“Miss Kozun, you look fantastic! Love the outfit” … “Thanks! It was either this or I was going to be wearing a giraffe onesie all day!”
Oh, 2020, what a strange year you have been! Thankfully with only a few days left, Kristi and I managed to squeeze in a little respite of normal and do some photos! With indoor activities being quite tightly restricted these days because of the pandemic, we were glad for some beautiful weather to shoot outside (not a thing to be taken for granted in Canada in December).
Part of the project was to test a new-to-me Canon AE-1 I had recently been given. Alongside shooting a roll of B&W to do that, we shot this roll of Portra 160 with the AE-1 I already owned paired with my FD 70-210mm f/4. Some photographers regard a lens like this (and perhaps any zoom, really) as inferior, but I consider it my most reliable for portraits. I’m satisfied with the sharpness and background blur, and 70mm means you can step back and shoot a full-length portrait and still be within easy speaking distance.
What I was less familiar with was Portra 160. Like many things, the Internet was a fountain of knowledge on the subject, but most of it was contradictory. Shoot it at 100. Shoot is at 125. Film should only EVER be shot at box speed! In the end, I decided to shoot it at 125. However, it didn’t matter that much. Our location, with such a light coloured background, threw the in-camera metering off anyhow. Recognizing this, I calculated exposure by eye (based on Sunny 16) and confirmed by taking a closer reading just from her dress.
Kristi isn’t a stereotypical size XXS model. But I’ve always thought she has lovely features and great style. She buys almost all her clothes second-hand at thrift stores. And this dress and jacket ensemble in gorgeous Christmas colours was no exception. I think it takes a certain amount of confidence to intentionally choose a look that’s a bit outside the mainstream. At any rate, that’s what I was hoping we could capture in the hour or so we spent together. We worked on finding the angles that would be most flattering and capture her at her best. Having a short step ladder definitely helped here.
I was really pleased with the results when I got them back from the lab. Kodak isn’t wrong when they print “for exceptional skin tones” on the box of Portra 160. My sense is that it may be a little less forgiving of over/underexposure than 400, but still best to err on the side of over when in doubt. I’ll be adding it as a regular to my arsenal for sure!
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