6 Frames - A Splotch Of Color

  • Where: A lake somewhere in Bavaria
  • Camera: Nikon F6
  • Lens: Leica Summicron-R 90mm f/2
  • Film: Kodak Gold 200
  • Scan: Nikon Super Coolscan 9000

Wintertime is the ideal season for digging up your black-and-white film from the bottom of the freezer. The world is covered in snow and the plants and trees are dull and gray. But somewhere in this monochromatic landscape, hiding beneath a blanket of whiteness, we can find little splotches of color. Maybe it is worth taking some color film with us? Who knows what we might find?


9 Frames - Deutsches Museum

  • Where: Deutsches Museum
  • Camera: Hasselblad 503cx
  • Lens: Zeiss Planar 80mm f/2.8
  • Film: Kodak Portra 160 (Pushed 2 stops)
  • Scan: Nikon Super Coolscan 9000

Many months ago I visited the “Deutsches Museum” in Munich with my trusty Hasselblad in hand and a couple of rolls of Kodak Portra 160 in my pocket. I had not been to that Museum before, so I walked in without knowing what to expect. As it turns out, visitors are greeted by a large collection of Aeroplanes from various decades right after entering the first hall. I started taking pictures left and right, but soon noticed that I won’t get very far at stock film speed. At around the place where the museum exhibits book printing presses and other related machinery, I switched over to another roll and decided to push that by 2 stops. I must say I am pleasantly surprised about the results. Of potentially 12 images (with one image blank because I messed up), I have 9 keepers that I dare share with you in this blog. It has been a while since I took the pictures, so please bare with my vague image descriptions.


5 Frames - Göttingen

  • Where: Göttingen
  • Camera: Hasselblad 503cx
  • Lens: Zeiss Planar 80mm f/2.8
  • Film: Kodak Portra 160
  • Scan: Nikon Super Coolscan 9000

Somewhere along the A7 between Hannover and Kassel lays the quaint university town of Göttingen. It was the last quarter of 2022 and I took a one-day detour on my way back from visiting relatives in the north. The day was sunny and I had a few hours before sunset when I arrived. What better way to spend that time than to go for a walk in the historic downtown district of Göttingen?


5 Frames - Lack Of Light

  • Where: Maisinger Schlucht & See
  • Camera: Nikon F6
  • Lens: Leica Summicron-R 90mm f/2 (F-mount conversion)
  • Film: Expired Kodak Gold 200
  • Scan: Nikon Super Coolscan 9000

The general rule for expired film seems to be “expose one additional stop for each decade past the expiration date” if the material has been stored in a reasonable manner.  With film bought through “the bay”, it is often unclear how it has been stored over all these years. While the general rule so far has worked sufficiently well for my purposes with film stock that runs below the ISO 400 mark, exposing film for longer than originally intended can lead to some amount of color shift. So what if we ignore the rule for a random roll that expired somewhere around 1998? (Note: That was 22 years ago.) I gave this a try with Kodak Gold 200 on a hike along the Maisinger Schlucht and around Maisinger See the day after. After development, I got mixed results for this experiment: The base came out pretty dark and the images were a little thin overall. After converting the negatives with Lightroom and Negative Lab Pro, I got images with a lot of grain. Especially the shadows are full of random green pixels, which I would attribute to the thin negatives and the dark base. Images with little-to-no shadows and generally a lot of green came out fine. Everything else suffered greatly from the lack of overexposure. Nonetheless, I managed to get at least 5 images out of the roll that I deem interesting.


10 Frames - Shapes

  • Where: Medical Campus in Munich
  • Camera: Nikon F6
  • Lens: Leica Summicron-R 90mm f/2 (F-mount conversion)
  • Film: Expired Agfa APX 100
  • Scan: Nikon Super Coolscan 9000

On one of my previous exploratory walks around the medical campus in Munich, I developed an interest in the shapes that the buildings in the area exhibited. As a consequence, I took another exhaustive walk with the sole goal to take pictures that expose the shapes, textures, and other elements that caught my eye on the first visit. Usually, I find it easy enough to cull the 36 frames of a roll of film to get down to the five frames needed for my average blog post. This time, to my surprise, I had a hard time getting it down to 10 usable images.


5 Frames - Barnack

  • Where: Munich and its surroundings
  • Camera: Leica IIf
  • Lens: Leica Elmar 50mm f/3.5
  • Film: Ilford HP5+
  • Scan: Nikon Super Coolscan 9000

I had been longing for an old-school Barnack Leica for a long time, and at the end of 2022 I pulled the trigger when visiting a new-to-me photography store in Munich. They had way too many choices, and after a bit of deliberation, I left the store with a Leica IIf with the Leica Elmar 50mm f/3.5 safely stored in my backpack. The store clerk kindly provided me with a roll of Ilford HP5+ for my first test run with the camera. In the following days, I did not have much time to shoot when the sun was up, so I went on a late evening walk and tried to capture some of the scenes that I passed by. I do not have that much experience with night-time shooting, so the test runs mostly served the purpose of figuring out how to operate the camera and to see if it was in working order. Turns out it works fine, luckily.


