A Weekend in Arizona (on Kodak Ektar)

We are leaving for Japan tomorrow! I was debating on what film stock to use there so I tested my Leica M6 with a roll of Ektar 100 pushed +1. I was hoping that using Ektar will be closer to the digital Fujifilm look so that the flow between the two would be more natural. 

I'm on the fence if I like this look. The contrast and grain are a little too HDR-ish for my taste. I'm bringing Portra 400 instead. It gives me extra room for light. I'd guess the lighting in Tokyo and Kyoto will be about the same as here in MN and Switzerland which I think Portra does better with.

I loved the film photos in Switzerland last year taken with Portra 400 but the Italy ones were a bit underexposed although I couldn't remember if I used the wrong ISO or the wrong film (Portra 160 vs 400). Anyway, I trust Portra a little more than Ektar. I am also bringing a camera without a meter (Leica M3) and Portra seems more forgiving. 

Here are the photos from that test roll. I tried to get a good variety of colors (blues, reds, yellows, greens, etc) to see what Ektar does with them. I like that Ektar does not have a yellowish cast like Portra but the blues seem too contrasty. It is a pushed film, though.

Switzerland on Color Film (Kodak Portra)

I hauled three cameras on our honeymoon last September (thanks to a supportive and understanding husband), 2 film cameras (Leica M6 and Hasselblad 500CM) and one digital (not including my iPhone). I used Kodak Portra for color and Kodak Tri-X for black and white. Click here for the black and white photos.

I looove the depth of film photographs. They are raw, evocative and layered. They speak to me more beautifully than flat digital photos. I did insert five digital photos to complement and complete the story, can you pick them out?


Day Trips to the Countryside

Hotel Villa Honegg


Travel Artifacts

Hasselblad 500CM + Planar 80/2.8
Fujifilm X-T1 + XF 56/1.2

The Hasselblad I ordered from eBay months ago came with a broken mirror. I've tested it once and the focus seemed spot on. I loved the output so much that I decided to keep it. The eBay seller gave me $300 back that I could buy another body if I wanted to. It's a special edition body and I cannot part with it just yet. I super glued the mirror so it wouldn't move and testing now if focus is affected by the broken mirror. 

Since I also bought an extension tube, I wanted to try that, too. I didn't feel like going out so I just scavenged at home for things to photograph: travel souvenirs. Setting for the Hasselblad is at f 2.8 and 1/15 sec.

I also wanted to see how different the output would be using digital. I set my X-T1 at f 1.4 and 1/60 with my 56/1.2 lens.

While scanning, I realized that my depth of field is too shallow. I shouldn't have used the extension tube AND what was I thinking hand-holding at 1/15?!! Still, these kind of mistakes are what attracts me to film. It's a different experience and I love the process. I consider my imperfect images as a work in progress. It's a step forward to learning film.

The result? Needless to say, it's inconclusive. 

On Film

On Digital


Developing my own film in the basement is tedious. Like recipes and Ikea furniture, following steps and sticking to the rules for film developing are challenging for me. The water bath for the developer gets too hot and by the time I get to the Blix solution, it is not hot enough. Sometimes, I do not wait for the negatives  to dry enough leaving streaks on the scans. They also attract so many dust particles that my scans are always so speckled. I do not dev + scan rolls from important events or trips which probably explains my carelessness. I am really better off sending my film to a film lab than wasting precious time toiling in the basement and scanning in my she-shed (except for test rolls on Superia).

 I did find out that using auto-WB and auto-tone when importing in LR helps a lot in improving colors and tones. I am also starting to like ++ contrast which is probably what attracted me to Zeiss glass. The 3D pop can be replicated somewhat by increasing contrast. I also don't like flare and fade and I think I prefer the compression from a longer lens than using extension tubes to get closer. If only that Fuji lens is half the size ...