35mm · Film photography · Photography

Signs of autumn

I took a walk out this afternoon to drop off a parcel at a local shop that accepts Hermes packages. The day has been bright and sunny and, while there was a slight coolness to the breeze, it was still very mild and I had a bit of a sweat going by the time I got home (I do walk fast though – much to the complaint of my family who accuse me of taking them on forced marches when we go out!). There are now definite signs of autumn colour on the trees and small drifts of fallen leaves can already be seen here and there.

Autumn is my favourite season, but one than seems to pass by all to quickly. This year then, I’ve made myself a promise to go out to walk at least three times a week and to take in and savour the changes that occur. I hope that this will help me to enjoy it while it lasts and not just suddenly realise it’s Christmas and the last three months have disappeared in a blur!

Keeping to the autumnal theme, today’s photo is of an acorn I picked up while walking with my family a couple of weeks ago. It was a fairly fresh acorn – still green – and I dropped it into a planter on the back garden after making the picture. Maybe it will take root.

Harbinger of autumn

Nikon F80, Sigma 105mm f/2.8 OS HSM & Ilford HP5+ (@1600asa). Ilfotec DD-X 1+4 13mins @ 20°

Taken on 30 August 2020

35mm · Film photography · Photography

Leftover flowers

I’m still writing my camera review piece, honest! I’ve actually started it today and now have a few hundred words down on paper (well, a text file…). Finger’s crossed it’ll be here soon.

So in the meantime I’ll keep posting other stuff which, today, means a couple of photos of some flowers I bought my wife for our anniversary. When they were past their best and starting to wilt, I nabbed them before they got thrown out and took a few photos with my macro lens. As I didn’t want to mess around with a tripod and the rest of it, I pushed a roll of HP5+ to 1600asa so I could shoot handheld. While it’s not the first time I’ve pushed HP5+ a couple of stops, it is the first time I’ve developed the results myself. As usual, the Ilfotec DD-X has delivered results I’m more than happy with.

After the anniversary
As they fade
I wasn’t sure about the left side of this one at first, but now I don’t mind it so much.

Nikon F80, Sigma 105mm f/2.8 OS HSM & Ilford HP5+ (@1600asa). Ilfotec DD-X 1+4 13mins @ 20°

Taken on 30 August 2020

35mm · Film photography · Photography

Out near Thorpe Salvin

A bunch of photos that I made on a big looping walk from Thorpe Salvin a few weeks ago. I’ve posted several photos from the same walk in previous posts here, here, here, here & here.

These are all from the second roll of film I started during the walk, some expired Fuji Superia 100. It expired 12 years ago but has been cold-stored and it still looks great. I sometimes overexpose it slightly, but it looks good shot at box speed too, as can be seen in the photos here.

It’s a bit of a random selection of some of the things I passed while walking and I’ll post them as they come, without any commentary.

The corner of Little Lane

Those bungalows again

Country airstrip

Fence and chain

More big daisies

Dove on a streetlight

Nikon F80, Nikkor 28-80mm f/3.5-5.6 & Fuji Superia 100 (expired 2008). The last shot was with my Sigma 105mm f/2.8 OS HSM lens.

Taken on 31 May 2020

35mm · Film photography · Photography

Three poppies

I’ve had the day off work today as the garden fence needed painting. I’ve been at it all day and it’s still not finished (there’s a lot of fence!) and now I’m exhausted. As a result, I don’t have the energy to type anything lengthy, so here’s a photograph of some poppies I made about six weeks ago. Gotta love this expired Superia! 🙂

Three poppies

Nikon F80, Sigma 105mm f/2.8 OS HSM & Fuji Superia 100 (expired 2008).

Taken on 31 May 2020

35mm · Film photography · Photography

More Ektachrome re-scans and a street portraiture outing

I decided today to start a long-considered project to make portraits of strangers. It’s not an original idea – many others have done it before – but the aim is to make one-hundred portraits of people I don’t know. This is not something that comes naturally to me, both from a technical photographic angle – portraiture is not something I’ve done very much of – and also from a social aspect. By nature, I’m something of a shy, somewht introverted person, and approaching someone I don’t know to ask them if I can make their portrait is a definite challenge. So it was with no little trepidation that I decided to make a start today.

I decided that I will shoot all the portraits with my Yashica Mat 124G and use Kodak Portra 400. The choice of camera is for a number of reasons:

  1. It makes nice photographs
  2. I like the square format for portraits
  3. I’ll hopefully get better quality images from a medium format camera
  4. Because it’s a TLR, I hope that it will be disarming / start conversations in a way that an SLR maybe wouldn’t

The Portra was chosed because:

  1. It looks great
  2. It has a excellent exposure latitude which gives me flexibility when shooting in changeable light.

