Cold days, suburban neighborhood, Agfa APX 100

Royal Run clubhouse

I don’t know why I thought an ISO 100 film made sense during the gray days of an Indiana winter. I need to tattoo it on my film-loading hand: fast film in poor light, you kook!

Rural scene

But I liked the results I got on original-emulsion Agfa APX 100 (expired 7/1998) so much the last time that when I came upon another roll in my film fridge I let impulse rule.

Snow-tipped bush

It had been an age since I shot my Nikon F2AS. A 50mm f/2 AI Nikkor lens was already attached so I just went with it. It was good to catch up with my old friend, even if I was relegated to slow shutter speeds and wide apertures and the resulting need to stand stock still or brace myself against fixed objects to avoid camera shake.

Snowy pine

I shot these images just before Christmas, during the loose-ends phase of my recent unemployment. I took a lot of walks on the two-mile main-road loop of our neighborhood. It was something to do and it burned the extra calories I was taking in thanks to always being near my refrigerator.

Pine on the walking path

Much of December was white around the edges, but a warm spell the week before Christmas erased all that.

In the subdivision

The bare trees are the only clue to these photos’ time of year. But even they can’t narrow it down all the way.

In the subdivision

I’m getting to the point in my photography where I almost don’t care what my subject is, as long as I can arrange an interesting composition or capture interesting light. That’s a good thing, because this vinyl village subdivision I live in is anything but interesting.

In the subdivision

On one walk I got a little direct sun. APX 100 goes all silvery in direct sun — it’s this film’s endearing charm. The soil in this flowerbed reminds me of those old TV commercials for Folger’s Crystals, all sparkling and rich.

In the subdivision

One more from before the snow melted. This road near our subdivision is an old alignment of a decommissioned state highway. It dead ends just behind me.

Side street

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19 responses to “Cold days, suburban neighborhood, Agfa APX 100”

  1. Dan James Avatar

    Jim I think this film was a good choice, especially for the close up shots where the foliage detail is accentuated. Interesting what you said about the arrangement of objects being more important to you than the actual objects. I find shooting b/w enhances this too. With colour removed as a variable, the shapes in the composition and the relationship between them in the frame take on more dominant roles.

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      I think I actually prefer shooting color. I am not sure why. But you’re 100% right about how with b/w composition takes a stronger role in what makes a good photograph.

  2. Mike Avatar

    It is useful to think of the low-speed film and low light combination as an opportunity to explore selective focus. You nailed it in that closeup shot of the fir branch.

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      I like the fir branch shot too. I suppose this was a roll of missed expectations for me as I really wanted to shoot landscapes!

  3. Rich Arland Avatar
    Rich Arland


    New subscriber. Just wanted to say that your composition on this B/W excursion is over the top! I know what you mean about an “old friend”. I have 5 Nikon cameras, one digital and the others are film. Too many lenses to remember them all!!! I started shooting B/W film again after a 13 yr hiatus. Took my FG and 43-86mm Nikor zoom to NOLA in September. Toured the town with my daughter who lives & works in the Quarter. Shot a lot of B/W and got some VERY good results. I’d forgotten the challenges and the results when one plans the shots to take in great composition and unique lighting. OBtW: Been shooting Nikons since 1968 and will never change. Good work, James. Keep it up.

    Dacula, GA

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      Rich, I’m very happy you like my work! I’ve come to Nikon only in the last few years. I have been a Pentaxian for longer. Both capable systems!

  4. davidvanilla Avatar

    Perhaps not the results you desire, but I think these are great, for I get to “enjoy” winter without going out in it! Also the b/w conveys the mood of winter wonderfully well.

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      That’s true, that b/w is a good choice for winter scenes. Today at -8 I’ve managed not to have to go out at all, which is just how I like it.

  5. susanJOY Hosken Avatar
    susanJOY Hosken

    Jim, At the moment I am exploring the differences with b & w photography and color and it was great seeing your b & w shots and thinking back to your color ones and seeing how I see things differently as a result. Please don’t think where you take photos isn’t interesting. It is to me. I think where I am is “just suburbia” but it would be interesting to others

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      Oh yes! You really do look at the world differently when you’re thinking b/w vs. color.

      I admit, I’m biased against suburbia. That it’s where I happen to live now does pain me some.

  6. Victor Villaseñor Avatar
    Victor Villaseñor

    I had to say this here too:

    What a great contrast and depth into this shot!

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      Thank you! I was trying to capture the full frostiness of those branches’ tips.

  7. Stuart Templeton Avatar

    Some wonderful shots Jim – great composition and what’s not to like about black and white in the snow!
    I don’t think where you live is uninteresting – that’s always the strange thing about taking pictures of where we live – what’s boring to us is fascinating to others.

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      Thank you Stuart! I admit to having a negative attitude toward suburban sprawl and vinyl-village subdivisions. Thing is, they’re so affordable. It’s why I’m here. But my heart is in some old neighborhood on the city grid with homes built in 1880 or 1920.

  8. M.B. Henry Avatar

    Oooh very nice pictures :) I always find your shots interesting – if that helps! Stay warm…

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      Thanks! It’s -3 now, the warmest it’s been all day!

      1. M.B. Henry Avatar

        Balmy! Break out your summer shorts!

  9. Photography Journal Blog Avatar

    To me, the photo called “snowy pine” is a standout.

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      Thank you — that one did work out all right!

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