London on Film

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Back in March, some friends and I took a quick trip across the pond to spend some time in the UK, and visit our friend Samer (top left).

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Hm. What to bring?

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I wanted to travel light, as I was only spending a week traveling, but I always have such a hard time doing that.

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I managed to fit everything into a backpack, and an american sized carry-on (Europeans use much smaller carry-ons, I’d come to find out), but as a midwesterner, I think minimalism is something we all struggle with. I brought both my DSLR gear and my film gear, which is probably overkill. 

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I was a little worried about placing all of my faith on my film gear on a trip like this, so I really wanted to have the versatility of my DSLR just in case (and if I wanted to shoot any video). 

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The film gear:

  • Bronica ETRSi w/ prism (6×4.5 Medium Format)
  • 2 120 film backs
  • 40mm f/4.0
  • 50mm f/2.8
  • 150mm f/3.5
  • 1 or 2 rolls of the following: Kodak Ektar 100, Fuji Velvia 100 (slide film), Kodak Portra 160, Fuji Pro400H, Kodak Portra 800, Ilford Delta 3200
  • Cheap Sekonic reflected light meter

(I probably didn’t need both the 40mm and 50mm, but I wanted the wide angle of the 40mm, but the aperture of the 50mm, and I couldn’t decide, so I ended up bringing both.)

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I used one of the film backs for indoor/night time photos (with either the 800 or 3200 speed films), and the other for outdoor/daytime photos (with one of the other films). Having 2 backs made it much more versatile, but there were some challenging situations where neither of them would have worked well, so I didn’t shoot anything, or where I wanted to ditch the backpack, and only carried my DSLR.

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We had a number of flights throughout, and bringing film with you is always a challenge, since they want to send everything through the x-ray. I managed to have my film hand-checked at a few checkpoints, but a couple were unavoidable, so we will see how some of those turn out when I finally get my high-ISO film developed.

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My goal was to get out there, and shoot at least 2 rolls a day (one low ISO, and one high ISO). I have been shooting film so sparsely, that the other goal was to use a variety of film, and then develop some opinions and preferences on which film stocks I liked.

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I only ended up averaging about 1.5 rolls a day, and shooting mostly outdoors, but I really liked how the majority of them turned out.

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I was excited to get these rolls home, as that would be enough for me to actually mix my own C-41 chemicals, and develop at home.

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I developed these in my kitchen sink using Patterson reels and developing tank, and the Unicolor 1L C-41 powder kit. You gotta pretty precise with the temperature and timing, so I  kept the tank and the bottles in a bath or warm water to help regulate the temperature.

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Overall, I’m pretty please with how these turned out. After drying, I scanned them in on an Epson V600. I still have a ways to go with nailing the colors and white balance; but I think that has a lot to do with how I exposed, and the variation in film stocks, and also how I scanned. I’ll get there some day, but until then…

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Thank You for reading.

 

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Chicago by Film…

I took these photos back in August/September of 2012. I had just picked up my first medium format SLR, the Bronica ETRSi, with a few lenses. I was excited to try it out, and because I had a few friends in town, I had some willing subjects.  I really liked how they turned out; the quality turned out pretty nice. These were shot on Kodak Portra 400, 220 film, and photos were developed and scanned by a lab. I made some adjustments in lightroom, but nothing too drastic (one I converted to B&W, because I screwed up the exposure so badly). The Bronica doesn’t have a built in light meter (although, you can buy a prism viewfinder with it built in), but, not to worry, there’s an app for that! I used the light meter app on my iphone to get a good approximation of exposure settings, and it worked really well!

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