Back in 1994 the current government liberated the country and have been in power ever since.
Of course what they never told the voters was that they would somewhat liberate them of their security and power. As can be attested to by Paul P in his recent blog there have sprung up a number of quaint unique South Africanisms. There is the car guard phenomenon or exhaust genies as they are otherwise known. Park your car anywhere and no-one is to be seen. Return to it to depart and poof a genie pops out your exhaust to assist you out of your parking spot - regardless of the fact that you have been driving for 50 years. This they do with unique hand gestures the final of which is an outstretched hand . Then there is load shedding which has become days of our lives. A cute name to describe how the comrades ( yes for those who don't know - the current government is and has been since inception 1/3 communist party based ) have liberated the country of power and often cannot afford to keep the lights on for anything up to 7-8 hours a day at times. In this short time they have managed to turn a power utility that was once the envy of the world, known for its efficiency into a candle factory. Hell in the spirit of peace and reconciliation we even have our own little piece of commie heaven in the form of the local watering hole Cape to Cuba - although in the cold light of load shedding it may look more like a house of ill repute. But we are not here to discuss politics. When the lights go out some businesses have adapted and stay open a lot do not. What this does lead to is a different opportunity for night photography without the cursed ever present tungsten street lamps - well most of them anyway. A low light environment. In the quest to further the SOOC workflow we look at which night film recipes might hold up and pass the test. How will the much vaunted CineStill800T perform. Serrs 500T looked to have promise. Might Kodak Gold V2 without adjusting the white balance temp for night conditions be of use. Could even the new found Fuji Colour Industrial 100 be an all round performer. Just after the most unpopular man in the country gleefully flipped his switches, off we set with camera and tripod to shoot 2 stops under exposed in raw. Raw so we could change the film stock in camera using Fujis clunky X Raw Studio and 2 stops underexposed because well who shoots load shedding shots at normal camera exposure anyway ?
All images SOOC - with no adjustments - not even for a little exposure. Do any of the film simulations float your boat for moody night photography? You be the judge.
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Cine yes – but that’s only to be expected, really, isn’t it? After all, for the best part of a century one of the largest industries in the world has been built on “cine” ideas of colour. Yes it is NOT “true to life” – but it grabs the eyeballs, and feeds the brain with spectacular and vivid and “balanced” colours, hues, tints, tones etc.
Everyone else is being invited to chuck their choice forward, so I’ll add one thought. In all the others, I found that red was a bit wishy washy, and on that basis alone, I went back to Cine. For the whole shoot.
Question – how is it SOOC, with so many different film types? Surely selecting and apply each type immediately takes away the SOOC tag?
I must say I don’t miss the sodium vapour lights that used to be so prevalent. They threw an awful yellow-orange cast over everything. Worst was when you got a mixture – some sodium vapour, some mercury vapour – making it utterly impossible to adjust them back to anything half reasonable – so the temptation was to turn the image into a black and white one, and to hell with the colours!
Hi JPG, Thats one vote for cinestill – cannot help but smile at your initials in this case.
Just to clarify. If you were to create a recipe of settings in camera and only shoot jpg one would call that SOOC.
With Fuji you can shoot RAW and still do an in camera RAW conversion after the fact. Add to this the Fuji X RAW Studio software which connects your PC to you camera and allows you to take a RAW from your hard drive , select a recipe in camera or on saved in the the X RAW software , and then send that RAW image to the camera allowing it to do the conversion and send back a jpg after the fact. This produces a SOOC jpg. The X RAW Studio also allows you to take a batch of RAW images and send them to the camera for conversion. You may then select a different recipe and batch convert the same RAW images accordingly. This allows one to test different recipes / film simulations from the in camera conversion. Just so long as after the jpgs have been returned to the hard drive you perform no further post processing with another program they remain SOOC images. In this case I only used LightRoom to watermark and border the images nothing more. Hope that clarifies how they can all be SOOC.
“cannot help but smile” – that’s funny! – I’d never even noticed that before, Ian!
