Fall Colors on Slide Film & First Attempt at E6 Developing

 

October, 2016

Now I'm off for the Holidays, I have some time to catch up on processing some exposed film. In the past, I've developed black/white and color negative at home, but I've never actually developed slide film before. The process involves different chemistry and is overall a little more difficult than developing other film types. 

This whole process of taking/developing/scanning these photos were full of firsts. I never tried macro shots with medium format before, and I was shooting with a discontinued film that expired in 1995. This film is called Kodak Ektachrome 64 and I thought it would be a good opportunity to test it on some fall leaves since it's been expired for so long I didn't know what to expect. 

 

My setup:

Hasselblad 500c | 150mm F4 T* lens | 55mm extension tube. (Shot in October, 2016)

I don't have a macro lens for medium format, this is where the extension tube comes into play. Rather than buying a macro lens, the extension tube permits a standard lens to focus closer. In fact, with this combination my 150mm lens will focus even closer than a macro lens would have. 

 

 Shot in October 2016. Hasselblad 500c | Sonnar 150mm F/4 T* | 55mm Extension Tube | Kodak Ektachrome 64 (expired in 1995). Home developed with Tetenal E-6 kit and scanned with Nikon LS-8000 ED. 

Shot in October 2016.
Hasselblad 500c | Sonnar 150mm F/4 T* | 55mm Extension Tube | Kodak Ektachrome 64 (expired in 1995). Home developed with Tetenal E-6 kit and scanned with Nikon LS-8000 ED. 

Pacific City, OR trip: Fuji Velvia, Fuji Provia, and Kodak Portra

Labor Day Weekend on the Oregon Coast in Pacific City

Hung out with my family in a place called Cape Kiwanda and stayed there for the weekend before returning to Bend. I had a great time and did manage to take a few rolls of medium format too!

I first wanted to capture a beautiful sunset on the coast (who doesn't?) so I loaded up slide film in my Hasselblad 500c and walked out on the beach. Velvia 100 was my film of choice, and I also added a three stop reverse graduated neutral density filter (ND). For those who are unfamiliar these, they are mounted directly in front of the lens with an adapter. The purpose is to bring down the brightness in certain parts of the scene. For most situations, including mine, it was used to darken the sky by three stops. How reverse graduated ND filters differ ordinary graduated ones is it has the darkest shade near the middle rather than the top of the filter. This is tailored specifically for sunrise/sunsets since the brightest part of the scene will be just on the horizon, instead of high in the sky during middle of the day. 

Slide film has a narrow exposure latitude compared color negative film, Velvia being the narrowest of them all. Which has less flexibility for high contrast scenes, without filters you're stuck with metering for the highlights, knowing you'll miss most shadow detail, or vice versa. ND filters adapt the scene to the narrow exposure latitude of slide film and when done right the results can be stunning. 

 The clouds near the horizon turned out a little darker than I had intended one this one. Also you'll notice the rocks are very dark. This partially because the darkest part of the filter overlaps on that part of the scene. This was my first time using a reverse graduated ND filter.   Hasselblad 500c | 50mm | F16 | 1/30 (or something around there) | Fuji Velvia 100

The clouds near the horizon turned out a little darker than I had intended one this one. Also you'll notice the rocks are very dark. This partially because the darkest part of the filter overlaps on that part of the scene. This was my first time using a reverse graduated ND filter. 

Hasselblad 500c | 50mm | F16 | 1/30 (or something around there) | Fuji Velvia 100

 A few frames later on the same roll I wanted to get some motion blur with the water. The conditions were more ideal since the sun came out from behind the clouds. The longer exposure time was more appropriate too, the sky isn't as dark as the first frame. This is my favorite shot from the whole trip.   Hasselblad 500c | 50mm | F16 | 1 second | Fuji Velvia 100   It's also worth noting that those two pictures have been only slightly edited in post. On this particular one I used an adjustment brush to lighten up the surf since it was a little on the dark side.  I did not touch the colors, they're straight from the scan of the slides. Fuji Velvia offers the most wild colors and thats why I chose it for this scene. I almost never do post editing with film and when I do it's minuscule. Mostly minor exposure corrections, dust/spot removal, etc.  The main reason I use ND filters is so I get it right in-camera to minimize post processing. However, there will always be some, just as there is in darkroom printing. 

