Images shot on Kodak Ektachrome E100 in Yashica Electro 35 GSN
When Kodak announced in 2017 that their previously discontinued Ektachrome was coming back, many an experienced head in the film photography world rejoiced.
For me though, as a not very experienced head, it was a time to learn. To learn what all the fuss was about, what made Ektachrome different, and how best to shoot it once it came out in 2018.
After reading up on it, I splashed the cash on a roll from my regular shop in Shanghai, and then kind of just sat on it. Not literally, I mean. More that I kept it in my fridge and didn’t shoot it for a long time.
Because you’re reading this, you know that I did eventually get to it. But it took a trip out of town to get me to do so. If you keep reading, I’ll explain why and show you some of the results it gave me.
Paralysis by slide film analysis
A lot of what I read about the new Ektachrome E100 – and slide film in general – made me pedestalise it in comparison to all the regular cheap and even not so cheap colour and monochrome negative films I’d been shooting up to that point.
Things like it being far less forgiving to under or overexposure, about how it rewards you with great colours and depth if you shoot it well, and how people seemed to use it more for landscapes or bright and shiny inanimate objects than the street scenes I usually shot.
Add to this the fact that I only bought one roll of Ektachrome E100, perhaps because of its price but also because I was trying to get through as many different films as possible rather than shooting multiple rolls of each, and I found myself being very selective about when and where I wanted to use it.
Doing another set of Shanghai street photography didn’t seem special or different enough for it but there was nothing else I wanted to really shoot in the city with it either. Long story short, my over-analysing became paralysing.
Until we took a trip to nearby Hangzhou, that is. With its famous and very pretty West Lake to circumnavigate, the ideal opportunity to shoot my Ektachrome had arisen.
Whatever happened to landscapes and inanimate objects?
Despite what I’d read and what a lot of other people appeared to be testing the new Ektachrome on, the more eagle-eyed among you may have noticed there haven’t been many landscapes or shots of inanimate objects yet.
This shouldn’t come as too much of a surprise though seeing as it says shooting street style right there in this article’s title.
I did use some of the roll on some more landscape-y shots, and I’ll publish those in a future post. But I didn’t want to only make those kinds of photographs.
For the purposes of my own curiosity and to be able to write about it on this site, I wanted to use half my roll of E100 on some street style photography too. I didn’t know how it’d turn out, but that was no reason not to try.
I do remember though that as slide film gives you less leeway in less-than-ideal light, I found myself feeling more cautious than I was with the ISO 100 negative films I’ve shot, like this Fuji one for example.
The first two of these next four images compared to the last two perhaps show why I was right to be, purely because they show how much difference good light makes when shooting Ektachrome E100.
The blue tinge of Ektachrome E100
We’ve mentioned a few times already how slide film will punish you if your exposure is just a little off, but not exactly how it does so. Until now. Now, it’s time to welcome the infamous blue tinge.
I’d say around half of the photographs in this post were shot in really good light. They’re the ones that look lifelike and have good depth and contrast.
Some of the others, like the last two above and all the ones below, are duller, flatter, and noticeably bluer. And this is still after I’ve turned up the temperature slider in Lightroom a little to add a touch more yellow.
But that’s evidently what you get if your slide film decides the light isn’t quite up to its high standards. It’s not the film’s fault. But it is a good reminder to ensure the next roll I buy will be saved for only the brightest, sunniest days.
Wrapping up these street shots on slide film
I’ll end this with a couple of lessons gleaned from what Ektachrome gave me. They’re things I’ve talked about many a time before but it’s good to have them reinforced from different angles.
The first is that you can and definitely should shoot whatever you want with any film you want. Yes, some of them are made with certain uses in mind, but there are no concrete rules.
The other thing is that, even with the more forgiving colour and monochrome negative films, I always feel good light is more important in my photographs than the specific subjects.
With the difference in output from a slide film shot when the light is great to when it’s just merely good, this becomes even more of a thing to think about.
But thinking about it isn’t the only thing we want to be doing. Not when you can be out there producing some Ektachrome work of your own.
- Unsurpassed level of fine grain.
- Neutral color balance, natural skin-tone reproduction.
- Lower d-min for whiter, brighter whites.
If you found that post useful, why not take a look at these others to stay inspired or learn more about some films I’ve shot here:
- My comprehensive review of Ilford Delta 400 film
- Shooting an expired Kodak slide film in the streets
- More street shots on another professional Kodak film
And if you think others will enjoy this post on shooting some street photography on slide film too, help them find it by sharing or pinning. 😀