35mm · Film photography · Photography

And then the sun came out…

A few days back I was bemoaning the results from Portra 800 shot under dull, overcast conditions and how I’d thought about converting them to black and white.

On the same day that I made those pictures, in the late afternoon as we were heading back to the car the skies began to clear, the day turned bright and summery, and I was able to shoot the final two frames of the roll under these brighter conditions. The results (as seen below) are, I think, far preferable.

Despite it’s professional quality (and exhorbitant price point), I really don’t think that Portra 800 suits dull conditions much. It’s 800asa rating might say otherwise, but I think the results are lacklustre (albeit with the caveat that I’ve not actually shot much of the film, so maybe it’s the operator at fault here). The day before I shot the Portra, I’d shot some Kodak Colorplus 200 under similar conditions with my Olympus Trip 35 and much preferred those results, despite it being a cheaper, consumer-grade film.

I’ve since shot another roll of Portra 800, this time on a bright day while rating it at 400asa, and found those to be much nicer. I’m not sure I’d go out of my way to buy more of the film – I’d probably just go for it’s slightly cheaper stablemates Portra 400 and 160 and avoid shooting on dull days. The other Portra 800 shots will be along in the next week or so.

Seafood shack
Out of the water

Nikon F80, Nikkor 28-80mm f/3.5-5.6 D & Kodak Portra 800. Lab developed. Home scanned and converted with Negative Lab Pro.

Taken on 29 July 2022

Photography · Film photography · 35mm

Over the rooftops

Both of today’s photographs were taken while descending the 199 steps I posted about in the blog yesterday. They might be tough on the legs, but they do afford a nice view. 🙂

Over the rooftops
Out to sea

Nikon F80, Nikkor 28-80mm f/3.5-5.6 D & Kodak Portra 800. Lab developed. Home scanned and converted with Negative Lab Pro.

Taken on 29 July 2022.

35mm · Film photography · Photography

199 Steps

One of the landmarks and visitor attractions in Whitby are the 199 Steps. These ascend from the charming pedestrian shopping streets of the east side of the town up to St. Marys Church and, a little further on, the ruins of Whitby Abbey.

The foot of the ascent

The earliest record of the steps is from the 14th century, but they are believed to be older than this. Originally made of wood, the current stone steps were laid in 1774. It is said that they are a test of faith as climbing them to reach the church definitely takes some effort!

The steps are somewhat deceptive to climb as they are shallower than a stair you might find inside a home. This results in you making smaller movements of your legs than you might be used to which is odd and tiring. The spacing of the steps also makes taking two at a time more difficult than you would expect. There is a steep, sloping cobbled path beside the stairs which looks even more treacherous!

There are many photographs of this landmark to be found online – most of them better than mine here – but these were the pictures I got the chance to make on this visit.

Where Robin sat?

The final shot below shows the view from the wetern side of the harbour with a sculpture of some fishwives in the foreground. You can just make out the steps in the upper right of the frame where they ascend up to the church.

Fishwives

Nikon F80, Nikkor 28-80mm f/3.5-5.6 D & Kodak Portra 800. Lab developed. Home scanned and converted with Negative Lab Pro.

Taken on 29 July 2022.

35mm · Film photography · Photography

Neigh

Another Whitby picture today (and another that I think might have worked better in black and white). This horse is cleearly used to being fed handfuls of grass by passers by and, while I stood beside the wall, it placed its head right next to mine and let out a big, damp snort in my ear.

Following my ankle injury a few weeks ago I’ve been itching to get out and make some fresh photographs, and yesterday I took a trip into town with my wife (I’m not attempting to drive myself just yet – the consultant at the hospital advised waiting four weeks, so that is what I’ll do). It wasn’t a long trip and I didn’t walk very far, but I still managed to shoot a roll of HP5+ through the Yashicamat. I’ve developed the photos today but not yet scanned them. It was nice to take some pictures and even the developing (which is not a task I tend to enjoy) was quite a pleasant experience.

My ankle held up well, which is reassuring. Hopefully I’ll be able to get out more in the coming weeks.

Neigh

Nikon F80, Nikkor 28-80mm f/3.5-5.6 D & Kodak Portra 800. Lab developed. Home scanned and converted with Negative Lab Pro.

Taken on 29 July 2022.

35mm · Film photography · Photography

Whitby harbour in colour and black-and-white

I’ve been less than impressed by the results of this roll of Portra 800 primarily (I think) because it was shot under dull, overcast conditions. The resulting images are muddy and unappealing to my eye and I’ve spent some time seriously considering converting them to contrasty black-and-white versions in Lightroom and ditching the colour altogether.

While this does give more impactful images for many of the frames, the fact that this is a colour film (and a very expensive one at that!) means I’m somewhat reluctant to do so – I might have well have just used some cheaper black-and-white film in the first place (I really wish I’d taken some B&W rolls with me but I didn’t, because I am a fool).

I’ve uploaded converted versions of the colour originals at the bottom of the post. Which do you prefer?

Walking the plank(s)
Harbour entrance

Nikon F80, Nikkor 28-80mm f/3.5-5.6 D & Kodak Portra 800. Lab developed. Home scanned and converted with Negative Lab Pro.