A few frames later on the same roll I wanted to get some motion blur with the water. The conditions were more ideal since the sun came out from behind the clouds. The longer exposure time was more appropriate too, the sky isn't as dark as the first frame. This is my favorite shot from the whole trip. 

Hasselblad 500c | 50mm | F16 | 1 second | Fuji Velvia 100

It's also worth noting that those two pictures have been only slightly edited in post. On this particular one I used an adjustment brush to lighten up the surf since it was a little on the dark side.  I did not touch the colors, they're straight from the scan of the slides. Fuji Velvia offers the most wild colors and thats why I chose it for this scene. I almost never do post editing with film and when I do it's minuscule. Mostly minor exposure corrections, dust/spot removal, etc.  The main reason I use ND filters is so I get it right in-camera to minimize post processing. However, there will always be some, just as there is in darkroom printing. 

Next shoot: Munson Falls

The next day I was driving through Tillamook, that name may ring a bell. It's the cheese, ice cream, and dairy company. Some of the best ice cream you can get comes from there.

As I was driving back to the camp sight I saw a sign for Munson falls. I immediately went to check it out only to find the water falls blocked off from woody debris from a big rain. I didn't want to go back empty handed so I focused on the creek downstream. For this shoot I chose Fuji Provia 100F which is also a slide film but has a little more exposure latitude than Velvia and the colors are more lifelike. I had a 10 stop ND filter but that proved to be overkill so I simply stopped down the lens without any filters. The exposure in the shade was slow enough to get motion blur in the stream. 

 I did do a post edit with this one. The maple leaf was a little blown out on the scan compared to the slide. I used an adjustment brush in Lightroom which brought it down a 1/2 stop. Aside from that, I got what I wanted in-camera.   Hasselblad 500c | 80mm | F22 | 2 seconds | Fuji Provia 100F

I did do a post edit with this one. The maple leaf was a little blown out on the scan compared to the slide. I used an adjustment brush in Lightroom which brought it down a 1/2 stop. Aside from that, I got what I wanted in-camera. 

Hasselblad 500c | 80mm | F22 | 2 seconds | Fuji Provia 100F

My setup in the creek. I removed the 10-stop ND filter in front of the lens since my cable shutter release just decided to break moments earlier. So I couldn't keep the shutter shutter open for an extended period of time. Fortunately, the light was dim enough to just stop down the lens for a two second exposure. 

Mirrored image through the waist level viewfinder. 

Other photographs with Yashica-D loaded with Kodak Portra 400:

While the Hasselblad is a dream to shoot. My Yashica-D is still my favorite to carry around, its compact and cannot interchange lenses which prevents me from bringing too much gear. It's really just a joy to shoot and I enjoy the challenge of using only one camera and one lens. I can't recommend this camera enough. Especially you're just looking to get into medium format, its dirt cheap compared to the Hasselblad and the quality is nothing to shake a stick at either. The images are a little soft wide open; but when stopped down to F5.6 to F8, it's very sharp. 

Kodak Portra is a great all around film that can be used outside of portraits. It basically has the widest exposure latitude of any film you can buy today. This is ideal for my Yashica-D since I don't want to fiddle with filters. These shots are more casual shots of my family. 

 My mom during lunch in Tillamook, Oregon.  Yashica-D | F5.6 | 1/125 sec | Kodak Portra 400

My mom during lunch in Tillamook, Oregon.

Yashica-D | F5.6 | 1/125 sec | Kodak Portra 400

Kite flying! I love the soft colors.

