Isolation Photo Project, Day 66

A few weeks ago, I exposed a roll of RetroChrome 400 35mm film with my Pentax Spotmatic II at the Delaware & Raritan Canal State Park.

NOTE: I'll begin this experience report with a brief disclaimer. It's been less than two years since I returned to shooting 35mm film after switching to digital photography over 20 years ago. I've inundated myself with as much 35mm film education as possible between web articles and advice from experienced film shooters. But, with my former experience way in the past and limited recent experience, this review is coming from a relatively novice point of view.

A few weeks back, I went on a photography adventure with my Asahi Optical Co. Pentax Spotmatic II and the SMC Takumar 55mm f/2 lens, armed with a roll of Film Photography Project RetroChrome 400 35mm Colour Reversal Film. I couldn't contain my excitement, snapping away all 35 frames in a few hours. Finding the right shutter speed and aperture settings to centre the metering needle was challenging, and it forced me to explore the Pentax ES II setting. Most of my frames were born along the Delaware & Raritan Canal State Park, near the iconic Kingston Mill House—my frequent muse. Out of the lot, I cherry-picked the top ten images to share.

My canvas was the scenic Delaware & Raritan Canal State Park Trail, near the Kingston Lock and the picturesque Kingston Grist Mill. It felt like the perfect stage to test my 35mm film skills.

Kingston Locktender's House
Kingston Locktender's House · Friday 8 May 2020 · Asahi Pentax Spotmatic SPII · SMC Takumar 55mm f/2
Kingston Locktender's House
Kingston Locktender's House · Friday 8 May 2020 · Asahi Pentax Spotmatic SPII · SMC Takumar 55mm f/2
Kingston Lock
Kingston Lock · Friday 8 May 2020 · Asahi Pentax Spotmatic SPII · SMC Takumar 55mm f/2

According to the Darkroom website's description, RetroChrome is a special 35m film originally designed for industrial and governmental purposes. Kodak sold it as a colour reversal camera film tailored for daylight photography, with applications ranging from news and sports to industrial shots. This expired 35mm film has been in cold storage since 2004, and despite its age, it was expected to perform well at its intended box speed of 400 ISO.

When I received an email from Darkroom, I expected it would say that the cartridge was blank. However, the email brought a pleasant surprise—a notification from Darkroom that my FPP RetroChrome 400 Colour Slide Film was successful with the E-6 development process. The Darkroom's NORITSU KOKI EZ Controller had worked its magic. The email said that the negatives were now scanned and ready for download. I had opted for the high-resolution Super Scans producing JPEG images at 4492×6774 pixels.

Kingston Grist Mill
Kingston Grist Mill · Friday 8 May 2020 · Asahi Pentax Spotmatic SPII · SMC Takumar 55mm f/2
Kingston Grist Mill
Kingston Grist Mill · Friday 8 May 2020 · Asahi Pentax Spotmatic SPII · SMC Takumar 55mm f/2
Kingston Grist Mill
Kingston Grist Mill · Friday 8 May 2020 · Asahi Pentax Spotmatic SPII · SMC Takumar 55mm f/2
Kingston Grist Mill
Kingston Grist Mill · Friday 8 May 2020 · Asahi Pentax Spotmatic SPII · SMC Takumar 55mm f/2

I added EXIF data to my images using Exif Editor.

While I had a fair idea of how the scanned negatives would turn out, thanks to samples on the Film Photography Project website and Flickr, I knew mastering exposure with my Spotmatic II required finesse.

As for the film's signature grain and colour cast, it delivered as expected. Some frames did lean towards slight overexposure, but a little tweak in Adobe Lightroom added that missing pop. Still, the grain remains noticeable. While I like the shots of Kingston Mill House and Lochtender's house, I admit that the greenery didn't excite me.

Would I go on another RetroChrome 400 adventure? Absolutely, but next time, I'd enlist the aid of my Pentax ES II or Pentax P3 for automatic metering and aperture priority. Scenes featuring vintage diners and 1970s cars parked against downtown backdrops could make for captivating subjects.

Millstone River
Millstone River · Friday 8 May 2020 · Asahi Pentax Spotmatic SPII · SMC Takumar 55mm f/2
Millstone River
Millstone River · Friday 8 May 2020 · Asahi Pentax Spotmatic SPII · SMC Takumar 55mm f/2

How about you? Have you ventured into the world of PP RetroChrome 400 Colour Slide Film? What's your take on the enchanting grain and hues it brings to life?

Submitted as part of the 100DaysToOffload project.

Kingston Lock at D & R Canal State Park

I've photographed the area around the Kingston Lock in the [Delaware & Raritan State Park])https://www.state.nj.us/dep/parksandforests/parks/maps/KingstonTrailsMapFinalDraft.pdf_ many times in the past. The photos included here are nothing new in term of subject matter, and the composition varies slightly from previous captures. I chose to photograph using the Dramatic Classic Chrome Film Simulation Recipe created by Ritchie Roesch. I chose to do this in preparation for another project proposed by Ritchie. Except for cropping and perspective correction, all of these images are as-is from the camera.

A lock is an enclosed chamber in a canal, dam, etc., with gates at each end, for raising or lowering vessels from one level to another by admitting or releasing water.

