In March my project for the month was shooting the colour red, using Kodak Ektar film. I have put together a short eBook of the project. There is no overarching narrative, beyond the use of the colour red in each image. However, most of the shots in the eBook were taken near to Bournemouth. There were a large number of other shots that did not make the final edit, not because I didn’t like the images (some I really liked), but because I felt they did not fit together naturally enough for me.
However, here are some of the images that did not make the final book. Check out the eBook for those that did.
Today, I would say, has been the nicest weather of the year. Spring well and truly feels that it is on its way. I really like spring, it’s my favourite time of the year. You can enjoy spring knowing that the summer (what we have of it in Britain!) is still ahead of you.
At the moment, I constantly have two cameras on me. A Leica MP rangefinder and a Nikon F3 SLR. The F3 is for the red project and the MP is for general shooting of things that do not fit with the red project. My aim was to have 36 negatives on a roll with red in them. However, I have enjoyed using the Nikon so much that it’s become my main camera at the moment and the MP has been relegated to back up camera. Just goes to show that the most expensive camera doesn’t always win out.
So, I have ended up with Ektar 100 in the F3 (yet another 5 rolls on the way… that’s 15 bought this month, so far) and Portra 400 in the MP. Seems like a fair compromise to me, one for the good light and one for the lower light! I can just about get away with 400ISO at night, but’s it’s a push. I know, digital is easier…
What I have noticed about Ektar is that when the sun is out it produces pastel like colours and produces a look that is not dissimilar tonally to medium format. However, when the sun goes in and the light becomes darker the colours really seem to become saturated. I haven’t seen a film change so much in character in different weather conditions. However, I really like the effects. Of course in Britain, a lot of shots are going to be very saturated!
Recently, I have been trying out a black and white film called Adox Silvermax. It’s an ISO 100 film, although I have heard some people say that it is better rated at ISO 400. I have just left it at its box speed. The film has a higher silver content than most black and white films. This means that there is more tonal range within the images.
I haven’t been able to print the film traditionally in the darkroom (the enlarger and what not is in my attic in (very) long-term storage). But, I have obviously scanned it. It scans very well, better than Kodak Tri-X to me as the film is inherently less contrasty and holds more details in the shadows. I am using a Epson V850 scanner at the moment with the standard Epson software. I have a Plustek 8200AI scanner with the dedicated Silverfast HDR suite as well, which produces much better ‘RAW’ scans as it has a great multiple exposure mode). But, I have loaned this out to a friend so that they can scan some of their film work (it’s much more portable than a flatbed!).
Whilst it’s a slow film, it’s quality is very good. I have been really impressed with the amount of information that the 35mm negatives contain. You can zoom in on the images and pick out a lot of detail.
The images here are from a recent trip to London during photo week, where I originally went with the aim of seeing Zhang Kechun‘s excellent large format work done along the Yangtze called ‘The Yellow River’. After visiting the exhibition, I just wandered around making photographs, eating and drinking a lot of coffee. I am hoping to go to London in October to see the exhibition of William Eggleston’s work, which no doubt will involve some street photography afterwards – probably in colour!
It’s a film that I really enjoyed using, so much so that I have ordered more of it. It doesn’t have the speed and flexibility of Tri-X or HP5+ but in good light conditions, it produces lovely toned and detailed images. Definitely, one for where the extra quality is needed over speed.