Crispness in the Warehouse District

Years ago, Kodak manufactured a film called Ektagraphic HC.  This was a film that was designed for slideshows – not PowerPoint slideshows, mind you, but the kind of slideshows where you photographed some text and inserted that photograph into your presentation.  Yes, we’re talking 1970’s technology.  So what?

Although you can use this film for its intended purpose, you know I’m not going to do that.

I mean, not when I can pack a roll of Kodak Ektagraphic HC into Leica Green and see what I can achieve.

This was a test roll.  So I took some pictures of signage in Albany’s Warehouse District.  Figured I’d get a few good shots here and there, while compensating for the film’s ultra-slow speed (ISO of 6).

Honestly, this film actually reminds me of a high-contrast film I shot with four years ago, Polaroid PolaBlue instant 35mm film.  And after much trial and error, I was able to snag a blue-ribbon-winning photo, Lodge’s in Polaroid PolaBlue, at the 2011 New York State Fair.  Aces.  Blue Aces.

Lodge's Variety Store, Albany NY - taken with Polaroid PolaBlue film
Lodge’s in Polaroid PolaBlue. Nikon F100 camera, Nikkor 28mm f/2.8 E series lens, Polaroid PolaBlue 35mm film. Photo by Chuck Miller.

But that was four years ago.  And I’m now using a brand new (to me) batch of film.  I have four cartridges of this mix; the plan is to get at least one good shot out of these cartridges.

The first test.  Walk this film around the Warehouse District and look for high-contrast signage.  It didn’t matter what.

Then I dropped the roll off at McGreevy Pro Lab.

On Tuesday, I received a call from the lab.  “Hey Chuck.”

“Yes?”

“We have a problem with this roll of film you dropped off.”

Oh great.  Just my freakin’ luck.  The film’s too old.  Or it’s like Kodachrome and there’s no chemicals that can develop it.

“We did some research on the film you dropped off, and it says that the film should be developed in Kodalith developer.  We don’t use Kodalith.  Would you like us to try our standard black and white developing routine for this film?”

“Sure,” I replied.  “It’s only a test roll.”

A few hours later, I received the results.  A quick scan, and here’s some of the images that came out.

K
K. Leica M3 camera, Summicron 50mm lens, Kodak Ektagraphic HC film. Photo by Chuck Miller.
1032 Shipping
1032 Shipping. Leica M3 camera, Summicron 50mm lens, Kodak Ektagraphic HC film. Photo by Chuck Miller.
VFW
V.F.W. Leica M3 camera, Summicron 50mm lens, Kodak Ektagraphic HC film. Photo by Chuck Miller.

Holy monochromatics, Batman, look at that contrast!  And the sharpness!  And the details!!

Okay, now let’s test it on a street scene.  And a quick shot down Broadway and…

Nipper's reflection
Broadway South. Leica M3 camera, Summicron 50mm lens, Kodak Ektagraphic HC film. Photo by Chuck Miller.

Hey wait a minute… I just realized there’s something in that street puddle in the last picture.

Flip the picture 180 degrees.

Crop like crazy.

And look what i pulled out…

Nipper's reflection cropped
Nipper’s reflection. Leica M3 camera, Summicron 50mm lens, Kodak Ektagraphic HC film. Photo by Chuck Miller.

Holy crap I got that in a reflection?  Hokey smokes!

And this all came from my green-leathered Leica M3, also known as “Leica Green.”

Wow.  If I can pull this stuff out of a film that’s designed just for reproduction of transparencies for 1970’s-era slideshows…

Oh man I’m going to have some fun with this film.

Yeah.  This is exciting.

And as for Nipper and that reflection photo…

I have a sense that there’s a certain charitable art auction in the fall that might appreciate this image.

Just sayin’ is all… 🙂

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