Good (slide?) Film for surfing shots?
Hello everyone, it has been a long time. Life has been full of ups and downs since we moved to SoCal, and I am finally able to even think about spending $ on film and such things again. Considering how tight things are, I am loathe to waste film in "testing" right now, so that is where I'm coming from with my question. Just kind of need a ball-park idea of what to expect.
We live in Ventura, California now, and I would like to try my hand at some surfing shots, and general shots of the pier and ocean, etc. However, nearly all my previous shooting was done in Alaska. My favorite films were generally Velvia 100 and E100GX up there. I tried nearly every slide film I could get my hands on back then, and to be honest, quite a few of them are very close with just minor differences.
Thing is, the light is very different down here, and with big swings, too! For example, in the morning it can be overcast and grey looking for hours, almost foggy, and then the sun burns it off and all of a sudden it's bright daylight and contrasty as heck! ;-)
I'm just looking for some feedback before I go plunk down what money I do have for say 10 rolls to get me back on my photographic feet. Do I go with Velvia, or is that going to be insanely contrasty down here in SoCal light, and I would be better off with E100G or something like that?
Or- please be honest- am I crazy to want to shoot slide film down here, and should I relent and somehow learn to love a color neg film like Ektar or the new Portra 160?
Thanks for any tips. I'm just at that re-entry stage where I need a little discussion, some comments and then a kick in the booty to go shooting again, and then I'll get the confidence to go stick the gamer in everyone's face down at the beach.
See my "surfers at sunset" photo in the gallery. I used Ektachrome. That was years ago, but I still feel that it gives a nice ambiance to all of my shots on the beaches of CA and FL while I was there. And, it does sunsets particularly well IMHO.
I'd use slide film, preferably something lower contrast, really your only options now are Provia100F(my favorite, and if the lighting is right, can be very bright color-wise, in a good way ), or E100G.
Provia has a UV filtering layer built in, and I've found that its a touch warmer in broad sunlight vs E100G, which has a tendency to have a slightly bluish cast. Not always, but 80% of the time for me. I kept on finding myself putting an 81A warming filter when shooting E100G to combat the bluish cast, with Provia, no need for a filter, unless shooting in the shade.
Provia is a little cheaper $$$-wise too, and since most labs now are using Fuji E-6 chems, I've found I get clearer, less color-casted results using Fuji films w/ Fuji chems than mixing Kodak films with Fuji chems, just my experience...
best of luck!
oh... will you be shooting from shore, or from out in the water with a housing? If from shore, you can probably shoot at like f/3.5 or f4 if using a long 2.8 prime, so a 100 speed film should work fine
best of luck
I've shot surfers with Velvia 100 while vacationing, mostly at Huntington and San Diego, and it turned out pretty well, but not really well enough. Next time I will be switching from Velvia to Ektar or Portra because they are just so much easier to use - it has much to do with my own lack of skill.
From shore in the Ventura/SB area you will be looking south so late afternoon will give you nice side light. Like you say, morning is dodgy all along the coast. If you get down to anywhere that the coast line has turned south, late afternoon is pretty tough because of the shadows. I never have been able to get any facial detail. I guess I need to get up in the morning.
The Santa Barbara breakwater is a fabulous place to shoot, with the action happening within 15 yards or so. Take advantage of the late afternoon light. But watch out, it's likely you, and more importantly, your gear, will get wet.
I would go for Velvia 100 also.
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OK, thanks for the tips. At least in the beginning, I'll be shooting from the shore until I can afford a housing. One of the guys in the equipment forum suggested a Nikonos- hadn't thought about that. I will check them out.
Looks like I'll have to give the Velvia 100 at least one try and see. If it is just too contrasty, which is quite probable, looks like my only other option is E100G or Provia as you say.
We shall see what the outcome is, and thanks for the goos discussion!
Jed, if things are tight, you should consider picking up an Arista E-6 home DIY kit from freestyle phopto. Get the 1 gallon kit to get cost down to around 2/roll. I have been shooting E-6 for about 10 years now, but only recently got into home developing. Was lucky enough to pick up 4 Kodak 5L home dev kits last fall before they canceled them, but it wasnt until this summer that I actually got around to trying home dev.
It was/is SUPER EASY !!! and the results, fantastic - clean pristine slides, with never a scratch or blemish. The cost, also fantastic - about 2 dollars a roll with the Kodak kits. Bear in mind, you do need to invest about 2 hours total into each processing run, but if you get a Patrerson hand dev tank that holds 4 rolls (costs about 40-50 bucks), it makes it much more time efficient. Anyways, I find the dev process enjoyable, and the thrill of seeing your slide shots come to life is incredible. It becomes almost real time feedback, like digital. You can see the results of settings you used just hours before when you were out shooting.
Start up costs are very low. The Arist kit is about 80 bucks, and you will also need: a Paterson dev tank (20-40$), a styrofoam cooler (2-3$), a digital cooking thermometer (10), some rubber dishwashing gloves, and a digital cooking timer (10). Given the high lab costs for E6 now, you will quickly make back your investment, and begin saving on dev costs.
Its Super Easy, see this video. But never do this without gloves and protective glasses, this guy is a bit foolish in that respect.
"Jed, if things are tight, you should consider picking up an Arista E-6 home DIY kit from freestyle phopto."
Freestyle being a relatively short drive from the OP's home.
I would recommend Elite Chrome 100 (not Extra Color). It's very similar to E100G, but with a slightly warmer cast. It's not as warm as E100GX was, but it doesn't go as blue in the shadows as E100G. Not only that, but it's half the price
"Panic not my child, the Great Yellow Father has your hand"--Larry Dressler