Originally Posted by newcan1
I forgot to include the type of lighting, normally I don't record such things in my exposure data logbook(one of about 5 I have scattered around the house :p) since its usually apparent from contact sheet what kind of lighting it is for the scene...
Lighting(for the train shots, and the majority of the contact sheet): broad, raw California sunshine! Basically a "point light source", creating hard, direct shadows with high contrast. The inside(blue room) shots were all available light, a mixture of fluorescent and the neon mixed lighting, with a few open doors(it was a restoration shop off Hwy 58 going across to Bakersfield from Barstow) so a myriad of color balances, too much to try and filter for each individual source :D
Just remember: EXPOSURE DETERMINES SHADOW DENSITY, DEVELOPMENT DETERMINES HOW/WHERE YOUR HIGHLIGHTS FALL. EVEN WITH COLOR! I have employed a spot meter the past few years to determine the "SBR"(subject brightness range) of a particular scene, and how it falls with how I've calculated I like to expose/develop the film.
Most people use "normal" development 99% of the time, and yes, that allows them(generally) a well processed negative/chrome. However, I have found that for MY photographs, I NEED pushes & pulls to REALLY get the most out of a film stock. I'm still in the testing stages of such, mostly since I've been doing such with sheet(4x5) film, and those costs DO add up ;). I primarily shoot rollfilm(120/220) for "session" type photographs, where things don't change much lighting-wise.
Filtering: I now ALWAYS carry an 81A(at minimum, also an 81B and a CC05/10M) filter with me when shooting color. Even since I drum scan the majority of my "keepers" film-wise, and it allows a wonderful amount of control, filtering the lens pre/in-capture just makes life easier(and more predictable)! I also make use of graduated filters(LEE) in a lot of cases, simply because it allows me to get as much "meat" in a negative as possible w/o having to do much post-work(or none at all other than fine tuning color balance for my tastes and printing it!
Since you've stated that you're GOING(?) on a trip, I'd advise that unless you REALLY KNOW a film stock well, to not use it for "once in a lifetime" shots which might be hard(or seemingly impossible) to reproduce w/o much effort/travel. If you KNOW Portra for example, and know its limitations/capabilities, then I'd use it. Same goes with ANY film. But Ektar CAN deliver(as you see in my prints above, with almost a straight print w/ minimal color correction vs other Kodak film stock filter settings for Fuji glossy CA paper(my normal).
my recommendation: buy 10 rolls of film before your trip, 5 rolls of Portra 160 or 400(this is a great film IMO), and 5 rolls of Ektar. Shoot the same scenes with both, and bracket each film in 1/3ASA increments downward from its box "speed". I have come to realized that for ME, ASA 50 works best for Ektar 100 processed "normally", and provides more shadow density, but the highlights still have a sparkle to them when printed down density-wise. But definitely do some testing pre-trip so you have a gauge to work off of.
Hi Stone: Your color balance is more even than what I had, but your images tend a bit to red. I found that if I tried to correct the red, because mine started out a bit red-rich also, that I soon got into trouble. Remove some magenta, everything looks a bit too yellow. Remove some yellow, you start to see the blue "cross over" in places. No matter what, I could not, in analog printing, achieve remotely realistic color. But maybe that's the whole point of this film. I can see how it could be used effectively to bring out vivid colors of a vivid scene.
Originally Posted by StoneNYC
Ektar, use it, don't use it.. there are plenty of other films
I've found that it DOES accentuate ANY "cast" color-wise departing from the 5000-5500(daylight balance) zone. If its warm, its warm. If its cool(say an open sky (blue) light) it'll be blue.
Learn to filter accordingly, just like with chrome film "back in the day" :D
this guy seems to have gotten some quality results from it:
I do agree that Richard Photo Lab is darn good, I also know that there is no such thing as a straight scan.
Originally Posted by F/1.4
All scans are manipulated, they are the product of lots of fancy programming, many automated choices/adjustments, and the experience of the techs involved. At RPL the techs correct every frame.
Nice shots btw.
Ektar can scan very well, but it is difficult to scan. I suspect it's also very finicky about processing - I nearly gave up on it after the first roll I had processed at a sub-par pro lab which looks absolutely disgusting no matter how I try to adjust it. However with processing at home in the Fuji Press 5L kit, I get perfect results from it.
Lots of examples here. I've also printed some of it to RA4 and I can say that the examples linked there (all are scans from negs) are quite representative of how it prints. It prints beautifully, though of course any scene with more dynamic range than you'd expect to fit on a chrome won't fit on the paper without dodging and burning.
If your shadows are ugly blue, I'm 99% sure that you're scanning it wrong. I find that the Fuji films are easy to scan because their black-point is the film leader density but with Ektar, the black point is somewhat above this and not uniformly so with respect to the different dyes, i.e. one of the dyes seems to have a longer toe or something. If you just set your blackpoint off the rebate, you will get strong and ugly colour casts in the shadows. There's a C41 scanning howto in my FAQ; see the link in my signature and if you approximately follow that, then you should get results that look like scans from chromes.
1/3-stop bracketing on C41 is pointless, you'll not tell them apart except by looking at the edge numbering. Shoot at box speed or half if you want the extra shadow detail; don't bother doing both because the film has enough latitude that you'll struggle to differentiate even the one-stop brackets except for a little change in shadow details. Highlights will look a teensy bit better at box speed as there's a gentle contrast rolloff with overexposure.
Originally Posted by DanielStone
The film captures way more dynamic range than you can print. Use the same mindset as when shooting chromes and for setting expectations as to how much dynamic range you can fit in the scene and you won't be disappointed.
And absolutely I agree you don't take an unfamiliar film on a once-in-a-lifetime trip. You need to know how it will respond before you open the shutter.
OK Polyglot, I bow down to you, you are the King of Ektar! The images are amazing! I don't think I will be able to learn enough by tomorrow to make a success of it for my impending trip, but your images are inspiring, and I look forward to working more with Ektar when I come back. I did have more luck scanning it than with optical printing, But I had never thought to treat it as a slide film before. I think that may be the key to making it work.
Glad you like them.
Originally Posted by newcan1
Indeed, aiming for a narrow dynamic range with high gamma is key to getting good results from Ektar as that is the natural response of the film. You can tame the contrast a bit with a scan but if you go too far and try to make it look like Portra or something, it just looks plain bad.
If you have time then duplicating some of your shots on Ektar would be a worthwhile exercise (it will graphically show you how the behaviours differ under controlled circumstance) but I wouldn't forego taking shots with films that you understand better.