Adventures in Macro

Film stock: Kodak Portra 400 (35mm)
Developed: Self-developed
Camera: Canon EOS 5

I’ve been shooting film for a few months now, and even developed some film myself. The one thing I hadn’t done though is develop colour film. I also had limited experience with macro photography, so I somehow ended up combining the two in my outing for today. To be fair though, I can’t think of a better first subject for colour film than some nature related macro photography!

For today’s outing, I used slightly different equipment than usual. Unfortunately, I don’t have any macro lenses to fit the Canon A-1 (or any medium format macro lenses either), so I used the Canon EOS 5. This is somewhat newer than my other film cameras, and is closer in appearance to my digital SLR than the others, so it has a certain sense of familiarity to it. There’s also some interchangeability in the lenses between it and my digital SLR, so it means I was free to use my existing macro lens.

Bute Park is not particularly far from my house, and it’s a fairly pleasant walk so I wandered over to the park, camera in hand, and started exploring. Most of my walk through the park was spent exploring the nooks and crannies of the park, and involved a lot of wandering into bushes, crouching down and wandering off the path. I think I may have got a few looks from passers-by, but I’d like to think I’m beyond caring about that at this stage.

I also learned a very important lesson today – insects can move really quickly, so using a method of photography where you have limited attempts and can’t check your results afterwards is a really risky tactic. I also realised about halfway through my shoot that it was rather windy; which is also not ideal for macro photography!

After a while, I emerged from the souther entrance of Bute Park (the one next to the Animal Wall). After a bit of loitering around Cardiff, I eventually made it back to my house and got to work.

No, you can’t see any thermometers or water baths here… yes it’s stand develop… oh, stop looking at me like that; it’s not like you’ve never taken a shortcut before! 😜

Now, I’m not the most experienced person ever at developing film, so when I found out you could develop C41 at room temperature, I was all ears. It takes a bit longer than normal development, but there’s a lot more hands-off time in between where you can walk away, watch two episodes of “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia”, swap chemicals and do some agitations, and then watch two more episodes – it really is that laid back!

This was obviously the first time I’d ever developed colour film myself, so it could have gone horribly wrong, and I was preparing myself mentally for failure the whole time… just in case. In the end, none of this fear was warranted, and I was pretty happy with the results…

And for those of you who are not experts at judging an image in negative form(!) here are the results without the orange cast and negative colours…