Mercer White Oak was a historic tree at Princeton Battlefield Park that stood tall amidst the park's rolling hills and lush fields. The tree was named after General Hugh Mercer, who died from wounds he received at the Battle of Princeton during the American Revolution. The tree became a symbol of the battle and a testament to the bravery of the American soldiers who fought there. The tree was one of the largest and oldest white oaks in the state of New Jersey, with a massive trunk and sprawling branches that provided shade for visitors to the park. The Mercer White Oak was not only a natural landmark but also a crucial part of the park's rich history, serving as a reminder of the sacrifices made during the American Revolution.
The Mercer White Oak tree was about 300 years old when strong winds ripped it apart in March 2000. Soon after the tree's death, an arborist planted an 8-foot sapling from a Mercer Oak acorn inside the former tree's stump. That fenced-in young oak tree is the one that is seen in Princeton Battlefield Park today.
On this misty, foggy day, the tree takes on an ethereal quality, shrouded in a mysterious veil of white. The fog seems to wrap around the trunk and branches of the tree, adding to its already stately presence.
This is one of several frames from one of the four cartridges of Kosmo Foto Agent Shadow 400 35mm film I bought last year. The film was developed in Tennessee at Boutique Film Labs and scanned at home using an Epson Perfection V600 and VueScan software. The negatives were converted as part of my workflow using Negative Lab Pro.
I tried out a 36-exposure roll of a new 35mm film stock, but I made a silly mistake when using it.
If a new film stock comes to the market, I'm one of those people who want to be among the first to try it out. CatLABS X FILM 320 Pro 35mm black and white film is a new 35mm film with a high sensitivity rating of ISO 320, making it ideal for use in low-light conditions and for capturing fast-moving subjects. The film also has a fine-grain structure, which results in superior sharpness and clarity in images.
CatLABS X FILM 320 Pro has a wide exposure latitude, which means it can be used in various lighting conditions and still produce high-quality results. The film also produces many tonal values, providing great creative control over the final image. It can be processed using standard black-and-white film developing techniques.
I loaded the CatLABS X FILM 320 Pro cartridge into my XD-11, attached my Minolta MD Rokkor-X 45mm f/2 lens, and went to the Montgomery Farmers' Market to test the film.
It was a sunny but cold day at the Montgomery Friends Farmers' Market. Despite the chilly temperature, the bright sun made for a beautiful day at the market. The vendors were bundled up in warm clothes. The cold weather didn't discourage shoppers from coming and enjoying the market. The market was bustling as shoppers browsed the various stalls, picking out fresh produce and handmade goods (alpaca wool socks and hats).
The monthly brewer's hour at Flounder Brewing on Sunday morning is a unique experience for beer enthusiasts to sample new brews and brewer re-interpretations of existing taproom offerings. Bhavna and I are regulars, and the hour is an excellent opportunity to catch up with other patrons. Attendees can meet the brewmaster and learn about the brewing process. The brewmaster, Doug, leads a tasting of a few of the brewery's beers, including some limited edition and seasonal brews. The atmosphere at the brewery during the brewer's hour is relaxed and casual, almost like hanging out with good friends at home. I exposed the remaining frames in the low light space of the brewer tap room.
Exposing to a brightly lit scene can be challenging. When the setting is too bright, it can cause the image to become overexposed, resulting in washed-out colours and a lack of detail. On the other hand, underexposing the image can result in dark and muddy tones. To properly expose for a bright scene, it's essential to understand the camera's metering system and use manual controls to adjust the exposure. One technique that can be used is to take a reading of the brightest part of the scene and then adjust the aperture and shutter speed accordingly. This will help to retain the detail and colour in the brighter areas of the image while avoiding overexposure.
When the negatives were returned from Boutique Film Lab, I scanned the frames in the Epson Perfection V600 and immediately noticed that they appeared too dark. When I was at the Farmers' Market, the outdoor sun was very bright, and I exposed the brighter parts of the scene and didn't compensate accordingly, causing most of my frames to be underexposed. I did my best to correct this in Adobe Lightroom. Below are the best frames from the set of negatives.
CatLABS X Film 320 Pro BW Negative
Panchromatic Black and White (negative)
Fine Grain, Unique InfraRed capability, Wide Exposure Latitude and Tonal Range
Boutique Film Lab
Epson Perfection V600
Update: I have included a few shots before and after Adobe Lightroom edits to show how much I underexposed each frame.
I am disappointed by the results I get when using 35mm colour film stock for portraiture.
I am disappointed by the results when using 35mm colour film stock for portraiture. The conventional wisdom around the Interweb is that Kodak Portra 35mm film delivers spectacular skin tones with exceptional colour saturation over a wide range of lighting conditions. However, when photographing darker skin tones, my experience with Kodak Porta 160 and Kodak Portra 400 falls short of my expectations. From what I read, the later update that improved the rendering of dark skin tones from Kodak's colour films wasn't necessarily a consideration for properly photographing darker skin tones but rather the by-product of solving an advertising problem - the proper colour rendering of dark wood and milk chocolate.