After taking a couple of weeks off in June for a little personal time I am back again. I haven’t stopped shooting film, I just had to unplug from the computer for a bit and take a break.
Earlier this spring I had picked up a roll of Cinestill 800 35mm film. I had seen articles, youtube videos and instagram posts of people using this film over the past year or so and I knew I had to get a roll and test it out for myself.
Typically when I am trying out a new film stock I will use a camera that I am familiar with and know works well. This way I get a better feel for the film itself and am not caught up spending time figuring out how the camera works. I can just load up the film and shoot when I feel inspired. For me this is my Nikon F80. It’s not the top tier most desirable Nikon SLR out there, however it works well for my shooting style. I like that it has autofocus and with the flip of a dial on top I can switch it from Manual to aperture priority which are the 2 modes I use most. It has an LCD display on top that is easy to read which helps me set my camera up quickly!
Ok so I went out a few different times with the Cinestill to see how the film handles different lighting situations. It is a fast film and I know people use it for nighttime photography so I figured I would give that a shot first. These first shots were taken one night as I was biking home from work. I wasn’t fully prepared for and did not bring a tripod so I shot all of these wide open at f/2 handheld. While they may not all be the sharpest photos I think they turned out pretty cool. I like the way the light halos look and the ghost image on the Gladstone sign is a mysterious surprise.
The next time I went out shooting it was at dusk and I was curious as to how the film was going to handle the fading daylight. As someone who was mostly shoots in bright sunlight and hard shadows I am beginning to look at other lighting situations. Mostly ones with no sun, ie cloudy days and times like these when the sun has already set and all we have is the fading ambient daylight left. So I walked around and fired off a few frames of some buildings, a scene with some mixed lighting, another with 100% flat lighting and a few buildings as their lights came on. All in all I think they all turned out well. I like the tones of those buildings a lot and I also like the scenes with the mixed lighting. Once again those light halos are present and I am ok with that!
The next batch of photos had been simmering in the back of my head for some time now. In the middle of our city we have the Experimental Farm which is unique in its own right and in this space there are these greenhouses that light up the night sky. I have always wanted to take some photos of these and figured this was a good time. I had this cool film stock and thought I would see how it handled this type of situation. I got there and there was still a bit of light in the sky, not too bright but the darkness of night hadn’t set it yet. I took some shots around the greenhouses and took one through the window. I am very happy with these, the colours, the tones, the contrast between the lights and the sky all turned out beautifully! I had a few frames left to go but I left that for another day..
These final couple of shots are from a commercial park not too far from where I live on a cloudy evening. Once again playing around with these flat lighting type scenes. No shadows to play with just the subject in front of you. the J & J Auto Shine sign had caught my eye before and the Snowbusters just happened to be the company that does my snow removal in the winter and finally the last shot is a peak into my home.
I have to say that I was pleasantly surprised how well this film handled everything I threw at it. I shot it all free hand using only my cameras internal light meter and it just worked. Everything from the middle of the night to extreme lighting situations and it produced useable to excellent images. The only catch with Cinestill is its price tag, this may have been the most expensive roll of film I have ever bought to date! With that being said I have already gotten another and can’t wait to load it up, this time it is going into my little Nikon L35 AFD!
Take care and keep shooting film,
Jeremy Shane Reid