Tag Archives: Fuji Astia 100
I took a short walk in St. Michaels, Maryland over the Thanksgiving holiday. It’s a beautiful town and I’ve spent most of my time on the river side of things, since that’s where our family lives. But once you cross Talbott Street, it’s a different town. And you can also find some neat things (luckily the anchor was too big for me to carry home) behind the Cheasapeake Maritime Museum if you poke around a little bit. Here are a handful of shots from a roll of Fuji Astia slide film.
I also shot a roll of Fuji Reala that I’ll post on Wednesday.
Shots taken with my Hasselblad 501cm and a Zeiss Planar 80mm f2.8 lens.
I have a talented Flickr contact named David who regularly posts botched photos on Fridays. He used to call it Failure Friday, but now it’s Freedom Friday (as in Freedom to Fail). I like these installments and often learn from his explanation of the process and what his intentions might have been.
A photographer shouldn’t be afraid of failing often. I know that failure is an odd concept in the age of digital photography, where we can take a shot, check the LCD screen, delete, adjust, and take the shot again. There’s very little mystery and no heartbreak involved: just keepers, then those bytes and bits relegated to the virtual trash bin or languishing on a hard drive.
But for a curious film photographer, failure is real. That roll you haven’t developed yet could be just what your experience has taught you to expect – solid and well exposed. It may even contain a shot or two that just makes you weak in the knees – somehow the quality of the light and the emulsion have combined to give you something so beautiful and unexpected that you treat it like a gift. On the other hand, that undeveloped roll could be brutally underwhelming. Maybe it was your first time using that film stock, a new technique, or you thought that you could make bad light into good.
I’ve recently started shooting long exposures and really enjoy the change of pace that night photography gives me. There’s no concern about the quality of the light or the harshness of the sun. There is only light from the buildings, signs, streetlights, and moon. For my first long exposures, I did my research and picked a tried-and-true film (Fuji Neopan Acros 100) that would be easy to use and develop at home. I was very happy with those two rolls, even stunned by the quiet beauty of a couple shots.
Excited about those shots, especially the ones of Jane’s Carousel, I got a little greedy and returned to the same spot in DUMBO a few days later. Unfortunately, in my enthusiasm I downplayed the inclemenent weather and I shot a black and white roll in a light rain and heavy wind. The results were exactly what I should have expected and I now understand that shooting into a 20mph wind negates the careful use of a tripod. Lesson learned: check the weather next time.
That night, I also used the roll of Fuji Velvia that I happened to have in my bag as an experiment. I didn’t check the fact sheet for the film. If I had, I would have known that Velvia is not recommended for anything past 64 seconds (doh!). This roll of twelve exposures was muddy and underexposed. And now I know why: reciprocity failure is very real with Velvia. I bracketed my exposures, but none of them turned out very well. The carousel is well-exposed, but the sky looks like a purple mess of coffee grounds were smeared across it.
Not all was lost that night though. Despite the wind and rain, I managed to salvage this shot on a roll of Fuji Neopan Acros 100.
I also didn’t do my research when using Astia film on the Hudson River. (Turns out, it’s fine up to and even past 120 seconds provided you account for reciprocity failure and up the exposure.)
The slides were mostly okay if a little underexposed. But what was most alarming was the color shift when I scanned them.
Scanned long exposure slide of Fuji Astia about 10-15 minutes after sunset. Hello purple sky and water!
After color correction the Astia slides turned out decent, but they were not sharp. The lights in the buildings across the Hudson River are soft and a little “blobby.” I realized at the time that my tripod was resting on steel grate, not concrete. Joggers and walkers were tromping past during exposures…I remarked to Kate at the time, “That can’t be good for my exposures.” It wasn’t. Another lesson learned.
Reflecting the Stars Lights on Hudson Piers, Fuji Astia 100, Long Exposure
This slide of One World Trade Center jutting into the sky is also pretty unremarkable, but at least it didn’t have the crazy color shift.
All images were shot with my Hasselblad 501cm and Zeiss Planar 80mm f2.8 lens.
The results weren’t catastrophic, just a bit of a letdown. I knew when I handed them over that I might be unhappy with the results. I consider these two rolls a learning process or a starting point.
