Inspiration Photos & Projects

My Dark Side: Night Photography with CineStill 800T Film – By Christian Schroeder

I always found myself drawn to the rather mystical photographs captured at night. Not only that these images are kinda cool, it’s also very practical during the winter season: sitting in the office nine to five, you won’t see much daylight from November till February. Being curious about the hyped motion picture film, I decided to give it a try. So I started a project of night photography with CineStill film in the autumn of 2018. I ended up shooting mainly architectural(-ish) subjects. Buildings have a great advantage for this type of photography: they usually stand still, even for hours. I specifically looked for dark places throughout the city, to obtain images that evoke an otherworldly mood.

Long-time Exposures

Photography at night takes place in a regime very different from the one during the day. It seems that there is no such thing like the “perfect exposure” in the darkness. I will explain that in a mo.

CineStill Film

CineStill 800T is a special material based on Kodak motion picture stock. The removed remjet layer makes this film prone to red halation effects whenever point light sources are captured. When I first saw some sample shots on the internet – for instance Christoph Ackermann’s photos from a folk festival – I immediately got hooked by this “feature”. Another oddity these days, the CineStill film is balanced for tungsten light. So, if there is a significant portion of daylight-lit scenery within the frame, this will result in a pronounced blue cast. In conclusion, CineStill provides an almost unique color rendition.

When I decided to try out CineStill back in October, there seemed to be a global supply shortage. I checked the usual suspects, but all stores labeled it out of stock. Close to desperation, I emailed a small lab in my neighborhood – to my luck they had a handful of rolls in 35mm left. I went there and bought them instantly!

Finding the Right Exposure

For my first attempts with CineStill film I went out with a 35mm rangefinder and fast lenses, taking all images handheld. Unfortunately, I exposed too much for the highlights. I should have been leerier of the meter readings: Shooting with shutter speeds of 1/125s or 1/250s in a nocturnal city seems illusionary, even though the CineStill is rated at 800 ISO. Consequently, the results turned out muddy with far too few details for my taste.

The next time I completely changed my approach: Instead of a “casual” rangefinder I opted for a clumsy SLR set-up including a tripod. Concomitantly, I altered my subjects – from random city shapes towards buildings and machine-like objects. I measured the light with a handheld meter, pointing its sensor towards the ground. I exposed the film at EI 400 and often added generously one stop or two, especially when the metered exposure times exceeded 30 seconds.

Some places I visited were so dark that the light meter could only flash a warning, crying “Too dark, too dark! Out of my range!”. In these cases, I would use my gut feeling to determine the exposure – just open the shutter and wait. And wait. And wait. I guess my longest exposure lasted about thirty minutes. But that’s okay compared to what large format-shooters experience under similar conditions: Taewon Jang wrote about his (highly recommendable) series “Stained Ground” that his average exposure time was four hours, and eight hours weren’t uncommon. Anyway, when out on a night trip your loved one should better not be waiting with dinner for you…

Abandoned ironworks building shot at night on CineStill film

Abandoned ironworks. This exposure took roughly 25 minutes at f/8. (Canon EOS 1N)

Saving Time

Usually, I prefer f/11 for an extended depth of field. But switching to f/8 occasionally saves (me) a lot of time! Opening the aperture by one stop means cutting the exposure time in half. Let’s say the gap between 1/10 and 1/5 of a second seems negligible – but exposing half an hour instead of an entire hour is a wholly different story. However, investing the time is very rewarding as the night has so many moods to offer.

As I mentioned earlier, there is no “perfect exposure” (for me) when it comes to night photography. The amount of the captured light determines the look and feel: short exposure times will result in rather dark and “nightly” images, (extreme) long times can produce images that resemble daytime photographs. I tend to prefer the latter ones: if exposed that long, film will see more than the human eye. In addition, colors will shift due to the different sensitivity of the individual layers within the material. It is like a small miracle I will never get tired of. With film, there is always this nerve-stretching excitement until you see the results. And with film exposed at night, this excitement is even bigger!

