Monday, October 27, 2014

On the Flip Side

The other two rolls, however, yielded far more difficult images to work with. While the three shots previously posted were straight from the developer, these two had to be adjusted so you could see anything at all. As I mentioned before, the rolls were foreign, and expired, so who knows what they've been through before I got them in my hands. I believe the Nikon F5 saw them as ISO 400, but I do not remember exactly. The contrast for each has been increased and some other histogram levels were modified, but the colours (such as they are) were left untouched.
When I first looked through the images, I was disappointed nothing turned out, but then I had to remind myself this is what you get when dealing with film of unknown quality. If I had wanted magazine-worthy shots, I should have used the D2x.
But I did want to be different this time, hoping the age of the film would work to my advantage. The top shot reminds me of the old 60s slide images our parents showed us that had been taken with disposable cameras, while the bottom shot reminds me of the poster for the original version of "Night of the Living Dead" 
So perhaps not all has been lost after all. Fortunately, those were my only two rolls of the foreign film, so I hope to have a little more control in the future.
There is a zombie obstacle course/5k fun run coming up in a few weeks, I'm debating whether I should continue with the film path, or revert to digital for the event.
What say you my readers? Would you like to see more uneven surprises?

Halloween Experimentation

 So it's that time of year again, when the zombies come out to play. I always enjoy the effort people put into their outfits and love to photograph large gatherings. A local venue has a zombie walk every year with hundreds of zombies gathering for the thirty minute walk/run/shamble. I've photographed it many times before and this time I felt I should do something different. Expand my horizons so to speak.
So, I gathered three rolls of expired film, my mint condition Nikon F5, my rather battered and abused 80-200mm f/2.8, and went to town. Given the expiration dates were unknown, I really had little idea of what I was going to get. One roll was Kodak 100 Gold, which even in the best of times produces muted flat colours, and the other two rolls had no english on them whatsoever. As near as I could tell, they were from India, or possibly Pakistan. The three shots to the left are from the Kodak roll. Note that even though this was rated as ISO 100, you can see the emulsion starting to break down, and the grain become visible and rendering the already shallow DoF (all shot at 2.8 to isolate the subject from the rather cluttered background) become even
more indistinct. Of all the images I have taken throughout the years, from Colorado, to Canada, Belize and beyond, the first shot is my absolute favourite to date. The grain hit just right to add to her makeup, the colours uneven and wrong, in short, everything typical about shooting with expired film and it all came together perfectly for that one shot. 

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Once In A Lifetime

 I won a once in a lifetime chance to fly on my choice of a WW2 B-17 Flying Fortress or the WW2 B-24 Liberator. When the event promoters called me up and told me I had won two seats, I was stunned, when they asked me if I was free that day, I told them, practically shouted at them, "Yes!" and my choice was automatic, the iconic B-17. So I gave them my name and my friend's name (wasn't a difficult choice on whom to pick to go with me) and they sent me the details and locations to be.
Fate having a twisted sense of humour, in cahoots with Mother Nature, ensured it was
 raining cats and dogs. Undeterred, I packed by best gear and went in search of the plane.
There is something about standing in the shadows of history that gives one pause. The men who fought and died in the plane, and damage it took, the sheer awesomeness of it all, it wasn't something to be approached lightly. With the, at times heavy downpour, the colours, already muted with military greens, were further rendered into drabness, all the exterior images have been converted to Black and White.

Despite the rain, there were a fair number of people about, both inside the plane touring, and outside, so taking a picture of each plane without people around was a matter of patience. We waited a fair amount of hours for the rain to let up, which it finally did, at least enough for the crew to take the B-17 into the air. Inside the bomber was much more cramped than I expected, given the tremendous size and moving about required dexterity and flexibility, but once we were settled in, the captain and co-pilot taxied us down the runway, waited for the green light, and then opened up the engines. 
The sonic wall of power and fury assaulted my senses and I was awash in the roar and motion as the B-17 tore up the tarmac and launched itself into the sky. Once up we were free to move about and explore, with the only off-limits area being the ball turret inside and read tail gun. Given the fortress had no fancy electronics, or radar, we stayed reasonably low, above the rain and mountains, but not so high up as to freeze us. Nonetheless I was glad for a heavy coat. I do not recall how long the flight was, but it was worth every second and even now my ear still hum
 with the sounds of the Wright Cyclones bass rumble.
I will probably never again have such an opportunity, but in this case, one will be enough.