Here is one resulting image from the processing of XP2 in Black & White chemistry.
It’s clearly very high constrast, which I quite like, and that may be due to the developing time of 21 minutes (this came from the Massive Dev app). I’m pretty happy with the results. There is very little grain, which is ok with me, and the negative seems sharp (I’ve cropped and added a little sharpening (+10) and clarity (+5) in lightroom).
The negatives have a mild magenta cast, but that has made little difference in B&W.
Nowadays, the benefit of C41 high street processing is long gone. There is nowhere in my town that could process and return the same day. I think they all have to send images off for developing. The only place I’ve found 1 hour or same day processing is Snappy Snaps, Byres Road in Glasgow and that’s too far for regular processing.
So, apart from an incredibly long processing time, I’d say that it’s worth processing XP2 at home in Black & White chemistry.
As we wandered through the city, we came across these guys doing parkour (or free running).
It amused me that they had found an alternative use for the security barriers that could block the route up to Edinburgh Castle and Royal Mile.
I took some shots and got chatting with them. They were happy to be photographed and we talked about the simple beauty of their sport; basically requiring only a pair of trainers and some concrete obstacles.
That’s one of the things I love about photography. Although street photography is often solitary, sometimes it affords the opportunity to speak with fellow citizens.
Comfortable shoes and concrete are essential to street photography too, and I appreciate the shared simplicity of exploring the metropolis, albeit at a slower pace than parkour.
So, it turns out that shooting analogue doesn’t cure GAS at all.
After a few weeks of using the Trip 35, which I really love, I’ve managed to get hold of a film camera with auto-focus. This lovely Rollei compact belongs to my brother. I don’t think he’s used it much in the last 20 years, and he kindly gave it to me.
This is the first 35mm camera I’ve had with autofocus and I notice a big difference. Far fewer shots are not sharp and shots seems much sharper than using zone focussing with the Trip 35.
In fact this camera seems to achieve focus very quickly, probably faster than my MFT cameras. Here’s an example of a snatched shot while crossing the street.
The web is full of excellent pages written by film geeks and people with far too much disposable income.
I had hoped that getting into film would help me stop obsessing over cameras and just get out and shoot. But now I’m pouring over retro camera blogs and second hand dealers, because it turns out, old film cameras are even more beautiful than digital cameras.
Yashica Ts, LEICA Cs Contax Gs, Olympi (plural?) and Konicas are all calling my name. The annoying thing is that most blogs speak of finding cameras like the oly mju ii for under £10. Then you check the date and find that today; a decade later, the same camera will cost you around £100.
This is the price inflation of the film revival – amazing that old analogue cameras are appreciating in a way digital probably never will.
Another factor is that charity shops have got smarter. Many now have expert led websites or eBay shops where cameras are properly valued. Gone are the days of finding a bargain because the shop assistants don’t really know the value of the device. Presumably the internet has also informed pricing. In the long run this is good news for the charities, just not for hard up collectors.
I’ve now processed my second film. Again it was Ilford fp4. The camera this time was a Trip 35. It worked well for street photography although I found the zone focussing a challenge. I got 38 images on a 36 spool which seems good value too.
Here are a few favourites from the resulting images. They are not the sharpest – that’s probably my fault.
I have an ongoing ‘discussion’ with a family member who is not a fan of processing digital images. She prefers ‘pure’ images straight out of the camera. I get what she means but I also point out (the discussion takes the same direction every time) that the image on a phone or cheaper camera is almost always a jpeg. Which means that the raw image has already been processed. The difference is whether the camera makes the processing decisions or the person does.
There can be snobbery and inverse snobbery about processing images. Those who prefer minimal manipulation may be surprised to know that, even in the age of film, processing decisions were made. I remember seeing this when, I think it was, Magnum released contact sheets and annotated prints with instructions about visual effects.
However there can be snobbery too relating to how technical processing is perceived to be. For example, in an earlier blog I suggested the inclusion of filters in Instagram was essentially dumbing down. But in the immediately preceding post I lauded the provision of film effect Lightroom presets. Surely there is little difference between Instagram filters and Lightroom presets borrowed from others.
Today I was trying to grab a few shots between giving friends a lift home, working and dinner. Such is the life of a middle aged hobbyist. I look back on my wasted youth with envy. Why didn’t I buy a Leica in my 20s when I could have afforded one (maybe). Why didn’t I take street up phototgraphy when I actually still visited some of the world’s vibrant cities. Not that I’d change anything in the present, I’m glad with where I’ve ended up.
Anyway, I was messing around with Lightroom Presets. I used one that Eric Kim gave away years ago – it mimics fuji velvia 400. Now, I’d normally never crank up the contrast or reduce some of the saturation like this, but I was delighted with the results. This is pretty much the image in my head when I took the photo; the raw file looked nothing like it.
Hats off to Eric Kim for the preset and for giving it away for free. I suppose this shows one of the challenges and opportunies with digital. The raw sensor data gives pretty flat images, so you can shape it in thousands of ways. But you are limited by your imagination and willingness to spend time experimenting. With analogue much more was decided at the start by your film choice.