Weather Matters

Weather can create some nice effects, even when it’s dark. For a long time, I preferred grey, overcast sky for my photography, resulting in sober, documentary-style images. This has changed, now I want rather emotional pictures – more moods, more colors. I especially like low clouds combined with mist, which occurs from time to time during the autumn and winter seasons. The small water droplets in the air scatter light and therefore decorate lamps with auras. Furthermore, an overcast night sky is considerably brightened up whenever there are well-lit structures beneath. At first glance, some of my images look like taken under daylight – the sky is almost white, but often reveals a faint color cast: muddy-greenish, purple, pale blue. The orange light produced by sodium vapor lamps can even set the sky on fire.

Precipitation can also produce a cool look although I find it more difficult to handle than mist. Rain, for instance: during the day it annoys me but at night it transforms all the surfaces into glossy, reflecting areas. To protect my equipment from getting all too wet I have an old umbrella always stowed in my camera bag. It gets critical if rain is accompanied by wind. When the droplets are blown sideways and hitting the front lens, I have to give up.

Office building in Hanover shot at night on CineStill film

Authority building. The overcast sky is colored by the city’s lights. (Canon EOS 1N)

Residential area shot at night on CineStill film.

Residential area. The moon was looming through clouds, just outside the frame near the upper right corner. (Canon EOS 1N)

My Way into Architectural Photography

Once I dove deeper into architectural photography, I bought my first shift lens. Until then – 2012, if I remember correctly –, I was a die-hard film fan who could never imagine switching to digital. But handling the lens’ different movements (and their combination) proved very difficult for me. I needed a digital camera for training purposes. Therefore, I got a second-hand DSLR from Ebay. It was a Canon 5D “classic” that I used a lot. This camera worked liked a gateway drug, letting me abandon all my film cameras. Subsequently, I replaced the 5D with a more advanced DSLR and also tried a digital rangefinder camera.

It took me five years to realize that I almost never printed any of my digital images. And I missed film – the aesthetics, the handling, and the thrill of the anticipation. Meanwhile, operating the shift lenses had become second nature to me, so I had no excuse for not using them with film. Funnily, I made it through the same development – albeit in the reverse direction. By mid of 2018, I had sold my last digital camera (with exception of the 5D, which I keep for nostalgic reasons).

What I really like about architectural photography is that there always seems to exist one spot where the composition works best for a given object. Sometimes, just one meter makes a huge difference. Obstacles want to be overcome – e. g. lampposts, street signs or delivery trucks. Finding the right spot is like a riddle, it’s fun to solve it. Experience helps a lot: I now know perspectives I like, and I can estimate the adequate distance to my subject.

Office building in Hanover shot at night on CineStill film

Finance authority building. Shift lenses can keep the verticals parallel – specially helpful when the building is taller. (Canon EOS 1N)

Shift Lenses in 35mm Format

What is a shift lens? A shift lens allows you perspective correction by moving the lens’ elements parallel to the film plane. Thus, vertical lines remain parallel to each other in the image. Canon currently offers two shift lenses in the wide-angle regime for the 35mm format: a 17mm f/4.0 and a 24mm f/3.5. (Nikon has similar optics in its lineup.) I own both but find myself using the 24mm way more often. In case of the 17mm lens, you must move really close to your subjects – otherwise they will appear too distant, at least for my taste. Additionally, the short focal length exaggerates the perspective by emphasizing close objects and neglecting the more distant ones. A further downside of the 17mm is its susceptibility to flares. Canon offers no lens hood to shield the bulbous front element from point light sources.

Both lenses also allow you to tilt the focus plane, what creates the popular miniature world effect. I seldom use this feature – but given the right subject, it can work out great. Some further notes on the handling of these specialized optics: Shift lenses have to be focused manually. However, even at night that’s not a big deal as buildings are more than 10 meters away from the camera, so the infinity setting will do the job. The exposure mode of the camera has to be manual, too. If the lens is shifted or tilted, the in-camera meter won’t work properly anymore and thus making any auto exposure mode useless.

My Trusty Canon SLR

To use these shift lenses with film, I had to buy a Canon EOS film body first. Due to its almost ridiculous low price tag I chose an EOS 1N – and I have to admit, I always wanted to work with one of the former Canon flagships. The EOS 1 is my workhorse: a very reliable and convenient camera, but for my taste a rather unpretentious and clinical one, too. Therefore, we share a solid business relationship, not an emotion-driven love affair. I think, Benn Murhaaya got some similar findings when reviewing his Canon EOS 33.

