Trip to Antigua (West Indies)--Colour film?

Discussion in 'Color: Film, Paper, and Chemistry' started by anthroboi, Apr 17, 2006.

  1. anthroboi

    anthroboi Member

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    Hi there,
    I'm a relative newbie when it comes to photography. I own a Canon Rebel 2000 Film SLR camera. I'm going to Antigua for a month on an archaeological dig and would like to take pictures of people, landscape, etc. with vivid colours. I just bought a circular polarizing filter which will hopefully help with contrast/good colour saturation and I also bought some Fuji Superia? Reala 100 colour film. Is this a good choice for a trip to the caribbean?

    Thanks in advance for your advice!

    D-
     
  2. roteague

    roteague Member

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    Superia isn't a bad film, you should do fine with it - it is a consumer grade film, and pretty balanced as film goes, though you won't get the most vivid colors from it.

    My suggestion, if you don't mind using transparency film, would be Fuji Velvia 100 - it has quite vivid colors, and doesn't destroy skin tones like some highly saturated films. Velvia is quite stunning when it comes to recording the color of the ocean. It is my standard film.
     
  3. anthroboi

    anthroboi Member

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    Thanks for the advice! I wasn't sure about transparency film. I've heard it's not as forgiving as negative film and I want to make prints, etc. Not sure about the cost of developing and ability to make prints from slides. Perhaps you could enlighten me? It would be interesting to have some nice slides done of my trip, esp. the archaeological stuff because I could probably use it in a future research project/presentation (assuming, of course, that I have permission to take and use the photos).

    D-
     
  4. Lopaka

    Lopaka Member

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    Don't know if you are printing your own or using a lab. AFAIK, there are only two viable options for getting good prints from transparencies. Ilfochrome is the only direct postive print material still in production. You can get great stuff from it, but it's quite a bit more expensive than RA-4. Like anything else that's different from what you have done before, it comes with its own learning curve (for example, because it is positive from positive, everything works backward from what you expect).

    If you are using labs, there are very few left that print Ilfochrome directly from transparencies. I belive Bob Carnie does, if your transparency meets his standards (meaning that if the image has been degraded over time or by use on a slide projector it gets remitted to sanning process). The most common lab method is to do a drum scan and print on photographic media with a light jet. Most now print on RA-4 - this does produce excellent results. A few will still print a light jet on Ilfochrome.

    Good luck with whatever you decide - and have fun!

    Bob
     
  5. bohica

    bohica Member

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    I would suggest picking up one of the cheap one time use underwater cameras, I was there a few yrs ago and we had over 100 ft visability at a depth of 100 ft, most of the color underwater is lost below 30 feet which is well within snorkel limits.
     
  6. anthroboi

    anthroboi Member

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    Lopaka: thanks for the info. I don't do my own colour processing. I have done a bit of my own B&W processing in my bathroom and was able to do a few nice prints for family Christmas presents, but I'm a newbie in every sense of the word! I think I'll stick to negative film for now, although I've seen some nice prints made from slides, I don't have the resources or budget for that sort of thing right now and I probably will just ruin all the pictures anyways :smile:

    Bohica: thanks for the advice. I think I might have to pick up one of those disposable underwater cameras. Although, I can't really swim underwater without plugging my nose :smile: Maybe I'll be able to learn to snorkel while I'm down there, if there's time scheduled for it. I'm participating in an archaeological field school so I don't know what they have planned for us in our off-time.

    Thanks again for the tips!

    D-
     
  7. roteague

    roteague Member

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    Most of the commercial printing places, like WalMart, Ritz Camera, etc, use the Frontier printers, which take either negative or transparency film. Negative film will give greater latitude, but transparency film will give more saturated colors. Either one would work for your purposes.
     
  8. anthroboi

    anthroboi Member

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    Thanks Robert! I've got 8 rolls of the Reala, but perhaps I will pick up some rolls of Velvia as well.

    D-
     
  9. bdial

    bdial Subscriber

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    Ektachrome perhaps?

    I recently tried some Velvia for the first time (mistake 1) on a recent trip, and I'm very disappointed with it. I'll admit that it did the ocean, sky and clouds nicely but colors in vegetation were contrasty with emphasis in yellows. Perhaps my technique was to blame, as I am used to slightly underexposing Kodak chrome film to get better saturation. From my short bit of reading on Velvia (since the trip, unfortunately) that looks to be a very bad choice. Additionally, I was using an antique camera with a hand held meter. Results with a modern camera, multicoated optics and in-camera metering might be quite different.
    My advice would be to try a couple of kinds of film, before the trip (!), and see what you like. Dare I say it, but in this digi age, transparencies scan a bit better than negative film. However, if prints are your goal, starting with negative film is easier for the reasons given in the other replies, and negative films are much more forgiving for exposure and lighting conditions.
    Finally, since you are flying, processing at your destination might be a consideration, so that you can avoid x-rays. Admittedly the the (domestic) machines are supposed to be harmless for lower speed film, you can't predict what might happen at the time that your bags go through the machines. I avoid getting my film x-rayed when I can, but it's not easy nowadays. Even though the US folks will honor your request for a hand check, I sense that they don't care for the extra wrinkle it puts in their routine. Your mileage may vary.
     
  10. roteague

    roteague Member

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    Strange, the majority of color landscape photographers use Velvia. Note, there is a difference between EI 50 and EI 100 Velvia. The 50 was discontinued last December, it had a higher contrast level and was terrible when used for people pictures. The new 100 is much better for people images and the contast has been toned down a little. I shoot almost exclusively Velvia, and have never run into the color casts you are referring to.

    I should point out that I live in Hawaii, for all intents and purposes, a tropical island. I can tell you that during the middle of the day, it can get very contrasty and bright, and can be difficult to control with transparency film. This is the reason I suggested that both Superia and Velvia be used. If you want stunning colors, then you can't beat Velvia.
     
  11. anthroboi

    anthroboi Member

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    Well, I picked up some Velvia 100 (not the F one) and shot 2 rolls, which I'll be dropping off tomorrow. The Reala was good but I didn't think that there was anything outstanding about it. Hopefully the velvia comes out okay.

    D-
     
  12. roteague

    roteague Member

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    Good. It is always good to test a new film, before taking it on a trip. That way if you don't like the film, you can try something else. Let us know your results.
     
  13. anthroboi

    anthroboi Member

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    Hi Robert,
    just wanted to thank you for the advice re: Velvia film. I'm definately a convert! I love the way the pictures look and I actually think it was EASIER to use than print film. Just about ALL of the slides turned out, and there were much more slides that I really liked than when I used print film. And the colour and vibrancy is just amazing. I never thought I would switch but now I'm hooked.

    Thanks again!

    D-
     
  14. roteague

    roteague Member

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    Glad you like it, it is a good film. You need to be careful about shooting in the middle of the day, since the contrast levels will be very high. If you go to my website, I have some articles up that may be of benefit to you. The address for my articles page is: http://www.visionlandscapes.com/ArticlesTips.aspx. I've got a couple of new articles in progress, but they won't be up for a month yet - just too busy right now.