Tag Archives: Williamsburg
As the summer fades and my use of color film dwindles, I’ve been fickle regarding 100 speed film. The new Kodak Portra 400 has proven to be a solid lock for higher speed color film, but I’ve bounced around a bit when it comes to color negative film at 100 speed. I’ve shot dozens of rolls of Fuji Reala 100, which I love, but it sometimes lacks that punch I like from color film. Kodak Portra 160 hasn’t wowed me as much as its big brother, so I’ve been shooting Reala 100, but always thinking I could use something I like better. Enter Kodak Ektar 100. Ektar is a fairly recent addition (2008) to the Kodak family, boasting “ISO 100 speed, high saturation and ultra-vivid color, EKTAR 100 offers the finest, smoothest grain of any color negative film available today.”
It’s certainly punchier than Reala. It’s decently priced, readily available no matter where I shop for film, and scans like a dream. I’m definitely warming to it. Here’s a quick look at how it handles different colors in my experience.
Blus Sky and Plane, Prospect Park, Brooklyn, Kodak Ektar 100
All images shot with Hasselblad 501cm and Zeiss Planar 80mm f2.8 lens and scanned with Epson V500 flatbed scanner.
It seems like the new Kodak Portra has been getting all the love lately in film circles and deservedly so. Film shooters were upset to lose the VC and NC designated film for an amalgamation of the two, but I can’t imagine anyone is complaining about the new Portra 400 formulation. It’s one of the best color negative films I’ve ever used. The 400 ISO version is pretty much perfect no matter how you shoot it, but I haven’t been as thrilled with the new (and much pricier) Portra 160 ISO version.
Enter Fuji Reala 100, which is a slower negative film that is supposed to give very realistic tones, hence the name “Reala.” After shooting a few rolls of Reala, I’ve learned that it’s a very forgiving, realistic tones film. And on a recent vacation it definitely outperformed the new Kodak Portra 400 when I shot several rolls from a boat out on the water. The Fuji film just seems to handle summer type shots really well, but I wondered how it would stand up to everyday shots in the city.
The following were all shot with my Hasselblad 501cm and an 80mm f2.8 Zeiss Planar lens.
I recently purchased an additional A12 back for the Hasselblad at the bargain price of $70. It does have a light leak between the first and second frame for some reason. Although it doesn’t happen every time, I like the effect it gave here.
Over the last week, we have run into a few of the Sing for Hope Pop-Up Pianos. If I have a camera on me, I stop and take a shot. Sometimes there are people playing them, other times not.
Sing for Hope Pop-Up Piano in Williamsburg
Sing for Hope Pop-Up Piano on the Rockaway Beach Boardwalk
I was just walking up to this one adjusting the settings on my camera when this man approached and aked me if it was one of “those pianos.” We chatted a little about the one that was vandalized in the Bronx and then I asked him if he would mind setting down at this one for a picture. He didn’t play, but was happy to pose for me. Taken with Hasselblad 501cm and Fuji Reala 100.
Sing for Hope Pop-Up Piano in Fort Greene Park
This gentleman was trying to get the two kids interested in the piano. And he could play. One kid was kind of into it and the other was having none of it. Shot with Hasselblad 501cm and Kodak Portra 400 at dusk in shade.
Sing for Hope Pop-Up Piano in Meatpacking District Median Park
This guy was entertaining everyone around him with his playing. Since I had a 35mm SLR camera with 36 exposures (instead of my usual 12 with the Hasselblad) I stayed and snapped a couple pictures of him. I love these pianos and this gentleman clearly enhanced the evening and mood of the people sitting at tables around him. It was one of those, “Man, I love this city moments.” Taken with Olympus OM-1 SLR on Kodak Portra 800 film.
Check out the Sing for Hope website for much more information including a map of where the pianos are located.
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.
Growing up and shooting film, I was always frustrated by taking pictures at night. At the time I was stuck with consumer level point and shoot film cameras with maybe an 800 ISO color film. I didn’t know about pushing film or developing. Now as an adult with real equipment and pushable B&W film that I develop myself, shooting at night is a breeze.
To begin with, I rarely worry about my light meter readings at night, since the meter will usually try to compensate for the low light, always aiming (as it should) for a well exposed scene. There is one exception: if you are using a tripod, then the light meter will be your friend. You can trust that it will give you a nicely exposed scene and you won’t have to worry about a shutter speed that’s too low for a handheld shot.
