Pentax ME, 35mm f/2.8 SMC Pentax-A
Film Washi S

I bungled my roll of Film Washi S by shooting it in bright sun. I didn’t know it at the time, but it does best in dull, diffuse light.

This photo of a doorway in Downtown Indianapolis turned out all right somehow. Perhaps it’s because I was on a side street and tall buildings blocked much of the direct sun.

The film (and lens, of course) captured good detail and sharpness. There’s a compelling silveriness to this image.

Analogue Wonderland provided me this roll of Film Washi S in exchange for this mention. Buy yours from them here.

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Film Photography

single frame: Doorway

Film Photography

Shooting Film Washi S

Federal Courthouse

Let me say right off that I’m frustrated with myself. These photographs don’t capture the best that Film Washi S can do. It wasn’t until after I shot most of the roll that I read over at EMULSIVE that you’re supposed to shoot this film in dull, diffuse lighting. I shot every single frame in blistering, blazing summer sunshine.


And so I’m considerably embarrassed to admit that this post is sponsored by Analogue Wonderland, who sent me a roll of this film to try in exchange for this mention. My humblest apologies to the very good people at Analogue Wonderland that I bungled this so badly. Click here to buy some Film Washi S of your own from them. But don’t be a doofus like me — shoot it in the right light.


Not that the roll was a total bust. With a little light Photoshoppery I was able to get usable images from almost every frame. The contrast is mighty high, is all. In full sun, you get your black, you get your white, but you get very little in between. On a few photographs it was mighty appealing. But not on the one below. It shows the film at its contrastiest.

City Market

Film Washi S is actually sound recording film — bright purple! — spooled into 35mm cartridges. On a film print of a movie, the soundtrack is imprinted optically onto the film, and is then transferred to the final movie print.


I loaded the Film Washi S into my Pentax ME and mounted my 35mm f/2.8 SMC Pentax-A lens. That light little SLR and that widish lens are a great kit for making photographs in Downtown Indianapolis, as I did.

Circle Tower

Whenever the sun was not directly behind me, the frame tended to fog a little.

Mass Ave corner

I can’t see any grain on any of these images. I’m not surprised, as this is an ISO 50 film. Check out all the great detail the film captured on this ornate theater building.

Indiana Repertory Theater

It is a shame, however, that so much is lost in the shadows. This is why with specialty films it pays to read everything you can before you go off shooting. (That’s a note to self.)


Despite my challenging choice of lighting for this film, it did lovely work in a few cases. Like this one. So silvery! So sharp!


Shooting specialty films is great fun under any circumstances. But it is even more fun when you read up on it first and know the conditions in which it delivers its best results. So let me be clear: shoot Film Washi S on an overcast day. Don’t be a doofus like me.

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Courthouse and Regions Tower

United States Court House and Post Office
Olympus XA2
Ultrafine Xtreme 100

I sometimes wonder if anyone notices me photographing this building. I’ve done it a lot lately. It is, after all, a federal courthouse — the threat of terrorism has all federal buildings on alert. I’m sure security officers are always watching.

But I’m a middle-aged man in business casual dress carrying an old film camera. I hope that signals I’m a threat to nobody.

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Film Photography

single frame: United States Court House and Post Office


Film Photography

Shooting Ultrafine Xtreme 100 in the Olympus XA2

My last go-round with Ultrafine Xtreme 100 in my Olympus XA2 went badly. You can see some of the photos here. I have no idea what went wrong.

I wanted to take a compact film camera along on the trip my wife and I made to New Harmony in July. The XA2 was handy and, not remembering my unfortunate results from last time, I loaded my last roll of this film and went on my way.

Everything worked fine.


I didn’t make any particularly inspiring photographs with the XA2 in New Harmony. I was also shooting my digital Canon S95, and it just felt like a color weekend. I made only eight photos in New Harmony with the XA2. Here’s a double log cabin on the grounds of the Lenz House.


The XA2’s meter and Xtreme 100’s sensitivity came together to handle this challenging exposure situation well.

Looking out

I took the XA2 to work and left it in my desk drawer for a few weeks, taking it on lunchtime photo walks whenever I felt like it. This Indianapolis street scene looks northbound up Delaware Street toward what everybody calls the Gold Building, as those mirrored glass panes are so tinted. I worked for a company in the Gold Building when my now 22-year-old son was born.

Gold building

I’ve been fascinated lately with the federal courthouse and have photographed it with several camera/film combinations lately. It was completed in 1905. This building was once also a post office, I believe the main one for Indianapolis. It hasn’t been that in a very long time, but the engraved words above the entry still announce it as such.


I photographed the AT&T building from the courthouse. I like the look of a desolate street, so I waited several minutes for traffic to clear.


I like Ultrafine Xtreme 100. It captures a good range of tones, its blacks are deep, and it seems to have good exposure latitude. That last bit is especially important for a photographer like me who shoots old gear with light meters of unknown accuracy.

Rumor has it that this film is repackaged Kentmere 100. Here are posts from every roll of Kentmere 100 I’ve shot; compare and judge for yourself.

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Film Photography

Industry, agriculture, literature, justice

The Birch Bayh Federal Building and Courthouse in Indianapolis, completed in 1905, features four allegorical statues by John Massey Rhind: Industry, Agriculture, Literature, and Justice.

Statue at Courthouse, 4
Statue at Courthouse, 3
Statue at Courthouse, 2
Statue at Courthouse, 1

I made these with my Olympus XA on Ultrafine Xtreme 100. More on that tomorrow.

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Film Photography

Shooting Kosmo Foto Mono in 120

I often like the medium-format version of a film better than its 35mm counterpart. The larger negative opens up the film and shows you what it can really do. This goes for the new 120 Mono film from Kosmo Foto.


When friend-of-the-blog Stephen Dowling, the man behind Kosmo Foto, announced this new film, I preordered immediately. My order arrived in due course, but it took me a couple months to find a day to spool a roll into my Yashica-D. I took both on a walk up and down the lovely Main Street in Zionsville.

One Nine Five

Dowling makes no bones about it: this is an existing film, repackaged for Kosmo Foto. This classic emulsion features strong contrast and managed grain, much like black-and-white films of old. Best of all, it’s reasonably priced. If you’re curious, get yours here.


It was a full-sun summer day as I strolled Zionsville’s charming brick Main Street. A lot of classic emulsions struggle to keep highlights in check on days like this; no so Mono.

Brick street

Moving in close, as close as my TLR would let me anyway, Mono shows good resolving power.

Chickens on the wall

I don’t mind doing a little work in Photoshop to make my photos more presentable, but it sure is nice when I can use them right off the scanner. Such was largely the case with these images. The only thing I did consistently was rotate them slightly so the verticals were vertical and the horizontals were horizontal; I do struggle to hold a TLR level.


It’s not a photowalk in Zionsville unless I photograph the great Black Dog Books sign.

Black Dog Books

Rich blacks, reasonable midtones, good contrast, barely detectable grain. What’s not to like about Kosmo Foto Mono in 120?

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