I started off my last 52 Rolls update saying I was BORED. Well, by the time week 18 (May 2-8, 2016) rolled around, not much had changed. Well…maybe a little.
It’s easy to forget that whilst I remain the faceless, er…face of EMULSIVE, I’m still a photographer just like you. That means that sometimes I get into a funk (just like you), I sometimes question the worth of my own body of work (just like you), and I sometimes feel like packing it all in (again, just like you).
This isn’t a call for help, just a statement of fact. Trust me, I’ll get over it.
This EMULSIVE stuff has been a bit of a double-edged sword. Over the past ~15 months at the time of writing, I’ve been absorbed and enthralled by so much amazing photography and creative output and it’s both intensely inspiring and (occasionally) powerfully depressing – how can I live up to the standards you all set?
99% of the time it’s an incredibly positive experience but when that 1% hits, boy does it hit hard. Anyway, now that your expectations are set for the gray malaise which follows below, here are my rolls from May 2nd – May 29th 2016.
Week 18 2016 – Kodak Portra 400VC – expired (120) – EI 200
Wonderful, wonderful Hong Kong!
I spent a rather long weekend over on Hong Kong Island at the beginning of the month and talk about a change being as good as a rest. I became invigorated.
It’s been said time and time again but Hong Kong is a such a vibrant mix of cultures and people that it’s hard for me not to be inspired by it all. It’s a truly lived-in space with detail around every corner just begging to be shot. As someone who prefers his photographs close up and wide open, it’s a real playground for me.
I shot a fair bit while over there and after a bit of deliberation have decided to share a selection of frames from one of my favorite color films: Kodak’s long-gone Portra 400VC. Why did you change, Kodak? Why?
What started off as the process for trying out a test roll has turned into my usual method for shooting this film: I love overexposing it by a stop to bring a wonderful of both saturated and pastel shades. This particular roll was shot on my Hasselblad 2000FCW and Planar F 80mm f/2.8.
You probably know that I’m not much of a photographer of people. On a big level, it really doesn’t play to my interests or photographic desires. That said, I know I should at least try more than I do at the moment and whilst it’s cheating, I found a willing (distracted) subject in the form of Mrs EMULSIVE, who was resting her feet after a day of plodding the streets with me.
Thanks Mrs EM!
Week 19 2016 – Rollei CN 200 (120) – EI 400
Back on home turf, week 19 saw a bit of a slow down as life became overly busy for much of the rest of the month. That said, I managed to head out with some Rollei CN200 – a film stock I’ve had limited experience with but wanted to try and find time for.
After some interesting but ultimately disappointing results the last time round, this time I decided to push the film a stop and the results are…..a little underwhelming. You be the judge.
This roll was taken on my Leica M6 TTL and Tele-Elmarit 90/2.8, shot at EI 400 and given a single stop push in development.
FYI if you’re considering a new rangefinder and want to mostly shoot 50mm and longer lenses I’d strongly recommend getting one with at least an x0.85 magnification. You won’t regret it.
On to the photographs:
As a side note, the building in the background of the shot above has since been completed and opened as a very nice tempura restaurant – highly recommended (whereas pushing this film in mediocre light is not).
Week 20 2016 – Kodak Ektar 100 (35mm) – EI 100
I’ve been avoiding shooting 35mm SLRs for coming on to a year now and it shows.
I say avoiding but it’s mostly been a case of trying to get used to a rangefinder approach to 35mm photography after many years being put off them (probably something to discuss in a future article). Whilst I’ve taken some (in my humble opinion) great photographs on my most recent rangefinder, my 35mm work really doesn’t feel like my own since I made that unintentional near full-time switch back around October 2015.
I consider myself more tuned into what I like to call “things on the street photography” as opposed to a normal version of what’s traditionally considered “street”. I see detail, contrast in color and interesting light, not people milling about. Rangefinders don’t suit my normal approach to close up and wide open 35mm photography of things – although it hasn’t stopped me from trying these past eleven months.
So, after nearly a year of “trying something else”, I decided that week 20 should be break from my new normal.
Here you go:
This roll was shot on my Nikon F100 and the “Streetsweeper”; the 28-105mm 3.5-5.6 macro lens. It’s a real jack of all trades and the macro – activated from 50-105mm – is insane. Wide-range zoom lenses might not be to everyone’s taste but it;s the only one I own and perfect for what I want. Before everyone starts throwing suggestions my way (always appreciated!), I simply find I can’t beat it for how I approach my street macro subjects.
Sure, it’s not the fastest or sharpest lens out there, but it has character and that’s what counts. It’s the perfect companion when you’re not totally sure what the day is going to bring, especially when your MO is “quick fire street macro” photography. The first image above was taken at arms length, unplanned and “guess” framed. The result totally blew me away.
On to the final week of this update!
Week 21 2016 – EASTMAN DOUBLE-X 5222 (35mm) – EI 200
For week 21 I decided to jump back to my Leica M6 and 1950’s Canon 50/1.5 – a combination I really, really enjoy shooting. Add DOUBLE-X to the mix and something special happens.
I think it’s the contrast I can get from the film, the look of the rangefinder approach and the puffy grain (more a result of development than latent quality).
When you add the softness of the Canon at f/1.5, the results can be amazing. Images one and three below were both shot at f/2 and below.
It’s a wrap
That’s it, another update done. I’m running a little behind where I should be with these posts and have a bumper (against the rules) post planned for week 30-33, so expect posts for week 22-25 and week 26-29 to come in short order!
As ever, I’d love to hear your thoughts below.
Keep shooting, folks
Your turn: submit an article
EMULSIVE is all about promoting knowledge transfer across the film photography community. You can help by contributing your thoughts, work and ideas to inspire others reading these pages: check out the submission guide.
If you like what you're reading you can help this passion project by heading on over to the EMULSIVE Patreon page. There's also print and apparel over at Society 6, currently showcasing over two dozen t-shirt designs and over a dozen unique photographs available for purchase.