Down the alley 1

Boone County Courthouse down an alleyway
Olympus XA
Ilford HP4 Plus

I’ve been out of the photographic mood much more than I’ve been in it lately. Life’s been busy, stress has been high. Yet I know that a good photowalk can cure what ails me.

When Analogue Wonderland (who is sponsoring this post) sent me some films to try it was the boost I needed. They included some Ilford HP4 Plus, a film I’ve long wanted to try. So I spooled it into my little Olympus XA and carried it around with me for a couple weeks.

I had to run an errand up in Lebanon, the seat of Boone County, Indiana, one day after work. Errand done, I parked on the square and walked around hoping interesting compositions would jump out in front of me.

When I walk with a camera, I go places I wouldn’t otherwise, such as down this alleyway on the square. The contrast between the dark alley and the lit courthouse caught my attention. It looks even better on FP4 Plus than it did in real life. I enjoy the tonal range and detail, but I love how the alley’s pavement, damp after a rainshower, looks like silk.

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10 responses to “single frame: Boone County Courthouse down an alleyway”

  1. P Avatar

    I’ve gone through all the images from this roll that you uploaded on Flickr a few times now, and all I’ve got to say I think you need to start shooting more FP4 PLUS, Jim, because these images turned out great. I especially like all the ones with the reflections in the pond. Who did your processing/scanning for you this time?

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      Fulltone Photo. These are their standard scans, so only about 1800 px long.

      1. P Avatar

        That’s what I figured. They did a nice job. I noticed they were lower resolution, but still, they look great. Even if you can’t get a feel for the grain and the subtleties of the emulsion at this size, the wonderful tonality and classic look of FP4 PLUS is still on full display here. And $5 extra per roll for the upgrade is a bit rough, especially if you’re having multiple rolls processed. I do hope you’ll be shooting more FP4 PLUS in the future. Did you happen to examine the density of these negatives when you got them back? If so, compared to your previous Fomapan 200 negatives, did they seem to have better overall density? I’m curious, because based on these scans, I think the density is probably much better this time around. Finer detail, especially in the shadows, just looks to be better retained. Of course, with the resolution difference it’s a bit difficult to say for certain, but I have a hunch that the density of these negatives is just about ideal.

        1. Jim Grey Avatar

          I haven’t looked at the negatives. When I’m happy with my scans I tend to just move on!

          Fulltone scanned two rolls of C41 for me at the same time and messed them up badly. I sent them back for rescan – after scanning them myself. They’re on Flickr now but posts involving them are queued for next week.

        2. P Avatar

          Oh man, that’s a bummer that they really screwed up your two rolls of C-41. Hopefully it was just a scanning fluke and not a problem with development (which can’t be fixed). Still, it’s disappointing to hear as I’ve been strongly considering using them myself. I assume the rolls in question are the most recent two on your Flickr, Portra 400 and Fujicolor 200. Your scans are really quite good for 35mm on a flatbed, way better in my opinion than what I’ve typically seen come out of the Epsons in the same price range as your Canon. Good job. I hope the re-scans from the lab are what they should be. I look forward to what you have in the queue for next week.

        3. Jim Grey Avatar

          Yes, those two rolls. I think they had auto-scratch-removal jacked way too high, as it created large blotchy areas in the scans. I had a free evening so I scanned them myself and as you can see the results are good enough for online use. There was one image, of a birdhouse high on a pole against a deep blue sky, that I could not get to scan well no matter what I did. I’m hoping that when my scans come back from Fulltone that one is good so I can share it.

          I just started this week a job in Downtown Indianapolis just 8 blocks from Roberts Camera and so I’ll have them do my 35mm C41 from now on. Their scans are generous, at >=3000 px on the long side.

  2. J P Avatar

    I have always found alleys cool and fascinating. Maybe because I grew up in a modern subdivision without them?

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      Same here. For much the same reason.

  3. Lone Primate Avatar

    That is a strange lead to a court house. Gorgeous tones, especially in the foreground. The framing reminds me a little of vintage shots of Old City Hall hereabouts…

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      The courthouse is on a square, big and bold.

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