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