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Thread: What Color Film are you using in your 8x10 to capture Fall Colors?

  1. #1

    What Color Film are you using in your 8x10 to capture Fall Colors?

    The glorious Fall Colours ( I am Canadian , Eh?) are beginning and going to peak very soon. What Colour film will you be loading in your 8x10 film holders this fall? I am using some Ektachrome E100, Velvia 50 and Provia .The E100 is rare and now the Velvia is gone from production. I will be using thee two for very special subjects.

    If you use Colour Negative which do you like best?

    I hope for a lively discussion.

  2. #2

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    Re: What Color Film are you using in your 8x10 to capture Fall Colors?

    I have Portra 160 in my holders, but I've stacked E100 and Ektar 100. For fall colors I think I'll use E100 and Ektar, for the better color rendition on the saturated side.
    I own the gear, but those don't make masterpieces. My everyday experience.

  3. #3
    Drew Wiley
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    Re: What Color Film are you using in your 8x10 to capture Fall Colors?

    Let me first of all state that my idea of "fall color" is not the stereotypical postcard one. Yes, here in California we have plenty of our own vivid yellows and reds, including classic aspen colors in the high country. But what I like to do is modulate the saturated hues with lots of complex neutrals - tans and golds and bronzes and complex soft sage greens, etc. Right now we have gorgeous earthtones all around due to severe drought (though that is just about to change with all this rain), but accented by premature golden leaves and our signature ubiquitous "State Shrub" - poison oak with its wonderful red leaves. So whether by using my 4x5 Norma last week, or just yesterday rushing out with a 6x9 RF for sake of just a few dry hours under wonderful lighting, that is the kind of complex modulated coloration I have sought. But it's a tall bill for any film ever invented, or any color printing method. Anyone can make color loud; but juggling all the neutrals and sophisticated softer hues at the same time takes can be quite a challenge. Ektar does it well if you really understand it and don't make assumptions.

    I've spent a lot of time and money shooting and printing color neg films ever since the handwriting on the wall made the demise of Cibachrome evident. I had reasonably good success with Porta 160 VC, and naturally graduated from that to Ektar once it was available, and shot and printed a fair amount of 8x10 especially, but also smaller film formats. I've posted many times on why this particular film needs to be color temp balanced at the time of the shot rather than attempting to post-correct it for color imbalances. Once actual dye curve crossover happens, it's awfully hard to untangle.

    Yesterday was especially fun because the lighting was sometimes fully overcast and needing a bit of warming, and at other times really more neutral. One needs a lot of experimentation to recognize when to use certain filters and when not to. But yesterday I had along a basic Hoya 1B multicoated Skylight filter (nice for removing the slight cyan bias of Ektar under moderate conditions), a somewhat stronger SingRay KN (no longer made), and a B&W KR1.5 (a tad redder than a traditional 81A, and useful under bluish overcast skies, though I didn't need it yesterday).

    Sometimes I need even stronger filters like an 81C (for sake of blue shadows under deep blue high altitude skies); and I also have a special film-flashing attachment for selectively warming shadows only, and leaving the midtones and uppers unaffected (under split lighting conditions). But I don't want to make all this sound too complicated. Most of the time you can get by with just a 1B Skylight and either KR1.5 or 81A in your kit.

    The short story is that Ektar handles a very wide range of hues quite successfully, and often significantly better than traditional "portrait" color films, IF one know a few important tricks. The higher level of saturation and contrast of Ektar is not the real name of the game, although it's there. It's a worthy substitute to chrome films, though also different in a number of ways. But let the film itself do the heavy lifting, with correct exposure itself, and filtration as needed, and leave all that hair-pulling post-correction headache stuff to those who pretend they can do "anything" in Photoshop. They can't. It's a thousand times easier to correct right at the time of the shot anyway. End of sermon.

  4. #4

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    Re: What Color Film are you using in your 8x10 to capture Fall Colors?

    The days of color film are long gone for me. Scanning color negative film is so hit or miss . . . no thanks. Color transparency film requires dead-on exposure accuracy, which can also be hit or miss. (Again, no thanks.) Besides, film has become so expensive. I can't believe what they're charging these days for film.