Yashica-D | F16 | 1/500 sec | Kodak Portra 400

My folks kite flying in Cape Kirwanda.

Yashica-D | F16 |1/500 sec | Kodak Portra 400

 Sunset at Pelican Brewery. They have very good beer, I highly recommend it if you're close by. The sunset on this day wasn't as extravagant as it was a couple days prior but this also shows how mellow the colors are with Kodak Portra compared Fuji Velvia 100. They're completely different animals but I think Portra handled this sunset very well. It's actually one of my favorite pictures from this summer.   Yashica-D | F8 | 1/125sec | Kodak Portra 400

Sunset at Pelican Brewery. They have very good beer, I highly recommend it if you're close by. The sunset on this day wasn't as extravagant as it was a couple days prior but this also shows how mellow the colors are with Kodak Portra compared Fuji Velvia 100. They're completely different animals but I think Portra handled this sunset very well. It's actually one of my favorite pictures from this summer. 

Yashica-D | F8 | 1/125sec | Kodak Portra 400

Kodak Portra was an ideal choice especially for taking photos on the beach during the day. The light is so bright during the day on the sand which acts like a reflector on your subjects. You may have noticed how stopped down I was during the day at F16 and my 1/500 shutter speed. The Yashica-D's shutter speed only goes up to 1/500sec and the lens stops down to F22. I actually over exposed the negatives a little bit (which is okay for color negatives). So I was maxing it out a little bit on the exposures during the day. Next time I would shoot Portra 160, just to give myself a little more headroom. Overall, I'm very happy with what I got from the trip. I would love to visit the coast again for more long exposures. 

Steve Badger

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Airshow of the Cascades: Living Historian Shoot

August 26-27th, 2016:

Iphone picture of Hasselblad 500c: These were first produced in 1957. This camera has interchangeable lenses and can exchange film backs, allowing the photographer to use multiple films at a time. 

On Saturday, August 20th, 2016: I received a package in the mail from eBay. Something that I always wanted since I got into photography. I opened a box containing a pristine Hasselblad 500c 6x6 medium format camera. This camera is an icon and even was used to document the Apollo moon missions. Unlike my Yashica-D, this camera is an SLR and can interchange lenses and film backs. This gives me more flexibility in a still relatively small package.

 An interesting trait with waist-level view finders of SLR camera's is the image is mirrored from the actual subject subject yo're photographing. So the aircraft is actually facing left instead of right, as you'll see from the next photograph directly below. 

An interesting trait with waist-level view finders of SLR camera's is the image is mirrored from the actual subject subject yo're photographing. So the aircraft is actually facing left instead of right, as you'll see from the next photograph directly below. 

Since Saturday I been chomping at the bit to shoot some test rolls. Even though the camera is in tip top shape for it's age, you really never know until you shoot it yourself. Light seals need to be replaced after so many years, the mechanical shutter needs to be adjusted every so often, etc. Anyway, I have no idea how long it's been since a service was done on the camera. 

Friday August 26th: Airshow of the Cascades

I went out to the airshow of the cascades. The air museum in Madras, OR has a high quality collection of vintage aircraft. I thought it would be fun to get some shots of the static displays on black and white film with an almost period-correct camera. The Hasselblad is just 10-15 years younger than these WWII (and some older) aircraft. However, the 6x6 medium format is appropriate to the period. 

 

 

 

All static display photographs were taken on Fujifilm Neopan 100 Acros medium format 120 film. 

Stearman Biplane

DC-3

DC-3

B25-H


A Night at the Museum: Living Historian Shoot- Part 1

I started out shooting the static displays on Friday afternoon and unknowingly caught the attention of a few gentleman who are apart of the Living History Group NorthwestThese nice people offered me an opportunity to shoot a living historian in full gear that is correct to the period and branch of military service. I hesitated for a second because I remembered my camera was still untested. This is was my first time shooting it also but the air museum is over 1.5 hours away from home. Too far away to swap out cameras, and I couldn't say no to this opportunity, so I decided to chance it. 