If you are shooting handheld then the meter at night will usually suggest a shutter speed that you can’t physically hold still enough to avoid blur or shake. I do try to stick with the rule of keep your shutter speed equal to or greater than the focal length of the lens you are using. For example, don’t try to use a shutter speed of 1/30 for a 50mm lens. If you are using a 28mm lens though, you can get away with a 1/30 of a second exposure.
Couple at Night Walking Down Freeman’s Alley, Lower East Side
This was one of those instances where a light meter would be pretty useless. It would try to give you a fairly well lit scene and ask you to use a ridiculously low (for handheld anyway) shutter speed of like 1/8 of a second. I set the FM2n at 1/125 to account for the movement of the couple (1/60 would have been better, but they were walking) and used the fastest lens aperture of f1.4. I also wanted an inky black mass on the right hand side, rather than a weakly lit wall. If I would have used 1/60 or pushed it and tried to use 1/30 then that inky black would have been lighter and wouldn’t provide such a contrast to the couple walking towards the light.
Schillers Bar Sign, Lower East Side
There were people milling about in front of Schillers and I didn’t want to highlight them. I deliberately underexposed this shot, knowing it would cast the people in dark shadow while giving the neon sign more contrast and definition.
Kate Waiting to Cross Second Avenue, East Village
I used the widest aperture of the 50mm f1.4 Ai lens here to get nice bokeh from the traffic lights in the background. The shutter speed was 1/60 since Kate was standing still.
Kate Easting Chikalicious, East Village
Same settings here as the previous picture.
Alias Restaurant Facade, Lower East Side
In this one, I had to use a slower aperture of f2.8 to retain some detail at a distance. In order to compensate for the low light, I used a (probably too slow) slow shutter speed of 1/30, which breaks the shutter speed/focal length rule. It’s not tack sharp, but then again tack sharp is sometimes boring.
Man Reading Newspaper, Chinatown
The light here was very gentle and I intentionally underexposed the negative to give it a soft, diffused quality.
Kate in the Glow of Coke Machine, Williamsburg, Brooklyn
Didn’t even pay attention to my light meter here. It would have given me a negative with a much too bright light from the coke machine. I just set the aperture to f1.8 and the shutter speed to 1/60 of a second, which is perfect for a 50mm lens.
All images were taken with a Nikon FM2n and a Nikkor 50mm f1.4 Ai lens on Kodak Tri-X 400 film exposed and developed at 1250 ISO in Xtol Developer for 8.5 minutes.
I haven’t been able to grab any of the new Kodak Portra 160 lately (even Adorama and B&H are out of it), so I just grabbed a few rolls of Kodak Ektar 100 color film in the meantime. I’ve used Ektar in 120 format in the Hasselblad 501cm, so I knew what to expect from it – very fine grain and true color for most subjects. These pictures were scanned at Duane Reade, so they are little more saturated than they would be if I scanned them, but I’m too lazy to forgo the cheap scanning when I drop a color roll off at Duane Reade. Still, these are more true to life than Portra VC and comparable to Portra NC film.
I snapped this roll (roll number 49 of 2011!) in Williamsburg last weekend, while Kate was getting her nails done.
All images are from the Nikon F3 and Nikkor 28mm f2.8 Ai-s lens on Kodak Ektar 100 film developed and scanned at Duane Reade
Classic Blue Volkswagon Under Bridge in Williamsburg, Brooklyn
Abandoned Staples Cart on Marcy Avenue in Williamsburg, Brooklyn
Kam Sing Restaurant on Corner of Bedford Ave in Williamsburg, Brooklyn
New York Deli and Grocery on Metropolitan Avenue in Williamsburg, Brooklyn
Thank You Shark on Roebling Street in Williamsburg, Brooklyn
Crumbling Building Detail on Marcy Avenue in Williamsburg, Brooklyn
Red Building on Meeker Avenue in Williamsburg, Brooklyn
Street Art and Early Moon off of Marcy Avenue in Williamsburg, Brooklyn
Liquor Store on Metropolitan Avenue in Williamsburg, Brooklyn
Street Art off of Metropolitan Avenue in Williamsburg, Brooklyn
Nothing earth shattering here, but I popped off a roll of my least favorite B&W film (just in case the camera was a dud) last night in the new Minolta and I’m happy with the output of this 42 year-old camera. I didn’t want to waste a roll of good film, so I used a roll of Fuji Neopan 400 that I had sitting around. This film gives lackluster, low contrast negatives (even in D-76 developer) that are a bit too muddy for my taste and these shots show similar characteristics. I did adjust the contrast on each of these photographs in Aperture after scanning.
