Svema Foto 400 + HC-110 = Thumbs Up

And I’m back with the shots! As I said in the previous post, I took the risk and went for the development times for Rollei Retro 400S to process my Svema Foto 400 rolls in HC-110.

It was a bold move for me, as I’m not a seasoned film expert and all the guestimates are quite hard for me. The suggested time was 6:30 at 20 degrees and the results are right in front of you.

I must say I was pretty sure this wouldn’t ruin the film, the time is not critically long or short, so I expected to get something. The question was if it would be acceptable. Turned out really great in my opinion.

The film, as stated by Leslie Lazenby of FPP, dries flat and feels quite thin, but scanning was smooth without any issues in contrast to Rollei Retro 80S. Some of the photos were underexposed, but I blame the camera for this, as it’s done this already before with Kodak Tri-X. As for the contrast in the most of the pictures, I guess the dev time could be a little shorter, but it’s not over the top and I like the result. Another forum advice for this film-developer combo was to process it for 6 minutes, so maybe it wouldn’t be that contrasty, but anyway.

While searching for the receipt last week, I found an old forum thread where a person had exactly the same situation as mine. That was the thread I found the suggestions in but the funny thing was the direction the discussion took almost immediately. Instead of using the power of the collective mind and experience to help, people started arguing if this Svema film was the genuine stock from the original factory. Pretty soon they were talking about some Russian guys who sell the stock and whether you should buy it and stuff, someone posted pictures of the destroyed factory as proof that this Svema wasn’t the original and so on.

The stock has no indication whatsoever on the film itself, not even a frame number, so it is really a mystery what kind of film it is. And the FPP guys don’t really disclose their sources as far as I know.

But it doesn’t matter! I had fun shooting the film, and I’m pretty happy with the results and this is the most important part.

Next is Svema Color, so stay tuned.

Now we’re talking, Kodak Tri-X

As I’ve mentioned already here or on social media, I’ve got myself a 100 ft roll of Kodak Tri-X 400 and now all of my 35mm cameras – which is not many – are loaded with it. Before the latest batch, the results were so-so to my taste. A puzzling mixture of failed expectations and “I’m open to whatever develops from this”. On one hand, I was a little bit upset about the outcome in terms of tonality, overall quality and where the hack that famous grain is anyway! On the other hand, I’ve never shot Tri-X before and adding a new developer to the workflow I was curious to see how it compares to what I had.

That was before I developed another roll of Tri-X this weekend. Shot on my Nikon F3 with the 50mm f/1.8 lens, the photos came out so great I wanted to print some of them while looking at the scanner previews. I don’t post pictures of my family often, but this time I’ve included one of my son drawing just because I like the tones, shadows and grain so much.

Now I see why this film is so acclaimed and praised. I have also learned once again how important it is for the final result to use film appropriately. By this, I mean how film works in different light situations. With the box speed of ISO 400, I’m a bit struggling to get great results outside in the sun. The pictures have blown highlights, so ND filter maybe?

If you have any advice on that, I’ll be glad to hear. Meanwhile, I hope you enjoy the photos.

Cheers!

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My Lucky Developments

One of my colleagues, having seen me with a film camera, brought his old Nikon F65 and gave me as a present. In a camera bag, I found an unexposed roll of Lucky film and decided to test the camera with this roll. As it hasn’t been refrigerated for a long time I expected it to be something completely different from what I’m used to seeing in my colour film. And oh boy different it was! As you can see below everything came out with this magenta colour tone, and some shots also have a kind of stripes across the frame. Thanks to modern technologies I can save those pictures a little bit in post processing, but anyway, that was fun.

My other roll in this batch was Fujifilm C200 and it turned out really good despite being an expired film as well. Now I don’t remember if I shot it as ISO 100 or at box speed, but I love the results. Check out some of them.

The experiment with the Lucky film got me thinking about cross-processing slide film in C-41 chemistry. I think I might give it a go once I get my hands on some cheap colour slide. Until then I’ve got my b&w film and chemicals waiting so I’ll be back with more home developed stuff to share here. Cheers!

