* The opposite of e pluribus unum, as any fule kno.
Recently I have become a film tart. Not that I was ever truly monogamous, but I have had – still have- some serious long-term relationships. HP5 and me go way back. It’s never let me down. I have let it down many times, but I am a bad person.
With the rise of mistakenly-moribund film from its beckoning grave, there are suddenly a range of head-turning and slinky alternatives on parade. I have been tempted by the fruit of another. My previous taste for only one has become a curiosity for many. (Yes, still talking about film)
So why the new squeeze? Curiosity. That and the fact that changing just the film can change everything. Why faff about trying to get the Tri-X look or the Ektachrome look in digital, when you can just load a roll and get the real thing? So what types of film am I dallying with?
- Ilford Pan F. A prize from the Sunny 16 cheap shots challenge. Not sure what to do with this yet.
- Adox HR-50. Fancied the idea of a very contrasty film that has been pre-flashed to tame it. I might do something with this and the Pan F together.
- Rollei Retro 80s. I’m going to run this through my IR-converted Agfa camera.
- Silberra Ultima 160. Just fancied seeing what it was like.
- Rollei Ortho 25. To try some rugged-effect male portraits.
- Kodak Colorplus 200. 7 Day Shop had a deal on a pack of 10. This is destined for the underwater cameras.
- Kosmo Foto 100 in 120 and 35mm. A staple favourite.
- Fomapan 400 and 100. More of the above.
- 5302 Release film from the FPP. A blue-sensitive copying film that rates around 1 ISO. May need a tripod.
- Expired Fujicolour 200.
- Foma Retropan 320 Soft. Female portraits and maybe a bit of old-looking buildings.
- Kodak High Definition colour print. Expired.
- Kodak Proimage 100. As above – to play with.
- One roll of redscale hand-rolled. To play with.
- Fay’s quality color print 100. Expired 1999. Actually made by 3M. To be used for something daft.
- A small reel of lith film, around 8 ISO. Meant to be used for copying negatives to make slides. Worth a play. I might run this against the 5302.
- Kentmere 400. Because I cannot be untrue.
It might be worth me getting a C41 developing kit. I’ve never done colour before, but I have the expired films to learn on.
Looking at the list though, I realise that once one falls off the straight and narrow, things get rapidly quite curly. To stick with the theme, these films were whispering ‘take me I’m yours’ when perhaps I should have stayed with black coffee in bed.
The colour print film is easy to explain: if I’m taking a film camera underwater then I might as well capture colour. Even though most British water is like swimming in gazpacho and I will be capturing shades of green.
Now there’s an idea – different colours of the spectrum get absorbed at different rates by water. Red drops off rapidly, but blue penetrates furthest. I wonder what would happen if I shot an orthochromatic black and white film underwater? The low ISO would be a pain, but if I use flash I will be putting back the missing red light. So I could put a blue filter on the flash. This is all getting silly. The whole point of using flash underwater is to reveal the colours – grey things in a grey-green world go street carnival with a lick of strobe. So why try to make the colour separation even worse? Maybe because I’m curious – shooting flowers in UV light reveals how insects see them. I wonder if fish see things through an ortho filter* and what their world looks like? And then I realise that ortho film would ignore the red component of the flash anyway, so it could work… (And this is how daft adventures begin)
Back to Plan A – the colour print is for the fishes, the mono is for land. I can see that I have some fun and games ahead. Come on then film; some fantastic place awaits.
* Yes, they do. That’s why red is a good camouflage colour underwater, as the predatory fish can’t see it.