For my birthday Kate and I decided to spend a week at her parents house in St. Michaels, Maryland. Besides New York, it’s probably my favorite place in the world. Since we’ve moved to the city, St. Michaels has been the perfect compliment to the fast paced life we normally lead. On Maryland’s Eastern Shore you don’t hurry. You don’t feel rushed, you don’t feel like you have to do this or do that. You relax. We read, take pictures, nap, eat, drink, then repeat.
I took a fistful of film, my Hasselblad 501cm, Nikon FM2n, and the new Polaroid 400 Land Camera with me for our weeklong stay. As I look at my pictures, I realize that Fuji films are definitely better for pictures of water and boats. Kodak Portra is still perfect for people and things on land, but there’s something about Fuji films and water that look better to my eye. Fuji slide film (like the Astia I used) does have a tendency to shift to purple, but you can correct that in post processing if you want.
The Selina II sailing on the Miles River, St. Michaels, Maryland, Fuji Reala 100
The Selina II is a beautiful sailboat that offers cruises. We haven’t taken advantage of one of their trips, but we will one day.
On Wednesday evenings, they have sailboat races on the Miles River. Wednesday just happened to be our last night and our neighbor and friend Bob invited us to go out on his boat for an amazing view.
Red Sail on Miles River, St. Michaels, Maryland, Fuji Astia 100
To fully embrace summer, we’ve been taking the A Train out to Rockaway Beach on Saturdays for the last few weeks. During those visits, I’ve been obsessed with photographing the waves. I took my Polaroid Land Camera one weekend and squeezed of a few shots on Fuji FP100C Instant Film. The Polaroid 420 Land Camera totally captures the colors and feeling of a summer day. The 420 uses a plastic lens, which gives you a good, if not super sharp, image. That’s part of the appeal of Polaroids.
This past weekend I took the Hasselblad, which sports an almost frighteningly sharp Zeiss 80mm f2.8 lens. I loaded the Hassleblad with my favorite slide film – Fuji Astia 100 and dialed my light meter in at 80 ISO. The combination of the Zeiss glass and the slide film gave me realistic colors and depth, but the maximum shutter speed of 1/500 on the Hasselblad doesn’t result in super sharp “freeze” photos of something that moves as fast as a wave. Still, I’m happy with these shots. The movement and power of the water is obvious. And these waves are just short enough for me to hold the camera up above my head as the waves come crashing against me.
Nothing special here, except a handful of Fuji Astia 100 shots from last weekend. I’ve been consistently exposing this film at 80 ISO instead of 100 and this setting is giving me much brighter slides. And I’m trying to be more careful about what I shoot. If it’s something that too much contrast from light to dark, I just walk away. I know I won’t be happy with range that the slide film gives me. These were taken with the Hasselblad 501cm last weekend. I’ve also switched over to Vista Imaging Group on 22nd Street for my color development. The negatives were coming back so dusty from Luster that it was taking me ages to get rid of all the dust spots. Vista Imaging has done a great job so far and they have a four hour turnaround, even with slide film.
As always, you can click on the images for a larger version.
I finally made the trek out to the Little Red Lighthouse (actually known as Jeffreys Hook Lighthouse) made famous by author Hildegard H. Swift and illustrator Lynd Ward’s book “The Little Red Lighthouse and the Great Gray Bridge.” The lighthouse was constructed in 1920 to aid the navigation of shipping boats on the Hudson River. Popular lore (and Wikipedia) says the Little Red Lighthouse, after being deactivated in 1947, was saved from almost certain demolition because of the popularity of the book depicting the little red lighthouse under the bridge (the George Washington Bridge).
After a longish, but pleasant subway ride from Wall Street to 181st Street, it’s a bit of a hike to get there. You cross a foot bridge to get over the looping roadways that cut through Fort Washington Park, then meander down a hilly path to the bank of the Hudson River. The lighthouse is so small that you don’t really see it as you are winding down the hilly path. Then suddenly you see a shock of red with the George Washington Bridge towering over it right by the water. It’s a beautiful sight on a nice day.