You can click on the Living Historian tab on this website for all the pictures but here are a handful favorites from the shoot:

P47 in an original WWII era hanger. 

Ilford HP5 Plus 400 speed film

Dauntless in air museum hanger.

Kodak Tri-X 400 speed film

F4U-Corsair.

Kodak Tri-X 400 speed film

P51-D Mustang.

Kodak Tri-X 400 speed film

Since the airshow was going on during the day, we waited until 10:00pm to shoot. By that time we had the museum to ourselves. It's almost eerie being in a hanger with old warbirds when it's so quiet.  

Since I originally planned to shoot static displays in the daytime, I had no flash or strobes with me. We relied strictly on ambient light from the hanger. The fastest black and white film I had with me was just two rolls of Kodak Tri-X and one roll of Ilford HP5 Plus 400. My exposure settings inside the hanger were f/2.8 at 1/15 sec, which is very slow. Luckily, I had a tripod with me and these gentleman are very patient! After I shot two rolls of film, it was already 1:00am. I packed up and headed home after they offered to shoot more the next night. 


Saturday August 27th, 2016: Final Day of Airshow

PBY Catalina flying boat inside the hanger on Friday.

Fuji Neopan 100 Acros

I returned to the air museum around 12:00pm to shoot the aerobatics performances starting at 1:00pm with my Nikon digital SLR camera. I had a friend join me and we watched an incredible show that early afternoon. The highlight for me was watching the PBY Catalina do flybys. 

The PBY is unique from most aircraft, it's a flying boat and was a bit of a jack of all trades for the US Navy. It conducted reconnaissance, anti submarine, rescue, and other missions during the war. It's simply an aircraft that grabbed my interest since I learned about it when I was just a child and this was my first time to see it in person.  

PBY performing on Saturday afternoon. 

Digital shot converted to black and white in Lightroom. My Hasselblad doesn't have enough focal length for this kind of work. (Digital SLRs are better suited for action shots anyway).

If interested: you can see more action shots in the airshows tab on this site.

The airshow performances were going great for awhile until several mechanical problems and eventually a fatal accident (to my knowledge: not caused by mechanical failure). Marcus Paine, who I briefly met the night before while he was prepping his Stearman biplane, crashed during his initial stunt for his performance for the day. I have not yet seen the conclusion NTSB of the investigation yet but it just seemed to me that he didn't give himself enough space to recover from the roll. Predictably, this brought an end to the entire show. 

 

 

Living Historian Shoot Part 2:

Hours after the accident and the scheduled airshow afterparty, we started to shoot again. Beginning just after the sun had set (we were running late) I shot the living historian. It was really a scramble, the shots had to be taken handheld but I did have a roll of Portra 800 with me. This fantastic and relatively fast color negative film gave me the flexibility I needed to pull it off. This is the first time I've shot Kodak Portra 800, and I'm very impressed with it. 

After the sunset shoot, we moved on to a P47 inside an old and original WWII hanger. This hanger isn't as well lit as the main one for the museum which brought some more challenges. I had trouble manually focusing because the light was so dim and my shutter speeds were down to 1 second. As a result a number of my photographs were soft from a combination of slightly missed focus and shutter speeds that were borderline too slow to shoot a live subject. Since the light was more contrasty than the main hanger, I chose to use my only roll of Ilford HP5 Plus. Compared to Kodak Tri-X, this film has less contrast and I felt these characteristics made it best fit for this situation to maintain some level of shadow detail.

The following shots are taken on Ilford HP5 Plus 400 medium format film:

I have to give Chris a lot of credit for holding still enough for 1 second shutter speed.

Later in the evening we resumed shooting in the main hanger until 12:30. I had a great time hanging out with these people, I'm eternally grateful for how much of their personal time they set aside to allow me to get these shots. It was quite an experience, especially when these photos actually turned out they way they did. I'm glad I took the chance because the camera works great!