The first person I asked today said no, which wasn’t the best for my already shaky confidence, but I perservered, and the next two people both agreed to let me make their portraits. In all, out of fourteen people I asked, just three declined to take part, and there was no animosity whatsoever from anyone.

I photographed a range of people, both men and women, young and old. A couple of my subjects had cameras, so I approached them thinking that they might be more embracing of the idea of my taking their photo. A couple were street musicians, so they’re probably used to being photographed. Everyone else was a person who looked approachable, including a girl manning an ice-cream van, a couple of men who looked like they might be waiting for their wives to come out of shops, and a girl carrying a large potted plant. The latter girl asked what I would do with the photos, so I gave her the name of my blog. If you’re reading this, thank you agian for letting me make a portrait. 🙂

On the whole I was very pleased with how the day turned out and it gives me confidence to do the same again. I’ll get the film sent off for processing next week and will hopefully have some results in a few days time. Fingers crossed that they turn out ok!

For today however, I’ll post a few more of the re-scanned Ektachrome slides that I shot at a steam rally last year. The film really seems to lift in good light.

FILM - Steam Rally 2019 Ektachrome scans-4

FILM - Steam Rally 2019 Ektachrome scans-6

Steam rally scenes

A variety of vehicles

Land Rover

Nikon F80, Nikkor 28-80mm f/3.5-5.6 D & Kodak Ektachrome.

Taken on 30 June 2019

35mm · Film photography · Photography

Re-scanning some Ektachrome

Last year I treated myself to a roll of Kodak’s re-issued Ektachrome film. I shot the whole roll at a steam rally (none of those this year, sadly 😦 ) and was looking forward to the results. Unfortunately, they weren’t what I expected – or, at least, my scans weren’t.

FILM - Popular

Sheffield Steam Rally 2019 rescans-7

The slides themselves looked pretty nice. One or two of them were a little off on the exposure and looked a a bit dark, but nothing extreme, and the colours looked great. When I scanned them though, the colours were off and the levels were out considerably. Lots of deep contrast and strange, oily tones to the more vivid colours. Shadow areas lacked detail and I had to adjust the Tint and Temperature controls to make them look halfway decent. Some of them were beyond even this rectification though (or at least my skills to correct it).

FILM - Picnic set

Sheffield Steam Rally 2019 rescans-9

The scans were made on my Plustek 8100 and Silverfast, a scanner and software that serves me perfectly well for most of the other things I scan – although this is primarily black and white. I did the best I could with them and posted some to Flickr, and a few on this blog (here, here, here & here), but otherwise wrote them off as a bit of a disappointment.

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Sheffield Steam Rally 2019 rescans-8

Recently however, I’ve had a hankering to shoot some more slide film, and shot a roll of 17-years expired Ektachrome the other week which gave surprisingly nice results. Not perfect, but more than I could have hoped for given the age of the film and my scanning it using Epsonscan – a package that I’ve always struggled to get satisfactory colours with (again, probably due to my skills with it as much as anything else).

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Sheffield Steam Rally 2019 rescans-3

So, I decided to revisit my 35mm Ektachrome slides for a fresh attempt. This time I tried something different.

FILM - Steam Rally 2019 Ektachrome scans-10

Sheffield Steam Rally 2019 rescans-2

Back before I bought my Plustek, I’d tried some alternative scanning applications to see if I could improve my colour scans on my Epson V550. One of those was Silverfast, the other was Vuescan. Silverfast software is linked to your scanner, so the copy I have for my Plustek won’t work on my Epson (something I dislike – If I buy a piece of software, I’d like it to work with different pieces of hardware thank you. It came with the Plustek though, so I’ll not complain too much). Vuescan however, will work with anything you own and has free lifetime updates if you buy the Pro version. As I still had the demo version, I decided to try it with my Plustek and the Ektachrome transparencies.

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Sheffield Steam Rally 2019 rescans-6

Lo and behold, the results looked much more promising than the scans I’d managed with Silverfast. I was pretty happy about this and, as Vuescan is discounted at present, decided to fork out for the full, non-watermarked version and give my Ektachromes a fresh attempt.

FILM - A golden age of coach travel

Sheffield Steam Rally 2019 rescans-5

It took a bit of trial and error, but I think I’ve found a setup that does a good job on them. Certainly an improvement over the original scans to my eyes, so I thought I’d publish a few examples here today. I think the new scans are a noticeable improvement – a lot of the horrible green tinge has gone (how I didn’t spot that originally I don’t know) and there’s a lot more shadow detail. They’re in before and after pairs, the before shots first.

FILM - Steam Rally 2019 Ektachrome scans-9

Sheffield Steam Rally 2019 rescans-4

Nikon F80, Nikkor 28-80mm f/3.5-5.6 D & Kodak Ektachrome.

Taken on 30 June 2019