BIFscale16, part 1: Last year’s redscale leftovers

1961 Ford Falcon wagon
A 1961 Ford Falcon wagon parked in Denver’s Stapleton neighborhood. A bit of a light leak on this frame, which I’m not sure whether to blame on the Trip 35 or the loading. Kodak 400, three stops over. (Daniel J. Schneider)

BIFscale16 — the 2016 iteration of the redscale film photography event championed by — snuck up on me a bit, but I’ve got some early results back from this year.

Last year I did all my redscale month work with a single camera — the Konica EE-Matic Deluxe. It wasn’t until later in the year that I tried it with film turned the right way round.

Antique Store in Castle Rock
The side entrance of a large antique and craft mall in Castle Rock, Colo. Despite bigger signage for them, there were very few antiques — and not a single camera. Fuji Superia 400, two stops over. (Daniel J. Schneider)

This year I hastily picked my new Olympus Trip 35 for the task. The month isn’t over yet, so maybe I still will have time to try something else.

The Trip 35 is definitely up to the task. I counted on the auto-exposure, which seems to have performed quite admirably. I just used the film speed ring to compensate for the film being backwards, rating it down two or three stops. The zone focusing — something any regular reader will know I am usually very bad at — actually worked out really well for me this time. As we’ve come to expect from Olympus cameras, the lens is superbly sharp and I’m very impressed. I can’t wait to use it for normal film.

Last year I shot four rolls of redscale, each rerolled from some junk in my expired film pile. I prepared six rolls, though, and the last two languished in the crisper drawer for eleven months because I never got to them. It turned out to be handy having some ready to go when February was suddenly upon me this year, however.

In addition, I’ve rerolled two new rolls this year — a roll of fresh Kodak Ektar 100 and another roll of miscellaneous expired film (400-speed drug store film, in this case). The Ektar results will come in a post of their own.

Today, though, I have results from the three rolls of expired film, all ASA 400. In addition to the drug-store film, one roll was Kodak 400 (not even Gold — just Kodak) and one was Fuji Superia 400. All came to me from unknown conditions; I don’t even remember where I got them, actually, they were just in the pile.

B&B Cafe in Castle Rock
The historic B&B Cafe in Castle Rock, where in 1946 the town marshall was murdered. Note the increased grain vs. the Kodak. Fuji Superia 400, two stops over. (Daniel J. Schneider)

The Kodak 400 performed the best, by far. It’s not unexpected to get the best results from the best film — even though it was their cheapest consumer film, Kodak’s reputation for quality has never really been in question. I also suspect this roll must’ve suffered the least damaging storage in the ten or twenty years before I got it.

The Kodak 400 results display very low grain, good contrast and the reddest reds. I exposed it as ASA 50 — three stops over box speed — hoping for something closer to the alien landscapes I got at the Denver Botanic Gardens in my first redscale experiment last year, but was disappointed.

The Fuji Superia 400 I only rated down two stops, exposing it at ASA 100. While the grain was higher — and the saturation and contrast a little lower — than the Kodak, the results were still quite satisfactory.

The last roll — the ASA 400 drug store film — also was exposed at ASA 100. It must have suffered terribly in storage over the last couple decades, probably experiencing a lot of heat. It’s possible that it was bad to begin with, but most drug-store films from the early 1990s that I know of were made by Fujifilm, so it shouldn’t have been too bad.

The saturation is greatly reduced, the grain is extreme, and it must’ve been fogged quite a bit — in spite of my efforts to overexpose the reversed film, the finished product seems extremely underexposed. I’ve adjusted the exposure in Photoshop, deepening the shadows a bit, but the results are still terribly flat and noisy.

Celebrants at Broncos parade
Hundreds of thousands of fans await the start of the Denver Broncos’ Super Bowl 50 victory parade in central Denver, climbing all over the Pioneer Fountain at Broadway and Colfax. Drug store 400, two stops over. (Daniel J. Schneider)

Based on the last two years of experimentation, I feel fairly confident saying that Kodak films give the results I like best for redscale. I’ll probably prepare another roll or two for the remaining week of the month and hope for time to shoot them. I may try going four or even five stops over for one in search of that alien look.

Still, I’ll pick out a few of these to submit for #BIFscale16, since the prize is $100 and five rolls of film!

Without further ado, here are the rest of the images I’ve got to share this time around.

Etai's Stapleton
Outdoor seating at the Etai’s restaurant in Stapleton. The chairs are bright yellow, and the curb is bright red. Kodak 400, three stops over. (Daniel J. Schneider)
Historic Castle Cafe
The historic Castle Cafe started life as the Castle Hotel and Bar in 1890, becoming a cafe in 1910. Castle Rock, for which the town is named, in the distance. Fuji Superia 400, two stops over. (Daniel J. Schneider)
Flowers in Stapleton
A display of flowers outside a floral shop in the Stapleton neighborhood. The redness just consumed all other color. Note the scratch in the lower-left — from the Trip 35, or the rerolling? Kodak 400, three stops over. (Daniel J. Schneider)
Broncos parade crowd
Hundreds of thousands fill the streets to cheer for the Super Bowl Champion Denver Broncos, Feb. 9, 2016. Quite underexposed and very grainy; likely this film suffered heat damage. Drug store 400, two stops over. (Daniel J. Schneider)
Home Liquors on Broadway
Home Liquors, on Broadway in Denver’s historic Baker neighborhood. I was hoping for more from the bright turquoise trim on the peeling art deco storefront. Kodak 400, three stops over. (Daniel J. Schneider)
Castle Rock Fuel and Feed
The 1902 Castle Rock Fuel and Feed building, now part of Bennington Mercantile, is the oldest continuously operating business in town. Fuji Superia 400, two stops over. (Daniel J. Schneider)
Baker Volkswagen
This well-restored, mid-1960s, red Volkswagen 1200 has been a fixture on Cedar Avenue for several years. Unsurprisingly, it’s very red. Kodak 400, three stops over. (Daniel J. Schneider)
The Emporium in Castle Rock
Piles of vintage and antique housewares on the porch of The Emporium in Castle Rock. Contrast is good, but saturation is lower than the Kodak. Fuji Superia 400, two stops over. (Daniel J. Schneider)
Denver's historic Baker neighborhood
A row of late-19th century homes along Cedar Avenue in Denver’s historic Baker neighborhood. Kodak 400, three stops over. (Daniel J. Schneider)
The Emporium porch
More housewares and furniture on the wraparound porch of The Emporium in Castle Rock, Colo. Long shadows lend contrast. Fuji Superia 400, two stops over. (Daniel J. Schneider)
Cyclist on Broadway
A cyclist passes Home Liquors on Broadway. I just snapped the shutter without looking through the viewfinder at all — among the most ‘lomo’ of all my photographs. Kodak 400, three stops over. (Daniel J. Schneider)