5 Frames - In Color

Who would have thought? Life is colourful!

I started my journey into analog photography by developing rolls of black and white negatives of various types of Ilford products, but that did not satisfy my urges for long. The pictures in this post are from rolls of Fuji NPS 160 that passed through a Mamiya RB67. They are the first rolls of colour film I developed myself. They are the first rolls of colour film I snapped pictures on, too. I did consider sending them out to a laboratory for development and scanning, but seeing the prices of laboratories with a reputation for high-quality scans, I decided screwing that up myself would be more fun.

I adore Fuji NPS 160 and its specific way of rendering colours. This is the way film looks like, after all, isn’t it? Could I have messed up during development or scanning? Impossible!

As those were my first try, I was meticulously lackadaisical in getting to the correct temperatures for the chemicals. And scanning the negatives? Settings for VueScan were chosen by the high standard of “looks kinda right”.

The neat thing about this approach is: There is no need for post-processing. I have no clue what the image would look like if everything had gone “the right way”. I do not have a clue how to use photo editing software to make the image look like it is supposed to (though I have tried for a couple of years now). So I can leave the image (mostly) the way it came out of VueScan. I just have to decide that I am happy with it.

Have you ever just decided to be happy with something? Works wonders with ones frustration!

Ok, seriously: Most of my self-developed colour images did not come out of the scanner as I would have expected them to come out. Looking at pictures from the same film stock on other websites, I often wonder what I am doing wrong. Did I mess something up during development? Did I use the wrong options during scanning? Is this a specific property of the film stock I used and how it reacts to different light conditions? Is it a light leak in the camera, or did I bend the film during processing? This is bugging me a lot.

My development process has become significantly better in the past couple of years. For black and white I think I have nailed it down to the dot above the T (aside from me cocking it up, because I missed some important step). I did get better at developing colour film, too. Still, I fight with the colours more often than not. And at some point I give up, admit defeat and accept the results as they are.

I just sit down, take a deep breath and decide I am happy with those wonderful, weirdly coloured fruits of my labour.

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