I almost exclusively shoot on black and white film for the simple reason that I can develop and print it myself in the darkroom. For this year’s summer vacation in Portugal, however, I decided to bring along a few rolls of Kodak’s Portra 160, just because it is always good to mix things a little up. I was especially keen on seeing how the colors would turn out when overexposing by one stop.
Back home I had the film developed by a professional lab and then scanned it myself on a Hasselblad Flextight X5, using their canned Portra NC film profile as a starting point to get colors that were as “true” possible. Soon, however, I noticed how biased the process of scanning color negatives is in terms of keeping the balance between having “good” color casts as a result of different light temperatures and getting rid of “bad” color casts that result for example, from the canned profile not being accurate to this particular film. After all, just as with printing color negatives the analog way, scanning the film is at times highly interpretive in terms of color.
Details: shot on Kodak Portra 160 (EI 80), Mamiya RB67, 6×7 film back, Mamiya Sekor Macro C 140mm f/4.5 lens.
In the end, I believe I was able to stay as true to Kodak Portra 160’s inherent qualities as possible and love the way the film rendered the beautiful colors of the Algarve coast. From now on, I will make sure to have a roll or two in my bag.
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This series is being 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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