Sunrise On Lomography 800 & A Leica M6 – By Gavin Bain

Where I live, Townsville Australia, we are fortunate to have the ocean and the Great Barrier Reef to our east, and at the same time we are flanked by dirt and mountain ranges to our west. It is truly the best of both worlds here.

There is a certain photogenic mountain peak that sits on private property, making it quite difficult to access without approval. I have made many photographs of the peaks from a distance but I’ve not been able to get close enough to be satisfied with them. My friend and I had been searching for a way to get closer on Google Earth, and found one. A dirt back road that appeared to stop right at the foot of the mountain. Just what we were looking for!

Originally we went for a sunset excursion in his 4WD so we could see what the road condition was like, whether there were any fences or gates along the way and how close we could get to the mountain. It was a successful trip of laughter, dirt covered boots and country music resulting in 2 rolls exposed by myself  (1 Fujifilm Superia 400 and 1 Kodak Gold 200).

We were even lucky enough to stumble upon the property owner out with his dog where the peaks lie and, after questioning our motives, he offered to let us in on another day. He took our phone numbers, and what really excited us was he said he has a lookout up there with views not often photographed.

Leica M6 + Voigtlander Ultron 28 Fujifilm Superia Xtra 400
Leica M6 + Voigtlander Ultron 28 Fujifilm Superia Xtra 400

A number of weeks passed, and neither of us had received a phone call or message to notify us when we could return to photograph on the private property. Impatient like all photographers are we opted for a sunrise shoot back on the public land. The sun was looking to rise in the perfect direction to light the face of the peaks.

I woke that morning and grabbed my Leica, a roll of Lomo 800 and a roll of Kodak Portra 400 (which turned out dismal, why do people praise this film?) and walked out the door at 4am. I should mention it’s only about a 20 minute drive from home; the perks of living in a smaller big town. For this trip having surveyed the road our last time out we took my Subaru WRX so we could have a little fun on the dirt road.

The resulting photographs contain my absolute favourite photograph for all of 2020.

Leica M6 + Voigtlander Ultron 28 Lomography 800
Leica M6 + Voigtlander Color Skopar 35 Lomography 800
Leica M6 + Jupiter 8 Lomography 800
My Favourite of 2020 Leica M6 + Voigtlander Ultron 28 Lomography 800
Leica M6 + Jupiter 8 Lomography 800
Leica M6 + Voigtlander Color Skopar 35 Lomography 800
Leica M6 + Voigtlander Ultron 28
Lomography 800

Aside from creating my favourite photograph of the year. The owner drove past in his ute and stopped to tell us he still remembers to call us, he just hadn’t had time. I’ll be taking Lomo 800 with me again no hesitation.

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8 thoughts on “Sunrise On Lomography 800 & A Leica M6 – By Gavin Bain”

  1. Love the pics and the story – great record of photography adventure. Salute you for your opinon on the Portra – I’m sure it will be unopopular with some but it’s not to my taste either.

  2. Hey Gavin, very nice pics! Actually I really like the Fuji Superia. I‘ve tried it myself just a few weeks ago for the first time and I am pretty impressed. By the way, a few years ago I traveled the east coast of Australia, and coming from Cairns I stayed a few days in Townsville, too. I took a day trip to Magnetic Island and enjoyed some dives at the Great Barrier Reef, too. Very touristy, but I really enjoyed it. I liked Townsville and it’s a nice memory of a time when traveling was easy.
    Thanks for your pics and the story!

  3. Very nice! I love Lomo 800! Been shooting it a long time now, it’s often hard to find so I always stock up on it when it appears in stock, It apparently is made by Fuji. I recently shot some Kodak Portra 800 and much prefer the Lomo film. Better colour, grain and it doesn’t get murky green in the shadows. It also is a lot cheaper.

    1. I thoght all of the Lomo films were Kodak? I’ve read several places that the 800 is the same as some mystical Kodak 800 film only available in disposable cameras. The Lomo 400 seems confirmed, although whether it’s good ol’ ultramax or some discontinued variant seems up for debate.

  4. Nice shots! I don’t shoot Portra, I prefer Fuji Pro 400H, but I think both of these benefit from overexposure and suffer from underexposure. In fact, the “Portra look” might typically be exposed longer than a camera light meter or conventional wisdom would suggest. Give it a try this way, just shoot it at 200.

  5. Hi Gavin,
    Thanks so much for posting a great article and pics. You gave me a perfect mental escape from the pandemic sh*t show we’re all players in.
    I’ve got a friend who is an American expat living near Melbourne. He’s kept us updated on the never ending disasters you folks have been enduring. Hope things turn around and get better for all of you.
    Wishing you continued good photography, a Merry Christmas, and keep healthy!

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