Tag Archives: London

Kodak Portra 400

Brad sitting at the Wetland Centre. Photo credit: James Wakelin

A Fresh Start

The first roll of colour film I developed at home for this blog was Lomography Colour 100 with Tetenal C-41. The results were pretty good and I wondered why friends in the photography community always claimed colour was more tricky…I agree one must be very precise with water temperature during processing but as long as you set up a good workflow you minimise risk of problems.

At the beginning a rookie mistake I made was storing chemicals in glass bottles on the top shelf of my wardrobe instead of plastic bottles on the bottom shelf. Unfortunately the shelf gave out from the weight which smashed everything on the floor…whoops! More about that can be read here.

Another mistake I made was not knowing colour chemicals do not stay fresh for very long once mixed (6 weeks), the concentrate gives you 12 weeks though, added to the 6 weeks after mixing is another 24 weeks. I tried mixing another 1000ml after the end use date and the bleach fix turned into a yellow lumpy cheese like goop. Not good.

Tetenal can process around 30-40 rolls of film so these two mistakes are an expensive lesson to learn. At the time I didn’t have the money or free time to invest in 40 rolls of film to shoot – I was looking for a new job and had a lot of changes happening in life.

I regularly wrap paper around my film telling me what is on the roll for a later date when i process.

Fast forward to Autumn 2019 and in 3 months i’ve shot 20 rolls of film to develop and will be ordering some more for a short trip away in October – so fingers crossed I should hit that 30-40 number making things way more cost efficient.

Mixing Tetenal C41 developer.

How I develop

Follow the instructions in the Tetenal guide – they’re fool proof and super easy! Each time I develop a roll of film I tally up the guide to track the life of each mix. The development and bleach times are extended depending on how many rolls you have developed or if you are push processing.

Everyones workflow will vary but i’ve found that if I fill a bowl with water to around 50ºc the heat transfer warms up the chemicals with enough time during cooling to 38ºc to load the film to the spools & development tank. Once the bowl temperature reaches 39ºc I start a 5 minute film bath at 38ºc (water taken straight from tap and temp measured using thermometer). By the time I have finished preheating the film the temperature in the bowl and my chemicals are 38ºc exactly.

I always put the development tank in to the bowl to keep the temperature up and I regularly check with a thermometer! If it starts dropping below 38ºc I top up the warm bath with hot water to a couple of degrees higher to keep the chemicals at 38ºc.

Scanning:

Once the negatives have dried they are cut in to a strips of 6 frames and placed in an archival box. I use industry standard archiving from when I was working as a retoucher – date backwards, followed by job number, then by product, and client or location. Underscores are used instead of spacing. So the latest project is always at the bottom of the list. For example the roll of film for this blog post is 19090601_KODAK_PORTRA_400_LONDON_WETLAND_CENTRE

The job number goes up depending on how many jobs I have that day. This is handy if i’m with the same client but on a different shoot or location or batch. I.e 19060101_PORTRA, 19060102_PORTRA, 19060103_PORTRA, etc etc etc

I scan my negatives flat without adjustments or sharpening using a Plustek Opticfilm 8100 at 3600 dpi which produces a 50mb file at 3300 x 4968. The scanner can do up to 7200dpi however the scan time is too slow and I don’t require that much data for web use. If I ever print the images I would rescan at 7200dpi and reprocess for print. The images are saved as PSD’s which increases their compatibility with Lightroom and Photoshop. Lightroom is my main tool for global adjustments such as colour, cropping and batch processing. Macro adjustments and cleaning are done in Photoshop.

London Wetland Centre

This roll of Kodak Portra 400 has been processed with warmer tone that I feel reflects the warmth of the summer day I shot it on.

Limehouse to Camden Canal Walk

Lewisham twilight

These photographs are some test shots I took for a future post about Reciprocity Failure.

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Ilford HP5

 

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JCH PAN 400

Full development stats:

  • Rodinol 1+50, 20ºc. 22 minutes. Agitate every 30s for 15s
  • Ilford Stop Bath 1+9 for 1 minute constant agitation
  • Ilford Fixer 1+4 for 10 minutes
  • Wash for 10 minutes
  • Tetanol Wetting agent 1+400 in deionised water for 1m. No agitation.

I am in love with JCH 400. The results are outstanding. Great tonal range, contrast, sharpness and grain. This film was shot during the London snowy period (Feb 2018) and the following week (1st week of March).

 

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Kentmere 100 pushed 1600

I decided to go crazy and push a roll of Kentmere 100 to 1600iso.

It took a while to decide which development time I should go for. Kodak, Ilford, Adox and various forums all suggest different timings. I was reading from one commenter to double the timings plus 20%. The Massive DevChart has a rough guide on how to work out timings when pushing however did not extend to four stops. I decided on Rodinol 1+100 at 120 minutes, 20ºc. The first 5 minutes I agitated the soup every 30s for 15s. After 30 minutes I agitated for 15s.