5 Frames - Into The Valley

  • Where: Maisinger Schlucht (Valley)
  • Camera: Nikon F6
  • Lens: Leica Summicron-R 90mm f/2 (F-mount conversion)
  • Film: Expired Agfa APX 100
  • Scan: Nikon Super Coolscan 9000

Vacation time without premeditated plans often comes with excessive laziness, and disappointment because of missed opportunities to enjoy my hobbies. Thus, I pushed myself to get out of the apartment at least once every day. Ideally to go for a walk or even a simple hike with a camera in hand or dangling from my neck. In an attempt to explore my “nearby” surroundings, I made my way through the maisinger valley. The weather was sunny with some cloud coverage passing overhead, so I either had direct sunlight or a massive softbox at hand. Given the previous success with my rolls of expired Agfa APX 100, I had one empty roll loaded in the Nikon F6 and the newly acquired 90mm Leica Summicron-R mounted at its front. The valley is a mixture of meadows and forests with a footpath alongside a creek. Bathed in the sunlight of the low-hanging winter sun, I dare call the sight pretty. Unfortunately, the vistas in the meadows did not shine through in the black-and-white images, so the images in this post are mainly from the forest area.


6 Frames - Leica F6

  • Where: At a lake somewhere in Bavaria
  • Camera: Nikon F6
  • Lens: Leica Summicron-R 90mm f/2 (F-mount conversion)
  • Film: Expired Agfa APX 100
  • Scan: Nikon Super Coolscan 9000

What do you get when you mount a Leica lens on a Nikon F6 body? I will leave the answer for the reader to figure out. For me, it is a solution to the desire for a portrait lens in the 85-90mm focal length area, combined with a pleasant, comfortable shooting experience. I enjoy shooting with the Nikon F6. I enjoy shooting with the Leica M6. I love Leica lenses, but at least for the M-mount, the prices are prohibitive. But what about R-mount Leica lenses? I recently saw a Leica R-mount lens mounted to a Nikon F3 on one of the Youtube channels that I am subscribed to (@grainydays, I blame you and my GAS for the following purchase), and a bit of digging around “the bay” uncovered an offer for a 90mm f/2 Summicron-R complete with F-mount conversion and all parts to convert it back to R-mount at a reasonable price. As soon as the package arrived at my doorstep, I stuffed a roll of expired Agfa APX 100 into the Nikon F6, mounted the lens (to the camera), and rode out to the prairie (well, a nearby lake) to take some test shots. At that time it was winter, the days were short, it was late, and the weather was overcast. The F-mount conversion meant that the lens would not automatically stop down when triggering the shutter, but instead would be glued to the chosen f-stop all the time. Even a few stops down from f/2 meant that I could barely see anything when framing my subjects. So I shot everything wide open at f/2.


6 Frames - Vito B

  • Where: At a lake somewhere in Bavaria and nearby.
  • Camera: Voigtländer Vito B
  • Lens: Color-Skopar 50mm f/3.5
  • Film: Expired Agfa APX 100
  • Scan: Nikon Super Coolscan 9000

Once upon a time, I bought a box of Voigtländer 35mm cameras on “the bay” as a source of neat little gifts for my film-interested colleagues.  Not everyone received the gift with gratitude, and at least one of the cameras made its way back into my possession, while another never even left it. The subject of this post is a Voigtländer Vito B that I had tested once and subsequently used as decoration in my display cabinet. During my new years holidays, I made going on a walk as often as possible, at least once a day, a firm goal to prevent myself from rotting away in front of some kind of screen. One of those days, I grabbed an expired roll of Agfa APX 100 from the freezer and the Vito B from the display case and went for a walk. Why this film and this camera in particular? The last time I shot the Vito B, it was with hand-rolled Double X, which turned out to have light leaks because I did not close the film can properly. It is fun to shoot, makes satisfying noises when depressing the shutter button and winding the film, and is so small that you barely notice it when carrying it around. I chose the expired Agfa APX 100 because I wanted to test out if the film is still usable (I do have a couple more rolls of film from the same source in the freezer) and if it isn’t, I would only lose a couple of frames that I shot without expectations, anyways.

Turns out the film developed just as well as fresh film and the quality and sharpness of the lens in the Vito B was a pleasant surprise.


5 Frames - It Snowed

  • Where: At a lake somewhere in Bavaria
  • Camera: Porst Reflex C-TL
  • Lens: Domiplan f/2.8, 50mm
  • Film: Expired Kodak Gold 200
  • Scan: Nikon Super Coolscan 9000

Not much to say about this set of images. I spent some time this winter finishing off some rolls that got started much earlier. One of them was a roll of expired Kodak Gold 200 that was stuck in a Porst Reflex C-TL for a couple of months. Given that the roll had expired about 2 decades ago, the results are decent. 

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