating a gorgeous deep blue sky and it was hot. I hadn’t realised how big the carnival was as i had never been before, setting off around mid day i covered a massive area eventually walking through to Paddington Station.

Unfortunately the carnival was not what i expected, it was interesting to see various crowds of people and performances however it seems bare and instead of stalls of things to see and do it just contained a lot of food stalls and huge crowds of drunk people. I was wondering where the colour was, where the entertainment was! There were the odd crowds of people dressed in flamboyant outfits with feathers and displays however it got a bit tiresome after seeing one area like this and moving onto the next with exactly the same costumes.

I decided to leave the rest of the film for my trip to New York City, albeit panicking they may x-ray my luggage. There was no fogging on the film so *phew*

New York City is amazing, it is by far the best holiday i’ve had to date, my friend and i did everything you can think of. Helicopter rides, Brooklyn, Uptown, Downtown, Midtown, Greenwich VIllage, Chelsea, Hells Kitchen, Central Park. You name it we did it, we also managed to get into some private rooftop parties for celebrities, check out the local bars, clubs and restaurants and also make some new friends along the way.

Due to this being my first time in NYC i think i went a bit touristy with the photos initially. The film i shot after this in my opinion is better, however it’s black and white and typically i favour the tones, contrasts and nuances of black and white over colour.

The film itself is covered in dust, wether this is an error in processing or a bad cover of emulsion i am unsure but considerable cleaning was required during retouching. Also scanning positives on my scanner seemed a little strange, the colours of the positive when looking directly at the film look saturated and sharp however my scanner seems to have lost some of that saturation, i tinkered with various settings for a considerable amount of time however didn’t come up with anything satisfactory until i imported the files into photoshop for a general retouch and clean up, there was also a green colourcast over the photos which had to be removed.

I have also found that the photographs are a stop or so lower than i originally anticipated when shooting. I haven’t had this sort of problem before so i’m concerned feel that the chemicals during processing where a little strong and the develop has carried on too far. If this continues i will have to change the company i use to develop my colour film.

The Provia has handled well in America and although my shots are somewhat touristy for this roll it demonstrates some of the qualities on Provia 100F. It has a beautiful fine grain and deep blues. The original positives look fantastic. If i was printing from an enlarger i’m sure the results would be stunning. I will shoot with Provia again but use a different Lab to develop the film to get a satisfactory result.

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The 35mm Project ‘Pride’ Exhibition

35mm

The 35mm Project has been created to document all types of film available today, out of the box, pushed, pulled and of course developed myself. A photo heavy project focused on breaking away from the digital era and returning to organic, grainy, true photography.

Every year in London on the 29th June the streets are filled with a giant party atmosphere celebrating gay right movements and various sexualities coming together to express themselves in one of the city’s more colourful events. Pride.

Each roll of film captures a different stage throughout the day and into the evening reflecting the union of people and excitement filling the streets of London.

The bold, colourful and saturated Ektar images provide a deep insight into what Pride stands for whilst the later evening shots of Portra 1600 wind the day down with a collection of drunk, playful photos with higher grain and people interacting with each other.

Each black and white film shows the people of pride without the distractions of colour. The grainy, contrasts of Agfa and the soft glow of BW400CN complete the collection.

For this event I wanted my equipment to be as light as possible, I opted for my Sigma 50mm f/1.4 prime for the shallow aperture and it being much lighter than my 24-70. I stuck around f/2 – f/5.6 rarely going any higher.

In order of shooting I started with Kodak Ektar 100, which produced strong, sharp saturated photos. Ektar has been likened for sharing similar properties to KodaChrome 64 which is why I opted for shooting it during pride as it’s now impossible to shoot KodakChrome however I feel KodaChrome had a warmer more contrasty feel to the final photographs which Ektar misses.

The results from the Agfa are exceptional, the contrasts are very appealing, the grain isn’t as fine as I would of expected from 100ISO however it doesn’t hinder the quality of the image, nor is it intrusive giving even and beautiful coverage of the photos.

Kodak BW400CN delivers excellent deep contrasts and tones with a very desirable fine grain considering the ISO. Skin has come out clear and the highlights are giving a gorgeous glow.

Kodak Portra 800 pushed to 1600 has in my opinion improved this film considerably. I think its a great film to shoot with, it has some excellent neutral tones to work with and the slightly desaturated results seem to work well in evening light adding to the authenticity of being shot in the evening.

This exhibition will contain collection of photographs from all 4 rolls of film.

The exhibition starts on the 7th January & runs throughout finishing on the 31st.

Location:

16 Bowden St
London
SE11 4DS

New York & Exhibition

Greetings!