Short Film Review:

Another benefit to this experience was I able to use multiple films in the same setting. This helped me develop some preference but overall I can tell you they're all great in their own right. I think it boils down to the look you want.

If you like contrast and grain: Kodak Tri-X is the ticket. This was my first time shooting Tri-X, I can see why this film has such a strong following. However, Ilford HP5 Plus is what I've shot in the past and will continue to do so along side Tri-X. The medium contrast from HP5 is at most times a benefit because it's easier to add contrast in post processing than it is recovering dark shadow detail later. In the end, neither is better in my opinion; but depending what you're shooting, sometimes one is a better fit than the other. 

Fuji Acros will deliver stunning detail with minimal grain. Again, this was a new film for me and I was blown away by the level of detail it produced. I'm really a big fan of it and will continue to use it in the future. I love the deep blacks but it still has good shadow detail too. 

Kodak Portra 800 really is impressive, while grain is present, it's far less than I expected to get shooting such a contrasty sunset with an 800 speed film. I metered for the highlights and was still able to pull out the shadows I wanted. I shot it a bit backwards, typically color negatives are exposed for the shadows knowing most highlight detail will still be maintained but my meter ratings were around 1/30 for the shadows and over 1/500 for the highlights. I thought at the time gap was too wide so I settled for 1/125 of a second. I couldn't be happier with the results given how rushed that shoot was. 

 

If you've read this far: thank you! This post turned out to be much longer than I originally intended but I didn't want to leave too much out.

 

Steve Badger

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Revisiting Slide Film with Crater Lake Sunrise

August 16th, 2016:

I'm an intern at Crater Lake National Park. Not for the park itself but Oregon State University. I'm working as a field tech for a Sierra Nevada Red Fox survey being conducted inside the park.

In addition to needed field experience, I get to hike when I'm done surveying and enjoy outstanding views! A fellow student and I talked ourselves into getting up early to see the sunrise on her last day inside the park for the summer. We hiked to the top of the Watchman peak, a popular vista point to visitors and we were the first people there this morning. We watched in silence as the sun slowly rose above the horizon. A handful of people, mostly photographers, joined us just moments before sunrise. 

 

Marisa, an OSU graduate student at the main campus in Corvallis, Oregon, watching the sunrise. 

Shot on Fuji Velvia 100.

Another photographer stopped for a brief moment to take in the view.

Shot on Fuji Velvia 100.

Getting a decent composition was a little challenging. The Yashica-D lens is fixed at 80mm which is an equivalent to around 50mm on full frame 35mm format cameras. Which is a little tighter than I would like at times like this. 

Shot on Fuji Velvia 100.

Fuji Velvia is the most tricky film I've shot, it has the least tolerance for over and underexposure as well the narrowest dynamic range of any film I've used to date. It's a trade off of flexibility for viberant colors and clarity. Keeping this in mind, I'm happy with what I got out of these shots. I did learn a little more from them, I know for shots like these I need graduated neutral density filters to have some more flexibility in contrasty situations such as this.  

 

Steve Badger

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Yashica-D repaired: Bend Classic Car Show

August 10-14th, 2016: 

I got my Yashica-D medium format camera repaired. I managed to track down a gentleman named Mark Hama who used to work at the factory that manufactured these cameras. He completely overhauled my camera, making it practically new again!

I got it back Wednesday August 10th. I needed something to shoot so I loaded a roll of Kodak Portra 160 and went down to the Bend Classic Car Show. I chose Portra because of it's muted colors, and I figured at the time most of these cars had such vibrant colors already. I did not need a film to enhance them further, and run the risk of too much saturation. 

A little more about Kodak Portra: as the name suggests it's a portrait film, a color negative with soft colors and medium contrast. While it's not as punchy as Kodak Ektar or fuji slide films, it still has the distinguishable trait of favoring reds like most (if not all) Kodak films tend to. 

