Still shooting film -- Empire State Plaza

Discussion in 'Leica and Rangefinders' started by 02pete, Apr 26, 2016.

  1. Digital has taken over, but there are some of us mastodons still shooting film (as well as digital) -- even black and white. I have nothing against digital photography, and do some digital shooting, but I considered it worth pointing out that the combination of Leicas and B/W film can still produce reasonable results.
    I've just posted a series of photos I took using a Leica and B/W film, here:

    I took these last year. I don't usually do architectural photography, but thought I would try some. The subjects were various buildings in or near the Empire State Plaza, a complex of state government buildings in Albany, New York. I make no claim to any particular artistic talent -- the photos speak for themselves, for good or ill. View in full screen mode for best results.
    For what it's worth, I used a Leica M2, Kodak 100TMX film, 35mm, 50mm, 75mm and 90mm lenses, and medium yellow filters. The film was developed normally and scanned at medium-high resolution, and I did some light editing of exposure and contrast using Adobe Lightroom 4.4.
  2. of course, the Classic Film Cameras and the Modern Film Cameras forums have a high percentage of people who, wonders to say, still shoot film also.
    We have no choice, since our crappy or not-so-crappy old cameras won't do digital at all and the digital insert once promised for 35mm film cameras turned out to be an April Fool's joke.:(
  3. Film actually continues to attract new users too; prices of 2nd hand cameras aren't all that low anymore as there is demand for them. B&W film and chemicals are easy to find. For sure a Leica with good B&W film can "still" create compelling images. It always was capable, and not that much has changed, all in all.
  4. Super nice Bowlus Peter !!
  5. Bravo! I enjoyed your slideshow.
    I use a similar kit. Quite like architectural photos in black and white. And for film users, hybrid processing offers interesting choices for processing and applications. Digital scans allow for digital printing and sharing on the internet, while darkroom prints are also possible, and the results may be better than digital.
    Ever try a 21mm for architectural photos? I tried a 21mm Zeiss Biogon, 4.5. Good results.
    Keep up the good work.
  6. I very much enjoy running and processing a few rolls of Ilford Pan F through either my M4 or M6, but when it comes to color, there are simply too few options left for local processing, none at all for slide film, I've never cared for sending film off and waiting two weeks for what you get, I'm not going to deal with processing it myself, and the results are inferior to the output from either of the two digital setups I use, the Olympus E-M1 or Leica M262.
  7. There are still a lot of people shooting film, see how many film groups on flickr:
  8. It may happen that, in time, the only film users left will be those who process their own black and white. I had to sell my M6 and buy a Sony A7 (an excellent replacement, I should say) because having C-41 film processed had become so difficult.
  9. Fortunately, I still have labs nearby for both E6 and C41, about $11 and $7.50, respectively.
    More often, I do my own black and white, but the lab is there when I want it.
    Hopefully, there is enough demand to keep them going.
  10. Very nice, Peter. I enjoyed it a lot! I was in London and Paris last January and had a wonderful time shooting film (TRI-X) with a M6TTL, 50 2.8 Elmar (new) and Voightlander 21 f4. Here are some of the pictures:
  11. Thanks for all the comments!
    @ C.R. Ultra -- Thanks for posting the links to the shots you took in London and Paris with your M6. I looked at both sets. Of the London shots, there were four that I particularly liked -- 6/31, the one showing the Tower Bridge with a twin-hulled boat in the foreground; 17/31, the Queen's Guard; 22/31, Bikes; and 31/31, Bottled Ship 2. Of the Paris shots, I especially liked 6/11, Downstairs.
    Other readers: If you haven't already seen C.R.'s photos, take a look -- he's got some nice ones.
    @ Bill Bowes --I'm glad you like the photo of the Bowlus. If you're interested in seeing more of my sailplane photos, you can find them here:
    Some background re the Bowlus photo, for what it's worth. I've got an FAA license as a glider pilot (though I'm not current), so I know a bit about this. The sailplane in the photo is a Bowlus BA-100 Baby Albatross, the prototype of which first flew in 1937. This example was owned and flown by Jeff Byard. For any pilots reading this, it had a wingspan of 44.5 feet (13.5 meters), an empty weight of 300 pounds (136 kilograms), a maximum payload (i.e. pilot plus parachute) of 205 pounds (93 kilograms), a maximum L/D (lift to drag ratio) of 20:1, and minimum sink of 2.25 feet per second (0.69 meters per second). The wings and tail were built of wood and fabric, and the open-cockpit pod and boom fuselage had a molded plywood pod and an aluminum tailboom. The designer, Hawley Bowlus, was an American who designed several other notable sailplanes during the 1930s and 1940s. While the Baby Albatross was a small ship with relatively low performance, it was flown by pilots such as Dick Johnson, Dick Schreder and Joe Lincoln (famous to US soaring pilots, unknown to anybody else), and in some cases made cross-country flights of more than 250 miles (402 kilometers) -- not bad for an aircraft that was out of gas before it took off. This photo was taken at the National Soaring Museum (NSM) on Harris Hill in Horseheads, NY, near Elmira. The event was an International Vintage Soaring Meet held in 2005. Pilots from all over the US, and from some foreign countries, bring older sailplanes to these meets for display and non-competitive recreational flying. In case anybody is interested, one of these IVSM events is scheduled to be held at the NSM from July 9 to July 16 this year (2016).
  12. A friend of mine's nephew born 2000, is set to graduate school.
    The school wanted pix of the kids as babies and now..
    There are almost no baby pix!
    Digital images lost on older technology, corrupted CD, cards no longer viewable..
    I am 72 and have negs of myself!
    Film is archival.
    NASA cannot access it's early data..
  13. Thankfully, there is a huge number of photographers who use film. But, nonetheless, everyone has a different approach, even if the emulsion is the same. So I'm always interested to see a film portfolio, and the photos do not by any means have to be excellent. I like seeing places through other people's perspectives, captured on film.
    Peter, I don't know if you expect any constructive criticism, but I can't help myself, so forgive me. ;-) When I give criticism I'm also aiming it at myself somehow (it's just another way for me to get better).
    I think that maybe the yellow filter wasn't strong enough. IMO the sky should be a little bit darker. Perhaps you could not help having clouds in the sky, but architectural photography is better done under a clear sky, IMO.
    'New York State Capitol' shows a flaw in the scanner (see the corners). And shots of buildings without a shift lens do not work. Actually a shift lens is always the second-best choice - the best choice is to have the camera at half the height of the building. But that's usually difficult so a shift lens is necessary (I can think of a way to make an RF-specific shift lens, but that's another matter). I also don't like the way this has been 'printed'. Highlights are too harsh and contrast is a bit flat. Getting lovely lustrous tones in b&w is not easy, but I'm just calling the shots as I see them.
    I notice that in almost all these frames, there are too many elements in the composition which distract from the main subject. In general, good photos are those with no unnecessary elements. This sounds horribly academic (and photography as an academic subject is anathema to me and, I hope, to you) but it's a mere observation, nothing more. It's another rule of thumb, a guideline, like the rule of thirds or the golden ratio. I am merely reminded of the Asian sculptor who was asked how he carves such lovely birds out of wood, to which he simply replied that he just removes all material that is not the bird.
    The George E. Smith building shot is nice but the crop needs a bit of refinement. I'd like to see nothing but the building and the sky. I've attached my own crop to this post to show you how I'd crop that frame (note the 3:4 ratio, which I prefer for vertical compositions - 135 negs are too high IMO). The camera isn't quite centred, but now I'm just getting really picky and I think I'll just leave it there.
    CR, I had a look at your porfolio and while I cannot say I loved your Paris photos, I still enjoyed looking at Paris through your camera, one frame of Tri-X at a time. Paris is the model city for the rest of the Western world to emulate. Many of our cities are going backwards, trying to rush to be like NYC, which got to how it is in over 100 years. NYC planners did not suddenly decide that they desperately needed a bunch of skyscrapers. But I digress.
    Some of your photos in your portfolio are truly great. If I can say only one thing, I will say that the subject must serve the image, and the image must never serve the subject. The latter is a snapshot, a memento. The former is Photography.
    I want to draw everyone's attention to how grainy these scans are. I've seen scans of 500ASA Super 16mm that look as good as these. Photo scanners are apparently awful compared to cine scanners. NR is not applied in cine scanners, BTW. I'm talking about raw scans, not processed ones. You'd be amazed at how good 500 ASA 16mm frames look. 50ASA is better, though grain is still visible. I love grain but not if it's exaggerated by the scanner and/or software.
    FWIW I do wish that PN will eventually get rid of the Flash slideshows. I just viewed all the photos in the normal gallery mode. I think that when PN gets its new look, Flash will be gone anyway.
  14. c.r. ultra, nice shots. love "through the photographer's lens".
  15. it


