In Development: Adventures In Film, Volume 27

This roll of film picks up where Volume 25 left off. I took my new-at-the-time Leica MP to Chicago during the World Series, and though I did most of my shooting on HP5+ I also took a roll of Kodak Portra 160. This was my first time shooting this particular film stock, so I really didn’t know what I was doing. I’d seen some really impressive images of Portra 160 pushed a stop, and I had heard that overexposing it a bit would result in punchier, almost Ektar-like colors. So I generally tried to expose for ISO 160 and had the lab push it one stop, resulting in an overexposure of about one stop.

The results were pretty mixed. The images I shot in Chicago didn’t turn out too well, but that’s unsurprising given that I was shooting most of them in bad light (at night or inside). The frames from Omaha turned out much better, and I noticed a trend that all the best results came when it was bright and sunny. This seems to be a theme with a lot of color film stocks, and it doesn’t line up well with my love of shooting dark, moody images. For the life of me, I can’t seem to get color film to produce images with heavy shadows and saturated colors in low light. My suspicion is that, in order to get that look, I’d need to err on the side of overexposing the negative and then achieve the dark look in the scanning process. Something to experiment with in the future, I suppose.

I also screwed up the rewinding of this roll of film and opened the back of the Leica before the film had been fully rewound…so I ruined quite a few of the Chicago frames. Ah, the joys of learning a new film camera… So if you’re wondering why there are fewer images in this post than there should be…that’s why. 🙂

All photos were taken with my Leica MP and Leica 50mm Summicron Rigid on Kodak Portra 160 shot at ISO 160 and pushed one stop in development. They were developed and scanned by The FIND Lab, and I adjusted contrast, the tonal curve, and clarity to most of the images in Lightroom.

  1. A great set of images. Particularly like the colours in the one with the buildings against the blue sky. I tend to overexpose Portra in-camera, then get it developed as normal.


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