For the last 10 years my photography has primarily been black & white film. For me the colors of Spring and Summer are captured by the wonderful tones of Kodak Tri-X. But sometime in Winter I start reacting against the world around me which is by that point very colorless. And that is when I turn to the small bit of color I shoot in the year, almost all of it in the Fall. And why not?
But the thing is, I don’t really know how to shoot color film anymore. So Fall is the best time for it, because the colors are everywhere, as soon as you look outside, usually. I didn’t have a whole lot of opportunity to take advantage of that as I was often working but every once in a while I would make myself go outside on my days off, make myself go on hikes, photo walks, things like that.
As many of us do I’m sure, I’ve been a great hoarder of film for many years. And about 5 years ago I bought maybe a dozen rolls of 2017-expired Fuji Superia 200 that has just sat in my freezer ever since. I’m going to miss this stuff once I’m all out but at the rate I go that might take a decade. I find the slower ASA200 film to have a tight unobtrusive grain structure that makes it acceptable for anything I happen to be shooting outdoors. Oftentimes that’s people but this film works just as good for landscape pictures or in this case, mostly trees. It’s not a flashy film that many crow about these days like Ektar or Velvia, but I’ve always been a fan of Fuji’s consumer-level films in all the various speeds, using them extensively since I started shooting film back in 2009.
At this time of the year I had just bought a new camera, the Nikon F4, it’s the most technologically-sophisticated piece of equipment I’ve ever owned which probably deserves its own writeup. It was the perfect companion for someone who usually shoots manual cameras with ASA400 film, I just set it to aperture priority and overexposed this roll of film by two stops to counteract its age, reduce grain, and bring out more color. The F4’s meter handled tricky lighting brilliantly and whatever shortcomings might have arisen were covered by the latitude of the film. And if there’s one rule I remember about shooting color negative, it’s that when in doubt, overexpose! It rarely steers me wrong.
While I bought all these rolls a long time ago at an auction site that will not be named, these days I wouldn’t do that. I want to support the film ecosystem by giving my money to the companies actually making the film and not scalpers out for a quick buck. So the more of the old stuff I can shoot up, the more room in my fridge/freezer for newly-bought film.
My backyard still provided plenty of color even as the leaves were past their peak. I take opportunities where I can find them. But when the Magic Hour/Golden Hour approaches, how can I resist? After looking at these photos again I’m determined to get out there more in the last light of the day. The sunlight through the trees, the long shadows, the mood: it’s everything I could wish for when shooting color film and this year I’m determined to shoot more color.
I hope this brings a bit of color to your life in the dreary part of Winter. Spring is just around the corner! (or possibly here by the time this is published)
Scanned/finished by myself using the Pakon F335 and Affinity Photo.
You can find my (primarily black & white) work at The Resurrected Camera or for strictly photo project work, my Instagram: @thefamouspdog.
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