Welcome again to my analog photography blog's second article. It's been more than a year since my last post, but who
would have expected a global pandemic? Despite everything, I've kept improving my techniques and reading various
analog photography blogs. I was surprised to discover a hidden world of film photography enthusiasts, although
there are few in Italy.
I hope to share my experience and results with my posts, even though I have little to teach.
Our trip to Camargue was last minute, and we only chose it a few days before departure due to various restrictions
and lockdowns. My wife Alice, who is a genuine lover of France, had been proposing the destination for years.
Compared to other famous Italian destinations, it's not much further away, so why not? Our journey began on a cool August morning, and we headed to Port-Saint-Louis-du-Rhône, a village in the heart of Camargue.
Before we dive into the article, I would love to hear your thoughts. Feel free to contact me through my social media links at the bottom of the page.
Enjoy the read!
After reading during the lockdown, I decided to broaden my perspective and start using color negative films. I chose the queen of this category: Kodak Portra 400, which in my opinion is the most versatile of the Portra family. The idea was to shoot a first roll at the nominal speed of 400 ISO and then a second roll at 200 ISO. (I'll explain the reason for this choice below)
I then had the films developed at the professional lab LomoLAB and I will use them as a reference for future home color development: yes, I intend to try this technique myself (watching the video tutorials on YouTube it seems simple...I will definitely make a post on the blog...stay tuned)
The result of this film really left me speechless. First of all, the tonal rendering produces very realistic and
natural colors, without excessive saturation or overly bright colors. In my opinion, this makes it particularly
suitable for portrait and landscape photography.
Another quality is its wide dynamic range: Kodak Portra film has a wide dynamic range, which means it is able to capture details in both the dark and bright parts of an image. This characteristic makes it ideal for scenes with large differences in brightness.
Finally, the low noise sensitivity ensures maximum sharpness and detail even in low light conditions.
Kodak Portra 400 film is designed to be used at an ISO sensitivity of 400. However, it can also be used at a lower ISO sensitivity of 200 with some considerations. If you use Kodak Portra 400 film at an ISO sensitivity of 200, the film will be overexposed compared to when it is used at 400 ISO. This means that the image may appear slightly overexposed, with brighter colors and less color saturation. However, since Portra film has a wide dynamic range, it can handle the increased exposure without losing details in the brighter areas of the image.
The final result is colors that tend to be pastel and slightly washed out with more open shadows.
Continuing my personal experimentation with different film types to discover their unique characteristics, the next roll I tried was Kodak TriX 400, and it left me speechless. The strong contrasts it produces, with deep blacks and bright whites, don't affect the tonal range at all. Both shadows and highlights retain a great amount of detail, allowing for images with great depth and dimension.
Another strong point I noticed is how easy it is to scan and get a "digital output": the digital images it produces are practically ready to use, without the need for further adjustments.
The black & white photos featured in this article were developed in my personal darkroom using Ilford Ilfotec DDX chemicals and digitized using an Epson Perfection V600 scanner. The color photos, on the other hand, were wisely developed and scanned at the LomoLab in Vienna.