Film Photography, Travel

The Chicago River at night, on Kodak T-Max P3200

Around the Chicago River - Kodak T-Max P3200

It is such fun to make photographs well after nightfall, holding my film SLR in my hands, with only building and street lights shining on the scene. As I walked along the river in Chicago, Kodak T-Max P3200 let me make photographs as if it were 9 a.m., not 9 p.m.

Around the Chicago River - Kodak T-Max P3200

It was cold that night, being the first weekend in January. My Nikon F3 can handle that kind of treatment, which is why I chose it. I mounted my 35mm f/2.8 AI Nikkor lens so I could fit more of the city in each frame.

Around the Chicago River - Kodak T-Max P3200

My wife and I had just come from Navy Pier, where we photographed the Chicago skyline from the Ferris wheel. We had plenty of time for a leisurely walk along the Chicago River before our dinner reservations within the Loop. We walked on both sides of the river, crossing the bridges wherever we felt like it.

Around the Chicago River - Kodak T-Max P3200

Chicago at night is a perfect subject for Kodak T-Max P3200. The built environment generates plenty of light to render subjects beautifully.

Around the Chicago River - Kodak T-Max P3200

I forget exactly what apertures and shutter speeds I used to make these photos, but they let me shoot easily and comfortably. My lens wasn’t wide open, and I didn’t have to worry about camera shake.

Around the Chicago River - Kodak T-Max P3200

As you can see, the P3200 does return noticeable grain. A couple of these photos do show slight underexposure. My F3’s meter did the best it could to read this light but didn’t always nail it. A few of these images looked a little foggy, but a little tweaking in Photoshop cleared that right up.

Around the Chicago River - Kodak T-Max P3200

I remain amazed by how well this film works. I know some people push other films, such as Tri-X, to 3200 and get good results. But you have to push your processing accordingly. That’s not a huge deal when you process your own. But I send my 35mm black-and-white film to a pro lab. It’s nice not to have to pay extra for the push processing on P3200.

Around the Chicago River - Kodak T-Max P3200

My wife and I had a lovely walk along the Chicago River as I shot this roll of Kodak T-Max P3200. I look forward to doing it again someday — and to finding other subjects that this film can make sing.

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13 thoughts on “The Chicago River at night, on Kodak T-Max P3200

  1. P says:

    This whole roll is fantastic, Jim. P3200 is beautiful in the right conditions, like these. I’m glad it’s back. I just wish it wasn’t so pricey.

  2. A real nice set of photos, Jim! I’m not the biggest fan of the T-max and Delta films myself, but I very much see the point in shooting them in situations like this. I see straight away the advantages of having a big city to play with it during night time. I actually loaded one of my medium format cameras with a roll of Delta 3200 only a couple of days ago, so I’ll see if I’m in a bit more luck this time compared to last time I tested one of the fast films.
    Thanks for sharing this nice post and lovely photographs.

    • It is so much fun to shoot at night handheld, especially when you know you’ll get results like these! Downtown Chicago is a perfect subject because of all the lights at night, stretching for miles.

      • I just developed the Delta 3200, and well… at least it slides very nicely into the line of 3200 films I did not manage to develop at all. You need very good eyes to see that there’s actually something there at all, so I need further testing to be done. This makes me look totally stupid, actually :)
        Well, I’ll have better luck next time. I’m quite sure.

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