My daughter, Kiran, thought that using the homonym, loch, was stretching things it a bit too far, given that loch means lake in Scottish Gaelic. I argued that the Kingston Lock Controls water flow through the Delaware & Raritan Canal which runs alongside Lake Carnegie, the common name for Loch Carnegie. I lost the argument.

The sky was overcast with 100% cloud cover. The Kingston Lock is about 4 kilometres from my home in Skillman. There were no shadows to be found, but the images have a great deal of contrast between light and dark areas. I parked in the empty parking lot, grabbed my tripod, slipped on my headphones and walked over the lock. I like to listen to music, one of several EDM playlist in iTunes, when I out on private photo walks by myself. The music calms me and helps me focus.

In the early 18th century, the Lenape Native Americans who lived in this part of what would eventually become New Jersey sold 4 km2 of land to Jediah Higgins, who established the town of Kingston. The small village is located on the Lenape Assunpink Trail, crossing the Millstone River at what would later be named the King's Highway. Kingston is the only area of New Jersey that exists within the borders of two counties, Middlesex County and Somerset County.

Its location on the main road, King's Highway, connecting the colonies made Kingston a major transit stop for stagecoaches and numerous inns and taverns were established. The Kingston Lock, which included a toll house that had one of the first telegraph offices in 1846, is number 8 of 14 built along the 73-kilometre D&R Canal, portions of which today are part of the D&R Canal State Park.

Eventually, after the paving of US Route 1 in the 1920s, commercial traffic moved further east, and the canal was closed in the early 1930s.

Kingston's historical importance is well recognised with entries on the State/National Register of Historic Places, including:
- Kingston Mill Historic District
- Kingston Village Historic District
- Lake Carnegie Historic District
- Princeton Nurseries Historic District
- Delaware and Raritan Canal
- Withington Estate/ Heathcote Farm,
- King's Highway (Upper Road/Lincoln Highway) Historic District
- Rockingham State Historic Site

Kingston Lock in the D&R Canal State Park, Kingston, Somerset County, New Jersey— FujiFilm X-T2 + XF16-55mmF2.8 R LM WR @ 16 mm, 0.003 sec at f/5.6, ISO 400, ©Khürt L. Williams, Aug 16, 2019
Kingston Lock in the D&R Canal State Park, Kingston, Somerset County, New Jersey— FujiFilm X-T2 + XF16-55mmF2.8 R LM WR @ 16 mm, 0.001 sec at f/5.6, ISO 400, ©Khürt L. Williams, Aug 16, 2019
Kingston Lock in the D&R Canal State Park, Kingston, Somerset County, New Jersey— FujiFilm X-T2 + XF16-55mmF2.8 R LM WR @ 36.5 mm, 0.008 sec at f/5.6, ISO 800, ©Khürt L. Williams, Aug 16, 2019
Kingston Lock in the D&R Canal State Park, Kingston, Somerset County, New Jersey— FujiFilm X-T2 + XF16-55mmF2.8 R LM WR @ 16 mm, 0.001 sec at f/5.6, ISO 400, ©Khürt L. Williams, Aug 16, 2019
Kingston Lock Bridgetender House, Delaware and Raritan Canal, Kingston, Somerset County, New Jersey— FujiFilm X-T2 + XF16-55mmF2.8 R LM WR @ 16 mm, 0.004 sec at f/5.6, ISO 400, ©Khürt L. Williams, Aug 16, 2019
Kingston Lock in the D&R Canal State Park, Kingston, Somerset County, New Jersey— FujiFilm X-T2 + XF16-55mmF2.8 R LM WR @ 27.4 mm, 0.002 sec at f/5.6, ISO 400, ©Khürt L. Williams, Aug 16, 2019
Kingston Lock Bridgetender House, Delaware and Raritan Canal, Kingston, Somerset County, New Jersey— FujiFilm X-T2 + XF16-55mmF2.8 R LM WR @ 27.4 mm, 0.003 sec at f/5.6, ISO 400, ©Khürt L. Williams, Aug 16, 2019
Kingston Lock in the D&R Canal State Park, Kingston, Somerset County, New Jersey— FujiFilm X-T2 + XF16-55mmF2.8 R LM WR @ 27.4 mm, 0.004 sec at f/5.6, ISO 400, ©Khürt L. Williams, Aug 16, 2019
Kingston Lock in the D&R Canal State Park, Kingston, Somerset County, New Jersey— FujiFilm X-T2 + XF16-55mmF2.8 R LM WR @ 42.7 mm, 0.004 sec at f/5.6, ISO 400, ©Khürt L. Williams, Aug 16, 2019
Kingston Lock in the D&R Canal State Park, Kingston, Somerset County, New Jersey— FujiFilm X-T2 + XF16-55mmF2.8 R LM WR @ 16 mm, 0.003 sec at f/5.6, ISO 400, ©Khürt L. Williams, Aug 16, 2019
Kingston Lock in the D&R Canal State Park, Kingston, Somerset County, New Jersey— FujiFilm X-T2 + XF16-55mmF2.8 R LM WR @ 16 mm, 0.003 sec at f/2.8, ISO 400, ©Khürt L. Williams, Aug 16, 2019

Kingston Lock @ D & R Canal

The Kingston Lock—FujiFilm X-T2 + XF16-55mmF2.8 R LM WR @ 55 mm, f/22
The Kingston Lock—FujiFilm X-T2 + XF16-55mmF2.8 R LM WR @ 21.3 mm, f/22

D & R Canal @ Kingston.