    As a result, I'm 100% film for black and white, and 100% digital for color.

  5. #5
    Drew Wiley
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    Re: What Color Film are you using in your 8x10 to capture Fall Colors?

    The days of color film won't end as long as I'm alive myself. Yes it's getting awfully expensive in sheets, especially 8x10 (not bad in roll film version). But if a ten sheet box of 8x10 color chrome or even color neg film can cost a couple hundred bucks - heck, so does a nice big freezer! And that's where my first 200 bucks went. And I stocked up well with 8x10 film when it was about a third the price as now. And that should be good until I'm around 80. Digital is just too restricted with respect to printing options.

    Besides, as I get older, I finally find myself shooting 4x5 in lieu of 8x10 more often, and it's obviously only one fourth as expensive. And with the incredible detail capacity of Ektar and today's excellent lenses, even roll film shooting and printing is more realistic than ever, that is, if one wants exceptional prints of moderate enlargement. Nothing will substitute for sheet film and true optical enlargement when it comes to really big color prints.

    I love black and white shooting and printing too. But I wouldn't call it cheaper. Look at the price of premium papers these days, and the out of sight price increase of rag mounting and matting board !!

  6. #6
    http://www.spiritsofsilver.com tgtaylor's Avatar
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    Re: What Color Film are you using in your 8x10 to capture Fall Colors?

    Kodak Porta 160 developed with Kodak Flexicolor chemistry for me.

  7. #7

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    Re: What Color Film are you using in your 8x10 to capture Fall Colors?

    Quote Originally Posted by Drew Wiley View Post
    . . . Nothing will substitute for sheet film and true optical enlargement when it comes to really big color prints.
    I kind of agree with that for color. But optically enlarging color is no longer an option for me. We used to have a "U-Develop" in Portland here that had darkrooms, a processor, and assistants available to help decide on color settings. They even had an 8x10 enlarger. But, they're long gone.

    But while digital color is different, it can still be very nice. Charles Cramer, an outstanding color photographer whose work graces the Ansel Adams gallery, went 100% digital color lustrums ago, when color optical enlargement was still widely available. While the excellent equipment he chose for traveling down that path was very expensive then, it's much more reasonable used these days. So, high quality, digital color is accessible.


    Quote Originally Posted by Drew Wiley View Post
    . . . Look at the price of premium papers these days, and the out of sight price increase of rag mounting and matting board !!
    No kidding! Consequently, I mount on 2-ply and only over-matte when I frame. (Helps a little.)

  8. #8
    Drew Wiley
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    Re: What Color Film are you using in your 8x10 to capture Fall Colors?

    Well, Charlie and certain other locals went to digital simply because DT was too much work, too expensive, and indeed had a much lower success rate. But when DT is on target, inkjet can't touch it. A lot depends on the specific image. I went the Ciba route instead, and became addicted to its extreme detail capacity and even the significant hue idiosyncrasies of that particular medium. Direct optical printing onto Fuji Supergloss instead is much more balanced, color-wheel-wise, but you still have to contend with certain lingering hue repro issues of color neg film itself. A close second cousin would be to laser print on the same medium via Lightjet etc, but that gets mighty expensive personally unless you can afford the first million bucks or so for the cumulative initial equipment investment. Just having a few prints done by a lab isn't so bad, but still darn expensive compared to printing things yourself.

    But I find the gamut of inkjet very disappointing, and know why, technically, but don't want to get tangled up in an argument with those who can't conceive of that term gamut beyond the boundaries of a computer screen. I have an industrial pigment background, so understand the logistical basics from another crucial perspective than just the software one. Inkjet inks aren't pigments per se,
    but do share the same issue of having a hard time getting through tiny nozzles, and limitations of composition in that respect, and
    share the same 4-axis analytic geometry model of color mapping, now vastly simplified by computers in contrast to plotting paper the original way in the 1920's, when even densitometry wasn't fully on the horizon yet.

    With transparent colorants, it's possible to do 3-axis modeling because the neutral value goes from light to dark on a single line through the center; whereas with opaque ingredients, you start at the center and lead one direction tinting with black, and the other direction toning with white, just like architectural paint. But there are all kinds of patents out there, and I have no interest in keeping up with all the current specifics.

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