Film is better... now... across the board, than it ever has been. E-6 'chrome films rival and surpass Kodachrome for sharpness and longevity. Color negatives are sharper, clearer, and more "archival" than ever. Their speed vs. grain makes it possible for some photographers to use 800 speed color negative film as their "regular" film.

  Scanning technology, and the technology of how film is constructed (Fuji includes a layer in many of their color negative films that helps to compensate for "green bleed" from flourescent lamps, in mixed lighting situations) has made it possible to Put The Lights Away, and shoot Good 'Ol Available Light... just like Old Guys like me used to do... when everyone was shooting black & white film.


    This World-Famous Photojournalist was photographed on one of my all-time favorite films... Kodak's T-Max 100. I regularly shoot this film at an E.I of 50, and develop it in very dilute developer, to acheive high sharpness and a wide range of tones.

  The photograph was made in an empty office suite, with a rolled paper background masking the peeling paint and dirty windows. I used a 400 watt-second Speedotron Brownline strobe, set to "asymmetrical" output. One head, set for 300 w/s,was firing into a 3'x4' softbox, at 45 degrees to the subject, on camera right... and the other, set for 100 w/s, was on a very short stand... firing up at the background.

  The camera was a Nikon FM2n, and the lens was an 85mm f/1.4 Nikkor. The aperture was f/8-11.

  The lighting was designed to put a strong dimensional feel onto the subject's round face, because all the pictures that I'd seen of this individual looked "flat", and not all like him.

In spite of this being a severe crop of a 35mm negative... the 8"x10" prints are grainless, and sharp... everyone who has seen them believes that the photo was taken with medium format equipment.


  The best thing about color negative film is the wide range of latitude... both in exposure, and in color, that it offers.

  This photograph contains three seperate areas of exposure. First, the room, which was lit by a Norman 200B strobe, bounced off the ceiling to camera right of the subject... and a Nikon SB-16 on a stand to camera left, bouncing off the ceiling. The aperture is f/8, on a 100 speed film.

  Second, the image on the television set, which is being exposed at 1/8th of a second, at f/8... and third, the early-morning sunlight coming through the window, on the back wall, to the right.

  Exposure for the screen was a bit "over", and the window was a lot "over"... but all recorded nicely onto the negative, which was a breeze to scan.

  The camera was a Pentax Spotmatic, with a Takumar 28mm f/3.5 lens... hand-held, with my elbows braced on the floor.


  The enormous latitude of color negative film also swings the other way... This U.S. Senator was photographed at an outdoor event, on a drearily overcast day... and he was just about to go under a large white canvas "event tent", to give a speech.

  I "pushed" a 400 speed color negative film to E.I. 800... rather than just pulling the film, and putting a faster film into the cameras... in an effort to Pump Up the contrast.

  This is similar to The Zone System in black & white, wherin a photographer learns how to adjust exposure and development to best record any given scene, with a minimum "dodging and burning" when making a final print.

  This photograph would not have been easily made on 'chrome film... 100 speed 'chrome would have needed a wider aperture and a longer-duration shutter speed (E.I. 800 is three stops "faster" than E.I. 100)... and would have have had an overall dull and "flat" look. The striking contrast in this photograph was manufactured by underexposure and overdevelopment. I was also able to "warm it up" a bit during scanning, which also improved the photo.

  The camera was a Nikon F4, the lens was a 300mm f/4 autofocus Nikon lens, the aperture was f/8-11, and I'm unsure of the shutter speed... the camera was set for "aperture priority" auto exposure.


  This long-time Community Leader has a peculiar problem for photographers... he has very fair, almost translucent, skin... but very dense, heavily-pigmented skin under his eyes.

  Generally, this subject photographs terribly... the dark patches under his eyes make him look (in photographs, but not in Real Life) like a character in a horror movie... which is the Polar Opposite of his personality.

  I was photographing him on some more conventional film, for publicity "handouts", when I threw in a roll of Konica 750 "near infrared" film... just to see what would happen. This film is a good choice for assignments where something A Little Bit Different is neccessary... usually to put an unexpected tonal reversal into a photo that is doomed to be either Boring or Banal.

  The Konica film was just what The Doctor Ordered, for this guy. It smoothed out the differences between the skin textures, and imparted a nice, overall "glow".

  WARNING! In spite of my fondness for this film... some folks photograph with totally black eyeballs (this was a Real Thrill when I encountered this effect in a portrait of my wife...), losing the "whites", entirely. Many people can (and will) be disturbed, if this happens to them. Be circumspect!

  The "near infrared" films are more generally useful for editorial or commercial photography than regular Kodak High Speed Infrared. HSI images completely in the infrared portion of the spectrum. Konica 750 images mostly with red light, and sort of "dips into" infrared.

  HSI requires a visibly opaque filter (if you're using it properly), and a "windage" re-adjustment of focus (wavelengths of infrared are physically shorter than wavelengths of visible light... they don't focus to the same place...). Near-infrared films require a #25 red filter, and NO focus adjustment. That makes working a LOT easier.

  Oh, yeah... if you're stubborn, or an "Artiste", and want to photograph people with HSI... be warned that HSI will often render skin as VERY translucent, and that all the veins and arteries just under the skin will image with disturbing clarity.

  The photo was made with a Mamiya 645, a 150mm f/4 lens, and a #25 filter. The lights were a 400 watt-second Novatron, firing one head into a 3'x4' softbox, at 45 degrees to the subject on camera left... and a 400 watt-second Speedotron Brown Line box, at half power, firing one head into a 16"x20" softbox, for fill, and a firing a second head on a small stand... behind the subject... up at the background.

  The film is slow, and the filter eats up three stops of light... the aperture was f/4.


  Fuji's 1600 speed color negative film is utterly amazing. It allows Available Light photography under horrible, lowlight, contrasty conditions... such as those faced while photographing the former Presidential Candidate, pictured above... standing under a chandelier, in front of a window, in a dark tavern in Manchester, NH.

  Although a bit grainier than the 800 speed Fuji film... it's a lot better than ANY fast 'chrome film... and it's acceptably sharp. Of course, if things get REALLY bad, you can always push it a stop or two... !!

  The photo was made with a Leica M3, a 28mm f/2.8 Minolta lens, and a little help from some TV cameramen's lights. The aperture was f/2.8, at 1/60th of a second.


  These professional boxers were photographed outdoors, at night, in a dimly-lit football stadium. Kodak's T-Max P-3200 film was my "main squeeze" for a lot of years, shooting sports photos for small newspapers.

  The best thing that P-3200 does is "pull"... when shooting under stage lights, or some other horrendously contrasty low-light situation... shoot P-3200 at E.I. 800, and develop for a shorter time. Enormous contrast can be bridged, and high film speeds maintained.

  P-3200 is about producing quality imagery in available light. Great Stuff.

  The photo was shot with a Nikon FM2n, with an 85mm f/1.4, wide open at 1/250th of a second. The film was "pulled" to E.I. 1600, to maintain some level of shadow detail.



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