Black and White film processing

I shot a roll of Black and White film last week. What a strange feeling – kept looking at the back of the camera. Nikon f2, Tri-X , with 50mm 1.4, 24mm 2.8 and 35mm 2.8 and no LCD! Battery was dead so I shot by feel, nice to have the latitude of film as I’m sure that I did not nail every exposure. Focus might be my worst enemy especially close up with the 50/1.4 wide open.

I’m getting my film processed and scanned today and am finding that this delayed gratification thing is kind of neat. While digital has brought the process of photography home and provided instant feedback this whole analog process is bringing back some cool feelings. Like patience!


So why am I going on about black and white film processing? Because I’m getting a contact sheet with my processing.  It was once an integral part of black and white photography – process your film, sleeve it and contact it. The term contact came from the fact that the negatives would be placed directly on top of photographic paper and exposed to light – in direct contact.  Your contact sheet told a story of your roll – a collection of images shown in the order they were shot that helped show the story you were trying to tell.  It also told you some technical things about your exposures, you could see if you nailed the focus (or not) and you would also use it as a reference to find your negatives. And you could hold it.

We’ve faithfully re-created the contact sheet digitally and you’d swear it’s the real thing. Starting today and going through May, if you get a roll of Black and White film processed and scanned we’ll also make a contact sheet – for free!


The Thing from Another World!

Howard Hawk’s 1952 sci-fi/horror classic, “THE THING FROM ANOTHER WORLD” starred Margaret Sheridan and Kenneth Tobey.  When the RKO studio had respected Hollywood photographer  Ernest Bachrach shoot some promo’s featuring the two main actors, his choice on that day was his 8×10 camera and Kodachrome 25.

Fast forward 65 years and a local internet memorabilia dealer who specializes in Hollywood photography has just dropped off his latest scanning job. Now, we’ve scanned a lot of gorgeous images for him from many era’s but this one was different. We pulled out this 8×10 Kodachrome and almost fell over -  almost like being there. Images shot on 8×10 are often special, while images shot on vintage Kodachrome often retain much of the original colour fidelity and to that end Kodachrome 25 was the best.  So, to get a 8×10 slide shot on Kodachrome 25 made by a Hollywood studio in excellent condition is rare! The colour is as brilliant as the day it came off the processor.

While we can scan a piece of film this size on our Epson V700 this image called out for a drum scan.  O.K., it screamed it. The really neat thing on this scan is all the retouching that was done right on the original 8×10 that would have been done with brush and dyes. There was a lot of retouching done directly on the slide as well as slightly slimming her face – no liquify tool  here!

Shown below is a reduced size version of the scan that we delivered to our client. This is the web so we’ve posted them in lower resolution and in sRGB but the quality still shines through! Getting to work on images like these is what makes our job so much fun!

So take a look and enjoy something that is truly – The Thing From Another World!



Click on below image to see close-up enlargement of the face.