Two things bother me with the Canon: Firstly, it only allows me to take exactly 36 frames from one roll of film, wasting at least two frames. Secondly, its operations depend on batteries. I think it’s more a psychological thing as both aspects are not overly costly: two wasted frames equal to a “loss” of 2/38 or roughly 5% referring to film and development costs, and my annual battery consumption rarely exceeds 10 Euros.

Orange snowplow (Mercedes Unimog) shot at night on CineStill film

Sometimes I like to play with the tilt function of the lens. (Canon EOS 1N)

Graffiti on a bridge pylon shot at night on CineStill film

To maximize the miniature effect when tilting, I open the lens all the way up to f/3.5. As a welcome side effect, this considerably shortens the exposure time. Thus I could capture this confused guy within 10 seconds – and without a car passing through. (Canon EOS 1N)

old loading crane shot at night on CineStill film

A preserved loading crane from 1918. I don’t remember the sky being that colorful when I took the shot. (Canon EOS 1N)

Further Cameras

Over time, I got seized by the desire for formats larger than 35mm. At least medium format should work. In a weak moment and looking for a photographic adventure, I acquired an old 6 x 12 panoramic camera – a Linhof Technorama 612. I consider this 2:1 aspect ratio as sweet spot: it is considerably wider than the classic 2:3 ratio but not as squeezed like 6 x 17 (almost 3:1).

The Technorama behaves like a monster: it guzzles film (yielding six, sometimes only five and a half frames per roll), weighs a lot and eats most of the space in my backpack. Though in its day marketed as the world’s largest point-and-shoot camera, it is far from being a easygoing picture machine. With appropriate f-numbers in the range from f/16 to f/45, my exposures consume a lot of time. But I was attracted by a special feature: the lenses have a built-in shift of (fixed) 8mm. That shift predestines the camera for architectural scenes, though the camera has proven itself much less flexible than my 35mm setup (mainly due to the non-variable amount of shift).

For smaller objects – with the size of human or a car – I occasionally employ a 6 x 7 camera. In these cases, I mostly open up the aperture and work with the shallow depth of field to draw the viewer’s attention towards my subject.

shell construction of a warehouse shot at night on CineStill film

Skeleton of a new warehouse. This area used to be a freight yard. (Linhof Technorama 612PC)

yellow excavator shot at night on CineStill film

Stage-like lit excavator. I was lucky that the machine stood there without any clutter – and no fence was holding me back either. (Linhof Technorama 612PC)

Tripod

A tripod is essential for this type of photography. I use a travel tripod that annoys me with its increasing ricketiness. But this tatty companion is far lighter than my regular tripod and therefore collects dust under my wardrobe. A gear head helps to achieve precise alignment of the camera – I think one of the biggest keys to a compelling architectural photograph is a well composed arrangement of lines and angles. Although I try to be as accurate as possible on site, fine-tuning is done afterwards in Lightroom.

My Preferred Subjects

I come from Hanover, a city in northern Germany with roughly 530,000 people living there. According to my impression, Hanover does not enjoy the best reputation among the Germans. Many consider the city as boring – or at least it’s the perfect average: not too small but not too large either. It lacks the plurality and grittiness of Berlin, the cosmopolitanism of Hamburg, the glamour of Munich, the cheerful nature of Cologne. Nevertheless, I like Hanover, and with the years I have discovered the city’s interesting places. But I must warn you: You won’t see my photographic subjects in any of the glossy brochures released by the city marketing. I find myself drawn to rather unpretentious places: industrial areas, harbors, abandoned production plants (Hanover’s industrial heritage mainly consists of ironworking, rubber and cement). The more run-down a site is, the more it attracts my attention.

I’m mostly the only one present when I’m out there taking photographs. If I encounter the shape of another person in the distance, I instantly feel uneasy. Who is this? What are his – or hers – intentions? Visiting these inhospitable places sometimes reminds me of watching a horror movie: You get yourself a nice dose of creeps, then you return to your cozy apartment and have a cup of tea.
Google Maps has proven itself as a fantastic tool for planning my trips. Especially in combination with street view and the bird’s eye perspective, Google’s service provides an almost lifelike impression of a location.

Industrial Areas and Abandoned Plants

This is how it all began: When I was about 10 years old, my mother and I used to take the tram to go to city center. Every trip we passed a Gründerzeit factory building, made of dark red bricks. I loved the building, always trying to get a glimpse at it. Unfortunately and without any further announcement, that factory disappeared from one day to another. It had to make way for a bleak shop selling bleak, cheap furniture. Boy, I was sad! Since I started with photography, my strongest motivation lays in documenting structures that are likely to be demolished sooner or later.