Sorry Ian – my mind is on other things, and I forgot – I love available light night photography – I first started doing it in the 1960s, and I’ve been doing it ever since!
I think the very first was at an office Christmas Party. Everyone else was horribly drunk, the behaviour was in excusable. My father was a wine maker, so I was brought up knowing how to drink, and how to appreciate what I drank – getting drunk was never “interesting. So I sat quietly in one corner, blazing away with my camera. Nobody took the slightest bit of notice. I’m quite sure none of them believed I could possibly take photos in such awful lighting conditions.
A couple of weeks later, I took the results to the office. I showed the photos to a couple of people, then locked them all up in my filing cabinet and went out of the office for a couple of hours. When I returned, I found someone had jemmied the filing cabinet drawer open, and stolen the lot – prints and negatives!
That took place in a major law firm, by the way – I was an articled law clerk in that august establishment, when I took those photos. So next time you bump into someone who is a lawyer, and who expects everyone to look up to him as some kind of superior being, just be careful not to think about this story, and get an attack of the giggles. It’s very hard to explain to someone else, why you have decided to giggle at them!
Hi Pete, slimey bastards indeed 🙂
Did you have an image with someone important with his tongue down someone’s throat that he should not have had 🙂 LMAO
I had the senior partner dancing rather closely with a very young secretary – and one of the more junior ones was doing pretty much exactly what you’re suggesting**. As for where his hand was . . . .
**[Not sure if this is “inappropriate”, here. It looked like what some people call “french kissing”. Maybe I should ask someone one day, how other people do it?]
On a completely different note – December 2 years ago I posted one of my available light, night shots, on Google Guide. It was a cafe in this street, which wa hit badly by COVID – they’d just finished fitting it out, at vast expense, when the COVID lockdown started, so they had to postpone their opening for about 6 months – then got off to a faltering start, because people were still very nervous about venues like bars and restaurants. So I took the photo and posted it, in the hope that it might help them in some small way.
Yesterday, Google kindly updated the figures – it’s now had over 390,000 hits, and steaming towards 400,000 hits before Christmas – less than 2 years after I posted it. An all time record, for any photo I’ve ever taken! And It was just a hand held shot, taken in something of a hurry, with the first camera I could lay my hands on when I got home that night! Nothing special – just my Canon PowerShot with a 12.8MP 1.5 inch sensor.
My vote: Fuji Color Industrial 100 by a slight margin over Kodak Gold V2. Fuji’s colors seem just a bit cleaner (absent any apparent color cast). I have not shopped for film in decades, literally, but I would guess the Kodak Gold is much more widely attainable. If so, that just might give an edge to the Kodak Gold.
Hi Frank, thats a vote for Fuji Industrial – it did surprise me with its low light night time use too.
Ian – Interesting test. I have 3 Fuji bodies, including an X-T10 but I’ve never used the film simulations. Hate to be difficult, but I’d keep them all. I don’t think its a one recipe fit’s all answer. Each simulation has it’s own merits and may do “the best” job on a particular image and utter crap on another, or most often, “the best” on ONE PART of an image. When, for example, I use SilverFX or Blend Modes I may make several variations of the image using different presets or blend modes and then composite the final image from the portions of the images set that are “the best” of that part of the image … mind you, that easier done in BW or broken colour than what you are doing. Just my distorted two cents worth.
Hi John, ok thats a one sit on the fence. So far there is no clear winner and just like the US midterms this may take a few months to finally call 🙂 Using camera simulations/emulations is along the lines of old style film photography where you choose a film stock and live with the results. Luckily with digital technology and Fuji in particular, one may have 7 rolls of film permanently stored in camera and switch between them at a flick of a switch. Or even shoot raw and send them off to the developer later choosing between any number of film stocks. Do we suffer from over choice in this marvelous modern technological world though ??
Sometimes I think we do suffer from “over choice”. I’ve stayed away from the film sims because I’m trapped down enough rabbit holes to last several lifetimes. Another one might just be “the straw … “. It’s hard to type when you jacket has no sleeves and buttons up the back.
Correction … that should be a Fuji X-S10.