Kodak Porta: flowers, etc.

So let’s wrap up this week of Porta with some pretty pictures, what’s say.

The FG has been giving me some fits lately. I’ve mentioned this before, I think, but I often get about half a roll shot before I realize that the meter is no longer working, and to get it working again, I have to take the film out and reload it. The first couple of times, just hitting the film rewind button worked, but that ended, and I had the same problem with both of these rolls. I took the 16o out and reloaded it at about frame 25, just after returning from a neighborhood walk with my wife, and I reloaded the 400 after only 4 frames when the meter failed to start working at all.

After much searching, I found that the problem is/was likely a dirty frame counting sensor. I don’t pretend to know how it functions, but the FG meter doesn’t start working until whatever the camera calculates as Frame 1. Up to that point, the shutter will only fire at 1/90th. There’s some sort of sensor somewhere that “reads” the film as unexposed or something, powers on the meter, and allows shutter speeds up to the 1/1000th maximum. And after much more searching, I found a take-apart guide for the FG… (more on that later).



This problem has been intermittent for some time, and on the roll of Porta 160, it only showed up after Hana and I went for a brief walk around the neighborhood. I didn’t shoot much, and what I did shoot wasn’t worth sharing, but I do like this sidewalk.

When we got back home, I crawled around on the ground shooting the mini roses, but didn’t really get anything.The wind was blowing a bit too hard to get pictures of acceptable sharpness, but not enough to make interesting motion blur. Then, when I got inside, I realized the meter wasn’t working properly, so I quickly threw the FG into the dark bag, rewound the film, shot through 25 frames, said “Bismillah,” and took my sweet time shooting through the rest of the roll.

I shot a bit in my office, a bit around the house, but mostly I was thinking about Marilyn Minter and Huger Foote and trying to see things that maybe I could capture like might emulate one of them a bit, but honestly was feeling somewhat defeated. I just didn’t have the mojo, I guess: nothing looked right and the camera felt strange in my hand.

A couple of days later, when I came back from work, I shot the confused roses again. It was early February, and they are still in bloom. My mom has taken to calling this “The Winter That Never Happened,” and that seems to be accurate so far.

I think my finger got in the way here, or maybe it was a branch from another plant. Nope. Looking again at the scan, this was actually a scanning error: I caught the top edge of the computer monitor. :facepalm:

I came inside after that, and just shot through the rest of the roll kinda willy-nilly like.

I shot this chili…

And I shot the cling wrap covering some (I think) un-filled profiterole biscuit things, as they waited to be cracked open and stuffed with fresh whipped cream: yum.

Maybe there’s something like Minter coming through int he bottom left corner… maybe. And that pretty much marked the end of my last roll of Porta 160, for now.

To be honest, I like the color and grain well enough, but the film is hard to work with. If I was sending out for developing and pro scanning, I wouldn’t mind, but since I develop at home and scan with the Scan-O-Matic, I need film that dries pretty close to flat and that doesn’t develop a concave warp as both the Porta 160 and the Porta 400 tend to do, and I hate cussing my way through a scanning session. Maybe I should cut and sleeve them while they’re still a little bit damp and stack a bunch of heavy books on them for a day or ten before scanning… In sha’Allah I’ll try that with the next roll that has a horrible concave warp in it, but since Porta has been by far the worst about this, and since I’m currently out of Porta and expect to be out of it for awhile, it might be awhile before I start trying to cure the film curve issue.

But I digress.

The meter trouble reared its ugly head again almost immediately after loading the roll of 400. After the failure during/just after the neighborhood walk, I wondered if maybe it had something to do with jostling the camera around, but I’m not too sure: so far, there seems to be no rhyme or reason to the meter failures.

If you’re wondering about the picture above, it came about after shooting through about 5 frames when I first loaded the Porta 400 trying to get the meter to start, then throwing the camera into the dark bag, rewinding the film part way, and reloading it. Alhamdulillah, it worked after that.

Here it is again.

With most of this roll, I tried to emulate some of the Huger Foote that I admire. I succeeded, sorta, in some ways. This one is close to what I was after, but not quite.

One of the things I like about some of Foote’s pictures is the tendency for things to materialize from a fog of blurred lines and shapes, and the one above has no foreground blur, so nothing really materializes from the fog. But I got a bit closer with this one.

Maybe the photobook thing is paying off a bit, maybe I’m starting to see things a bit differently, consider different composition and framing techniques. Allahu Alim.

I like how these rose pictures came out, even though I wasn’t thinking about anything in particular when I shot them.

And I think this is probably the best picture from these two rolls.

It’s got the Porta color and grain that everyone raves about, the composition is interesting, and the subject, while potentially hackneyed, is presented in a slightly different way… Maybe?

So that’s my last two rolls of Porta for awhile. My last roll of Lomography Color 100 is in the FG right now, and on deck next is some expired Kodak Pro Image 100 and HD 400 (both expired in 2011), plus a few rolls of that Adox Color Implosion stuff. I’ll be interested to see how all that turns out, how well it plays with my scanning techniques, and what sorts of colors it gives.


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