This past week I attended a benefit concert put on to support mental health initiatives. Several bands were playing, a couple of which I already knew and really wanted to hear live. My son plays in one of those bands, so I was able to make arrangements to take photographs. I have been meaning to take band pictures on film for some time, and this was a great opportunity as the concert hall in a former church has steady lighting and a dark background to help keep the shots uncluttered. Since it is my week 14 I have included 14 shots, though this is not even 10% of those that I took on film. Other film shots are being published simultaneously on my blog today, and you can find those ones here.
All of today’s shots are of the Sam Weber band. My intention was to shoot them with film, and I only made a few photographs of the band that came before them to get the hang of it (and take some comparable DSLR shots to double-check the exposure) and then used up my film when Sam came on. Sam is an excellent songwriter and guitar player backed by very talented musicians. He and his band play many instruments and you never know what combination the three of them will be playing. They are heading off on a tour across Canada in a few days – check out their dates here. Sam gave me the link to this video that will be released today – many of my viewers will be able to see this video before people in my time zone get to hear of it, so fill your boots with this advance viewing! Otherwise you can find Sam’s music at his website and Facebook page.
These photographs are taken with a Canon Elan 7N most often dressed with a Canon 100mm/f2.8 macro, but also with 50mm/f1.4 and 16-35/f2.8. I shot 4 rolls of Ilford Delta 3200, at box speed, which were developed commercially. Exposure was determined with a spot-meter on the faces of the performers at the beginning of their set. I used manual mode at f2.8 (or up to f1.4 on the 50 mm lens). The performers on either side of the stage were not as brightly lit so I made minor adjustments in shutter speed from the metered 1/125th down to about 1/60th and 1/40th (though that was pushing things with the longer lens). I could have done with another f-stop for some of those shots. Sadly one of the sponsors put a brightly lit sign at the centre back of the stage, which ruined a few shots and needed to be avoided when I remembered to work around it.
Overall, the negatives are very thin, so maybe I did not get the exposures quite right, though I also used a DSLR once the film ran out with the same exposures, or very close to them, and those shots were good exposures. The Elan 7N does not have many focus points, and all but the center one could be a bit unpredictable in the low light. So mostly I used the center point to lock focus and then reframed the shot.
It was a lot of fun to take photos for these guys. They really appreciate the film, the grain, the look; they plan to make use of my photos which is a real compliment. I might do it again – even if the dust spotting takes hours (with these low key photos, dust just has to go). Perhaps I could push some C41 black and white and then do more effective “digital ice” dust removal with the scanner. Does anyone have any experience pushing Ilford XP2 to 3200 or even 6400? Is it even possible?
Edit: I got a comment on Twitter from OldSchoolPhotoLab suggesting I look for some Fuji Superia 1600 and push it 1 stop, then convert to black and white as a better alternative to pushing XP2 3 stops. That would allow the use of Epson’s digital ice technology for dust removal. Which raises the question – have any of you pushed any of the faster c41 colour film such as Cinestill 800 or Porta 800 a couple of stops with any luck? Do they need special processing or can they handle the change just fine? Both of the 800ISO films I can get locally, while the Fuji 1600 is harder for me to find.
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