All shots with the Minolta Hi-Matic 7s and Rokkor 45mm f1.8 lens on Fuji Neopan 400 film developed in Kodak Xtol developer (stock solution) for 8.25 minutes.
This was the very first shot with the Hi-Matic. I tried to focus on the beer glass logo, but with the rangefinder focusing I couldn’t back up enough. What ended up being in focus was the menu on the table.
Radegast Biergarten Half Liter of Beer in Williamsburg, Brooklyn
Second shot. Even though I was just fooling around, this image definitely shows that the camera is very capable.
Radegast Biergarten Patrons in Williamsburg, Brooklyn
Abandoned Loading Dock on Metropolitan Avenue, Williamsburg, Brooklyn
Grocery Store and Pedestrians on Corner of Metropolitan Avenue, Williamsburg, Brooklyn
Artist Putting up New Mural on Roebling Street, Williamsburg, Brooklyn
Back Home, Coffee Table at Maximum Aperture
After a quick roll in the Hi-Matic, I’m surprised that everything is in working order and that the meter is spot on. The shutter release button needs a heavy finger on it, making you worry that the camera will move during exposure, but it wasn’t a factor in most shots. This is a very capable camera and a great example of mid century simplicity in design. It’s not an every day shooter, but it will get a lot of use.
Still trying to settle on a low to medium speed black and white film that I’ve liked enough to stick with for several rolls. I’ve found that Ilford Delta 100 is a mess in 35mm for me, but tolerable in 120 format. I liked Fuji Neopan Across 100 for a few rolls, but it’s so low contrast compared to my go to B&W film (Kodak Tri-X 400). So, I finally picked up five rolls of Kodak Plus-X 125. I love the tag line from the web page for this film, “When people say black and white, this is what they mean.”
I only shot one roll this weekend, but I like it so far. These pictures were all taken in harsh mid day sun, but I used a medium yellow filter to tone the brightness of the sky down a bit. I like the low grain in this film, especially when paired with a fine grain developer like Kodak Xtol.
Trees lining McCarren Park in Williamsburg, Brooklyn on Kodak Plus-X Black and White Film
Stuffed Teddy Bear chilling in tree, Williamsburg, Brooklyn
Tree on the corner of Grand Street in Williamsburg, Brooklyn
All shots were with Nikon F3 and Nikkor 28mm f2.8 Ai-S lens with a medium yellow filter on Kodak Plus-X 125 film developed in Xtol developer (stock solution) for 5.5 minutes.
It was cold Sunday, like 15 degrees. We had already brunched, shopped, cocktailed, and walked around when Kate spied a salon that had an opening for a manicure. Off I went, knowing that I had one roll of color film and 45 minutes to kill. I headed over to Kent Street and walked north knowing there was a high concentration of street art. The following shots are with Kodak Portra 400 NC film, which isn’t the best film for a bright, sunny day, but I got some usable pictures.
I hadn’t seen this before.
The always colorful corner of Kent and Metropolitan.
Can’t resist the Roa rabbit
Number 210 from the road
And a close up of the watchful meerkats
Clown Soldier standing guard
This Gaia piece is what I was making a beeline for since I had never seen it in person
Gaia up close with Clown Soldier
Nice little jam on this wall
And as I was walking back to meet Kate, I noticed this You Would
Last weekend I went over to Williamsburg to take some shots of the two Roa animals that reside there. Still loving the Nikon FM2n. It’s a fabulous camera, especially paired with one of my favorite all purpose color films, Kodak Portra 400NC.
On the way to Roa I noticed this nice growth of vines.
Roa squirrel. This thing covers the whole side of a building, it’s really cool to see in person.
The Mollusk Surf Shop is a beautiful building.
Left side of the Mollusk building
Close up of Roa’s rabbit further up towards Kent Avenue
A detail of the building