In Development: Adventures in Film, Volume 18

This week’s In Development post will be pretty short. Pretty much everything I have to say about this roll of film has already been said in previous posts and I don’t want to spend too much time repeating myself. The general theme of this roll is that I screwed up by not asking the lab to scan for the highlights. All of my landscape shots are severely blown out in the highlights and I had to do some pretty extensive corrections to try to bring back some of the color and detail and/or re-scan them myself. Oh well…lesson learned.

As an example of how dramatically the lab screwed up (even though it’s technically my fault for not asking them to scan for the highlights, I have a hard time not putting some blame on them when they completely blow out highlights in landscape shots…that’s photography 101, come on…), take a look at the three shots below of the building during sunrise. The first of the series was taken before sunrise as a safety shot, and the next two were taking as the sun was rising over the horizon just a few seconds apart with identical exposures. I picked the frame that had the better starburst (the last of the three frames) and re-scanned it for the highlights. That is, when I scanned it I aimed to preserve color and texture in the brightest parts of the image. The difference between these two frames is night and day, and for the life of me I can’t understand why any scanning tech would massacre the highlights like they did…

Regardless, I was able to salvage a couple decent images from this roll and I’m not too upset with them overall. I just had to spend quite a bit of time editing the images in post-production, and I’m coming to the conclusion that this is just how it’s going to be going forward. Unless you have a great lab that you’re totally on the same page with, you’re going to have to spend some time making edits. Just the way it is.

All photos were taken with my Mamiya 7 II and the 80mm f/4 lens on Kodak 400 shot at box speed (no overexposure). They were developed and scanned by Richard Photo Labs (with the exception of a couple frames that I re-scanned myself), and I made some pretty serious contrast and exposure adjustments in Lightroom. Enjoy!

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