Everywhere around town there are slow transformation processes underway. The older I get, the more sensible I am to these subtle changes. To watch the buildings of former eras vanish makes me feel sentimental. It’s like the old man from next door has died. I can’t stop these transformations but at least I try to preserve some memories with my photographs.

Abandoned factories have the advantage of being easier accessible than their active counterparts. Fences are full of holes and nobody cares. Because these places do not earn money anymore, they often stand in darkness. That’s cool, it allows me to take really long exposures, hereby creating the strange color effects mentioned above.

dark brick building with silver tank cars in the foreground, shot at dusk on CineStill film

Factory for plastic closures. The shiny tank trailers gave a nice contrast to the dark brick building. (Canon EOS 1N)

coal power plant shot at night on CineStill film

Rather modern coal power station, with entry into service in 1989. (Canon EOS 1N)

abandoned cement works building shot at night on CineStill film

Former cement works, closed in the late 1980’s. Since then it has been partly demolished. (Canon EOS 1N a – 15min-exposure turned the light-polluted night sky almost white.)

abandoned rubber factory of Continental AG shot at night on CineStill film

Former rubber factory. Demolition of the brick building on the right started in the December 2018. It was erected about one hundred years ago. (Canon EOS 1N)

dumpster behind a lattice fence shot at night on CineStill film

For me, luminescent tubes give an almost  iconic subject when using CineStill. The white bars with their reddish halos are very distinctive for this film. (Canon EOS 1N)

Inland Harbors

Harbors are places of activity. Ships arrive and depart, collecting and delivering goods. Various infrastructure waits to be photographed: loading cranes, oil tanks, jetties, conveyor belts… Unfortunately, Hanover doesn’t have a port. More precisely, the city has no sea port, but there are several inland harbors located along the Mittelland Canal. The transfer volume of goods is rather moderate; however, these inland harbors provide some nice scenes.

inland harbor with loading cranes shot at night on CineStill film

Linden harbor. The slight mist created some cool halo effects around the flood lamps. (Canon EOS 1N)

abandoned silo building shot at night on CineStill film

The only purpose of this former silo building is to act as a noise barrier for the apartment houses behind. (Canon EOS 1N)

“Ihme-Zentrum” Housing Complex

The “Ihme-Zentrum” is a large housing complex and served formerly also as a shopping center. It was built in the early 1970s at the west bank of the Ihme river, becoming home for roughly 3,000 people. But since its erection the Ihme-Zentrum has been sparking controversies, people regard the blocks as oversized and ugly. Its decline already began in the 1990s, with one shop closing after another. Today, the Ihme-Zentrum awaits an uncertain future with ownership changing almost every year.

I have been attracted to the Ihme-Zentrum for years due to its morbid character. The complex with its high-rises (some of the tallest buildings in Hanover) is probably the densest housing area within my reach. Sometimes the skyline reminds me a little bit of Peter Bialobrzeski’s views of Southeast Asian megacities, which he published in the book “neontigers”. I love the concentrated structures of cities like Hong Kong, Shanghai or Tokyo – full of people and with lots of light pollution. Another cool thing of the Ihme-Zentrum is its ground level that never wasn’t meant to have any sojourn quality. This area welcomes you with bare concrete, dumpsters and lots of pigeon droppings. Grey and only lit by luminescent tubes, the extended corridors could serve as a setting for a first-person shooter game.

high-rises of "Ihme-Zentrum" housing complex in Hanover, shot at night on CineStill film

One of the Ihme-Zentrum’s high-rises is the tallest building in Hanover (not pictured in this frame). (Canon EOS 1N)

demolished facade of "Ihme-Zentrum" housing complex in Hanover, shot at night on CineStill film

Some corners look like they had faced an urban warfare. (Canon EOS 1N)

long corridor inside "Ihme-Zentrum" housing complex in Hanover, shot at night on CineStill film

The vast corridors of the ground level. (Canon EOS 1N)

inner yard of "Ihme-Zentrum" housing complex in Hanover, shot at night on CineStill film

View into the fenced off inner yard. Twenty years ago, this area was a busy shopping mall. (Zenza Bronica EC)