    "Film is archival." etc etc
    A pro photographer friend of mine lost a huge chunk of his life's work to a fire at his printer's facility. Ten years of rare Cambodia images starting in 1990, all gone.
    I have my life's work (digital starting in 2005) on three separate hard drives in various locations. My work is safer than any film photographer's.
  16. I suspect the result is that professionals with good back-up are safer, and amateurs with poor back-up are in worse shape than in the film days.
    Negatives in the envelope that they are returned in will usually last, and are usually easy enough to recognize. It is not so easy to keep track of flash cards and USB sticks.
  17. I have heard horror stories for all media types. Thankfully, such events are rare. The best solution for film shooters would be to have an off-site digital back-up of their photos. It's better to have a scan of a film file than to lose the image completely.
  18. Peter: thanks for seeing my folders. I am glad you enjoyed! Thanks Skeeter! Karim Ghantous, I really appreciated your words! That's a deep critique! This story of the Asian sculptor is fantastic: "I am merely reminded of the Asian sculptor who was asked how he carves such lovely birds out of wood, to which he simply replied that he just removes all material that is not the bird." I will remember that! Thanks a lot! Cheers!
  19. Why not have security both ways? Shoot film and scan it. Then you have a hard copy and a digital copy. Protect each in a manner appropriate to the medium (fireproof files, multiple back-ups). The primary reason millions of digital images will be lost from our present era is human nature. Most people (there are exceptions, of course) don't regard digital pictures as "of value" and thus make no serious effort to preserve them. Very sad.
  20. I'm pretty sure that film will stay, I switched from digital to Film for about one year ago, and the numbers of friends doing the same is climbing. Shoot with my Leica MP and Hasselblad 202FA today, and totally loving it! Never been more fun to be a photographer. Developing + scanning my B&W film at home ofc.

    All of the shots on the first page is film!
  21. Peter Shawhan wrote:
    I have nothing against digital photography, and do some digital shooting, but I considered it worth pointing out that the combination of Leicas and B/W film can still produce reasonable results.

    Reasonable? We are up to 744 pages of film goodness at another site:
  22. Film is good and I enjoy it. Today I went to a graduation in Montana and shot 2 rolls of film and took video of an Indian
    song of congratulations and respect and of the guest speaker (JK Simmons). Also about 20 digital photos. I am glad I
    had both cameras today. Digital during the ceremony and film afterwards for pictures of my son with my wife and myself.
    Delta 100 and HP5. However the digital is heading back to the closet for a long nap after I download the files as I just
    want to shoot HP5.

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