Film Photography

Scanning color slides at home

I enjoy color slide film for the bold, beautiful color it delivers. But I shoot it seldom because the film, developing, and scanning are expensive.

The Velvia I shot recently was a gift, but it costs about $10 a roll in 120 and $18 in 35mm. Other slide films cost about the same — there are no bargain slide films! It cost me $30 plus tax to have those two rolls developed and scanned. Fulltone Photo did the work for by far the lowest price of any of the labs I normally use.

I knew I could cut costs even more by scanning the slides myself, but could I get scans as sharp and colorful as Fulltone’s? Also, Fulltone’s scans are smallish at 1024 pixels square. I can easily get more pixels from my Canon CanoScan 9000F Mark II.

I tried it on a couple frames. I thought I’d show you my scans and the Fulltone scans to see what you think. My scans are at least 5100 pixels square — I select each frame by hand in VueScan, so the pixel dimensions vary slightly frame to frame. I shrank them to 1200×1200 for this comparison. WordPress shrinks them further to fit the blog template. I edited them all in Photoshop to my liking — nothing too invasive, mostly stuff like color temperature and exposure.

My scans are first, Fulltone’s are second.

Red flowers
On Talbott Street

Fulltone managed to bring out far better shadow detail than I could get from the CanoScan, VueScan, and Photoshop flow I use. Their scans look slightly sharper than mine.

But the Fulltone scans have a green cast that I couldn’t entirely erase, a cast that isn’t present on the slide. My scanner captured color that looks a little truer to the actual slide. Also, I was able to capture more of the frame than Fulltone did.

I don’t think there’s a clear winner here. Both Fulltone’s and my scans are fine. It’s a roll-by-roll judgment call whether saving $5 in scanning charges is worth the couple hours I’d spend scanning the roll myself. But when I want scans with large pixel dimensions, it’s very good to know that my existing scanning setup produces good results.

Get more of my photography in your inbox or reader! Click here to subscribe.

Standard
Film Photography, Preservation

And to think that I saw it on Talbott Street

While I had Fujifilm Velvia 50 in the Yashica-12, I met some colleagues for lunch in the hip Herron Morton neighborhood of Indianapolis. I brought the camera along and made a few photos on Talbott Street before I went home.

Most of the houses and apartment buildings in this part of town were built around the turn of the last century. When I moved to Indianapolis in 1994, Herron Morton had declined badly and was not a place I wanted to live. Now it’s gentrifying and I can’t afford to live here, except perhaps if I bought one of the few fixer-uppers left.

Little apartment buildings of four, six, and eight units are common in this part of Indy. I imagine they were once even more common, but during the years of decline so many buildings fell into disrepair and were demolished. Even now, there are plenty of vacant lots on Talbott Street.

On Talbott Street

I photographed this house because it is so unusual. Flat roofs aren’t common on residences here.

On Talbott Street

Some of the vacant lots have new homes on them. This one at least sort of matches the design of the older houses. Some of the new houses are ultra modern and don’t look like they belong here.

On Talbott Street

Here’s one that needs some tender loving care. I’m generally not a fan of fussy Victorian houses but this one looks good to me.

On Talbott Street

I am a fan of American Foursquares like this one. I’d love to live in a house like this, and sit on the porch on warm nights.

On Talbott Street

That’s all of the photos I took on my brief walk along Talbott Street.

Get more of my photography in your inbox or reader! Click here to subscribe.

Standard
Film Photography

Autumn on Fujifilm Velvia 50

I want to shoot slide film in the autumn, to capture all the color. You’d think I’d also want to shoot slide film in the spring, which is equally colorful. But no. In my mind, slide film is for autumn.

Leaves

This slide film was a gift from Marcus Peddle, who sent it all the way from Korea. He sent me four rolls; I shot two of them this time. Thanks Marcus! It’s Fujifilm Velvia 50 in 120, so I put it into my Yashica-12.

Zizzy

I shot mostly around the house and along Zionsville’s Main Street, although I did shoot a little in Indianapolis, which I’ll share in a later post.

Red flowers

Downtown Zionsville is such a rich photography environment. We won’t live here forever — Zionsville is nice and all, but I miss Indianapolis a lot. After we move, though, I will miss being able to quickly pop downtown for some photography.

