I shoot RAW+JPEG and process mostly RAW images. SOOC (Straight Out Of Camera) JPEG images rarely look the way I want them to look, and importing both RAW and JPEG into Adobe Lightroom Classic takes time (those darn 24MP files) and disk space (my Lightroom catalogue started in 2008 and is now 1.39 TB on disk). My SOOC JPEGs are usually downloaded to my iPhone for immediate sharing on social media.
However, I do enjoy using film simulation recipes, and I want to be able to import the RAF file (RAW format for Fujifilm cameras) into Adobe Lightroom Classic and THEN apply the film simulation recipe and settings to the RAF image.
I have no problem sitting in front of the computer editing photos to my liking, even if it takes hours. The well-known landscape photographer Ansel Adams, and other famous photographers spent hours in the darkroom, dodging and burning. To me, using SOOC JPEG is the digital equivalent of taking the roll to the local shop for development and printing.
An excellent example is the photograph Schweitzer with lamp at his desk by W. Eugene Smith, from his 1954 photo essay A Man of Mercy on Dr. Albert Schweitzer and his humanitarian work in French Equatorial Africa. The image took 5 days to produce, in order to reproduce the tonal range of the scene, which ranges from a bright lamp (relative to the scene) to dark shadow.
Ansel Adams elevated dodging and burning to an art form. Many of his famous prints were manipulated in the darkroom with these two techniques. Adams wrote a comprehensive book on producing prints called The Print (Adams 1995), which features dodging and burning prominently, in the context of his Zone System.
When it comes to monochrome images, I still use the same recipe that I came up with once I upgraded to an X-trans III camera a few years ago. I’m a fan of contrasty, grainy images when it comes to B&W, so I experimented a bit and discovered that the Acros film sim when shot at high ISOs produces some very film-like grain, which looks much more natural than the grain effect in the film sim settings. This works particularly well with older legacy lenses, because of their natural imperfections compared to current lenses.Luis Costa
And here's what Ritchie wrote about that recipe:
The film simulation recipe that Luis invented produces results that resemble Kodak Tri-X 400 film that’s been pushed one or perhaps one-and-a-half stops, and I would add using Agfa Rodinal. The grain pattern and structure isn’t a 100% match, but for straight-out-of-camera results, it’s pretty darn convincing. I’ve only been using it for a week, but it has already become one of my favourites! It’s better than my Acros Push-Process recipe that I use frequently, and I like that one a lot, too.Ritchie Roesch
And the following set of images is what results when I don't read the fine print, and my wife drives me into Princeton on a sunny, cloudless fall afternoon w, here I spend 45 minutes walking around capturing high contrast scenes at ISO 400. This recipe is meant to be used at high ISO, between 3200 & 12800, and I shot the whole roll of 36 on the wrong ISO setting.
This is one reason why shooting film sucks and why most professional photographers that I know, including ones who were in the industry for several decades, switched to digital a long time ago. Whether it's sniffing chemicals in some dark, dingy hole or clicking and dragging, their clients don't care how you got the shot. They don't care about "slowing down" or "decisive moments" or shooting only in manual or with primes or any of that other mental junk that amateurs spend their time debating. They get paid for results.
If you shoot film and process film, I hope you enjoy it. If you shoot and process digital, I hope you enjoy doing that. Just don't tell me that one or the other has some sort of magical property. I rarely post straight-out-of-the-camera images on this website.
I have a roll of Kodak Tri-X 400 in my Asahi Optical Co. Pentax Spotmatic II. I have been waiting for an opportunity to shoot that roll, which I now know from this experience with the film simulation recipe must be a cloudy or overcast day. It will soon be winter in New Jersey and I expect I will have a lot of cloudy, grey, dreary days.
From the SOOC JPEG, you see here; I did not get good results. These are the best of the shots. The rest are all blown out in highlights. I rented a Fujinon XF35mmF2 R WR (~52mm full-frame FOV) for the week and through the week and decided to try it out. The Fujinon XF35mmF2 R WR performed admirably despite my ineptitude. A few of the shots were out of focus, which is also operator error.
I took a landscape and cityscape in B&W workshop a few weeks ago. I think I will process the same set of RAF images using the techniques I learned in that course. The results won't be based on any films except the one I invent in my head.
Ritchie Roesch recently announced his Film Simulation Challenge, which requires that the photographer load her camera with one film simulation recipe, capturing either 24 or 36 frames before changing settings. The photographer is forced to shoot with that one "roll" of the film until that roll is completely exposed. Ritchie's post from today reminded me that I had not yet submitted an entry.
For the challenge, I used a Fujifilm Kodachrome II Film Simulation Recipe. While I typically post-process my images in Adobe Lightroom, applying film simulation recipes as needed, I thought it would take a fun experiment that might force me to slow down, focus on framing and composition, taking care that I create each image. I failed miserably.
My wife was having foot surgery in the morning through the afternoon. I drove into Historic Hightstown to dine at the Morgan's Island Grill, which Yelp described as a Caribbean restaurant. After eating on a chicken roti, I walked around the small section of Hightstown that is listed as historical, which is just a few shops lining a few blocks of the main street. I didn't give myself enough time, and near the end of the hour, I found myself rushing to "complete my roll". Of the 24 images, these are the ones I deemed worthy of sharing.
While walking around, I noticed the absence of people. I saw one person exit the Physic store and later one person walked on the sidewalk on the other side of Main Street. But other than the occasional car or truck, Main Street was quiet.
What do you think of my images?