Taken on 29 July 2022.

35mm · Film photography · Photography

The arrival of the Summer Queen

There are a trio of these yellow boats operating out of Whitby. One of them, Dash II (the smallest) operates upstream along the River Esk. The other two venture out into the North Sea, taking passengers on a short cruise up the coast towards Sandsend. Esk Belle III is the smaller of the seagoing boats, and Summer Queen is the largest. These latter two boats were a regular sight travelling in an out of the harbour as we wanderd around the town on this day.

I did wonder about cloning out the bird (I think it’s a pigeon) from the upper-right corner of the frame but, in the end, decided to give it its moment of fame instead.

The arrival of the Summer Queen

Nikon F80, Nikkor 28-80mm f/3.5-5.6 D & Kodak Portra 800. Lab developed. Home scanned and converted with Negative Lab Pro.

Taken on 29 July 2022.

35mm · Film photography · Photography

Saving space with smaller scans

I’ve made a decision today to begin uploading smaller scans to Flickr. Normally, I upload a JPEG version of the original scan at full resolution (this is 2400dpi for medium format negatives scanned on my Epson V550, and 3600dpi for 35mm negatives scanned on the Plustek). These are my raw scans which I then process further in Lightroom and add a white border in Photoshop before uploading to my Flickr account. These scanning resolutions are, to my eyes, the ones that pull the maximum detail from the negatives for these particular scanners without them simply becoming bigger files with no increase in detail.

The downside of these resolutions is that the scans are big. Not just in terms of pixel count, but also in terms of file size. The resulting TIF file for a 6×6 medium format colour negative can be around 150-200 megabytes, and even black and white TIF still come in at around half that size. This means that I’m using a significant amount of drive-space to store these files. Thankfully, the exported JPEG files are much smaller – around 15-20 megabytes for a 6×6 colour image. However, this still adds further space requirements on top of the TIF originals.

What I’ve noticed on Flickr is that, while it’s nice to have the full resolution image on there, after a certain amount of zooming there’s little notable benefit to be seen. In fact, at smaller enlargement sizes, they look sharper and nicer on the eye. So I’ve decided that I will no longer upload a full resolution JPEG, instead limiting medium format images to 3072 pixels on the short edge (a 3k image), and for 35mm pictures, 3072 pixels on the long edge. These pictures look nice on Flickr and still allow for a good, detailed image when zoomed in. They also have a nice bonus benefit of reducing the filesize by approximately two thirds for each image. If I retrospectively re-size my archive of JPEGs I expect that I can reduce the total disk-space required to store them by many tens of gigabytes, which is a worthwhile endeavour.

The picture in today’s blog is one that I’ve gone back and resized and, if you click on it to see it on Flickr, I think you’ll probably agree that the images is plenty big enough.

Workstation

Olympus Trip 35 & Kodak Colorplus. Lab developed. Home scanned and converted with Negative Lab Pro.

Taken on 18 July 2022.

35mm · Film photography · Photography

Whitby boats

The main visitor car parks at Whitby lie beside the boat moorings in the upper habour area and the boats seen in today’s photos were all pretty close to where we parked – I saw them as we drove in and made a point of walking past them as we headed back into the town. The weather was somewhat gloomy and overcast for most of the day and I think the roll of Portra 800 I had in the camera was somewhat wasted on the conditions.

Small boats

While the extra speed it gave was beneficial, I can’t say that it produces particularly flattering results under these conditions, at least not to my tastes. Unfortunately, the weather forecast had let me down with its predictions and we ended up with mostly overcast (and rainy) weather throughout the trip, with just a few periods of nicer weather, so I somewhat foolishly only packed colour film when black-and-white might have done a better job.

At the prow

It did turn nicer at the end of this day though, by which time I’d switched to some Superia Extra 400, so there will probably be some more pictures of these same boats to come in a future, sunnier post.

Flotilla

Nikon F80, Nikkor 28-80mm f/3.5-5.6 D & Kodak Portra 800. Lab developed. Home scanned and converted with Negative Lab Pro.

Taken on 29 July 2022.

35mm · Film photography · Photography

Scarborough scenes

I thought I’d drop in a whole bunch of pictures today, all taken while in Scarborough a few weeks ago. Scarborough rose to prominence as a spa town where it’s popularity led to visitors from London and other parts of the country making use of its facilities. The actual discovery of the spa waters took place in the 17th century, but the resort bloomed with the coming of the railways in the mid 19th century.

The town spans a north and south bay, seperated by a headland atop which stands the ruins of a medieval castle. The south bay is the more commecrcial of the two and is where the majority of the tourist facilities lie, while the north bay is quieter (although still with plenty of attractions, including Peasholm Park where mock naval battles are carried out on the boating lake). All the photos here were taken in and around the south bay.

Our visit took place on the first day of a three day trip to the region when we stayed near Whitby a little further up the coast.

Overcast Scarborough
Lifeguards
Funicular
Pure rock made here
Coney Island
Scarborough harbour
Lifeboat

Olympus Trip 35 & Kodak Colorplus. Lab developed. Home scanned and converted with Negative Lab Pro.

Taken on 28 July 2022.