Filling Stations

Filling stations offer brightly lit grounds, combined with colorful neon signs – an oasis not only for empty fuel tanks, also a temple of light in the darkness. I appreciate their cinematic look that makes me feel I’m involved in a road movie. Bright as they are, filling stations seldom require exposure times longer than 30 seconds – photographic fast food, if you will. Their frequent occurrence within a city and the standardized arrangement qualifies filling stations as a perfect subject for a series. I think they were also a reason why I started my night photography project with CineStill film.

blue and red decorated filling station shot at night on CineStill film

Shell-owned filling station shot at night on CineStill film

Usually, I avoid photographing filling stations during peak time. That way most of the customers don’t get scared by a creepy man standing in the dark, waiting motionless behind a tripod. (Canon EOS 1N)

Random Objects

I don’t believe that objects have soul, but I think that any item has an inherent beauty – may this beauty be hidden or obvious. There are countless things, standing at the roadsides of a city: cars, trucks, billboards, hydrants, sculptures, piles of construction material… I slowly discovered these objects as being photographically interesting – at least for me. I have a weak spot especially for all kinds of dumpsters, and I do love construction equipment.

red dumpster truck shot at night on CineStill film

yellow fuel tank shot at night on CineStill film

close-up of red construction machine shot at night on CineStill film

Crushing machine. Shot through a hole in the fence – it took me quite a while to set up my tripod. (Plaubel Makina 67)

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59 Comments

  • Avatar
    Reply
    Tom Sheppard
    March 31, 2019 at 10:13 am

    Outstanding images Christian.
    You certainly have mastered this film, and in spite of your misgivings there camera has delivered.
    Thank you for this post

    • Avatar
      Reply
      Christian Schroeder
      March 31, 2019 at 10:34 am

      Thank you very much for your kind words! After my initial struggle, this film has become one of my absolute favorites.

  • Avatar
    Reply
    Mike Cunningham
    March 31, 2019 at 10:36 am

    The best piece of writing I’v read on this site. Thank you Mr Schroeder.

    • Avatar
      Reply
      Christian Schroeder
      March 31, 2019 at 10:42 am

      Thanks, I’m glad you like it.

      • Avatar
        Reply
        David Garcia-Dorado
        March 31, 2019 at 12:08 pm

        I agree with Mike Cunninghan. Excellent architectural night photography. Congratulations Herr Schroeder

        • Avatar
          Reply
          Christian Schroeder
          March 31, 2019 at 12:29 pm

          Thank you very much!

  • Avatar
    Reply
    M Hunt
    March 31, 2019 at 11:13 am

    Thank you Christian, a very interesting read and absorbing photos – wonderful!

    • Avatar
      Reply
      Christian Schroeder
      March 31, 2019 at 12:28 pm

      Thank you, I really appreciate your comment.

  • Avatar
    Reply
    Osh
    March 31, 2019 at 12:14 pm

    Beautiful images. Could almost hear the silence speaking through the photos, if that makes any sense.

    • Avatar
      Reply
      Christian Schroeder
      March 31, 2019 at 12:30 pm

      I think you’ve nailed it. I’m always on the hunt for these quiet and overlooked places.

  • Avatar
    Reply
    Jens Kotlenga
    March 31, 2019 at 12:23 pm

    Excellent work, Christian. I agree with Mike in saying that your work stands out from most of what I have encountered on this site. Very inspiring, indeed!
    (Ich wohne bei Hannover, vielleicht tauschen wir uns ja mal persönlich aus – google mich mal wenn Du magst wg Kontaktdaten)

    • Avatar
      Reply
      Christian Schroeder
      March 31, 2019 at 12:47 pm

      Thanks, Jens! When I discovered your images some weeks ago, I instantly wanted to visit the Völklingen steelworks again. – Prima Idee, tauschen wir uns gerne aus. Ich schätze deine Arbeiten sehr, treffen genau meinen Nerv.

  • Avatar
    Reply
    Terry B
    March 31, 2019 at 12:29 pm

    Christian, a lot of hard work (literally, lugging all that gear around) has obviously gone into producing these images, but from a reader’s perspective a great success, too. Quality images, all of them, and a good advert for this film when treated properly. as here. Thanks for posting.

