I’m so delighted to be sharing these photos with you today as they are the first within a group of posts, not only sharing photos from the beautiful Yorkshire Dales - but also in the search for my new favourite black and white film.
As some of you may remember, I have waxed lyrically about Kodak BW400CN often and I am still so sad that it was discontinued (find my many photos here). Amazingly, Kodak Alaris contacted me about trying out some of their other black and white films in an attempt to fill the void. So, on that note, I am obliged to tell you that the film used in this blog post was sent to me free of charge (yes, that does happen, and wow, its happened to me - I still can’t believe it). I did however have to pay for the developing - which I had done by The Latent Image and then I scanned the films myself. The views in this post are my own.
So, first up is Kodak TMax 400 - I asked for the 400 films specifically, one because Kodak BW400CN was a 400 ISO film - but also because the UK Spring is more like the UK Winter just with a bit more sunshine. I find 400 ISO film very versatile in the UK and used a lot of it during the months that weren’t summer for my 2016 366 project. I do wonder if I use this film in the Summer how it will fair and that is definitely something I plan to test and share with you later in the year.
I’ve been a little conflicted in how to share these photos with you as I’m aware that now I scan my own photos, the presentation of this film may not be how others present it. So I decided to be fully transparent and tell you how I did it - I initially scanned these with my Epson Scanner (V370 photo) to the automatic black and white settings and then I edited them to how I wanted them to look. This mostly involved tweaking the mid tones to be a bit brighter and then upping the contrast.
The reason I edited them afterwards is that the photos weren’t singing to me with the initial Epson scan when I looked at them. I’m going to write another post showing the before and after but my ultimate goal with this film was to see if it made me love it. I wanted to get photos that felt like a punch in the chest when I looked at them and I’m happy to say that this film definitely gives results that do that for me. I tried not to edit the photos too much as I didn’t want to take the images too far away from what the film can do and luckily it didn’t take too much work to get the images to how I wanted them to feel.
The photo above is a great example - the speckling of the light against the different shaped stones in the wall tugged at me when I took the photo - and I’m really pleased the the depths of the black in this photo offset against highlights of the beautiful light that we had that day.
This photo also, I just love it. Not only do I love the texture of the wall against the grass, but I love how it captured that Yorkshire Dale gritty greyness - I know, I know its a black and white photo - but the weather had turned on us by this point and although it was cold, there was something so lovely about being in the middle of the Dales, with no one else around (we saw on person on a bike eventually) and the hills fading in the distance as you looked around. This photo captured that ‘ness’ of the location somehow and I really like that about it.
I’ll be sharing more thoughts about this film (and others, Kodak Alaris have been amazingly generous, I’m still pinching myself!), the process, the scanning etc - however I am not a technical photographer or reviewer - as I mentioned above, I want my photos to make me feel something - so I guess I’m an emotive, intuitive photographer? However, if you’re looking for more technical information on this film, definitely look on the Kodak Alaris website and also check out the articles and posts on Emulsive about this film - they like the technical details over there!
Film: Kodak T-Max 400 - sent to me for free by Kodak Alaris (thank you so much!) and developed by The Latent Image (not for free, I would just highly recommend them)
Camera: Canon EOS 750 (mine, bought for like £5 in a charity shop - bargain of my life!)
Location: Reeth, Yorkshire Dales (which was delightful, I want to be there right now)