The Birch Bayh Federal Building and United States Courthouse Pentax ME, 35mm f/2.8 SMC Pentax-A Film Washi S 2019
I’m at best a beginning student in photography appreciation, with limited ability to describe the qualities of a good photograph. For that matter, I’m not even sure I can judge a photograph to be good, not on some universal scale. I just like what I like.
I like this photograph. The 35mm lens brings in tons of interesting context surrounding this neoclassical federal courthouse. The glowing sunlight cast against the building’s facade contrasts pleasingly against its shadowy flank.
It’s said that Film Washi S performs best in diffuse light. For a day of black-and-white photography in full sun, I should have been better served shooting something like T-Max 100 or FP4 Plus. But I would have missed out on the chiaroscuro effect, though unintended, obtained in shooting this film in non-ideal light.
Analogue Wonderland provided me this roll of Film Washi S in exchange for this mention. Buy yours from them here.
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 untilafter 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.
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.
Whenever the sun was not directly behind me, the frame tended to fog a little.
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.
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.
United States Court House and Post Office Olympus XA2 Ultrafine Xtreme 100 2019
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.
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.
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.
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.