Monday, January 28, 2013

Anniversary in the City

Eyes by Wayne-K
Eyes, a photo by Wayne-K on Flickr.

My wife and I celebrated a belated wedding anniversary in San Francisco this past weekend. She always wanted to stay at the Villa Florence Hotel and we figured life is too short to stay elsewhere. However, room rates were pretty expensive during our “real” anniversary, so we decided to postpone our anniversary get-away a few months until the rates were more reasonable. This allowed us to enjoy the beautiful hotel at almost half the price. The Villa Florence Hotel is conveniently located near the Powell Street BART station and is walking distance to interesting spots like Union Square and the Ferry Building. We rode the BART into the city on Friday and enjoyed a casual dinner at Johnny Foley’s Irish Pub. Now there’s nothing like a cottage pie and a few pints of Guinness to start off the weekend. Johnny Foley’s is becoming an anniversary tradition, as we dined there on our anniversary a few years ago.

On Saturday, we walked to the Ferry Building. There happened to be a pro-choice rally at Justin Herman Plaza that day, which apparently was the anniversary of Roe vs. Wade. I don’t have any strong feelings on this issue, but I took the opportunity to photograph a lot of people who do. One of the protesters noted my “old school” Nikon FM2 film camera. The FM2 is such a small, unassuming camera that most people don’t feel threatened having it pointed at them. My wife waited patiently as I roamed through the crowds, snapping photos. It was a good time and I planned on getting more pictures later. Unfortunately, there was no later, as the rally wrapped up soon after we left it. Note to self – there’s no better time than the present for photography.

While at the Ferry Building, we enjoyed a cappuccino at Blue Bottle Coffee, followed by a wonderful porchetta sandwich from the Roli Roti food truck. The porchetta sandwiches there are to die for. In fact, when I’m on death row, my last meal will be a Roli Roti porchetta sandwich. Now that the last meal decision has been made, I just need to figure out whom to murder (just kidding)! Their porchetta is a pork loin, seasoned with herbs, wrapped in pork belly, and slow roasted on a rotisserie. The juicy meat and crispy pork belly are served on a roll with something green (parsley?). The sandwich was incredible and well worth the spike in triglycerides. After lunch, we meandered our way back through the city and back to our hotel room for a nap. It took a few hours to recover from the porchetta food coma, but we survived and eventually proceeded downstairs for dinner at Kuleto’s. I decided to go with a light meal of salmon, although the duck breast sounded great too.

If you’re ever in San Francisco, spend a weekend in one of the quaint hotels and enjoy the atmosphere in the city. It’s really nice to stay in the city, without the hassle of having to return home at the end of the night. Maybe we’ll do it again in a year…

Never Again

SF Pro-Choice Rally

Abortion on Demand

Ferry Building

Outside Villa Florence Hotel

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Push Processing Kodak BW400CN Film

Iron Horse Trail by Wayne-K
Iron Horse Trail, a photo by Wayne-K on Flickr.

I love the convenience of C-41 processed B&W film like Kodak BW400CN because it can be processed at the local drugstore, or in my case, the local Mike’s Camera (former Wolf Camera in Dublin, CA). I have the film developed and scanned to CD and Mike’s Camera will have it completed in only an hour. I’ve been shooting Kodak BW400CN film for almost two years now and learned the film looks best over-exposed by a stop, with the exposure adjusted when the negative is printed or scanned. Color negative film (and B&W film that’s processed in color chemicals) have a large exposure latitude, meaning one can under or over-expose it by quite a bit and still have usable prints. The drawback of under-exposure is the shadow areas become muddy/grainy looking. Over-exposure, on the other hand, yields very clean shadow areas. Given these film characteristics, I intentionally over-expose Kodak BW400CN to get cleaner shadows.

During my last visit to San Francisco, I planned on doing some street photography with my Nikon FM2 film camera loaded with Kodak BW400CN film. However, I found the ASA 400 film a bit too slow for the city because San Francisco is largely shaded by tall buildings. ASA 400 film doesn’t allow me to use fast enough shutter speeds on moving subjects. I researched BW400CN film on the Internet and found it does well push-processed to ASA 1600. I decided to experiment with a test roll. Push processing involves shooting a film at a higher speed than it’s rated and then developing the negative in the chemicals for a longer duration to compensate for the under-exposure. In my case, I shot the BW400CN film with my camera set to ASA 1600 (which under-exposes the negative by two-stops). When I dropped the film off at Mike’s Camera, I asked them to push-process the roll by two stops.

Overall, I was very pleased by the results. There’s a bit more grain in the photos than if I had shot it at its rated ASA 400, but not as much as I expected. Given the exposure latitude of the film, I could have requested “normal” processing (standard development times), but I think the final result would have been much grainier and muddier.

Here are a few photos from my first push-processed roll of Kodak BW400CN film.

Leaf on the Iron Horse Trail


Frosty Leaf