In Development: Adventures in Film, Volume 39

taps, taps Is this thing on?

Whew, it’s been a minute since I posted some film photos… I’ve been shooting a lot more film lately, and I thought: what better way to celebrate than to post some film photos from like 3 years ago? Who knows, maybe I’ll end up getting back into posting in this whole “In Development: Adventures in Film” space. We’ll see.


Anyways, this installment of In Development features the glorious combination of the Mamiya 7II, overexposed and pushed Portra 800, and summer sun. I took these shortly after moving to Milwaukee, and I was having a blast exploring the city and documenting it with my camera. This roll captures a lot of what I love about Milwaukee — Lake Michigan sunrises, the riverwalk, Old World Third street, evening light downtown, and some occasional grunge.

As much as I love Portra 800 (and color negative film in general), I really struggle with getting the look I want in low light. I really had to massage the first image in order to get it to look the way I wanted, and I didn’t even bother with trying to salvage the ninth image. I’ve been experimenting with film for a few years now and I still can’t crack the code of getting low light (mostly sunrise/sunset) color negative shots to look good. I’m suspicious the issue is with the way the lab scans images — I’m assuming they generally just apply settings in bulk for a roll and don’t provide adjustments on an image-by-image basis. I’m sure I could pay more to get better scans back, but at that point the cost/benefit calculation of having them do the scanning might shift and I might as well just scan them myself… Technical details aside, though, it’s by far the most frustrating aspect of film for me. The lack of control is both a blessing and a curse, and in the context of vibrant sunrises/sunsets the curse outweighs the blessing.


Details:

  • Film: Kodak Portra 800, Shot at ~ISO 400 and pushed one stop in development (generally overexposed a couple stops)
  • Camera: Mamiya 7II + Mamiya 80mm f/4
  • Lab: The FIND Lab
  • Edits: White balance, contrast, tone curve, clarity tweaks to most images

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