No pushing or pulling, shot straight out of the box. With a little bit of love.
Ilford XP2 Super 400 is the second film I shot at London Pride 2014. The streets were once again alive and buzzing, by this time of the day i’d had a fair bit to drink and was definitely enjoying the evening!
I have said this a lot over the past year but Ilford always performs well. This film has an excellent tonal range and really bites in the shadows whilst holding on to details. The highlights are given a glow by the grain softening them.
The 400 speed SP2 has a much larger and higher grain value compared to other 400 speed films such as Kodak TMAX or BW400CN that boast a super fine grain at high speed. That being said, the ‘rugged’, grainy look is something that I love about Ilford.
This is the final roll of a series of four types of film shot over London Pride 2013, please take a moment to look back at the other type’s previously posted: Kodak BW400CN, AgfaPhoto APX 100 & Kodak Ektar 100
By the time i had loaded the Portra into my camera it was getting well into the evening and as the sun was going down the alcohol content in my body was going up so its no surprise that even though i remember shooting this film there are a couple of shots that i looked at when scanning and thought “I don’t remember shooting that” and felt excited to see them appear on the screen.
I decided to push the Portra at the very last second and i’m glad i did! Albeit only a 1 stop push from the original 800iso i didn’t want to go too crazy as i hadn’t seen Portra pushed before so felt it best to take it 1 stop at a time. I’m glad i did.
I like Portra, i think its a great film to shoot with, it has some great neutral tones to work with and the slightly desaturated results seem to work well in evening light adding to the authenticity of being shot in the evening. The push in my opinion has improved this film considerably.
The results from this push are a high grain that is very appealing to the eye, especially of the young woman outside Wok to Walk with a folk in her mouth. The push has given a similar look to some old 70’s colour film which had a tendency to look more grainy (depending on film type). I had to remove quite a bit of green colour cast from the photos during cleaning – i have mixed opinions as to why this happened. It could be an error in processing where they’re using too much of a colour which will leave more green in the photo or it could be an error in scanning and the CCR (colour correction removal) process.
Also dust and scratches was a little extreme with this roll of film. Typically i have noticed that colour films require a lot more work than black and white, especially Kodak compared to Agfa or Ilford.
Due to the high grain and desaturated images the landscapes that i shot of the wind turbines and power lines aren’t really suited to this film type.
This blog is a continuation of my previous post Kodak Ektar 100
Please take the time to read back so you fully appreciate published film. This film is the second of four film’s that i shot at London Pride 2013.
By this point the evening was starting to get quite intoxicated with the streets crawling in cans, bottles, plastic cups and people racing to the nearest Wok to Walk or Opuz. My friends and I however decided to grab an Ed’s Burger, which is one of the nicest 50’s themed diner’s around Soho.
The atmosphere around Soho was filled with happiness and people coming together which made this was one of the easiest events i have ever photographed, other than London Fashion Week, however people go out just to get their photo taken at LFW and very often need some help to ‘look alive’. It may have been because i was drinking too.
I digress, people where ecstatic to see the camera, coming together, making faces and just a little bit of tom foolery to give a warmer more playful feel to the photos i captured.
I opted to stay within a 100iso film type as the evening was very bright, this also let me save the 2 higher iso film’s i have left over for use later on in the evening.
The results from the Agfa are exceptional, the contrasts are very appealing, the grain isn’t as fine as i would of expected from 100ISO however it doesn’t hinder the quality of the image, nor is it intrusive giving even and beautiful coverage of the photos. I used my Sigma 50mm Prime throughout the entire film alternating my f/stop from 2.5 to 5.6.
Every year in London on the 29th June the streets are filled with a giant party atmosphere celebrating gay right movements and various sexualities coming together to express themselves in one of the city’s more colourful events. Pride.
This is the first time i have been to pride since 2011 as i had got bored of it, for years London pride had been neglected and was usually pouring with rain for at least a few hours, however this year it seems to have been given a complete overhaul, whether people dug deeper in their pockets or maybe it was just organised better but this years pride was, fantastic! One of the best ones i have been to in years.
It was great to see the streets filled with people enjoying themselves, the weather was perfect, not a cloud in the sky. Music was playing on every street corner from Trafalgar Square to Oxford Circus. The city was alive.
I was already a few frames in to the Ektar 100 loaded in my camera, the previous day’s weather had been terrible and i only managed to get a few frames off around Covent Garden. I was determined to get some shots over pride, i wanted to use this colour film to my full advantage. I brought 3 spare rolls of film with me and went on my merry way into central to meet some friends at one of my favourite bar’s in Soho, Ku Bar.
For this event i wanted my equipment to be as light as possible, i opted for my Sigma 50mm f/1.4 prime for the shallow aperture and it being much lighter than my 24-70. I stuck around f/2 – f/5.6 rarely going any higher.
Annoyingly retouching has taken longer with this film, there were considerable dust and scratches and also water stains on the film which i am not impressed about, the film processing seems to have not been very thorough this time and has left me with a few frames that required more work on them which could of been avoided.
The colours of this film are so saturated and fairly contrasty, Ektar was once likened by my tutor at University for sharing similar properties to Kodachrome however i feel Kodachrome had a warmer more contrasty feel to the final photographs which Ektar misses.
The grain is very desirable and fine not impeding on the quality of the photograph, i would like to see the results of Ektar pulled to 64 and then adding some contrast in photoshop how much it may resemble Kodachrome. Although as i previously stated it is not going to be identical. Dare i say it but i prefer the result of Ektar 100 over Portra 800, even though Portra is a gorgeous film type it lacks the punchiness and saturation of Ektar.