Unfortunately The 35mm Project has been a little quieter lately, this is because I have just returned from a fantastic holiday in New York City with 2 rolls of film which are ready to be developed and scanned. Once they are complete i will publish the next post.

I have also been working a lot of hours and trying to get some other project’s in the pipeline up and running so my time on each area is being managed at the moment and although i am not going to neglect The 35mm Project the spacing in-between each publication may increase from time to time.

Good news i begin my 3rd year of University in a week, i’m looking forward to studying again and seeing my old friends plus also just completing my degree! There are other things i want to do now and my degree is starting to hold me back a little on a massive project so completing it is a big priority at the moment, anyway there may be times when i haven’t got the time to spend scanning film when i could be retouching photos or writing my dissertation. I am a work horse however so this will hopefully be a rare occurrence that my studies affect my project.

Fantastic news: I’m going to exhibit pieces from The 35mm Project at Kennington Camera Club. The Club which i am a member of have their own gallery space which i am aloud to exhibit in. I am really looking forward to this amazing opportunity that i’ve been given! The exhibition won’t be until January as there are other people exhibiting in the space at the moment but i will be having the entire month which is good. I will provide all the dates, private viewings and any other information i get on a future post.

Thats all for now but check in soon on The 35mm Project 🙂

Brad

Kodak 400TX (TRI-X)

The Kodak Tri-X is the first but not last roll of film that i personally developed for this project and it was a pleasure!

My early years of photography were spent in the darkroom learning to develop and print film and ‘retouch’ photographs using various techniques, unfortunately this practice was short lived as i quickly migrated to Digital because of its speed, ease and cost effectiveness.

I had always missed being in the darkroom though so decided for this project that i must start developing my own film again to fully appreciate shooting in 35mm and to please myself in the process.

I shot a roll of Tri-X and booked a brief induction to the darkroom as well as a refresher course on developing film, of course i hadn’t forgotten the process of developing however it had been almost 7 years since i developed my last roll of film so i had to make sure that i didn’t leave anything out.

I met a guy called Dave and there was 2 other people on the refresher evening, one of them i knew, Mike, who works at the Camera Club. Dave is insanely knowledgable and deeply enthusiastic about film photography, perfect! We got chatting and he guided us through the developing process, mixing solutions and the various techniques and tools available when developing film.

After this we each went into our own darkroom, shut the doors, mixed the chemicals, turned out the lights and started spooling! Fantastic! It’s like riding a bike.

Chemical process: Rodinal at 1/25 solution for 300ml 7 minute develop (12ml Rodinal topped up to 300ml water). Agitate for 30’s then tap, leave 30s, agitate twice, tap, repeat agitate every 30s.

Empty developer, rinse for about a minute then Fix with Ilford Hypam. Agitate 30s on, 30s off. All solutions at 20 degrees c. Empty and dilute with water for 15 min, didn’t use stop bath.  Note: Kodak state that you can stand tri-x with little agitation and high developer concentration, using this technique you can push the film to 3200 and beyond, this is something i will be doing in future.

I chose 7 minutes as this was the recommended time by Rodinal for Tri-X. I could also double the time for a slower develop however i wasn’t worried with that this time, in the future i will alter development times depending on the results i want from the grain. So faster develop will make the Silver Halide clump together to produce bigger grain, slower develop will have finer grain.

Film was clear after 3 mins so to permanently fix i leave for another 3 minutes. The reason for this is that film is opaque to stop light bouncing around inside the camera when you take a photo and causing the photo to expose incorrectly, fixing removes the opaque look as well as fixing the image to the film, once the film is clear during fixing make a note of that time then continue to fix again for that time duration (so 3 mins to clear, fix for another 3) this will mean that the film will stay constantly fixed and will last hundreds of years. Rather than going 20 years down the line and it becoming faded or coloured because it wasn’t fixed properly.

Once film was fixed i used some Photo Flow which helps alleviate drying marks then removed the film from the spool and hung to dry in the drying cupboard. 15 minutes later 1 perfectly developed film.

A great website for getting film development times is www.digitaltruth.com

Scanning results where fantastic, there was minimal dust and scratches on the film and the overall quality seems much better than when i have used lab’s to develop. I am tentative to speculate as to why there were minimal dust and scratches, i could of just been very lucky and the film emulsion was perfect however the past Lab results  scratches are too frequent, a part of me thinks that they’re not as careful as i would expect them to be. Suffice to say i will be developing all of my film myself from now on.

Shot on Canon EOS 620 with 24-70mm 2.8 USM L Mk II lens. I am very happy with the results of this process, the highlights have details in them and the shadows are strong, the grain desirable and consistent.