Since returning to film photography a few years ago, I make a point of taking at least one film camera on each trip. Part of the reason is that I love the look of film. I also love playing with my old cameras and trying different techniques. Traveling to Nevis, I packed two film cameras, the Canon 1v, which uses all the same lenses as my DSLR, and the Mamiya 645 Pro TL with the 80mm f/1.9 and the 45mm f/2.8 lenses. I decided to try some slide film, so I packed a few rolls of Fuji Velvia 100 RVP, along with my trusted stocks, Kodak Ektar 100, Fuji 400H, and Kodak Portra 400. Check out the results of our adventures in film photography on Nevis!
Velvia 100 v. Ektar 100
As to the slide film, I appreciated that there was a very small window for error in exposure. The tradeoff was incredibly vivid images. When the exposure was relatively even across the frame, Velvia is perfection. When there is a harsher difference from top to bottom, Ektar performed better, at least in some respects. For example, look at this shot of the beach. Velvia is on the left. Ektar is on the right. Both were shot at box speed. These were shot close in time, although not at exactly the same time for obvious reasons. In Photoshop, I used the color match tool to have the best comparison between the two images. Both were shot on the Mamiya 645 Pro TL.
It appears to me that the detail in the highlights has been lost on the Velvia on the top of the umbrella where it was overexposed. I do appreciate that I have a bit more shake on the Velvia image (you can see it’s sharper under the umbrella on the Ektar image), perhaps human error, or perhaps it was a bit of wind which shook the umbrella accounting in part for the difference. Regardless, I love the fine grain on the Velvia, and the depth of color is striking.
Where the exposure was more even across the frame, the Velvia was beautiful. I will definitely be shooting more slide film.
My standby film stocks are my standby’s for a reason. They perform beautifully, even when I am not so precise on my exposures, and even when I made some grave errors. For example, I had a few rum drinks at Sunshine’s beach bar, and while changing the film out of my Pro TL, I dropped a roll into my lap. I thought all those exposures were completely lost as I fumbled to quickly roll it back onto the spool. Although there is evidence of light leak as a result of my fiddly fingers, the exposures survived. I cropped it square and applied a gradient and the shot was salvageable.
I experimented with double exposures this trip, using my Canon 1v and a roll of Portra 400. I used this tutorial by Wendy Laurel for guidance. On the 1v, you open the side panel and press the multi exposure button to enable multiple exposures. After you shoot the second frame it resets, so you don’t forget and end up shooting a whole roll of double exposures. This was my first try, and in the future, I will try to put the elements of the second shot just off the face.
Here are a few more film images from the trip.
Overall, I was glad to bring all the extra gear to shoot film on this trip. It is fun to experiment with film photography, and even the failures are not so bad.
Love film photography? Check out our film posts here:
Read more posts from our June 2017 trip to Nevis:
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