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Chain Of Rocks Canal Bridge by Richard Keeling on 500px.com

I develop my color film in batches. It’s more economical that way as the developing chemicals have a limited life when reconstituted from powder into water. I don’t like to leave them more than a couple of weeks or so, so I need to have a collection of exposed color rolls ready to go when I begin.

This means that some rolls are really quite old by the time I get around to them. This image, of the Chain Of Rocks Canal and bridge in Illinois, was taken in February. It was taken with Fuji Superia 400 film, a roll that actually expires this month, so I did want to get it developed. This film is slowly disappearing from the retail pipeline, so I suspect it may not be around for that much longer.

Which is a shame, because it’s a cheap yet characterful color film, with good grain qualities for a fast film.

This shot is from my Optic Film scanner this morning. The color balance as processed by the Silverfast scanning software was biased towards purple. I could have corrected this with the Adobe RAW tint slider in Photoshop or Lightroom (or indeed in Silverfast itself)  – funny how that control persists even though it is really only useful for balancing color film – but I decided to leave it as it came out.

I like the look. It gives the scene more of a twilight feel than was actually apparent at the time and adds extra interest that way. That’s the thing with color film; you’re never quite sure just how the balance will turn out. Subtle variations in the developing process itself, the age of the film, and then how a scanner interprets the negative will all play a part. I like this element of chance. Digital images are so well corrected and balanced that they all tend to look perfectly the same. Not necessarily a bad thing in itself by any means, but it removes some of the fun and exploration from the photographic process. Film introduces that in spades.