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Did a batch of C41 developing this weekend and I still feel completely knackered from it. So… much… standing… My ankles still ache. But it was a good batch of film, and I tried out some different things, and as a result, have a ton of photography stuff to write about. Instead of trying to cover everything in one epic post, I’ll try to narrow it down to one topic per post for the next little while.
Before I go into redscale, I feel like I should talk about my chems, first. Some time last year I ordered a Unicolor C-41 kit from Freestyle. I had been using the Arista liquid C41 kits that they sell, but since the Unicolor was cheaper, I wanted to try that out, too. I bought the 2 liter kit and decided to divide it into 3 batches of 666 ml – that amount was enough to fill my small tank and have a little extra, to account for chem loss during the developing marathons I normally do. So, last year, I mixed up and used two of the three batches of chems, and then promptly forgot about the third batch. I had some more liquid chems from the Arista kit, so I used those last time I developed film, and didn’t realize I had the third batch of Unicolor powder chems left over until I went scrounging around in my developing stuff a few days ago.
Like I mentioned in the last post, I took the box out of the plastic bag it was wrapped in and immediately smelled ammonia. I figured that probably wasn’t a real good sign. However, the Unicolor powder chems were the last C41 chems I had in the house, so I decided to mix them up and see if they still worked. If not, I’d just develop black and white film instead.
Amazingly, the chems seemed to work just fine. They scared the crap out of me – I made sure to wear gloves and my respirator when I was mixing them just in case – but I have no complaints about their viability. The developer powder looked like sawdust, which I distinctly remember it not looking like when the chems were fresh, and the two Blix powders had somehow absorbed enough moisture to make them into bricks instead of powders. However, everything dissolved just fine when I swirled it around in water. So, I have to say, two thumbs up on the Unicolor chems. I’ll probably just be dealing with powdered C41 chems in the future. They’re cheaper, and seem to handle less than ideal storage conditions with aplomb.
Anyway, redscale! If you’ve never heard of it before, redscale is the technique of shooting pictures on the wrong (non-emulsion) side of the film. It gives the resulting images a reddish/orange cast. It’s something that all the cool LOMO kids think is nifty.
I’ve admired some redscale pics I’ve seen on Flickr before, but the one time I experimented with it, I wasn’t real impressed. However, I was using the redscale film in a light leaky 35mm pinhole camera, so that may have had something to do with my meh-ness.
Since I’ve accumulated a gaggle of 35mm film and really don’t find myself shooting 35mm all that often, before I went to New York, I respooled some of it onto 120 backing paper to shoot in the Yashica C and the Savoy. I flipped some of the film backwards to be used as redscale, and shot a roll of it by Union Square and Bryant Park using the Savoy.
So, okay. Redscale. Yep. It’s red. The above pic shows how it looks with a minimum of Photoshopping. And it’s okay, but still didn’t make me be all ‘yay!’ about it.
However, I found if I kicked the saturation down a few notches, I liked it better.
I shot a picture looking straight up at the sun, too, and had the sky come out orange rather than red.
I took one of the pictures and sexed it up a little in Photoshop.
Redscale still isn’t something I think I’ll be doing a lot of, but it’s kind of a fun way to use up random boring rolls of film. I think the next time I shoot with it, I’ll use the Yashica and and a slower than normal shutter speed to see if I can get more natural contrast, or maybe try using 400 speed film in the Savoy instead (all of these pictures were taken with 200 speed Fuji). I also haven’t tried shooting redscale film with slide film, so that may be something interesting to play with.