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monthly shot review: october 2021

monthly shot review: october 2021

October! What an interesting month. Here in California, it's where the leaves start turning orange, but at the same time having to handle 90 degree weather. There were a lot of changes for me too — especially in photography. I started developing my own film using the Cinestill DF96 monochrome developer, and quickly got into the C41 process. And before all this, I made my first ever travel vlog!

love that thumbnail

In it were an assortment of digital and film photos I took while on my trip to Seattle in late September. Shooting film in Seattle was wonderful — especially Discovery Park. I shot almost an entire roll there and ended up burned out of taking photos for the rest of the trip. Think I got a few good ones though!

One hiccup I had with the scans of the film, though, was that everything turned out very pink. I may have gloriously failed by shooting everything on 400 ISO instead of 200 ISO, but I didn't think that the lab would still scan it in.

Regardless, me and my trusty Plustek scanner slowly made it through all my negatives and scanned them in the correct color. Still can't get over that pink goose though.

My overall thoughts on making a photo-centric travel vlog was are: that was fun. Now that I can develop at home I won't need to wait for all my photos to come from the lab and I can scan them the way I want! Not that I know any better than laps — I'm just a guy, some software, some scanners, some chemicals and a dream.

For those wondering: my current setup is as follows:

  • Cinestill DF96 BW 1L
  • Unicolor C41 Kit
  • Double reel Paterson tank
  • Some Ilford (?) film clips on a clothes hanger in the bathroom
  • Anova sous vide + a largish pot
  • Some anti-static gloves
  • Plustek 8100

How long will the obsession with self-developing film last? Who knows. I'm enjoying the process and the fact that everything is self-contained in my apartment. One of my irrational fears is someone else messing up my film. Now, I'm the only person I can blame!

Enough about development, let's take a look at some of may favorite photos from this mont

photos of the month

This is a photo from the first roll that I self-developed! It's taken with a Canon Sureshot I found in my dad's drawer on Ilford HP5. This entire roll was really fun to shoot, as black and white always is. I've always found the format to be a lot more abstract than color.

Abstract might not be the right word, but less specific and more forgiving. When I'm shooting color, I somehow have a lot of pressure to get things perfectly right. With black and white, I just look for interesting light and interesting things and that's how I find the black and white photos I like.

As Youtuber Matt Day put it best, BW photos need intention. Something in it that carries meaning. Color photography can ride a lot on the color, but black and white needs something to carry it through.

I finally got a second chance at this photo. I took a really great photo of my local BART station a few months ago, but the negative turned out to have a huge ass scratch on it and I had to scrap it. But in October I got my second chance, this time with a subject and a moving train.

The lighting introduces some sort of dynamic feeling, but the blur of the train and the person waiting in front really helps bring the energy through.

I have several versions of this photo, without the train and vertical without the train. I really like the version with the train but here is the one without just for everyone to see.

But enough with this first roll of film I've developed. Let's do the first COLOR roll of film I've developed, which included some pictures from my Seattle trip.

Here is my old roommate Keith testing out some equipment for work before he gets on the road to Portland. I just thought it was a cool photo of him in the moment, and still think it's nice. Photography that captures moments in time that we might miss in the future is one of the most important types.

Switching gears into digital photography, I just want to share this photo of Simba being comfy as much as I can. He really enjoyed the sun coming in through the window on the cold(er) day and napped so peacefully on the ground in the perfect lighting.

I think the only editing on this shot I did were probably increasing the contrast and taking down the highlights. Didn't touch the color at all, but probably straightened it out.

Let's round this out with a film photo!

This photo is probably one of the best I've ever taken. I even almost lost the roll when I accidentally opened the film back too early.

I was almost about to throw the roll away when I decided just to develop it and see what would come out. And boy was I glad I did develop it.

The fiery Autumn colors and surprisingly deep saturation really bring it home. It's weird to think that this was taken pretty much in my neighborhood.

Not much else to say about this photo. But these are all my top photos of the month. You can find more on my Instagram at @r.ch3n or on my website. Thanks for reading!