    • Avatar
      Reply
      Christian Schroeder
      March 31, 2019 at 12:45 pm

      Thank you for your comment! For me, the hardest part is to have enough patience – the amount of time required only to expose 36 images can easily equal a whole working day.

  • Avatar
    Reply
    Janet
    March 31, 2019 at 12:33 pm

    This is the best article I’ve seen here for a while, thank you! Beautiful work.

    • Avatar
      Reply
      Christian Schroeder
      March 31, 2019 at 12:48 pm

      Thank you, I’m very happy to hear that!

  • Avatar
    Reply
    Laurent Perraut
    March 31, 2019 at 1:31 pm

    I really like your images and the color produced by the Cinestill negative. I believe, you cannot create those tone combinations with a digital camera. It looks like you’re mastering also the development and scanning of the films as well. I’d love to know more about it (lab, scanning method). If this is too off-topic for this site, would you drop me a short email ([email protected])?

  • Avatar
    Reply
    Barry Reid
    March 31, 2019 at 1:51 pm

    This is great stuff and makes me want to get back out working on my own night photography project.

    I agree with your view on the 17mm – it’s a specialist lens for tight spots and not generally useful for architecture and the flaring is a huge problem. I always take a ‘Flare Dinkum’ hot shoe mounted flag if I use the 17 for urban landscapes.

    • Avatar
      Reply
      Christian Schroeder
      March 31, 2019 at 1:58 pm

      Great to hear. Wait until sunset and go out!

      I made a handful of really cool images with the 17mm. But given the yield, it is a luxury to own it.

  • Avatar
    Reply
    Aivaras
    March 31, 2019 at 1:52 pm

    Wow! I’m amazed. Final outcome and amount of work that went to produce it is just staggering.

    • Avatar
      Reply
      Christian Schroeder
      March 31, 2019 at 2:03 pm

      Thank you very much for your comment. It was a lot of work – but it always felt like fun, not like “going-to-work work“. These rewarding experiences are the real reason to shoot film (to shoot digital, to paint, to compose, to…).

  • Avatar
    Reply
    Kurt Ingham
    March 31, 2019 at 2:12 pm

    Really impressive! Every image is a treat.

    • Avatar
      Reply
      Christian Schroeder
      March 31, 2019 at 2:46 pm

      Thanks, Kurt!

  • Avatar
    Reply
    Kurt Ingham
    March 31, 2019 at 2:15 pm

    I am so impressed I’ve shared it on my Facebook page!

    • Avatar
      Reply
      Christian Schroeder
      March 31, 2019 at 2:47 pm

      Cool, thank you for that!

  • Avatar
    Reply
    Laurie
    March 31, 2019 at 2:31 pm

    I really enjoyed reading this and seeing your photos! So different from anything I would attempt. But now I am inspired to think about trying it (both the style and the film). I live in a smaller city that used to be much more industrial, so we have many abandoned buildings too. My husband once found a really interesting one and took me there, I took some shots and thought maybe I would go back for a longer time or with different cameras…but before I could get back it was torn down. So I’m glad to see you are preserving images of your city!! Very very nice work, thank you for sharing!

    • Avatar
      Reply
      Christian Schroeder
      March 31, 2019 at 3:19 pm

      Oh, I’m sorry to hear that your building had been torn down before you could return. – I read that the Becher couple started their career with drawings of derelict industrial sites. But as they couldn’t draw as fast as the buildings were demolished, they switched to (large format) photography – and became famous for their black and white images of mineheads, blast furnaces, cooling towers etc.

  • Avatar
    Reply
    Bob Weeks
    March 31, 2019 at 4:25 pm

    This post is a tutorial all by itself. Your explanation of the when, where, why and how would make a brilliant magazine article. Thank you.

    • Avatar
      Reply
      Christian Schroeder
      March 31, 2019 at 4:37 pm

      Thank you very much, I feel honored. Taking photographs is a cool thing – but reporting about it is also a pleasant job.

  • Avatar
    Reply
    M
    March 31, 2019 at 5:21 pm

    What a remarkable piece!
    You document your journey through different formats and film with such writer’s elegance, and in a language other than your native one. Learned a lot.

    • Avatar
      Reply
      Christian Schroeder
      March 31, 2019 at 8:03 pm

      Happy to hear that. Thanks a lot for your kind words!

