Back in February, I received the notice that my lab, the Film Box Lab, was about to make an announcement. I was not sure what to expect, but I did not expect what was announced. Film Box announced that they would be closing their doors. My heart sank when I got the news. Where was I going to get my film processed? Are there any places within driving distance to drop off film? Who else can I trust to process my film? These were just a few questions that ran through my mind. I just shot two black and white rolls and was ready to send them in for processing. With this news, I decided to hold on to my exposed rolls. Who was going to process my latest street adventures in downtown Nashville?
Well it turns out the Film Box Lab had a plan. They did not want to leave their clients hanging. They had been working for several weeks on a merger with a lab in Orem, Utah. This lab is called The FINDLab. FIND stands for Film Is Not Dead. After doing my own research on this lab, I came to the conclusion that the FINDLab was a very competent lab and their prices were inline with what I was used to paying. The owner and creator, Jonathan Canlas, is an accomplished photographer and the creator of the Film Is Not Dead workshops. What started out as a community to promote film photography turned into lab for clients worldwide. I was still undecided about choosing the FINDLab. Orem, Utah is quiet a jump compared to Nashville. I felt a little uneasy about sending my film such a distance, but what choice did I have? I’m not ready to start processing my own film just yet.
I heard a lot of good things about the Indie Lab. This lab is in Birmingham, Alabama. Obviously I won’t be driving to Birmingham to drop off film, but it is a bit closer than Utah. I also looked at a third lab that is in Valencia, California called Richard Photo Lab. This is a very well known lab that processes film from a lot of famous photographers. Both the Indie Lab and the Richard Photo Lab appear to be great labs. I would not hesitate sending my film to any of those, but I was still drawn to the FINDLab. There was something intimate about the FINDLab that reminded me of my experience with the Film Box Lab. I guess it was that “Mom & Pop” feeling. Since I was leaning toward the FINDLab, I sent them an email with a list of questions. They were prompt in their reply and answered my questions fully. After this interaction, I decided to give them a try. After all, the Film Box Lab chose them for a reason, right?
Well, I mailed off one roll of 36 exposures to the FINDLab. I actually had two rolls to send, but I wanted to tip toe in before I decided to immerse myself entirely. Drum Roll Please! Wow! I was extremely pleased with the results. I have not shot TRI-X 400 on the streets in 35mm for well over a year. In fact, my first run at the streets with TRI-X 400 was a bit of a let down. I can blame that on my technique which has improved drastically since my last try. The FINDLab commented that all my exposures were excellent with the exception of a few where the scenes had a lot of contrast. They said that even those frames were still within the latitude of the film. I knew that going in as sometimes you have to find a mid point in the dynamic range of the scene and bring back the missing information in post processing. Even these frames turned out great.
Now here is a little information about this outing. As always I use my trusty Olympus OM1 coupled with a 50mm f1.8 lens. I love this combination. The only other lens I might consider using for the street would be a 35mm lens. Until I acquire a 35mm lens, I will keep using the “Nifty Fifty”. With Kodak TRI-X 400 loaded, I took to the streets of Nashville during the Hockey All-star week. Hockey fans were all over the place. Predator Jerseys by far out numbered the others. It was a festive atmosphere with TV cameras, vendors, booths and activities everywhere. While I did capture a lot of this, I also got off the beaten path a little. The aspect I wanted to work on was capturing more interactions and work on getting some different angles. I did shoot some mundane shots of people doing their thing, but I also managed to capture a few shots that I thought were some of my better street captures. I shot my last frame of my only roll of TRI-X 400 by mid-morning, but I still was craving the streets. To satisfy my appetite, I drove over to Dury’s to pick up another roll of TRI-X. I hit the streets again and finished my second roll of the day. I could have stayed out all day, but I figured I better get home before my family reported me missing. Now that I have the results from the FINDLab, I will be sending the second roll off soon. This post is 1 of 2 that I will be posting from my first roll developed by the FINDLab. These are my favorites from the roll. Stay tuned for the next post from this roll and stay tuned for my second roll in “Nashville Streets Part 2”.
The shot below took about 20 minutes to create. I really liked the table setting with the light shining through the window on the drinking glass. The only thing missing was the human element. Since it was still early, not a lot of people was stirring. After about 20 minutes, a person walked by.
Table for Two
Have Bag Will Travel
Maybe this restaurant should rethink their message.
I noticed this gentlemen and his bow tie at the corner. He saw my camera and asked if I was a professional photographer. This began a 5 minute conversation. He told me that his friends called him Luigi. I am not sure where they got that, LoL. He said that he used to work in the factories back in the 80’s. If I remembered correctly, I believe he is a manager in the building where he was standing. I asked for his portrait. He was a bit shy but agreed if I didn’t post it on Facebook. I wanted him to either step into the light or into the shadow where I had consistent light, but he kept moving backward. I finally took the shot below.
They Call Me Luigi
The woman below asked if I took her picture. I told her no that I was shooting the building behind her. When I told her I was shooting film she said, “Oh!” She smiled and went on her way.
The Evil Eye
I really like the mood of this next shot. I took this at the bus station.
I waited about 15 minutes for a interesting figure to walk by before I got this shot.
Me and Mommy
In my last post I mentioned how I love the discoveries you make about your pictures once you had a chance to study the frame. I knew I took a picture of an old truck, but what I didn’t catch was the Rosa Parks street sign above. This was significant because that truck was actually being produced during the time Rosa Parks was about to make history. The Rosa Parks incident happened in 1955. I believe this truck was made sometime in the early 50’s.
This mom was taking a picture of her daughter. I just missed her in the act. I grabbed this shot just as she finished.
I was looking at a potential skyline shot with someone in the foreground while I was crossing the Shelby Street Pedestrian Bridge. I liked the window created by the structural members of the bridge. Moments later I noticed a cyclist headed my way. I focused on the ground where he would cross my path and position the buildings in the background. I snapped the shot below as he passed. That’s me in the corner.
I am extremely pleased with these results. I love the contrast and sharpness of TRI-X. This may become my “go-to” street film. However, I do have an Ilford HP5+ roll that is in the hopper. I can’t wait to compare the results to the TRI-X. I’ve heard good things about HP5+. As always, thanks for taking the time to read my blog. I would love to hear your feedback. Stay tuned for the next series of images!
Images Best Viewed In Lightbox Below!