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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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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.

01-UK Film Photographer Christian Ward02-UK Film Photographer Christian Ward03-UK Film Photographer Christian Ward04-UK Film Photographer Christian Ward05-UK Film Photographer Christian Ward06-UK Film Photographer Christian Ward07-UK Film Photographer Christian Ward08-UK Film Photographer Christian Ward09-UK Film Photographer Christian Ward10-UK Film Photographer Christian Ward11-UK Film Photographer Christian Ward12-UK Film Photographer Christian Ward13-UK Film Photographer Christian Ward14-UK Film Photographer Christian Ward


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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.

Professional food photographerfood photographyMexican food photographerUK Food Photographer using filmUK Food Photographer

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Ilford Delta 3200 | A Film For All Occasions

Quite some time ago I really started to like the tones of Ilford Delta 3200, but then I came across the view that it ‘shouldn’t’ be used in daylight. That is, because of its high ISO rating, it’s somehow an ill-informed photographer who uses it  for anything other than low light scenarios. I didn’t really listen too much to that view but I did start to look at other b&w film stocks and so for some time, I became a greater fan of stocks like TRI-X and Neopan. That said, I do love TRI-X and Neopan and they often surprise me with their ability to capture the mood of a scene and produce a photograph that’s greater than the sum of its parts. That for me – when something is greater than the sum of its parts – is what transports a photograph into something that stops me in my tracks…something that makes me think ‘the scene looked good to my eyes when I took the photograph, but the photograph itself is now more than that.’

So lately I’ve been using a lot more Delta 3200 and it’s reminded me of everything I love about it and it has renewed my thoughts that if shot well, it can look good in any light. And what’s more, it has characteristics that other film stocks just don’t have. I’ve been using it in my Pentax 67ii and although I was never averse to the grain of Delta 3200 in smaller formats, the appearance of the grain in a 6×7 negative is really beautiful. Here’s a shot I took in the Peak District near to where we live. Delta 3200 shot at 1600 and developed normally | Pentax 67ii with 105mm lens | UK Film Lab

UK Film Photographer Ilford Delta UK Film Lab

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A Little Bit of Spring | Fuji 400H | Pentax 67ii

I’ve been using Fuji 400H again, and I have to say….for me, the tones compared to Portra are winning. It could be that I need to stock up on Fuji 400H again. Here’s a little bit of spring, shot with my Pentax 67ii. Dev/Scan UK Film Lab

Chatsworth House in Spring BluebellsChatsworth House in Spring

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April 27, 2014 - 7:59 pm

Isabelle - Ehum, yes! I mean is there anything better, really? Love the tones of Fuji and just keep gong back. Hate the fact that Fuji hates film. Why discontinue all 220 film except 160? I just don’t get it. This is lovely Christian!