Lomo Metropolis / Pentax MX
5 frames with...

5 frames walking around with Lomochrome Metropolis in a Pentax MX – By Ben Killian

February 25, 2021

My family and I live on an island in Washington State’s Puget Sound. We haven’t had much reason to leave with many possible activities and family outings in Seattle and the mainland unavailable during the pandemic. Vashon Island is an incredible place to live and we are lucky to live on a farm surrounded by the natural splendors of the Pacific Northwest. If you check out my Instagram you’ll find that every image I’ve posted to this point was made within a few miles of our home.

During normal times we have our car serviced every six months. After a lengthy pandemic motivated deferral it couldn’t be put off any further. I jumped at the chance for a change of scene and traveled to Southcenter, a highly developed area south of Seattle known mostly for its mall. I was graced by an unusually cold and bright day. With the car turned over to the mechanic and a roll of Lomochrome Metropolis loaded in my Pentax MX, I set off briskly through a maze of warehouses toward the Green-Duwamish River.

Abandoned railroad tracks

#1 – I sat on one of those large concrete blocks to load my roll of Metropolis and then made this image

I have really enjoyed shooting wide angle recently, so I chose the ‘K’ SMC 28mm f3.5 as my sole lens for this particular walk around. Metropolis is part of Lomography’s XR (extended range) line of emulsions which means you can shoot it between 100 and 400 ISO. This is not as unique as it might sound — anyone experienced with color negative films knows they generally love light and can happily take a couple stops of overexposure without losing highlight detail. The examples of Metropolis I’d seen on Instagram inspired me to try it. The desaturated look of this film apparently increases with more exposure. This was my first time shooting the film, so I chose to meter at 320 using the built-in light meter on the MX favoring shadows where possible. I figured this would give me a taste of this film’s character.

Building and sky

#2 – Glorious sun caught the side of this warehouse as I briskly walked to warm up

 

Demolition site

#3 – A tortured apple tree surrounded by a future demolition

 

Building across a river

#4 – View across the Green-Duwamish River

I love the resulting images. The film fit the light and environment. Its colors are simultaneously airy and gritty. I am very excited to continue experimenting with it. A challenging factor was working the shadows in post. They broke very fast when pushed in LR. I camera scan with a Pixl-Latr and my now retired-to-the-copystand Pentax K-7. I will likely shoot the next roll at 200 and see how that does.

The strips were serious dust magnets, more than any other film I’ve ever worked with – beware! Overall the conversion and editing was very fun and straightforward with these negatives. The color shifts left me a lot of creative leeway in my editing as I felt no pressure for the colors to be true-to-life. I definitely recommend this film and look forward to trying it in 120 as well.

Long shadows

#5 – Warmed up thoroughly and enjoying the freedom of being alone, listening to music and peering through the 28mm

Thanks for reading my first submission to 35mmc. I’m looking forward to contributing more!
Ben Killian – Instagram: @tracking.shadows

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9 Comments

  • Reply
    Juna
    February 25, 2021 at 6:48 pm

    That’s funny, just yesterday I thought, I should shoot my leftover metropolis – and thought, I could do it on 320 ISO. And there you come. Thank you!

    • Reply
      Ben Killian
      February 25, 2021 at 9:54 pm

      I am about to scan a roll I shot at 200, preliminary glance shows beautiful dense negatives.

  • Reply
    Alex
    February 25, 2021 at 8:37 pm

    Lovely looking film. I’ve got a roll in the fridge waiting to be used. Not sure what project to use it on though.

  • Reply
    Peter Grey
    February 25, 2021 at 8:54 pm

    The colours of this film are interesting. I love the apple tree photo!

    • Reply
      Ben Killian
      February 25, 2021 at 9:57 pm

      Thank you. That’s one photo where I think another stop of light would have done it better. I’m about to scan another roll that I shot at 200 and I can already tell there is more shadow detail. Not sure how the colors will behave yet.

  • Reply
    andy bennett
    February 25, 2021 at 10:49 pm

    THE PICTURES HAVE INSPIRED ME. I ENJOYED THEM VERY MUCH. I HAVE AN MX WHICH I INTEND TO USE AGAIN THIS YEAR. I WAS WONDERING WHAT BATTERY WERE YOU USING FOR THE METER? KIND REGARDS ANDY BENNETT UK

    • Reply
      Ben Killian
      February 25, 2021 at 10:58 pm

      2 x LR44 batteries are in my MX and the meter is accurate. These batteries go by many other pseudonyms as well. SR44 and 357 are two that I have seen.

  • Reply
    Kodachromeguy
    February 26, 2021 at 11:38 pm

    Urban decay, or the abuse of the American natural environment by developers. Good stuff, great eye! Try some gritty B&W the next time you return for car maintenance or mall-visiting. Have fun!

    • Reply
      Ben Killian
      February 27, 2021 at 12:01 am

      Yes, I think I will. Lomo Berlin 400 is currently stealing my heart and my dollars. Fantastic film stock. I might have to write a piece on it.
      In terms of abuse by developers… it’s complicated, as with everything human. I was happy to find a little bit of beauty amidst the rubble.

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