I had my Hasselblad loaded with new Kodak Portra 160 film and only had a few shots remaining.
After running out of the Portra, which I’m glad I had to get a true representation of the colors, I loaded a roll of Fuji Astia 100 slide film. I’ve been rating the Fuji slide film (whether Astia or Velvia) at 80 ISO on my Digisix light meter to give a little bit of extra light. I find it helps me lighten the shadows and even then I might need to open up 1 or 1.5 stops depending on the scene. The colors here on the slide film are almost obscene. The sky was not this blue really, but I knew the slide film would give it that extra bit of blue to contrast with the brilliant red.
And I had a roll of Fuji Velvia 100 on me as well. Here’s one picture from that roll. This is the tamest of the Velvia shots and the one that looks most like Astia. I really prefer Fuji Astia or Velvia. Astia is plenty contrasty and saturated for me. I’ll reserve my Velvia stock for when I want insane color.
Last post, I promised you that I would include all 12 shots from the roll of Fuji Astia 100 slide film taken at Coney Island last week. A few of these are kind of similar, because I wanted to make sure I got a decent beach shot with the birds, but I’m pleased with how they turned out. It’s not often that I don’t mind sharing all 12 photos from a roll of film, especially finicky slide film!
Astia is a 100 speed film, but I rated it at 80 ISO on my Digisix external light meter to give the slides more light. Most people say to underexpose slides slightly to give more contrast, but from my experience the shadows were way too dark. Besides, slide film by its very nature already gives you nice contrast. I see no need to give more contrast. And lastly, I did not try to compensate for any blue color shift of the film. The intense blues are the reason I chose this film for the beach.
All of these images were of course taken with the Hasselblad 501cm and the regular Zeiss Planar 80mm f2.8 lens. This kit definitely keeps you working to get the proper shot, but I’m finding the limitations of an 80mm lens (about 50mm equivalent for a 35mm camera), only 12 shots, and a square format really slow me down.
Over the Memorial Day weekend, we kicked off summer in on of our favorite places – St. Michaels, Maryland. Kate’s parents have a beautiful house on the water in this tiny town and it’s our favorite escape from the city. Since the forecast for the weekend was sun and blue skies, I grabbed a fistful of color film for the Hasselblad, including a few rolls of Fuji Astia 100 slide film. Astia is a slide film that gives the punch of slides, but without the technicolor rush of Velvia. Looking at these pictures though, it’s plenty saturated for me. If there’s a bit of cloud cover or you aren’t in direct sun, the colors are very strong. In harsh overhead sun, it looks more like negative film.
Between bouts of reading, eating, and relaxing we took a trip into town and a boat ride, both with the Hasselblad in hand.
Big Al’s Market and Grocery, St. Michaels, Maryland
Flowers on Talbott Street, the main drag in St. Michaels
Town and Country Liquor Store
Old House in St. Michaels
The Little Boston Whaler
Boat with Flags in St. Michaels Harbor
Kate and Her Dad Behind the Wheel of the Big Whaler
British and American Flags in St. Michaels Harbor
This one is more saturated and contrasty than I would like because I under exposed it.
Deep Blue Sky Above the Miles River
Clouds Above the Miles River
Kate Enjoying the Boat Ride
Sailboat Anchored in a Quiet Spot off of the Miles River
Sailboat Crossing Our Path
Trio of Sailboats on the Miles River
This one also shows how underexposure intensifies the saturation of slide film.
Two Trees Along the Shore
I also shot a roll of the new Kodak Portra 400 during the weekend. Those shots, which I’ll post tomorrow, look very different from the Fuji slides. I’m not sure which I like the best. Slides are so beautiful to look at and there’s little room for a lab technician to do something squirrely with your colors. But slide film is a little less forgiving of an exposure error. I shot all of these with a handheld meter, but you can tell I underexposed a few of them when the light changed. The new Portra 400 is VERY forgiving. You can pretty much shoot it at any ISO from 200-1600 without ill effects.
My weekend shooting Astia did convince me to buy a 5-pack of Fuji Velvia slide film with an Amazon gift card. I’ll save those for our next trip to St. Michaels!