Film Heaven or Film Hell - Leica M6 - 15mm Voigtlander Super Wide Heliar f/4.5 - Fuji ASTIA 100F selected by the Editors as aLeica Fotografie International (LFI) Master Shot.
Well, the postman arrived this morning bearing gifts, so I made a decision to delay the post I had prepared and publish a little bit of Film Heaven instead. Several scans in to the process and I was prompted to extend the title of the post to include the word "Hell"........
In essence the more I scan, the less satisfied I am with the results of my scanner and it's ability to deliver a level of detail and sharpness that is going to be acceptable in the longer term. I've given a commitment to shoot more film over the course of this year and with close to 200 rolls keeping cool in the fridge it's going to be a very long year with my current scanning arrangement.
In fairness, I had read the feedback and reviews of the Canoscan 9000f before I bought it, I did however allow myself to be seduced by it's price tag. I guess at the time I had not fully committed to film shooting. Of course, all of that is now history and urgent action is going to be required!! I'd welcome you to share your thoughts and experiences with scanning here.
Despite my frustrations and having come very close to terminating the electronic heartbeat of the Canoscan with a cricket bat, I persevered.
Right, where were we!!
A couple of weeks after Christmas we tootled off on one of our annual camping expeditions, if your thinking the word "expedition" sounds a little over the top you've clearly never seen us camping.......and I can categorically state that the abundance of amazing wineries had nothing to do with our decision to spend a week in Hawkes Bay on New Zealand's east coast.
As part of my commitment to shoot more film and become a more accomplished film photographer I quite literally forced myself to take only two film cameras on the trip, also as a precaution against the loss of any equipment whilst camping I steered myself towards lower value and less used lenses.
In my Bag:
50mm Canon f/1.4
28mm Voigtlander Ultron f/1.9
15mm Voigtlander Super Wide Heliar f/4.5
Gossen Pilot Meter
Fuji Astia 100F & Fuji Provia 50
I can't remember the last time I went away without a digital camera and there were certainly strong feelings of apprehension and doubt but I'm pleased I did. Had I not done so, digital would have dominated as it has a tendency to do sometimes.
Post Processing Note -
There is little point in me elaborating on anything I have done in Silverfast 8 at the moment until I resolve the scanner issue and settle on a workflow. All of the images here have been edited in LR4 with the following adjustments 1. White Balance 2. Tone Curve 3. Clarity and the Adjustment Brush from SLR Lounge.
Image 1 - Leica M6 - 15mm Voigtlander Super Wide Heliar f/4.5 - Fuji ASTIA 100
Image 2 - Leica M3 - 50mm Canon f/1.4 - Fuji Velvia 50
Image 3 - Leica M3 - 50mm Canon f/1.4
My vision of the next scene was a B&W one, not necessarily easy when you only have color film in the camera........despite this and the flat light I took the shot regardless, here it is -
Image 4 - Leica M3 - 28mm Voigtlander Ultron f/1.9
Being convinced there was a decent B&W image in the shot above I just could not help myself, yes I had to attempt to recreate the B&W scene I could visualise. Processing in LR4 and Silver Efex Pro 2 -
Image 5 - Leica M3 - 28mm Voigtlander Ultron f/1.9 B&W Conversion in LR4 & Silver Efex Pro 2
You will of course recognise the tree again from Image 2, I had a few attempts at this particular scene, there was just something very appealing about this tree!!! I'll typically try several compositions around a particular scene, here I made an effort to return the following day with better light and a more dramatic sky than was the case with image 2.
Image 6 - Leica M3 - 28mm Voigtlander Ultron f/1.9 - Fuji Velvia 50
Image 7 - Leica M3 - 28mm Voigtlander Ultron f/1.9 - Fuji Velvia 50
I'm building up to a post on the Canon 50mm f/1.4 and this seemed like a good opportunity to get to know it better, previously I have only used it on the Leica M9 and MM. Lens flare is often a feature of these older lenses so I got up a little earlier one morning and shot it in to the sun!!
Image 8 Leica M3 - 50mm Canon f/1.4 Fuji ASTIA 100F
Image 9 Leica M3 - 50mm Canon f/1.4 Fuji ASTIA 100F
Image 10 Leica M3 - 50mm Canon f/1.4 Fuji ASTIA 100F
Friends and Family
I've just included a small selection of these because viewing them takes me back to my childhood, they have a character that is so evidently missing from most digital holiday snaps. I for one will continue to shoot film on family occasions and excursions because the love and joy are almost tangible as is the genuine sense of nostalgia coupled with a feeling of actually being present.
Image 11 - Leica M6 - 50mm Canon f/1.4 - Fuji ASTIA 100F
Image 12 - Leica M3 - 50mm Canon f/1.4 - Fuji Provia 50
Image 13 - Leica M6 - 50mm Canon f/1.4 - Fuji ASTIA 100F
One thing that always astounds me about photography is that the learning process is relentless and this trip was quite fruitful in terms of increasing my personal knowledge and understanding. I'm keen to produce a post on analogue workflow but it isn't going to happen until I resolve my scanner scenario.
So, what did I learn -
Canon Canoscan 9000f - I won't go on about this but needless to say I am looking at options now.
Fuji Astia 100F and Provia 50 - This is the first occasion I have shot either of these films, I still have a lot to learn about them but they are stunning films, I'm fortunate to have more to go at. Seeing the vivid colors of those negatives was heart warming and exciting in equal measure. All my colour films are developed by Film Soup in Wellington.
Leica M6 - My go to film camera, it has a great built in meter which I totally trust, that is worth a lot....of course I already knew this but it's reassuring all the same!
Leica M3 - Rock solid and a great partner to the M6. It's always rewarding when your metering is successful!!
Gossen Pilot - Cheap, reliable and easy to use.
Voigtlander 15mm Super Wide Heliar f/4.5 - Without a doubt this is one of my favorite lenses, I only used it the once on this trip but I don't leave home without it - You can read my User Report on this lens - HERE
Voigtlander 28mm Ultron f/1.9 - I'm actually starting to enjoy shooting at 28mm, for a long time I was dismissive of the focal length preferring 35mm or making a substantial jump to the VC 15mm. I have not shot the lens anywhere near enough to speak with authority about it's finer points but I can actually say that I get it now.
Canon 50mm f/1.4 - I guess I learnt most about this lens, thats great as it gets me a little closer to the user report. I've held back a few images taken with it on this trip for the report.
So, film heaven or film hell.....? A bit of both I guess!! :-)