Glorious colour shifts of red, orange, yellow and green all from one film? Totally achievable with Redeye Redscale film!

I visited RSPB Fairburn Ings, an ex-industrial site rich in heritage and now an important site for breeding and wintering ducks, geese, and swans. Situated in the North of England between Leeds, York, and Wakefield, it’s one of my favourite places to go for a quiet, meditative walk, and I slowly walked along the paths earlier this year, breathing in the bracing Yorkshire air and listening to the wildfowl as they swam through the wetlands.

My camera of choice on this outing was my late father’s favourite, an Asahi Pentax Spotmatic 1000. The lens is the only one I have for it, the lens my dad used all the time, an M42-mount Sigma 28-80mm f/3.5-f/4.5.

Launched in February 2021, Redeye Redscale is a boutique, hand-spooled film that’s great fun to shoot.

After years of respooling film for personal use, @toby-vandevelde introduced his own brand of redscale film so that others could easily experience the amazing colour shifts obtained from this experimental process.

In production, the film is loaded upside down, and therefore back to front, with the red-sensitive layer of the film being exposed first. Toby has done all the fiddly bits for you, the canister is just loaded into the camera like any other 35mm film.

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The film’s box speed is 200 ISO but the best results are achieved by overexposing the film, anything from +2 stops to +9 or even more! This is easily achievable on a camera with manual settings, by a combination of lowering the ISO setting on the camera, and using the shutter speed and aperture to increase the amount of light hitting the film.

As a general rule, overexposure of +2 stops gives strong contrasty reds, higher exposures burn through the red layer and give a muted yellowy-green vintage feel.

The film is developed in normal C-41 chemicals but you can also ask your lab to push the film a few more stops in development if you want even more dramatic shifts.

On this outing with the film, I didn’t record my settings, but rather I wanted to just experiment with varying exposures and concentrate on being more spontaneous with my framing. I’d been lucky enough to be a beta tester before the film went into production, and so I was familiar with the range of tones I might get. I was eagerly anticipating the surprise of seeing what colour shifts I’d achieved! The brand new lab at Analogue Wonderland did me proud and I was really pleased with my redscale film.

The deep reds and oranges of the log pile came out as a total contrast to the bright yellow gate, and the pathway and views across the water have a muted retro feel that I love. I’m thrilled with the photographs that emerged, from a roll of 36 exposures I normally get just a few that I’m pleased with, but with this film I was hard pushed just to pick my favourite five!

~ Hilary

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About the author

Hilary Clarke

Based in the North West of England, I'm always curious about the world around me and I love celebrating that curiosity by taking photographs. I enjoy alternative processes (I'm a keen cyanotyper) and recently...

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