Positive Negatives
The Whole Roll

The Whole Roll and Nothing but the Roll – Kodak E100 in Iceland – A Journey into Colour – by Laura Cogan

April 23, 2021

I have this intention of writing a quick and dirty post about my first (technically not but for the purposes of this let’s pretend) journey into colour film.  We all know I can waffle for the gods on my other articles so whether it turns out like that in the end remains to be seen.  We’ll start with a little introduction and then get straight into the images shall we?  Marvellous.

I love all things black and white when it comes to film, it’s my heart.  I don’t think it’s actually a very popular opinion on the whole judging from how many times I get asked the question “but why don’t you do colour?” but in my mind it’s the dog’s bollocks of film photography.  To me there’s more depth, tone and texture that brings an image to life in black and white but I can totally see why people tend to lean towards colour, especially when an image pops and jumps out at you.  Also I am a bit of a rainbow on acid kind of person in real life so I also think it’s hard for people to process the mind fuckery of someone like me shooting entirely in black and white but here we are.

I am down with the processing of black and white, tried and tested and got my shit together there (always room to grow of course).  So lately I’ve been thinking hmm I wonder what it would be like to develop colour, which I’ve never done.  I’ve shot colour before but never gone through the process from start to finish and I know I’ve improved a stack since I last shot it.  I’ve mused on this for a while and decided to just shoot something, get it developed somewhere and if I like it then go do some more and actually learn how to develop it myself.  Next level shit innit.  I bought some C41 film to start with (Kodak Portra 160) and then my eye caught the slide film so I excitedly bought one of them as well (Kodak Ektachrome e100).  I was warned when I bought it that I wouldn’t be able to get it developed anywhere but I wasn’t really paying attention enough to register that information because my head was filled with the joys of positive negatives (I’ve seen them before they’re cool as fuck).

So of course the Ektachrome was the first to go in the chamber and just to be safe I put it in the spare back while I was shooting black and white as normal in the main one.  Another thing was I’ve not shot with this back for a while because it has a bit of a tendency to have a wobble and overlap so I didn’t want to risk a beloved black and white film on it.  The experimentation into colour also happened to coincide with the first outing of my new 180mm lens I got for hassy so in actual fact the very first picture taken with the 180mm was also taken with the Ektachrome, which you will see in just a second (honest).

Just before we get to the actual images I will say that it became apparent this week what that vital information was I’d closed my ears to when buying the film.  Turns out there is no professional development services for E6 film in Iceland.  Like the whole of Iceland.  The funniest part of it being there was one company that did it but they stopped when their machine broke down.  This is SO Iceland, I’m discovering, which I also find hilarious.  Thankfully social media has come to the rescue this time and one of my fellow film photographers in Iceland kindly offered to develop it for me (shout out to Odinn).

So without further ado and waffle from me I’ll go through the whole roll now.  These are straight from the scanner with no editing, a thing I NEVER do because I only want people to see my finished work but I wanted you to see the colours as they come out on the film because (spoiler alert) they’re fucking awesome.  Here we go…

Moss and Mountains of Iceland

1st of the roll and a bloody good start I think

Blue house in the trees

And then 1st of three fuck ups. Had Delta 3200 in the other back and was metering at 1600 instead of 100 by mistake – whoops!

Blue house and mountain

As the last one, metered wrong and hadn’t realised. Still surprised that it pulled some detail out of it though

Blue house and mountain

The last of the metering mess up thankfully but also I might be able to save this a bit.

Golden winter light in iceland

This was the shot I was waiting to see and was hoping hadn’t gone wrong. I am not at ALL disappointed with the results

Golden winter light in iceland

This is actually my favourite from the whole roll and the first to be edited and posted all over the place. I took two at opposite ends of the range to choose from later and chose the f/22 end for sharpness at the front.  See instagram or my website for the finished version.

Golden winter light in iceland

I wish I hadn’t taken this to be honest, breaking my own rules again of how many set ups to do of a scene but it’s definitely turned out nice

Wonky mountain

A rare hand held shot and a good example of why i’m always lugging the tripod around. What the fuck was I doing?