  • Avatar
    Reply
    JB Leman
    March 31, 2019 at 5:28 pm

    Hi Christian! Those are beautiful and stunning shots. Really, really inspiring! I have 4 rolls of Cinestill 800 i bought via online and still not too sure what to do with them – its been 4 weeks since i received them! I guess i know what i’ll do with them now. Thanks for the really awesome shots and sharing it here!

    • Avatar
      Reply
      Christian Schroeder
      March 31, 2019 at 8:08 pm

      Great! I feel satisfied that I could give you some inspiration. Four rolls mean plenty of chances to obtain exciting pictures. Looking forward to your results!

  • Avatar
    Reply
    Zisis Kardianos
    March 31, 2019 at 5:34 pm

    Brilliant post Christian and awesome photos. I’ve done night photography before but mostly with digital. I’m about to start a new series with my newly acquired Bronica GS-1 sotthisppost came at the perfect timing. Have you tried pushing Cinestill?

    • Avatar
      Reply
      Christian Schroeder
      March 31, 2019 at 8:14 pm

      Night photography is truly special, whether digital or with film. I bought a Broncia EC 6×6 last year: sophisticated machine – but unfortunately, I had some focusing issues (mirror out of alignment I guess). Not overly easy to find a qualified technician who is still in business… Nonetheless, have fun with your Bronica!

  • Avatar
    Reply
    DaCosta
    April 1, 2019 at 1:48 am

    Love your photos Christian! I too shot the Cinestill at 800 as well as pushed with cool results. It’s a good film for night photography.

    • Avatar
      Reply
      Christian Schroeder
      April 1, 2019 at 6:03 pm

      Haven’t tried to push the film yet. But there are two rolls still waiting in my fridge… 🙂

  • Avatar
    Reply
    JR Smith
    April 1, 2019 at 5:14 am

    What an enjoyable article and great series of shots! Thank you for sharing!

    • Avatar
      Reply
      Christian Schroeder
      April 1, 2019 at 6:05 pm

      And thank you for your comment! It’s a very rewarding experience for me to share my work with this community.

  • Avatar
    Reply
    Steve Ember
    April 1, 2019 at 7:49 am

    This is an exceptional piece, Christian, which not only shows the fine results of your choice to do a different “take” on night photography but also shares, with eloquence, your enjoyment of the (sometimes even scary) experience. I read it with great interest when it first appeared, then had to be off on some projects. When I returned to luxuriate more in your images and re-read your experiences, I was not surprised at the large outpouring of positive responses, pointing up not only the quality of your images but the caliber of the writing.
    I must say – until seeing your long-exposure work – that I felt Cinestill 800 was really being over-hyped as a trendy, but not necessarily better film for night photography. So many samples published were grainy in the extreme and had that predictable tungsten-blue cast. For night-for-night photos, I’ve always felt daylight-balanced slide films (or digital) produced more realistic looking night photos than tungsten; but your decision to use this film to portray nighttime colors and tonality in a more impressionistic way is inspiring, and makes me more inclined to be adventurous with the roll of Cinestill 800 that has sat largely unused in one of my cameras since being started!
    Thanks again for this most informative, thought-provoking, and well written article.

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      Christian Schroeder
      April 1, 2019 at 6:07 pm

      Thank you for sharing your thoughts, Steve! Regarding tungsten-balanced film: I recently bought some rolls of old Fujichrome slide film, for tungsten light and with a box speed of ISO 64. Now I’m torn: on the one hand, I’m curious how these architectural subjects would look like on this classic stock – and I never shot slide film before. On the other hand, I feel inhibited by the stock’s imponderabilities (expired almost 15 years ago, less latitude than color negative film). Additionally, the low ISO sensitivity should considerably slow down the output rate – and my lab charges noticeable more for the development of slide film than for color neg (plus it takes longer). But hey, how do they say? No risk, no fun!

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    Sroyon
    April 1, 2019 at 12:14 pm

    I’ve been reading 35mmc for a while now, and I’ve seen well-written posts, posts with exceptional photography, posts featuring interesting lenses or film types… but it’s not often I see all of the above combined in one post. Amazing work, thanks for sharing.

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      Christian Schroeder
      April 1, 2019 at 6:08 pm

      Thank you very much, I appreciate your feedback – I tried to cover all relevant aspects of my project. Good to know that the article hasn’t become too overbearing.

