Front Yard Tree

Front yard tree
Nikon F3, 35mm f/2.8 AI Nikkor
Kodak Tri-X (very expired)

love the dark mood in this shot. The tree-branch canopy makes my neighborhood feel so foreboding.


Photo: Front yard tree.


Very expired Tri-X of unknown provenance on Expired Film Day

March 15 was Expired Film Day. I prefer my film to be fresh. But when fellow photoblogger (and EFD instigator) Daniel Schneider sent me two rolls of expired Tri-X to shoot that day, I went all in.

Daniel hand-rolled this Tri-X from a 100-foot box he came upon. He didn’t know how old it was and expressed concern about how it had been stored, so he recommended shooting this ISO 400 film at at ISO 100 or maybe even ISO 50. That said a lot — Tri-X is a mighty resilient film. Stored at room temperature, well-usable images can be made from it for decades. Stored cold, it behaves like new virtually forever.

I made time on Expired Film Day to shoot just one of the rolls. I used my Nikon F3 and my 35mm f/2.8 AI Nikkor lens, which is a great combo for walking around and photographing whatever I find, which is what I did. I still worked in Zionsville then, so I went over to Lions Park and photographed the Little League practice diamond. This is my favorite photo from the roll.

Home Plate

I shot this roll at ISO 100. Every photo was underexposed. When I shoot the other roll, I’ll shoot it at ISO 50.


Still, I like the dystopian look of these photographs.


I also walked through the Village in downtown Zionsville as I burned through this roll.


Ooo, a little sprocket ghosting in this photo of Main Street.


This photo’s composition is terrible, but I love the way the light plays across the building. MOBI was my previous employer; I left there late in March to join a new company as Director of Engineering.


I finished the roll with a couple quick shots at my desk. I seem always to have a couple rolls of film here either waiting to go into a camera or waiting to be mailed to the lab.

Film cans

One last shot, of the lamp next to my monitor. I love the ragged edge at the bottom, an artifact of this being the last shot on the roll.

Lamp at the tail

I’ll be back for Expired Film Day in 2018. Maybe I’ll find something off-the-rails expired, like Ansco All-Weather Film from 1965 or Kodak Vericolor III from 1982.



Sign 2

Southern Fancy Boutique
Nikon F3, 35mm f/2.8 AI Nikkor
Kodak Tri-X (very expired)

March 15 was Expired Film Day. More about that tomorrow, but here’s a photo from downtown Zionsville that I shot on a roll of very expired Kodak Tri-X.


Photo: Southern Fancy Boutique.


Kitchen window

Kitchen window
Unknown camera
Kodak Gold 400 (expired)

It finally happened: I got a roll back from the processor and could not remember which camera I used to shoot it. I went on a shooting jag in January and February, with five or six cameras loaded at once. And then I had company one night and tidied up and put away whatever camera I used on this roll. I remember well shooting many of the images, such as this one. But I can’t call up which camera was in my hands.


Photo: My kitchen window.


66 Drive-In

66 Drive-In
Kodak Brownie Hawkeye
Kodak Gold 200 (expired)

Just dreaming a little lately of my 2013 Route 66 trip. Dug out this shot and Photoshopped it to greater clarity.

Photography, Road trips

Shooting Kodak Portra 160 NC

Kodak doesn’t call it Portra for nothing — it’s meant for portraits. And that’s what I used it for, mostly. I’m trying to build my portraiture skills, so I loaded a roll into my Nikon F2AS and shot more than half of it on my sons. I hoped for some good shots of them to print for the family. I finished the roll on the kinds of subjects I usually shoot.


This film ran cold — every photo had a blue caste to it. Portra 160 NC is said to tend naturally toward low color saturation. Maybe that’s Kodak’s interpretation of “natural color,” which is what the NC in the film’s name stands for. Kodak also offered a VC (“vivid color”) version of this film that boosted color saturation. I say “offered” rather than “offers” because both of these films were replaced a few years ago with a new formulation simply called Portra 160.

Also, this roll was expired, and I don’t know how it was stored before I got it. Careless storage can lead to shifted colors, which might also explain the blue caste.

Photoshop’s Adjust Color for Skin Tone tool warmed the portraits up right away, especially bringing out the chestnut highlights in my youngest son’s hair. Unfortunately, I won’t be showing you that, as I don’t share photos of my sons online. They have asked me to let them decide when and where to share their faces online. Fair enough.

I shot some of the portraits in cemeteries near my home. This isn’t out of the ordinary for us, as we walk through cemeteries all the time. We once even rented a house on a cemetery property. And cemeteries frequently have quaint benches, ornate chapels, or other not obviously death-related structures that make great portrait backdrops.

One visit was to Crown Hill Cemetery, one of the largest cemeteries in the nation. This shot looked as lifeless as its dead-tree subject when it came back from the processor, so I adjusted color temperature to bring it back to life — the photo, I mean, as the tree is beyond my help.

Dead tree

I gave this scene the same treatment. This monument is on the ascent to the highest elevation in Indianapolis.

Short steps

I thought this looked okay as shot, so I left it alone. It’s not a great shot, but I liked this very old and twisted tree and all the great detail in its bark.

Tree trunk

I shot my 50mm f/1.8 Nikon Series E lens in Crown Hill, but switched to my 135mm f/3.5 AI Nikkor lens for a walk through Washington Park North, a cemetery within walking distance of my home. It’s nowhere near as interesting as Crown Hill, but it’s certainly more convenient to me.

St. Matthew

I’ve shot Washington Park North’s replica of the Liberty Bell a number of times this year. Here’s one; here’s another, from two different cameras but both on Ektar 100. I adjusted color temperature a little to warm up this shot, but it still doesn’t approach the warmth of Ektar out of the box. Do compare the Ektar shots to get a good idea of how these two films’ color signatures differ.

Pass and Stow

I wasn’t wowed by Portra 160 NC as processed and scanned. The blue nature of the shots generally didn’t appeal to me. Someday I’ll buy a roll of the reformulated Portra 160 and see how it compares.