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Moody Fuji 400H | Editorial Photographer

Originally I was intending on going into detail on creating the look of these photos, because let’s face it, the general consensus on Fuji 400H is that it’s all about those pastel hues; those light and airy tones…that shooting Fuji 400H guarantees those things because of the belief that that’s the look of 400H. It’s a myth. But I don’t want to go into that here; I just want to say a little about the location and the mood and let the photos speak for themselves.

If you’re anything like me, there are some places you’ve always had in mind to explore. The places you stare at as you pass by at speed in the car and you wonder, “is there a way to get there, or is it private/fenced off/inaccessible on foot?” For some time now there has been just such a place, and it’s literally only 15 minutes by car from home. It’s by a fairly fast road through the Peak District and I don’t think I have ever seen anyone on this land…generally I think everyone passing by is headed to the popular parts of the Peak District and doesn’t really see this area that I have had my eye on as anything worth closer inspection. After all, it’s a fairy featureless area; a large expanse of fairly flat heath-land, but the more I’ve driven by at particular times the more I’ve thought about driving there one day with the specific intention of finding out if there is a space to park and a way over a fence. I’d also been noticing that due to the geography of the surrounding land, in particular light there was some quite special atmosphere to be captured.

So this weekend we did what I’ve been thinking about doing for some time, and we drove up there, found a place to pull over in the car, and then we walked until we came to an opening in the fence that allowed us to get through to where I’ve been wanting to go. The light was already fading very fast when I loaded my first roll, and the light was pretty much perfect for what I was wanting to achieve – a moodier, more muted look than the look most commonly associated with Fuji 400H. By the time I had shot a couple of rolls it was too dark for 400H so I switched to Delta 3200 rated at 1600, and I subsequently decided to push this one stop in the lab. So here is the collection of photos I took. The colour is all Fuji 400H and the b&w is Ilford Delta 3200 rated at 1600 and pushed one stop. Everything was shot through my Pentax 67ii. Thank you to Erica for being my beautiful model despite the cold. Dev/Scan UK Film Lab.

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November 3, 2014 - 8:55 pm

Holly - Gorgeous! (Piccies and siggy!)

November 4, 2014 - 2:02 pm

Sonia Jansson - Oh, well. This just takes the whole Fuji hysteria out of my mind for good.
Thank you, Christian.
Gorgeous work, by the way!

November 4, 2014 - 7:05 pm

kirstin - These are just beautiful. Lovely Erica in such epic surroundings, wonderful light and of course Fuji!

November 10, 2014 - 6:11 pm

Ricardo Aguiar - They are stunning Christian. Killer shots.

March 2, 2015 - 5:43 pm

Tom - Stunning I love them all,but that first one is just beautiful, the big sky feeling, the colour of the grass against the blue just perfect. I really like the one where she has her arms crossed as well. Superb work indeed.

Ferrania Solaris FG Plus | Film test

I managed to get hold of some Ferrania Solaris FG Plus ISO 400 and I’ve been itching to give it a try to see what it looks like. The first thing that struck me when I started scanning my film was just how atmospheric it was appearing; throughout the course of the time I was shooting it the light was constantly changing; from a very overcast, dark and almost stormy light to full, contrasty sun…and everything in between, and I was really aware of the changes in colour temperature. The film appears to have really captured the changing light and changing colour temperature and for me it really reflects the mood of the day and the ever-changing light. It was a pretty good day to put it through its paces and one thing I would say is that this film stock does not have the latitude of film stocks such as Portra and 400H. Not that that’s always a bad thing – I have no problem with something that makes me concentrate that little bit more on my exposures – but I did notice that anything above 2 stops of over-exposure did not produce results that I would want to use. It did handle well the variety of different light, from flat and dull to really contrasty scenes. In terms of grain it’s not as fine as pro film stocks of an equivalent speed, but again I’m not really averse to grain anyway so it doesn’t bother me! With regards to the colour palette, this is really fairly subjective and I have not tried to assert any particular look to the scans, but I would consider the colours to be a cross between 400H and Portra, which I find quite appealing…the cool Fuji greens but still with some of the true to life colouring of Portra. There are even a few scenes that appear quite similar to the old Portra 400VC. All in all I’m really happy with how it’s come out and if this old film stock is anything like the new film stock that Ferrania are going to be manufacturing then I can definitely foresee a place in the market for it! Ferrania are a hot topic at the moment what with their Kickstarter campaign to raise funding for setting up to produce a new C41 film stock. They’ve done amazingly well and have already reached their target, which is pretty exciting, but it’s not too late to back the campaign if you want to support a very worthy venture and also bag yourself some of the film from the first production batch….find it here!

