For today’s Tried and Tested Thursday, I will be talking about shooting Kodak Portra 160 on an Olympus XA2.
From last week’s post and as slightly promised, I wanted to discuss trying out the Kodak Portra 160 on my camera. Not usually a film I would rave on about, however the outcome was a huge improvement from the Holga shots.
As per usual, shooting with a low speed during a bright day gels well hand in hand, in particular on a lovely summer’s day in June. It was quite nice in Whitstable on my trip there, although the weather was a little gloomy when I went to Folkestone two weeks later.
The camera used was an Olympus XA2; another lightweight and simple to use camera, which is so easy to carry around. No fussing with various settings, just set the ISO/speed and select a mode, either landscape, portrait or close up. The majority of the seaside shots were in landscape mode, since both framing and composition was an important factor in my photography.
The outcome after processing and home scanning was better than the Holga shots. Yes the Holga snaps from last week were in black and white, but they were a bit of a disappointment on how they came out due to the mysterious white grain on every single frame.
The Portra 160 hardly showed any grain, just brilliant colour coverage – not too saturated or vivid, perfect for what I had in mind. My idea and vision was to create British seaside style postcard shots, almost a similar homage to John Hinde’s work. Some shots did have the postcard-esque feel from both Whitstable and Folkestone.
To add more about the colour from the film, the Portra was also washed out in some shots plus the quality wasn’t always consistent. There are ways of making further alterations with the negatives on editing software such as Photoshop, which I chose not to. All scans come as they are from the scanner, no editing apart from adding the faint watermark of my name via Photoshop. I like to keep things the way they are in my film photographic work.
I’m much happier with the outcome from the Portra shots, I do believe they have further potential as darkroom prints rather than them being just scans. It will be challenging to get the colour and contrast right through the colour enlarger, but it would be great to practice in the darkroom again after a long time.
I don’t think any improvements are needed, I think I am satisfied overall with almost every single shot. Making changes would be impossible at this point.
Take care and stay safe