These two vacant leather chairs were positioned in a couple of the basement rooms of the old warehouse building where the Photo North event took place last month. I liked something about them them enough to take photos.
This is the second in my series of expired film shoots. You can find a link to the others at the bottom of this post.
This second roll is a little younger than the last one I shot, but not by a huge margin, and it’s still over thirty years beyond it’s expiry date. It’s also a colour film, a fact that I’ve found can more adversely affect the resulting photographs. I find that expired black and white film is generally far more forgiving than colour. There are a number of things that can go awry with either format but, in general, it’s much easier to overlook a change in tonality in black and white than it is in colour. The reason is in the name: colour. While most people probably can’t tell if a greyscale tone is not totally accurate, they are far more atuned to when colours don’t look right, and expired colour film can bring a whole range of potential colour defects to bear on an image, with deterioration of the different dye layers resulting in a range of colour changes that the human eye easily picks up on.
An increase in grain is another thing that can occur with expired film and, again, is something that is less of a problem in black and white than colour. Sometimes grainy colour images can look great – look at Anton Corbijn’s colour pictures as an example – but in my own work, additional grain and colour noise in colour photographs tends to look muddy and unattractive.
Taking these things into consideration, I generally have a lot more trepidation when shooting expired colour film, and the faster the film, the worse these things can become as the addtional sensitivity can increase the possible deterioration.
For this installment I chose a roll of Kodacolor VR 400 which expired in May 1989, so 33 years past it’s recommended best when I shot it. As I don’t know how the film has been stored throughout it’s life I used the generally accepeted rule of thumb to overexpose it for one full stop for each decade of expiry and metered it at 80asa.
As with the last roll of expired film I shot, I decided to use my Yashicamat 124G again. This time though I decided to stay relatively close to home for the shoot and headed out to the local country park, which is about ten minutes away by foot. The weather was nice and bright but as I was shooting at 80asa I took my tripod with me in the event I needed to use slower shutter speeds. I managed to forget a cable release but, thankfully, none of the exposures was slow enough to be impacted by any camera shake from my pressing the shutter button with my finger.
All the shots were made either on my way to the park, at the park, or on the way home, all in the space of an hour or so.
As I don’t develop my own colour film as yet, I took the exposed roll to my local lab. I had a momentary pang of disappointment when I was told that it might have to be developed in B&W chemicals if there was a risk of the old film contaminating their C41 chems, but I was happy to discover colour negatives when I collected the developed film the next day.
The negatives were scanned at home on my Epson V550 flatbed scanner and converted to positive images with Negative Lab Pro. The scans had some noticable colour shifts but this was easily recovered in the conversion process. The resulting images are vibrant with good, albeit perhaps not completely accurate, colours. There is increased grain, most notably in the shadow areas but given the age of the film, nothing too bad.
I was very pleased with the results and managed to get twelve very useable images, with a few that I especially like – the shot of the steps being my particular favourite.
Overall outcome: Success!
Expiriment #3 coming soon…
Yashicamat 124G, Kodacolor VR 400 (expired 1989). Shot at 80asa and lab developed for box speed.
Back near the start of May I visited the Photo North photography festival in Manchester. Rather foolishly I didn’t allow enough time to enjoy it thoroughly and, to make matters worse, the train there was delayed too. As a result, instead of walking to the location as planned, I ended up grabbing a taxi. The light in the station was really nice as I made my way to the cab rank, and I grabbed a few photos, including the one published here today.
I guess you could just read yesterday’s post to find out what this picture is about. It’s a photo of another piano in the same location. I’m making this a quick post because it’s very hot here today and I haven’t got it in me to sit and write anything lengthier. 🙂
Many railway stations here in the UK, or at least the larger ones with sheltered concourses and departure areas, tend to have a piano (sometimes several) on which members of the public can exercise their musical talents (or lack thereof). This one is at Manchester Picadilly station – and there’s at least one more at this station.
This is a shot from the first roll I’ve shot through my Olympus 35RC in far too long. My XA3 seems to have gotten much of the love over the past year, but even before I got that camera, the 35RC had languished for longer than I liked. I’ve shot this roll with it and currently have a half-finished roll of FP4+ loaded. It’s a great little camera and deserves some use.
The light falling on this shopfront – a combination of contrasty tones and shadows from the trees to the left of frame – attracted me to make the picture. It’s a shame that the shop is not trading, but I guess that’s the way the country is changing. Demographically, villages like this are altering, and combined with that a change in shopping habits and the introduction of online shopping, means that trading conditions have become much more difficult for such stores. Hopefully it will re-emerge in some new guise.
Two individual frames of the same scene here today. Both shots are opportunistic – I sometimes like to just go out in the car and drive along roads I’ve never travelled in the hopes of spotting something I think will make a good photo. The gate and the crumbling drystone wall in the field behind it were one such random find.
Sometimes such trips can reap dividends, sometimes they turn up dry or (potentially more disappointing) great shots but with nowhere to pull over and take the shot. But even the latter case still records an entry in the memory bank for a possible (better prepared) future visit.
It’s been a while since I posted a photo of powerlines on the blog, so let me rectify that…
There were two things that attracted me to this shot. The foreground and distant pole providing a sense of direction and travel through the scene were the first thing that caught my attention as I approached in the car. Then, after parking I noticed that the best angle to make the picture would also result in the contrail mirroring the track of the powerlines.
I don’t think the picture works as well as I thought it might, mostly because the foreground fence is a bit of a distraction. Unfortunately, given the focal length of the camera and the available places where I could position myself to take the shot meant I couldn’t avoid this. I tried cropping the fence out, but the result didn’t look right.
This obelisk sits on the hillside above Low Bradfield. It covers a roadside spring and stands in memory of a child who drowned at the site in 1832. The shed behind the obelisk is connected but is a later addition.
A couple of shots featuring vintage prestige cars (a Rolls Royce, a Bentley, and a Jaguar).
I had intended to go out and shoot a roll or two of film this morning, but when I arrived at the location the weather had changed from sunlight to overcast, which put me off. The nail in teh coffing though was the fact that my lightmeter – a Sekonic L-308s – was displaying an error message an wouldn’t work at all. I’ve not got to try and get it repaired and hope I don’t have to buy a replacement (I’d quite like a combination spot / incident meter, but they seem to cost an absolute fortune!). It’s not the end of the world though as I still have my original L-208 Twinmate meter which will work just as well. It’s just that I do like the digital display on the 308.