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.