Experiments in low-light film photography


As you may have seen in previous posts on my blog, I've been experimenting with black and white a bit lately. Until recently this was entirely using my GF1 - either by using a custom black-and-white square cropped setting I have set up; or by converting to black-and-white in Lightroom.

I decided to change it up my experimenting with black-and-white film. One of the more useful properties of film is that it's more forgiving of under- and over-exposoure, especially if it's done deliberately and adjusted for during developing.

When you deliberately under-expose a roll of film, then develop it for longer to compensate, it's called "push processing." The benefit of this is you can shoot in much lower light, the side-effect is that both grain and contrast is increased.

Epic guitar solo!

The lack of light introduces a number of other challenges, the primary one being that it's really, really hard to nail the focus. Check out this shot below - exposed nicely, but focused on the wall instead of Brian and Megan.

Brian and Megan

The other challenge is that under-exposure leads to a muddy mess, but I guess this is no different to the usual challenges of film.

Megan, the drunk pirate

However, when you nail both you can get some excellent results.

Random dude, silhouetted

In the name of experimentation, I shot two different types of film. The first roll, which most of the photos above a from, was on Kodak Tri-X. As this needs to be processed differently to usual colour film it ended up being a bit more expensive to process and scan. The next roll was Kodak BW400CN which uses the standard C41 process and is therefore cheaper. The results, however, weren't as good.

I still got some good results from the roll, though, even though the results had much higher grain and much lower contrast.

Making oneself into a pirate


Check out the roll I shot on Kodak Tri-X, and the roll I shot on Kodak BW400CN.

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