I’m a latecomer to film photography, but have been working hard to catch up. After reading a lot about CineStill’s products, I recently had the chance to shoot a roll of its 800T film stock during a street photography session in my hometown of Houston, Texas.
Buffalo Bayou hems the northern boundary of Downtown Houston. The city’s original Merchants & Manufacturers Building, a red-and-white brick structure that’s now part of the campus of the University of Houston-Downtown, was built on the banks of the bayou adjacent to Allen’s Landing, the birthplace of Houston.
The immediate surroundings form Houston’s Historic District. Several jails and courthouses are clustered in this area, coupled with parks, restaurants and high-rises. Downtown’s main artery, Main Street, carries traffic southwest through Midtown to the Texas Medical Center and onto the old Astrodome. In recent decades, the city invested in a light-rail train network that runs along the Main Street Corridor.
This is one of my preferred destinations for street photography. It offers a diversity of people and landscapes and contains remnants of the past juxtaposed to modern life in the Bayou City.
The five frames featured here were made on my first roll of CineStill 800T, using a Fujica GS645 medium format camera that my wife, Rachel, gave me for a 40th birthday present this past year. Exposed at box speed, the images were made on April 14, 2018, which was a typical rainy day, mixed with bright sunshine, in Houston.
According to the manufacturer, 800T is not intended for photographing intense points of light, and I discovered why. The results I got from photographing one scene, with heavy cloud cover, were markedly different from those featuring glowing traffic lights and beams of sunlight. The film definitely seems optimized for the former conditions, but I also can’t help but like the stylistic look of the latter. The fact that you’re able to produce such varying results on the same roll of film might frustrate some photographers. I’ll shoot more of this film if only for the fun of its mystery.
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