But anyway, here are the photos from today. All film is Ferrania Solaris FG Plus 400ISO, shot though my Leica M6 with a Zeiss 50mm f/1.5 lens and, of course, developed and scanned by UK Film Lab.

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Shadow Days | Shooting for the Highlights | 400H

For some time now when leaving the lab at night time to see the last remnants of a golden summer evening, I’ve had it in mind to go to one of our favourite spots to take some photos of those final few minutes of sunlight. Well, we finally managed to make it happen and I am pleased to say that I achieved the kind of photos I had been envisaging.

There are many myths about Fuji 400H, one of them being that its natural look is light and airy and made of soft, pastel colours. Like some of the other myths about this film stock, it’s simply untrue. Fuji 400H is my ‘go to’ colour film stock now unless I am photographing bright, contrasty travel/editorial scenes in which case I love Kodak Ektar for achieving shots like these and these. So what with my own use of Fuji 400H as well as working with it daily at UK Film Lab, I am used to seeing just how versatile it is and how many different types of light and scene it can excel at capturing. More and more I have been trying to take photos that show some of the nuances of light – the subtleties we often appreciate with our eyes – photos that have the light as the subject rather than an object or person or place. It has also been a very useful exercise for me in continuing to improve my metering, and more frequently I find myself using spot metering and really thinking about where I want my different ‘zones’ to sit in the scene in front of me.

So here are some photos of one of my favourite places in England, taken during those last few minutes of light. I exposed them in a way that attempts to capture the light and mood of the time, and I love the rich colours that Fuji 400H has provided.

Fuji 400H | Pentax 67ii | UK Film Lab

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August 30, 2014 - 5:07 am

Arvee - I’ve been researching for this film and I found your blog. ;) Can’t wait to try this one, although a roll can be expensive.

Chatsworth in Summer | Ektar for high and low key

Ever since I started shooting film seriously, most things I’ve read and seen about film photography are about creating soft shadows, images filled with light; images that glow. I confess I do like that style but on a recent trip out I felt I wanted to explore a more low key look – to capture some of the different elements of light that I tend to avoid in my usual approach to photography.

I’ve said before how much of a fan I am of nearby Chatsworth House & Gardens; we visit there when we can no matter what time of year and it always looks different and there is always something to photograph. For some time now I have been shooting with diptychs in mind and I usually tend to post my photos that way; this time, though, I decided that some of the photos lost a little impact when paired up, so this time I’ve chosen to let the beauty of the 6×7 format  just be.

So I set out with Ektar first and foremost because it was sunny; I really, really love its contrast and saturation in those conditions. I came across a few scenes that were much more about the highlights than the shadows – scenes that (I think) often look better to the eye than when you try to capture it with a camera – and so I set about trying to capture the scenes in a way that really replicated how I saw it with my eye. So this is my attempt to shoot Ektar in conditions where for me it’s all about colour and contrast, but there are also a few photographs in conditions where it’s much more about the highlights than the shadows.

All images shot on Kodak Ektar with my Pentax 67ii and 105 mm f/2.4 lens. The close-up of the pine cones in the dappled light was shot with the help of an extension tube. Developed and scanned by me in UK Film Lab.

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August 9, 2014 - 6:10 pm

Derbyshire on Medium Format Film | Mainly About Me - […] bright, contrasty travel/editorial scenes in which case I love Kodak Ektar for achieving shots like these and these. So what with my own use of Fuji 400H as well as working with it daily at UK Film Lab, I […]

Mexican Food on Film | Chipotles en adobo

One thing I love about this time of the year is the return of Masterchef on TV. It always reminds me that I love to cook, and when we have time we like to cook Mexican food from recipes in a book by a previous Masterchef cook, Thomasina Miers. So recently we revisited an old favourite – a recipe for Chipotles en Adobo. For those who don’t know, chipotles en adobo is pretty much the essence of quite a number of Mexican dishes, and it’s a fiery combination of chipotle chillis, balsamic and white wine vinegar and herbs, cooked down and then blended into a smooth paste that you add as a basis to other recipes. You can buy the paste ready-made from a supermarket, but it simply doesn’t compare to what you can make yourself and it’s definitely worth the 2-hours it takes to cook it. As a bonus, you cook it in bulk and then store it in a kilner jar. To go with it, we cooked Spring-time tacos (a mix of a variety of mushrooms with herbs and creme fraiche), home-made tomato salsa, and then we used the chipotles en adobo to make a sweet chipotle sauce as an accompaniment. Naturally I took some photos along the way, using my Pentax 67ii and Fuji 400H. I ran out of daylight by the time we’d finished so I used an LED light to light the final shot. All film developed and scanned by me in UK Film Lab.

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