 

 

While it still has muted colors Portra still loves reds!

Overall, I'm really happy with these photos given the time I went out which was high noon. The sunlight was very harsh and I shot the film at 100, rather than 160; meaning I overexposed it slightly. I did this on purpose to get the most shadow detail but honestly I'll shoot at box speed next time. I'm just happy my camera is working again, and even better than before.

 

Steve Badger

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LA to Costa Rica

June 10th -- 24th, 2016:

Hi there,

Before I get started, just some background: I'm a Natural Resources student at Oregon State University at the Cascades Campus in Bend. This trip was part of a study abroad program which took 10 students to learn about natural resource management in another country. Costa Rica because it's closer to the equator, has rich diversity in plant and wildlife. There are several interesting things going on in this beautiful country, its high annual rainfall permits it to use hydroelectric power to sustain itself without the use fossil fuels for several months each year. This has led Costa Rica to be one of the most green developing countries in the world. However, that doesn't mean its growth has been trouble free, far from it in fact. 

But this is not a Natural Resources blog, this is film. I brought a little (relatively for medium format) Yashica-D Twin Reflex camera with me. 

Yashica-D 6x6 Twin Lens Medium Format Camera with 400 speed slide film.

My best friend Mike cleverly captured a pic of me standing in front of a Kodak sign. 

On June 10th 2016, I journeyed down to LA. I had to go there as part of my connecting flights anyway so I left a few days early to hang out with my best friend since high school before the last leg to meet my classmates and professor in San Jose, Costa Rica. This is the first time I've really shot medium format. I've shot 35mm plenty in the past but medium format photography is a whole different animal. Especially when working with a fully mechanical camera and using a light meter to calculate the proper exposure. With that combination, there are plenty of opportunities for something to go wrong. Mistakes and equipment failure did certainly happen on this trip. This was also my first experience with slide film, which I would soon learn its unforgiving nature. Compared to color negative and black/white film, slide film has a very narrow tolerance for under (2 stops) and overexposure (1 stop). It also has a narrower dynamic range, meaning it doesn't record shadows as dark or highlights as bright like negative film types would. The benefit, however, when the exposure is correct, is unbeatable color, clarity, and detail. 

My first mistake was shooting slide film as I would color negative. Meter for the shadows without paying close attention to the highlights. I also did not utilize the spot meter function on my Sekonic L-508. A mistake that cost me a roll of slide film, there's not a single shot worth sharing from that first roll because I blew the exposure out too much. At least I was consistent I guess... I did make adjustments later in the trip on later rolls of slide film because I suspected my process was wrong on the first day, thankfully.   

I also shot Kodak Ektar which is color negative. This particular film is interesting, it's an attempt to mimic slide film. It has more vivid colors than other color negative films but also retains some of the forgiveness of color negative as well. Sadly, kodak no longer makes slide film but it's still an impressive alternative nonetheless. 

All the following images are processed by thedarkroom lab:

Kodak Ektar 100.

Kodak Ektar 100. Mike watching the surfers. 

Kodak Ektar 100. At the Buddhist temple in Chinatown. I blew out the highlights but checkout the detail on the pillar, this is what I metered for. 

Fuji Provia 400x. Shot on the Monteverde University campus in San Jose, Costa Rica. Still slightly overexposed but I love the color.  

Provia 400x. My class walking through the Monteverde main campus in San Jose, Costa Rica. 

Provia 400x. The last usable shot before my camera broke. The film advance mechanism stopped working entirely. The spots on top are from thedarkroom lab when they connected the pin onto the slide when the film dried. Which is something I wasn't thrilled to see.

Unfortunately I don't have much else to share. My camera broke within two days of arriving in Costa Rica but hey the Yashica-D was produced from 1958-1974, it's an old camera! I did get it fixed, more on that on the next blog post. Overall, it was a great learning experience, a little expensive, but it was challenging to shoot with only one camera that couldn't exchange lenses. 

 

Steve Badger

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