Red on Blue

Recently I’ve finally started to develop colour film at home. Having bought the chemicals several months ago I couldn’t get it going, you know, I had to make the chemicals from powder concentrates and for that I had to bring water to a certain temperature and in order to do that I had to warm water… ugh. Sometimes I felt too lazy to bother or just couldn’t find time.

Anyway, the chemicals are now ready and I’ll develop all my colour film accumulated last and this year little by little. Meanwhile, I really enjoy the results.

Seen above is one of the pictures I took at the swimming pool last summer and the way it came out reminds me once again why I love film. Shot on expired Fuji film plus almost a year of waiting for development, the picture has these dominant colors of red and blue which makes it either kind of cross process-y or somewhat impressionist.

The paths we take

Nikon F3, Nikkor 35-70mm, Kodak Ultramax 400

A man vs the world, one vs many, man vs nature, loneliness vs together, full vs empty…

There are so many possible interpretations to this photo and I have never realised that until now. It was taken in Moscow back in 2013. A friend of mine was visiting and we went out for a walk in the sun. The road we were walking along is pretty busy, actually, and suddenly we both saw that girl sitting on the sidewalk and there was no traffic to hide her. So we took photos simultaneously and moved on.

I’ve always liked the symmetry of those parallel lines and how the frame is overloaded with objects in its upper half while being empty in the bottom. But the idea of interpreting it in a philosophical way hasn’t occurred to me until now.

Putting it in the context of this week photo challenge, I wish I could take a moment and sit like this on the side and think about the paths I take and choose. I wish I could put this huge world behind a wall for a moment and have a break. To take a breath, to have a look at the empty road ahead and maybe see where it’s going.

Alas, it seems to be practically impossible, but one can hope, hey?

Self-developed Rollei film and a question

Some time ago I bought a couple of rolls of Rollei Retro 80S to try out. Last weekend I finally developed and scanned them and here some results.

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As you may have noticed some of the photos turned out very contrasty, while others are really fine. And there were some really gruesome results as well, on which later down the road. Both rolls were developed together so the reason for such an outcome escapes me. I’ve got a couple of ideas, though, and an old developer is one of them. After developing these two rolls it turned yellow, and I’ve read that it might be the sign it’s gone.

Both rolls were developed together so the reason for such an outcome escapes me. I’ve got a couple of ideas, though, and an old developer is one of them. After developing these two rolls it turned yellow, and I’ve read that it might be the sign it’s gone.

Another reason is wrong agitation time or/and speed. I’m still learning to develop film, and moreover, this time I used my new dev tank, so maybe I agitated too fast or something. And there was also a moment when I started agitating without setting my timer right, so somewhere in the process, I could have agitated the rolls with less interval than recommended. It doesn’t explain those fine results but I couldn’t come up with any other theory.

Whatever the reason the negatives came out so transparent in some frames that my scanner had troubles defining the limits. It skipped one or two completely and cropped a little bit some more. I managed to save a couple of photos from oblivion and they look like this.

rollei_retro_80s_1795

rollei_retro_80s_1798

Any ideas why the photos turned out so contrasty and transparent? What did I do wrong?

At the exhibition

Nikon F3, Nikkor 35-70mm, Fuji Superia 400 (expired)
Nikon F3, Nikkor 35-70mm, Fuji Superia 400 (expired)

Let me frame it for you:

1.

Earlier this week I read this wonderful post about one of my favourite street photographers Matt Stuart. There is also a video with him talking about some of his photos and the way he works. Strangely enough, only now I’ve realized that I’ve never googled any videos with him myself, but anyway.

Matt Stuart had a huge influence on me at the time I started. Even now looking at his works I feel this urge to grab my camera and get out there to shoot some great street pics. Just like his! I guess his ability to see paradox, irony, and humour in our ordinary life resonates with what I like about surroundings, and what I’d like to see in my pictures.

This one above was taken in Riga, Latvia near the railroad station. There was some kind of open-air exhibition and I just happened to be there and take some photos. I don’t know about you, but I can see some glimpses of Stuart’s style here, considering doves and legs 😉 or maybe it’s just my emotional bias (probably).

2.

Though I missed the photo challenge last week this one is about frames, which are aplenty in this photo. In all kinds of interpretation.

3.

I just personally like this picture no matter how good or bad it seems to others. Regardless comparisons to masters or haute street photography. And I decided to show it to you.