Full development stats:

  • Rodinol 1+100, 20ºc. 120 minutes. Agitate every 30s for 15s for 5 minutes. Stand for 30m, agitate 15s, stand.
  • Ilford Stop Bath 1+9 for 1 minute constant agitation
  • Ilford Fixer 1+4 for 12 minutes
  • Wash for 10 minutes
  • Tetanol Wetting agent 1+400 in deionised water for 1m. Gentle agitation.

I must admit when I pulled the negative out of the soup I was expecting a series of black frames from either the contrast going crazy or from over developing. I peeled back the first few frames to check the fix and to my surprise saw some well developed shots!

Kentmere 100 is rated best between 50-200 ISO….. so I was expecting a lot of grain….once I dried and scanned the negative I was blown away how detailed the shots are. The grain is fairly small and overall contrast not as intense as I expected. The night time/darker photos are when I was drunk on a night out and was underexposing instead of overexposing. The daytime photographs on the street I overexposed by at least a stop.

There is change in the contrast levels of each photo, some pictures (such as the swimming pool shot) have a lot of grey tone without much highlight and shadow whereas other pictures are more contrasty.

I will push this film beyond four stops in the future to see how far it will go and still give me useable shots.

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Lucky SHD 100 push to 200

  • Rodinol 1+25 for 9m 30s minutes at 20ºc. Agitate for 30s then every 30s for 15s.
  • Ilford Stop Bath 1+19, 20ºc, constant agitation for 1 minute
  • Ilford Fixer 1+4, 20ºc for 9 minutes
  • Wash for 10 minutes
  • Tetanol Wetting Agent 1+400 deionised water. Leave to soak for 30s rinse off any bubbles using deionised water
  • Hang dry for 2 hours
  • Scan using Plustek 8200i
  • Crop 6×4
  • Curves
  • Clean
  • Upload

This is the first time I have shot with Lucky 100 and I am very pleased with the results. I was surprised how much detail I was able to read from the negative as quite a few photographs looked washed out, as a result the contrast was fairly flat, even though pushed. The final photographs uploaded have been worked in Lightroom.

I try to retain as many aesthetic features of the film type I am shooting however on this occasion I made adjustments to achieve the best image overall as the contrast was too flat for the effect I was going for.

I used the recommended development times from DevChart. Next time I will add an extra 2-4 minutes on to the developer to see how this affects the negative on Lucky 100.

One thing I found frustrating is there are no identifiable marks on the negative. No frame numbers, film type etc. This may be me nit picking but I like having frame numbers next to my shot so I can correlate that to my digital archive. The plastic used for the negative feels flimsier than the Kentmere 400 which is hanging on the left in the photograph above. The negative also curls easily even when dried straight for two hours, I have not experienced this amount of curling once dried from any other film I have shot, ever.

I love the Lucky 100 film. It’s produced some strong black and whites with detail in the shadows and highlights, images are sharp with an un-intrusive grain. A bonus to having a low contrast negative is the massive tonal range and control in post with where I wanted contrast.

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Ilford Pan 100 pushed to 200

It has been a long time since I uploaded to this blog, my first post in over 3 years is Ilford Pan 100 pushed to 200. Developed myself. Details are below….

  • Rodinol developer 1+25 for 13 minutes at 20º. Agitate for 30 seconds then agitate every 30s for 30s
  • Ilford Stop Bath 1+19 for 1 minute at 20º Agitate for 30 seconds then agitate every 30s for 10s
  • Ilford Fixer 1+4 for 9 minutes at 20º Agitate for 30 seconds then agitate every 30s for 10s
  • Wash with cold water for 10 minutes
  • Tetanol wetting agent 1+400 (deionised water) for 1 min at 20º Agitate continuously
  • Leave to dry for 2 hours
  • Scan at 300dpi using Plustek 8200i
  • Crop in Lightroom
  • Remove dust marks in post
  • Curves
  • Upload
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Ilford XP2 Super 400

No pushing or pulling, shot straight out of the box. With a little bit of love.

Ilford XP2 Super 400 is the second film I shot at London Pride 2014. The streets were once again alive and buzzing, by this time of the day i’d had a fair bit to drink and was definitely enjoying the evening!

I have said this a lot over the past year but Ilford always performs well. This film has an excellent tonal range and really bites in the shadows whilst holding on to details. The highlights are given a glow by the grain softening them.

The 400 speed SP2 has a much larger and higher grain value compared to other 400 speed films such as Kodak TMAX or BW400CN that boast a super fine grain at high speed. That being said, the ‘rugged’, grainy look is something that I love about Ilford.

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