I haven’t shot any film for a long time, but I recently got the urge to give it another go. I dusted off my old Olympus OM10, and realised it still had half a roll of Portra 400 in the camera. I finished it off, and dropped it off to be developed at Photographique.
It’s a strange roll, as the gap between the first and second half must be at least a couple years. The first shots were pre-covid, and one of the buildings has doesn’t even exist anymore – the old fire station – has been knocked down.
I’m no expert, but it’s probably not great for the film to sit around in the camera that long, before it is developed. Being exposed to all sorts of differences in temperature, I even moved house at one point. The roll of film is from 2017, so that has definitely expired in the meantime as well.
I only had one issue with light leaks, not sure what caused that, but it was definitely user error. The two above are from early on in the roll, and there is definitely an extra grittiness to them. Though it’s hard to say how much this is from age or from underexposing the shots?
There is definitely a distinct look to the images, which I think suits some of them more than others. I wouldn’t say the colours are typical Portra, but I’m sure the time the rolls at around in the camera didn’t help with this. I quite like some of the golden hour images, but to be honest I would have to try really hard to completely mess up the golden hour/portra combo (though I did my best)
It is also worth bearing in mind these are just the jpeg proofs. I had no idea how these would come out, so I didn’t want to pay for nice high quality scans, only to find all of the images were unusable. I preferred the look of the physical prints, and I’m sure with a high quality scan, and some gentle adjustments I could get the digital files to a place where I was happy with them. There are some many variables when it comes to scanning, which is a dark art in itself
To give an idea of the difference, here is a quick comparison of the film shot, the print and the digital shot.
Now this is just to show the differences, though it is an arbitrary comparison, as the middle shot is phone photo, of a printed film shot, the digital photo has been processed by me to tweak the colours.
Two of my favourites from the roll, they look a little more how I expected: smoother warmer tones, with that gentle rolloff of the highlights.
It was good fun finishing this roll, and seeing what kind of results I would get. I’m looking forward to the next roll of (fresh) film already.