I always had a fascination with Kodak Aerochrome (Kodak, please bring it back!). So when I came across Lomography’s purple film, I jumped at the chance to test it. It’s not infrared-sensitive, but it’s the closest thing I can get my hands to have similar effects. I was hoping that Lomochrome Purple would allow me to discover a new world and see my surroundings in different tones, and I was not disappointed.

With its relatively higher cost, it made me think more about composition and which shots to take and not take. I was drawn to green scenes (scenes that would allow me to maximize color shifts; but also an attempt to channel my inner Richard Mosse). I used my first rolls of film to take photos of parks or buildings with some trees, but I wanted to try something new. I wanted to see something wilder.

I have dabbled in macro photography using digital cameras before but never used it on film. I was motivated to combine Lomography Lomochrome Purple XR 100-400 for macro photography because I could not find much online from others doing this. I thought, why not! Having about 10 shots left on the roll, I thought it would not hurt to experiment.

The shots were taken in my garden using my beloved Minolta X-370 and the Minolta MD 50mm f/3.5 Macro Lens. I used the Minolta 1:1 extension tube extension, a tripod, and a cable release. I decided to skip flash and relied on direct sunlight (metering using an app on my phone). All shots were taken at El 200. I found that that rating film at ISO 200 gave me more appealing results. I did not like the results when rating the film at El 400. I cannot say if it was my light metering or the way the film was developed. I started rating the film at El 200 and never looked back.

I had low expectations with this macro experiment. I did not know if I would get anything in focus or even appropriately exposed. I was hoping for color shifts and to see something new. I was not disappointed!

I developed the roll myself using Cinestill’s Cs41 “Color Simplified” kit and scanned the negatives with an Epson Perfection V600 scanner with Silverfast. I must admit that these photos are my favorite from the whole roll. Side note – using Lomochrome Purple to photograph a plate of Tabbouleh is not something anyone wants to see! I shared the macro photos with my father-in-law, who was the one who planted all the flowers in the garden. He loved the photos – from details to the color shifts.

Looking at these photos, I wish I took the chance with more shots around the garden. I know that this is only the start, and I will definitely try it again. Perhaps even using a whole roll just for macro photos of flowers. I am fortunate to have access to a garden with different types of greens and flowers to explore. I am even more inclined to buy my wife flowers to see how they look on purple film (Wife if you are reading this :), I love you!). Next time, it may also be interesting to see how I can get this to work with a flash and see if I can get some abstract macro shots.

With travel restrictions still in place worldwide, I really think others should explore the purple macro world!

~ Alwaleed

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