One weekend in October 2014, I was to be in Paris between work weeks, and my sister and brother-in-law were scheduled to be in Antwerp, Belgium. So instead of hanging out in Paris (and foregoing what would end up being my last opportunity to visit the Louvre for the foreseeable future – perhaps my only regret from all my business trips to Paris) I decided to head over to Brussels and meet my sister and hang out with them for a day before their business meetings started, and spend the rest of the weekend in Ghent.
I shared photos from that trip here and here, but I never realized I didn’t get the color roll developed. I was shooting a lot of black & white, and devloping it during a class, so I guess I just missed it. I’m sure there must have been some other pictures from Belgium, but maybe they’re all digital from the iPad mini. Today I realized these three rolls were the ones I considered learning how to develop C-41 at home when I first got my Bronica. I also think it’s the only roll of Fuji Pro 400H I’ve ever shot.
The photos above are from us walking around and enjoying the square before my brother-in-law and I really started enjoying the local flavors. For the most part, there were a lot of “touristy” photos. However, I shot a handful of pictures the first morning before my sister arrived. There was this amazing market that sprung up outside my hotel. I’m thrilled that I shot a few pictures on film.
Then this lady at the cheese trailer asked me to delete my picture. You can see her eyes looking at me while she’s waiting on the previous customer. She was not happy! I explained it was film – she said “No pictures!”, but I still bought some cheese and something that seemed like bresaola. She seemed to soften up a bit. But she must have intimidated me, because I don’t have any more pictures of the market!
I remember the trip, but I honestly don’t remember some of the photos being taken. Like this next one – it’s a cool mural, but maybe I’d been drinking too much beer to remember seeing it. I think it’s Brussels, based on where it is, it is the end of Brussels and beginning of Ghent photos, so I’m going with Brussels and beer. I’m glad I have the photo.
Most of the Ghent photos capture my walk from the train station to the old section along the canal. The amount of bikes and boats were simply amazing. It seems like a relatively simple place to live, and I’d like to go back for a longer stay with my wife some day. I have a picture of the white house on the water in black & white. I’ve always liked it, and even made a few prints of it. But now seeing ti in color, I really like what the yellow and blue does to add a little interest.
By far my two favorite photos were from the end of the roll as night began to set. The one captures the warmth of the lighting extremely well. The other I find simply stunning. At first glance it almost looks black and white, but the subtle colors and and warmth of the light show it is color. I might have to get a larger print made to see how it turns out. It’s not tremendously sharp, but I distinctly remember shooting that shot from a bridge, using the railing to steady the camera for the longer exposure required. You can see the bridge and the railing in the dusk picture.
Overall, the grain is good on this film, the contrast is decent, but I think Portra just fits my eye a little better. The blue seems to pop more than anything, which is a little more like Ektar, but the saturation is definitely not at Ektar levels. Until recently, I was a little more fond of Fuji films than Kodak, but Portra 400 and Ektar are slowly winning me over. There’s still plenty of Fuji slide films in my fridge, plus Fuji color negative film still outnumbers anything else in there too, so I’ll still be shooting plenty of Fuji in both 35mm and eventually 120 format. I wouldn’t hesitate to use this film again if I found a deal on it, but I don’t think I’ll plan on shooting it again even though it produced one of my favorite shots. I definitely need to shoot more night photos.
Seeing similar images from both black & white and color film, I’m very glad I’ve decided to get a second Maxxum 7; the ability to shoot the same subject on both types of film produces some worthwhile rewards on most of my trips. My two Maxxum 5’s have provided me a lot of joy. Sometimes I clearly see a scene as black & white or color, but sometimes I’m just not sure. Once again, I’m glad I shot both on this trip.