Fun Times

This happens the following year after I bought my FM2n. I and my wife decided to go out from the routine. I from my job. She from staying at home raising our baby who is now a bit older than one year. We took our baby with us of course. At least we need to have a ‘time out’ for a few – hopefully wonderful – days. We planned to go to Bali.

By this time you should be able to read how my brain works. Exactly. Another good reason to buy new gear. But this time I did not have sufficient time to do enough research on what gear I should buy. It supposed to be a lens. But again, it’s not enough time between when we decided to go until the departure itself. So I brought what is available. The F80 and the FM2n and the three lens : AF 50, MF 28 and the 70-300 zoom. Flash. Tripod. Did I forget to mention?

I managed to buy cheap tripod at the same time I bought my first Metz 28 C 2 flash. Slik U9000. Three sectioned telescopic legs made of thin aluminum. Not rigid at all. Don’t even think putting those big bodies with big zooms on top of this tripod. I put the F80 + 50 + Metz 70MZ5 on it and the three legs are bent outwards. It’s funny whenever I remember when it happened. But in the outdoors, when the circumstances possible, you can trick it by not expanding the lower part of the legs. Or even not expanding the two sections at all. It works. The platform becomes quite stable.

The built in pan head (am I right this is the type) is far from state of the art ones to say the least. One of the locks changes the positions of the camera after framing the viewfinder very carefully to the intended subject. It is annoying. It is simply not a recommended one.

Back to the plan, I bought a bunch of films. Mostly chrome: Velvia 50, Sensia 100, Provia 100F, Kodak Elitechrome EB and EBX. Black and white chromogenic film: Kodak T400CN. And a bunch of print film: Superia 100, Superia 400, Fuji NPH (for experimenting, I had not shot this film before).

The vacation went very well. We had a very good time. I had a very good time. I photograph sunrise at the beach (I am too lazy to catch the sunset which located at the other side of the island), I photograph beach, traditional fishermen boat at the beach, photographing my baby. That’s about it.

When you go to a vacation, and you happened to be a photography enthusiast like myself, you tend to have big plans in your head. In addition that you will want to bring all your equipment with you, you also want to photograph everything. But if you happened to go with your wife and kid(s), especially small kids, you compromise. You can’t leave them in the hotel while you go somewhere satisfying your enthusiasm on photography. You go with them to places they like, or at least you and you wife like to go. And if you are fortunate enough, you will find interesting objects along the way that you think it is worth to be stored permanently in your film.

If you are lucky, when they are enjoying something for a quite a reasonably long time (for instance your wife is shopping batik clothes from street vendors but can’t decide which color to buy, or had decided which but don’t know what the reasonable price is so she keeps on bargaining), so I mean a long time, you can wander around the area and found some more interesting object to be photographed.

Find a very nice background e.g. beach with blue ocean and blue sky, great mountain landscape, artistic building, and you can photograph your kid in front of them. It’s always nice to have your kids perfectly exposed on film. The better background not found at home makes it even nicer.

At home

Can’t wait to pick up the film after being processed by a local lab, I decided that I needed a good scanner to keep them digitally, and even more importantly, to post it in the boundaryless internet. Research reasearch research. Canon Canoscan FS4000US was my choice.

Scanning with this device is a nightmare. Time wise. Very long to scan. Need to buy the not-included SCSI cable. That SCSI cable with a firmware update from Canon really did boost its scanning time. Considerably. Happy with the improvement, and also happy with the scan. I am having trouble scanning negatives which almost always give me the very disturbing noise (or is it grain?). But Neat Image can solve that problem. Reportedly (I have not tried it myself) the new Kodak UC400 is nice to scan. I do not know how ‘nice’ but I want to try it someday. It is also – reportedly – one of the best overall film especially for travel. Must try one of those someday.

The slide films consistently produce great images. Very rarely I need to apply NeatImage on the image.

Having said that, from the slides that I try, I like Provia compared to the other ones. Although some images produce blue cast that sometimes annoying, other than that it produces nice images even on people skin. Velvia is great when you use tripod. Sensia does not punch as good as Provia nor Velvia in terms of color, but I consider it adequate for general purpose film. In print film section, I like Superia best for travel film. Be it 100 or 400 ISO. NPH is not a good choice. I know from the very beginning that this film is solely for portrait. But even for portrait it does not produce enough contrast to my taste. Elitechrome EB and EBX are the worst of the bunch. As I said in the other previous notes, red is redicuously red. Blotchy. Hate them. Need to avoid them.

Kodak T400CN is okay for me, especially because it can be scanned. I can then tweak in afterwards the image to suit my style. I tried some traditional BW film like Delta, or Ilford Delta 100, FP4 or HP5. Or Kodak TMax. I cannot scan them. I can but then the noise or grain is ridiculous i cannot accept. In addition to that, traditional films should only be processed by good lab, and it is hard to find good lab who knows best how to process them. It is best if you can process them yourself. So that you have full control in the final result. I do not have enough enthusiasm to do my own BW film development. At least not now.

I scanned most of the film and store it in a disc. I am not a professional photographer who needs to store my image in a three different media in a three different places in a three different time zone to make them safe. I scanned the film and store it either in hard disk or most of them in a compact disc to be thrown away into the shelf.

PS: The image above was made using Nikon FM2N with Nikkor 28mm f2.8 AIS with Provia 100F.


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