Film fun…

A little while ago when I was checking out some camera gear at Vanbar Imaging I came across this Rollei Red Bird film. It’s regular colour film, that produces negatives like your normal film-of-old would, however the colour emulsion layers are reversed with the red colour on top (instead of at the bottom). This gives a weird red colour to the finished prints (or scans, in my case).

So I put a roll in my old Canon EOS 5 film body and took some test shots a a few weeks ago. Unfortunately the film roll doesn’t have the normal auto-ISO barcode for your camera, so I had to set the camera at the film’s 400 ISO rating. However, my photos came out very underexposed using the EOS’s auto-metering mode and needed a lot of Adobe Lightroom manipulation to get them to a reasonable state. So I’m not sure if I should have maybe set my camera at 100 ISO, or maybe I will go and try the film out on a full manual old Minolta rangefinder I picked up at a cash Converters for 20 buck a few years ago? I thought there might be more variation in colour, but my photos came out very, very red. So I think I’ll stick to playing around with cross-processing various cheap and pro-quality slide film to get some experimental film effects. You can also buy disposable cameras pre-loaded with Red Bird film (and others, like Cross Bird) at Van Bar Imaging.

Another little photo experiment I finished a week ago was with a Konica super wide-angle disposable camera I had bought on special at Vanbar a couple of years ago. I had forgotten about this little piece of photographic plastic, and found it again in a box in my room earlier in the season, and I thought that with POV (point of view) snowboard photos being all the rage (see right), this cheap little thing might provide some interesting shots. Well, it wasn’t going to be a huge loss if I dropped it and it broke, unlike with a super-expensive DSLR and $900 15mm fisheye lens attached. Again, the film in this wide-angle disposable was rated at 400 ISO, so I thought it might have a reasonably short enough shutter speed for full daylight action.

When I could hold the camera still compared to the movement of my body the shots came out sharp, but really, the results are a little disappointing, and I discovered it is actully pretty hard to think about getting the perfect right moment with a single shot when you are mid trick – much easier to initiate a turn or trick and hold the motor-drive down to snap a bunch of shots and then pick out the best one later. I was also hoping that the camera would be more fisheye than it is, but it’s more like a wide angle 17- 18mm.

Anyway, take a look at the shots and enjoy…

The magic (and disappointment) of film

The last few times I’ve travelled overseas I’ve taken along one or two small(ish) Minolta instamatic film cameras. Maybe I’ve been inspired by Terry Richardson, or maybe I just want to have that little bit of doubt every time I take the camera out and the little flutter I get from gambling with the expected outcome.

Film is certainly a gamble. It used to be pretty bloody hard to get decent snowboard shots when you were working with slide film and not given the lattitide for exposure correction that regular negative film has (ie, in the processing of “regular” film into photos the lab can correct most minor mistakes you made in over or under-exposing your shots). Digital has made things even easier, with mistakes being able to be corrected in Photoshop or Adobe Lightroom. (You may have noticed that ever since Himbrechts put me onto Lightroom I’ve used the preset colour/saturation/etc settings on many of my photos, just to make them a bit more interesting). But not only that, digital allows for the snowboard style police to instantly check a frame and make sure arms, body, head and grab are all the way they should be…and if not, it’s a hike up the hill for the rider and another attemt to “get the shot”.

So it’s nice to play around with film when the end result isn’t so important, like with my travel shots. And I’ve always liked to add an extra level of “gambling” on the outcome by putting in rolls of slide film and then getting it cross-processed in the chemicals normally used for regular negative film. Here you can see the outcome of only 2 rolls I shot on my travels. I thought I had snapped off more frames than a mere 72 in 9 weeks, but I guess digital is really taking over my life if the amount of shots taken on my little Sony Cybershot are anything to go by. You’ll probably recognise a fair bit of the same subject material from my previous posts – I often wanted to be able to compare the film to the digi shot.

If you are interested, the film I used here was Kodak Ektachrome 100VS, cross-processed and scanned lo-res at Vanbar Imaging in Carlton. And I’m not sure if the gamble paid off. I’m not so happy with all the end results – maybe I expected more? I dunno. Maybe next time I’ll take alond a Canon EOS5 film SLR with a cheap zoom lens and use that as my “Go-To” cross-process beast: it’s fairly compact (certainly much more so than my 2 EOS 1 bodies), it seemed to handle tricky exposures well, and I got a heap of published snowboard shots back in the day with it, so it has good memories.