Film Confessions: Part 2

I’ve never worked with color film.  At least, not in a professional or academic setting.  I’ve shot some color film for myself and had the dreaded “corner drugstore” develop it, but I’m sure that doesn’t count.

It’s rather funny, now that I’m shooting digital I’m actually learning more about color film than before.  Who knew that there are photoshop color formulas to produce the effect of Velvia color film?  Until I started researching digital, I didn’t even know that something like Velvia existed!  (it’s a super color saturated film that doesn’t really look realistic, but the colors pop and look vibrant.)

Of all the photography classes in college, I choose to skip the color class.  The color machine was in the same darkroom suite as the black and white set up, so I got an up close and personal view of exactly how frustrating the thing was.  If it wasn’t broken, it was acting up.  Students were constantly having issues – we regularly heard wails of “I have critique in 3 days!” when the thing broke yet again. 

I know the basics – I watched students tweak filters until the color matched what they wanted.  I saw some wonderful large color prints produced that were spectacular – and I couldn’t personally tell the difference between the color machine and digital giclee prints.   I’m sure the color purists will disagree with me, but if I, a photographer, can’t tell the difference, can the average person?

I know it’s rather odd to show a black and white photograph to illustrate writing about color film.  That’s because it’s all I know.  Color is truly a new frontier for me.  I love experimenting with the digital and seeing what I can do – after shooting for years in the black and white mindset, it’s amazing how color can change a photograph.

This image is the companion to the first in my last post.  It’s also taken with my Kodak Brownie camera, socked onto a tripod for a long exposure of 7 minutes or so.  Believe it or not, it was taken in the middle of a snow storm – the long exposure removed the falling flakes and left the light and fluffy accumulation instead.  Proof of that is the snow in the street – it doesn’t take very long for the street to look absolutely nasty. 

I have a few rolls of medium format color languishing on my shelf that I want to test the brownie with at some point.  It’s probably expired beyond saving.  Until I work out a way to rewind the film off my sole film spool that fits, I’m stuck leaving the stuff in the box and wondering.

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