Photo Friday

I think I’m like most people in that I love taking photos, but I’m not so keen on keeping them all neatly arranged.  I’m finally finding myself with a bit more time so I’ve been slowly going through old photos trying to get them arranged, tagged, and sorted.  Of course I’m doing it a completely disorganized fashion, but at least I’m putting some effort into it.

The above shot was taken on my voigtlander Bessa R, with the 15mm heliar I believe.  Used Kodak E100 slide film and had it cross processed.  It’s taken out the back door of a canal boat on a family trip taken almost 3 years ago.

Photo of the Week

I’m down to my last three rolls of film to develop.  I came across this gem a few nights ago after developing and scanning a roll of fuji Neopan.  I don’t usually gush over my own photographs, but I absolutely love this picture.  I find myself sitting at the computer and pulling it up just to look at it, probably not healthy, but oh well…  I’ve also come to realize that I really prefer the Neopan to the Tri-X that I shot in Paris.  I read on rangefinderforum the other day that you should shoot tri-x at 200 when in Paris, maybe this was the problem, but I think in the end I really prefer the higher contrast of neopan, even when developed in D-76.

Back to the picture: taken with my Bessa R and the 15mm Heliar.  This sculpture sits in front of Saint Eustache by Les Halles in Paris.  It’s a little over 2 metres tall and usually has kids climbing all over it.  To fill the frame I got very close with my camera to take the shot.

Photo of the Week

Started scanning some of my backlogged black and white film from last year.  I still have several rolls to develop, but I’ve scanned most of the developed stuff now.  I tried Tri-X, the film that everyone seems to praise.  Not sure if I like it, lots of dark negs it seems, might have to adjust my developing on the rest of the rolls.


This week’s photo taken with my voigtlander Bessa R and the 15mm Heliar.  Gives some great wide angles but also makes all the posts in the picture crooked…  Taken with Kodak Tri-X, developed in D76.  We had gone to Gare de l’Est for a day trip out of Paris, but due to some striking workers, we ended up heading to the local park instead.

Photo of the Week

I’ve taken so many pictures over the last 5 months, and they get developed in batches, so that some good ones often fall through the cracks.  I’ve been visiting rail stations lately, and looking back to some older photos I saw this shot I took of Gare du Nord.  We were waiting for a train and I went for a little wander as I often do, camera in hand.  Used my Voigtlander Bessa R with the 15mm lens.

The Roll that wasn’t

I picked up a used voigtlander 75mm lens for my Bessa R shortly before a business trip to Europe.  What a great chance to test it out I thought. I loaded up a roll of my favourite film (Neopan 400) and started snapping.  I took pictures in the various airports, then more in a some quaint little villages in the french alps.  I was enjoying the focal length immensely.

I continued to take shots, even switched lenses a few times for my 35mm and even the 15mm (which is hard to get used to after shooting with a 75mm!).  Then it happened… I took shot number 36 on the roll and started to rewind. To my horror the film rewound with about two turns of the crank.  The film hadn’t caught on to the spool and non of my shots had been recorded.  It was pretty tragic, loosing all those potential “incredible” shots. Although judging by past performance, I usually only get 5-10 “great” shots on a roll, so add to this a new lens and that number could have been significantly lower.  But that’s all beside the point, I enjoy taking pictures, and while I’m sad to have lost those shots on that roll, I enjoyed taking every single one of those pictures, regardless of them working or not.  For me photography is about the process, and while I do enjoy my shots turning out really well, I’ve come to expect this not to happen for many of them, and so I have learnt to enjoy taking the pictures as much as seeing the results.

I realized afterwards that my many months of Xpan usage led me to be lazy with my film loading. The Xpan loads automatically, and I forgot the voigtlander wouldn’t (it is a manual camera).  On a happier note, I found a great camera store in Southern Germany that had a great selection of film with good prices. Picked up some Agfa APX400 which I’m looking forward to try.

Xpro – Cross Processing Slide Film (E6)

After you’ve seen a few Xpro photos online, you know you just have to take a shot at it.  I was really excited to try it out…. until I saw the price of slide film!!!  Jiminy Jillickers, slide film is not cheap.  I had heard that you could get cheap stuff at dollar stores for, well, a dollar, but no dollar store in my neck of the woods even stocks film, so I ponied up $12 for some Kodak E100 and I was off to the races (figuratively of course).

Before I go on, you may be asking what xpro is? Basically you take slide (E6) film and process it in negative film (C-41) chemicals.  The results vary depending on the brand of film you chose, however in general you get super saturated colours (sky and grass) while skin tones are often pale.  It is not a natural look, but it is pretty cool in my opinion.

There are many different schools of thought on how to expose the film, I’ve read some places you should over-expose, others say you should under-expose.  I read somewhere (I think it was on flickr) where someone said you need lots of light for the best effect, so if it’s dark, over-expose to make sure you get the right effect.  Now that I think of it, this may not make that much sense, but the first roll I took I set the ISO as stated and just let the light meter decide.

I’m quite pleased with the results, however one thing I didn’t realize was that scanners actually have a fair bit of trouble scanning xpro film.  They constantly try to correct for the crazy colours.  No matter what I tried, I could not get the same colour as the lab did on my prints.

Here I tried scanning as negative film:




Here I tried scanning as slide and then inversed in PS3:




And finally after giving up, I scanned the prints:

So as you can see, it’s hard to get the same affect, and while I tried all sorts of different alterations in photoshop, the best and fastest way to get the same colours as my prints was to scan the prints (kind of obvious really…).  This does take away from the fun of this as I wasted far more time trying to scan it than I ever did taking the pictures!!!  Anyways, now that I know, I’ll scan the prints, if I really wanted high quality scans, I’d get the lab to do it anyways.

Since I took this roll, I found 16 rolls of Kodak E100 for $30 on ebay (very slightly expired), so this has definitely brought down the price of xpro for me.  All photos were taken with a Voigtlander Bessa R using either a 35mm or 15mm lens.  See all my xpro shots here. Flickr Xpro group.