Alfa Romeo Giulietta Spider, Grapevine, TX Monday, Oct 8 2012 

I spent this Sunday afternoon finally developing a roll of Ilford FP5 Plus film. It’s a roll I started in Rome, and finished at the Italian Car Festival in Grapevine. I was a little hesitant, because the last time I tried to develop my own film, I wasn’t very successful.

1958 Alfa Romeo Giulietta Spider

1958 Alfa Romeo Giulietta Spider

The first of the successful photos from the film roll I developed is this image of a 1958 Alfa Romeo Giulietta Spider, taken at the Italian Car Festival. You can see a closeup of Giulietta’s grille, in color, in my post about the ICF.

An interesting “feature” of these new photos is that the image area includes a part of the “Ilford FP4 Plus” imprint on the bottom of the film. On this one, I decided to scan the whole imprint, almost as proof that this is a film shot.

You’re welcome to share your experience and advice about developing film in the comments.

Desoto Powerflite Thursday, Sep 13 2012 

This is one of my all-time favorite photographic surprises.

A few years ago, I scored a fantastic fisheye lens for the Mamiya 645 medium format camera I was shooting at the time. I only paid $50 for the lens in the used section of a local camera store. For good measure, I bought a 5-pack of expired Kodak Portra 800 film in the 220 format for another $20, I think.

After the first roll was developed, I realized that I needed to severely overexpose the film. Soon after that, I was shooting some old rusted out cars in a field just off the I-35 highway and grabbed this photo of a Desoto Powerflite.

Desoto Powerflite

Desoto Powerflite

Surprisingly, I didn’t have to do much to make the colors pop, even on expired, grainy film. Portra seems like it was a nice emulsion for Kodak, although it seems inconsistent. I even tried the recent 160VC, but the results were very underwhelming.

On this photo, I wish I had composed the telegraph post out of the picture, and at 1/60 there is still some movement in the leaves of grass. I didn’t have my digital on purpose, and I never went back to try again, so this is the only photo I have of the scene, but I really like the way it turned out.

1967 Alfa Romeo GT Friday, Oct 22 2010 

A few years ago, I found one of my favorite public events in the Dallas-Fort Worth area – the Italian Car Festival, held each September in Grapevine. Growing up in Europe, I always lusted after Italian cars, although some of the less exotic ones were easily found in the neighborhood.

First time I visited was in 2006, where the featured brand was Lamborghini. Then, in 2007, I was excited to bring my new DSLR (Canon Rebel XT) to the event, but it was stolen only days prior, so I had to make do with a point-and-shoot (Canon PowerShot A520). Then, in 2008, when I was excited to finally use a DSLR (Canon 20D), the event was canceled. Finally, in 2009, I brought my DSLR to the event, but the persistent rain limited the selection of cars on display.

So, here I am, in 2010, at the Nash Farm in Grapevine, with not only my Canon 7D, but also my Mamiya 1000S medium format rig. As a part of my September Manifesto, I brought the Mamiya to shoot a roll of medium format film. The resulting slides turned out very nicely, and there were several interesting ways to juxtapose the sporty European cars with rugged American farm equipment.

1967 Alfa Romeo GT

This is a classy and elegant 1967 Alfa Romeo GT; Alfa was the featured brand this year, because of the 100-year anniversary of the company. It’s a classy brand, albeit with a reputation for less-than-quality workmanship. Of course, when I was a kid, Alfa’s reputation was for winning rally races and going fast.

The bonus shot is the impossibly gorgeous 1971 DeTomaso Pantera. The film I used was Kodak Ektachrome, and I was curious about how the colors would hold up in the mid-day sun. On most of the shots, they were nicely saturated, but relatively restrained compared to my usual Fuji Velvia. I bumped up the reds a little bit on this shot, but on the main Alfa shot, the colors stayed pretty much as is.

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