What color film for Victoria Harbor?
I'll be off to Hong Kong in 4 weeks or so and plan to shoot the skyline from across Victoria harbor. I'm wondering what (120 size) color film give me the most impressive results. Of course, impressive is very subjective so I'll leave it up to you to define. I will shoot both daytime, sunset, and night shots of the skyline, all on a tripod. I'm a newcomer to film so dont have much time to experiment and determine what I like best. How would you rate the following films for the job:
I dont know if the slide film can handle the dynamic range of these scene. Those buildings are lit up pretty bright at night while the night is quite dark.
Camera will be a Fuji GA645.
Provia has the best reciprocity performance for long exposures.
You shoot in the blue hour (just after sunset) to balance the sky/building brightness. With careful timing, you can fit it all within the dynamic range of slide film. And if you're prepared to sit there for a couple hours, you can do it as a double-exposure: late sunlight on the buildings superimposed on the window-lights in a second exposure. You have to guard the tripod pretty closely against the slightest bump though.
You might be on the margin in terms of the dynamic stretch of common tranny emulsions, especially Velvia 50, which I wouldn't use for the task. Velvia 100, underexposed 0.3 so as not to create pasty shadows is a good stand-in, and especially good for afterglow. For a less saturated palette, Provia 100. Don't try handheld shots, but then don't lug along the biggest tripod you can find because space could really be at a premium.
The major problem in HK is finding your own contemplative space in a teeming, seething mass of humanity and the ever-present risk of being bumped, knocked, interrupted, chatted to, argued with, harranged... you name it, HK (and Kowloon especially!) has it.
I used to shoot a lot of slide film and I always used Provia for my dusk/evening shots, which almost always yielded really nice results.
I was in Hong Kong two years ago and had less than a day to explore. I used that day to go up the Peak to get a nice view of the harbour. I thought I had showed up early enough -- around 2 or 3 in the afternoon -- but I didn't anticipate the huge lineups to get up the mountain (over 1.5 hours), nor the massive crowds that were on the viewing plaform, who were there either a) to get the famed harbour shot (you could tell from the tripods), b) to view the sunset over the harbour and maybe get a nice shot, but not critical, or c) locals on dates because it's a 'romantic' viewpoint (and who have no clue or care about the photographers waiting for them to move out of the way). So go early. And stake your spot early, especially if you want to be near the rail. And be warned, the most obvious spot, with the best angle of view and no obstructions from the hill or the platform, is used for tourist photography from the on-site photographer. If you set up in that spot (which is at least a couple of meters wide since they don't want any other tourists to spoil the shot) you will be kicked out, and by then the rest of the rail will have been claimed. And make sure you have a sturdy tripod that can handle some vibrations -- from the rail, from the people moving around, from the people bumping you, etc.
I don't want to be a downer here -- I would definitely do it again to get better photos, as I was unprepared for what greeted me when I went there (although hopefully for you it won't be that bad). Unfortunately because of the crowds I was only able to shoot one roll of film. I missed the magic hour of dusk (even though it had been an overcast day anyway), so the sky was quite dark by the time I was able to muscle my way to the rail.
My favorite thing is to go where I've never been. D. Arbus
Thanks everyone! I should have mentioned that this will be my 25th trip to Hong Kong, so I am more than a bit familiar with the territory. I'd say that I know 80% of the area as good as my home town Chicago. I have thousands upon thousands of digital images from Hong Kong, and even hundreds of film ones, from the early 90s.
I like the idea of trying slide film, but I am so very new to that I think it might be too soon. I dont want to come away with just mistakes. I think I'll try it, but need a back up print film too.
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In that case, shoot both slide and C41. You can overexpose the C41 and it'll still be good so that takes away some of the timing and metering stress. And if you're scanning, you can fix any number of dynamic-range issues in a C41 neg that you can't fix in a chrome. I'd probably shoot Reala* (or better yet, Portra 160 or Fuji Pro160S if you can get them) due their lower contrast for the C41 option, though Ektar will be sharper and have more pop to it.
But if you nail the chrome, then that will be awesome.
* I was sorely tempted to reply with just "Reala, duh" when I saw this thread after the previous two
You tempt me sir. You tempt me.
Originally Posted by polyglot
Originally Posted by RattyMouse
And if you can ever get it printed onto Ilfochrome, that will blow you clean out of the water with the WOW! factor. We all live in hope for the resurrection day...
Bracketing solves a few ills with chromes, but you want to make sure the scene fits within +/-2.5 stops. I'd still recommend shooting some C41 as a backup.
In late afternoon / early evening, with the sun behind you, Reala will give you a wonderful deep blue sky.