Here are a few more shots taken with the Fujifilm Superia Xtra film. I find the grain in the first shot particu;arly off-putting and it’s only marginally better in the fourth shot, which is my favourite from the roll. I believe this is one of the many films Fujifilm are pulling from the market. If so, it’s no great loss.
Disappointing. I expected more from this film. Partly because it is from Fujifilm. Partly because the results from the last colour 400 film I tried – Kodak Ultramax – were unexpectedly good. While images from this film taken in good light look well, once shadows appear so does the grain to a much greater extent than with the Kodak film. While it is small and relatively uniform this only makes it worse since it contributes to a kind of smudged appearance at times. Harder, more random grain would be better. So, a decent film on a bright day but a distant second to the Ultramax when shooting in the shade.
Here are a few archtectural shots taken mostly in the full light of the day.
An old metal gate taking on the appearance of abstract art with many years worth of graffiti and fragments of posters layered and torn.
On the corner of Tsar Osvoboditel and Vasil Levski the entrance to the Sofia University metro leads to an open air concourse before disappearing from view under the road. From ground level a wide angle lens results in a nicely layered image. The light and shadow of the concourse leads into the bright band of sun illuminated cladding of the station wall and then the curved facade of Sofia University, topped off by a spring blue sky.
Walking past a few days ago I was drawn to the hard contrast between the sunlight reflecting off the light coloured stone of the concourse and the dark shadows of the interior. This is another one of those situations where, having found a good spot to shoot from, it’s good to hang around for a while watching scenes unfold. So after taking the initial wide angle shot I waited by the same spot for a while watching people come and go and trying to catch them as they moved between the darkness and the light, or were illuminated by the sun against the background shadows. Sometimes it’s a waste of 30 minutes, often you will get a few decent shots, occasionally you might come away with a gem. No gems this time, but I did get a few decent shots.
As with most of my recent photography I used my Panasonic LX5 with its small and, in digital years, ancient sensor. So given the very extreme contrast of light and dark I was not at all confident about how they would turn out. So when I saw the pictures in Lightroom I was very pleased with the outcome. While the unprocessed RAW files often looked like the highlights were blown, one click of the auto tone button transformed most of the images, not only retrieving detail from the highlights but also pulling detail out of the shadows, as you can see from the comparison below.
In fact, in most cases the camera performed so well in retaining detail in the shadows that I had to darken blacks and shadows to get the effect I wanted. Here are a few that I liked.