Letters

I’ve shot the Yashica-12 a lot in the last year or so, and I’m getting much better at using the grid on the focusing screen to make my subject straight.

Black Dog Books

In “the village” (as we call Zionsville within its original town limits), people take holidays seriously. Many homes decorate extensively.

Decorated for autumn

The Main Street shops place season-appropriate stuff on the sidewalk. For this photo I should have chosen a narrower aperture and a slower shutter speed to get more depth of field.

Autumn flower boxes

I got the focus right on this one, and I love the shadow play.

Decorated for autumn

This florist could have done more to decorate the front of this shop, but the pastel color of the window frames and door often make me stop for a photograph.

Flower shop

Closer to home, the trees along the back entrance to my subdivision were just starting to change when I made this. As I write this, every tree is ablaze with red, yellow, and orange. But I wrote this on the day before Halloween. By the day this post publishes, most of these leaves will have fallen.

No outlet

Get more of my photography in your inbox or reader! Click here to subscribe.

Standard
On the retention pond

On the retention pond
Yashica-12
Fujifilm Velvia 50

You are forgiven if you think I went out into the country and found some old swimming hole to make this photograph. It’s actually the retention pond behind my house. Directly beyond it is I-65 — the drone of all the trucks makes this anything but a peaceful place.

I sent this film to Fulltone Photo for processing and scanning. They did a fine job with the processing, but I was disappointed that the scans were only 1024×1024 pixels at 72 dots/pixels per inch. That resolution makes good snapshot prints, but any larger than that and things start looking pixelated.

Many labs offer enhanced scans with much larger pixel dimensions at that same 72 dpi. I haven’t been able to figure out how to make my flatbed scanner do that. I adjust dpi to get the pixel dimensions I want, as for my online work pixel dimensions are everything. I recently shot a roll of Kodak Tri-X in the Yashica-12, and scanned the negatives at 2400 dpi. I got images of a whopping 5192 pixels square. That’s more like it — I can crop deeply if I want, and still have an image with lots of surface area to share online.

I have a lot to learn yet about scanning and the interplay between dots/pixels per inch and raw pixel dimensions.

If you’d like to get more of my photography in your inbox or reader, click here to subscribe.

Film Photography

single frame: On the retention pond

The retention pond behind my house, on colorful Fujifilm Velvia 50.

Image
Ghost sign

F. S. Schardein & Sons
Nikon F3, 35mm f/2.8 AI Nikkor
Adox HR-50
Adox HR-DEV 1+49

Sometimes you just get the feeling that there’s an interesting photograph when you walk up on a scene. I got that feeling here.

I moved all about this little parking lot trying to find the right composition, my camera at my face. I’m sure someday I’m going to trip over something doing that. Finally I noticed the plane of the ghost-sign wall intersecting with the plane of the light streak in the pavement, and I knew I had my shot.

If you’d like to get more of my photography in your inbox or reader, click here to subscribe.

Film Photography

single frame: F. S. Schardein & Sons

Juxtaposing planes in a parking-lot scene in Louisville, on Adox HR-50

Image

When I bought my Agfa Clack some years ago, it came with its manual. Tucked inside was this slide. The film edge is marked RVP, which is code for Fujifilm Velvia, that super-saturated ISO 50 transparency film.

I doubt that my Clack’s original owner made this image with the Clack. This image has an odd 11×7 aspect ratio, where the Clack makes 9×6 images. Also, this image is sharp all the way out to the corners, and is well exposed. The Clack performs far better than a box camera with a meniscus lens ought to, but it doesn’t perform this well.

I scanned it to see how well my Canon CanoScan 9000F Mark II scanner handles Velvia. The answer: really well. I did a couple quick tweaks in Photoshop to bring the scan’s colors and exposure into line with what I see on the slide itself, and I applied some sharpening.

I have no idea where this scene is. The house looks European to me, though. The van at bottom left looks like something built in the last 30 years or so. I can’t make out all the words on that van, but they look like they might be in German.

To get Down the Road in your inbox or reader, click here to subscribe!

Film Photography

Found image: Red bridge over the stream

A scan of a slide I found tucked into the manual of a camera I bought.

Image