I’ve been told millions of times over – DO NOT PUSH COLOR FILM. Color shifts, grain issues, and just generally bleh images can occur. I’ve also been told, and have taken into my personal philosophy, that rules are made to be broken. I had a fun and active week ahead of me, a day out in my city of Chicago, and three days later, a camping trip to Spruce Knob, West Virginia, and could shoot between the two locations.
Since Fuji C200 is dirt cheap ($10 for a pack of 3 rolls through B&H), I decided I could afford to take some risks and liberties with a roll of it – namely, pushing it two stops in my Canon AE-1 with my Canon FD 50mm f/1.8. I basically shot it at whatever speed I wanted, using the in-camera light meter as a rough guide. Some photos are massively overexposed, others massively underexposed. Some shots came out as muddy green messes, sure, but what matters is that some came out beautifully.
Somehow, the photos not only came out breathtakingly beautiful but incredibly varied in their style. While some have beautifully muted tones that give a sense of softness, or that Fuji blue-green tint that adds a sense of unease and coldness to an otherwise fun shot, others bring punchy and saturated colors that look like a different film stock altogether, and others still perfectly and accurately render the scene I had before me.
I’m not afraid of grain, and in fact prefer the grainy look of consumer film to the smooth, clean look of, say, Portra 400, and the textured look of photos like that of the berries are especially beautiful to me.
I think if there’s one thing that I learned, and that generally can be gleaned from my shooting of this roll, it’s that taking risks yields rewards. There will always be the bad shot, the failed shot, but for every one of those that you end up with, you will have something unique and beautiful.
Push color film. Live a little.”
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This series is produced in conjunction with Hamish Gill's excellent 35mmc.com. Head on over to read the other half of these stories there.
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