Golden mountains

Hand held straight this time and I’m not sure I’m feeling it compared to at the time but the colours are nice

Golden mountains

Same as the last, probably should have been a one shot wonder but it’s all in the name of experimentation

Yellow house in white out

Another hand held (not that rare clearly) but this was due to precarious parking on a very white road in snow and time was of the essence. There’s some weird lines down this one, not sure why but I am happy all the same

Yellow house in white out

Final image and same as the last, weird lines but loving it!

So in conclusion I’m now in love with Ektachrome and I can’t write short articles 😀

Link love:

See my website HERE!
See my instagram HERE!

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  • Reply
    April 23, 2021 at 2:56 pm

    I absolutely love your humour, style of writing and of course the results! That handheld comment made me laugh way too much.

    Keep up the good work, I look forward to the next roll…

    • Reply
      Laura Cogan
      April 23, 2021 at 3:09 pm

      haha thanks, I´m glad I made you laugh today. I am clearly not to be trusted with hand holding 😀

  • Reply
    April 23, 2021 at 4:07 pm

    Wondering how you metered and what device you used.

    • Reply
      Laura Cogan
      April 23, 2021 at 4:16 pm

      I use a sekonic L-308S handheld meter 🙂

  • Reply
    Ken Rowin
    April 23, 2021 at 11:13 pm

    Weird lines – processing related? Present on another roll?

    • Reply
      Laura Cogan
      April 24, 2021 at 9:07 am

      It’s only on the two snowy house pictures but that could be down to the fact they’re so white and more noticeable. I didn’t develop this roll, it’s the only one I’ve shot so it’s a mystery 😊

  • Reply
    Clive W
    April 25, 2021 at 7:23 pm

    This piece is great fun, Laura, and I can absolutely relate to your feelings. I’ve not yet tried Ektachrome but I love the results from Provia in 6×6 — or should that be I love SOME of my results?

    A strip of 6×6 transparencies is a little gem, and we so want them all to be perfect that the disappointment is that much more acute when we realise we’ve done something wrong or silly, and not done justice to the subject or the medium. Shouldn’t keep us from trying, though — and I love the framing of your mis-exposed gable and mountain shot. I really feel your frustration on that one — but the road picture makes up for a lot!

    • Reply
      Laura Cogan
      April 25, 2021 at 7:40 pm

      Thanks Clive 😊. The experimentation, trial and error is half the fun because it leads to getting it right in the end. Yeah the road to the church shot is worth the whole roll to me I think, it’s definitely top 5 of my all time favourites I’ve taken

  • Reply
    Anthony D
    April 26, 2021 at 5:38 pm

    I’m not a prude, really I’m not, I get pissed with the best of them and find myself spouting off the word more than I care to mention. But in a relatively short article, when you have a chance to contemplate and have the entire English language at your disposal, why do you find it necessary to use “fuck” repeatedly on a photography blog? Such an ugly and, unfortunately, overused word. It’s taking the easy route in an attempt to relay humor. Surely you can put more effort into your writing and be more creative?

    • Reply
      Laura Cogan
      April 26, 2021 at 6:19 pm

      I’m surprised it’s taken this long for someone to be offended by my excessive swearing and as is your right, it’s not for everyone but quite frankly I couldn’t really care. I write how I speak. I swear alot in life its just who I am. It’s toned down where I feel necessary and the rest of the time I genuinely don’t give two shits. I’ve spent too much of my time in England cow tailing to this sort of thing but here in Iceland they are much less censored and take me for who I am. If you cannot enjoy my articles around all the fucks that will be in there then that’s your choice but I’ll be continuing to be me regardless 😊

  • Reply
    Anthony D
    April 29, 2021 at 5:07 pm

    No, I’m certainly not offended. That was not the point of my comment. I spent much of my career working in a state prison, so I’ve heard and used much worse. I only believe it is unnecessary in a photography blog and not terribly creative from a writer’s perspective. Yes, please continue being you by all means 🙂

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