Here we have ten photos taken while snowshoeing in the Colorado countryside. I captured them on bulk Rollei Retro 80s film that I loaded into empty film canisters. The photos were taken with a Canon AE-1 / 15mm fisheye lens and red filtered. Rollei Retro films have an extended red sensitivity, which means a near infrared look can be achieved when coupled with a red or, naturally, infrared filter. I really like the look of this film. It’s really contrasty and yields stark, bold images. I particularly like how on a very clear day ( of which CO has many ) that an infrared style can be had with only using a red filter. I long to go back to Colorado and try it some more. Perhaps someday, but I’ll be in Korea ( with all her hazy days ) for the time being. Anyhow, I’ve shot this film without a filter, with a red filter, and I even had a go at shooting it with an infrared filter. All work well, so Rollei Retro 80s can be used as an alternate to the ever dwindling rolls of Efke IR 820 that are floating about the world. I still prefer the Efke IR films, but Rollei Retro is pretty decent.
What do you all think? Do you like the contrast or is it too much? I think it works well for certain purposes. I’ll try to post some street photos I took with Rollei Retro 80s in the near future. I didn’t use a filter so there’s a bit more tone, but lots of detail gets lost in the shadows. But why are photographers so picky about shadow tone anyhow? Why does a black and white image have to have a billion different shades of gray? I had a bit of an argument over this with a professor recently. I had shot a few rolls of Tmax 400 in low lighting, and I told him that I was going to push the film in the darkroom to ISO 3200. He suggested that I shouldn’t, that I should process as normal at ISO 400. But, my negatives would come out too thin, too dark, I replied. He agreed but then told me how I could photoshop everything to keep the gray tones intact, lessen contrast, and minimize grain. This goes against my photographic philosophy. I can’t think of a situation where I would purposefully under or over develop my film in the darkroom. I try to get healthy, properly exposed film negatives for printing and scanning. Also, I don’t want you all to like my photos because I’m good at a computer program. I want you to like my photos because of my vision; I want you to like what I shot, how I shot it, what methods I used, what hands on techniques I employed in the darkroom ( pushing / pulling film, cross processing, etc. ). And besides, grain is good! And what’s wrong with some contrast? I understand that there are times that nice tonality is beneficial. If you frequent the blog you’ll note that I shoot on many different kinds of film, all having their own characteristics. I like fine grain and lots of tone for portraits, but I’ve also shot contrasty, grainy film portraits and had, to my eye, fine results. I guess it’s all taste. Anyhow, I’d like to hear what you think. Any comments on why many photographers feel a million mid tones are necessary? Should I stop pushing film and just let photoshop do the work? Feel free to comment. For now, check out these ten shots were taken with a Canon AE-1 / 15mm fisheye lens on Rollei Retro 80s film, red filtered, and personally developed in the darkroom with D76. Enjoy! © Patrick Bresnahan