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    Bill
    April 1, 2019 at 3:44 pm

    Beautiful work and a wonderful read. I shot with a canon F1-n for almost 3 decades and one of my favorite lenses was the 35 tilt&shift. The canon had stopped down metering mode which was ideal for this lens. I have used it to also create multiple exposure(up to 10 separate shots) panoramic images. The shift enables almost perfect frame to frame matching and the final image is of high resolution(for a 35mm format). Reading your article and viewing your images made me feel an immediate trust of your take on this film. When I am looking for someones view of a fine piece of audio equipment I first want to know what their personal likes are and what they own. I have to believe they know what they are talking about. I quickly realized you knew what you were reviewing and you backed it up with excellent examples. I am a portra 160 guy myself with only an occasional venture to 400. Seeing this film and your images certainly gets me to thinking of giving it a go. Truly enjoyed this article and can say that I hope to see and read more from you in the future.

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      Christian Schroeder
      April 1, 2019 at 6:47 pm

      35mm tilt&shift sounds cool – sometimes I wish I had a little more of focal length to get closer. With digital, I occasionally combined the 24mm with a 1.4x teleconverter. That resulted in almost 35mm but came at the price of moderate distortion. Sure, this can easily be corrected in Lightroom – but with film scans, distortion correction always felt kinda wrong to me (I think it’s a relic of the once so popular “only traditional darkroom methods are allowed”-mentality).
      Coincidentally, I was a Portra 160 guy too. In the two years before I started the CineStill project, I strolled through the city at daytime, with the same equipment but the camera loaded with Portra. Those days were prolific times, leading to roughly 500 architectural images (plus further 300 black and white ones on Fuji Acros). However, at some point I had seen enough – CineStill then came as a welcome new opportunity. I could go for the same subjects but in different light (pun intended).
      Interesting approach to stitch some T&S images for panoramic images. Read about this technique years ago but never tried.

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    Charles Higham
    April 1, 2019 at 8:10 pm

    Such an impressive number of attractive and engaging well-planned photos. You have obviously put a great deal of thought into the subject choice, and exact positioning of the camera to make the most from the subject. I must try Cinestill. Great writing too.

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      Christian Schroeder
      April 2, 2019 at 9:51 am

      Thank you, Charles!

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    carlos albisu
    April 6, 2019 at 11:25 am

    Not much to add to what already has been said. A very entertaining article to read and lots of passion behind the camera. I will definitely try the cinestill in my Rolleiflex 😊 love those orange hues. Congratulations for all your hard work and fantastic results, specially love the first one.

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    Chris Pattison
    April 6, 2019 at 1:21 pm

    Quality images Christian. What an enjoyable read.

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    MarkB
    April 8, 2019 at 8:08 pm

    I really enjoyed your images and story. The Red glow around the lamps are fascinating. Your viewpoint and the the way you capture the everday building makes art.

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    Ian Koh
    May 1, 2019 at 8:02 pm

    I enjoyed the way you captured the industrial character of Hannover. These are the kind of photos that I’d want to make myself (although with digital and mostly in black and white). I live in the Netherlands but really enjoy going to Germany and speaking German there, and I’ve been thinking about visiting Hannover for some time now (despite being discouraged by my German colleague who makes fun of the city for being boring haha). Your post might be the deciding factor in convincing me to go!

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      Christian Schroeder
      May 2, 2019 at 12:54 pm

      Hiya, Ian! Funny story, indeed. I think Hannover is what you want it to be. If you are convinced the town is boring, it will be boring. However, if you want it to be interesting, you will definitely find something interesting here. It is all about expectations…

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    Paolo Lucente
    May 18, 2019 at 5:23 pm

    I enjoyed your long (but too short) article and you beautifuls photos. I hope you will continue to document your progress in this amazing film-photo blog. Good luck

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      Christian Schroeder
      May 18, 2019 at 6:55 pm

      Thank you, Paolo! Your hope will become reality soon, I’m currently working on some more articles for this blog. 🙂

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    Boris
    August 2, 2019 at 12:28 pm

    Great shots and great article. Do you use lens filters when shooting with this film? I can’t quite seem to get similar results when shooting fluorescent light.

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      Christian Schroeder
      August 2, 2019 at 12:55 pm

      Thanks Boris! No, I never use filters with this film (unless shooting during daylight). Do you process the film yourself?

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