With #BIFscale17 just around the corner, and with me wanting to take part in something, to have a social aspect to my hobby, and only just now getting into social media again via Twitter, and all the fun and mild intellectual stimulation that has to offer, I figured I should test a roll of Redscale film before jumping in. So I grabbed the LC-A, loaded up a roll of Ultrafine Red Dragon 100, and started shooting.
If you’re not sure about Redscale, it’s a fairly simple technique, and you don’t need anything special, really, to do it. You don’t even need to go out and buy any. You just need a roll of color negative (or slide) film, an empty canister, a pair of scissors, a bit of tape and a dark place. Once set up in that dark place, you just cut off the leader, flip the canister over, tape the end of the film into the empty canister upside down, spool it from the new canister into the empty canister, cut a leader, and when you load it up to shoot, you’ll end up shooting through the base side of the film.
When you shoot through the base like that, because of the way color negative film is made, blue light doesn’t stand much of a chance to make it to the blue layer, and you end up with a red/orange picture. Hence, redscale.
Daniel Hewes is a bit more thorough in his discussion of it, so go have a read if you’re interested, and before I go much further, I have to mention that everytime I think “redscale” I hear a couple of bars of Red Sails.
Having never shot rescale before, I did some testing of various ISOs on the LC-A. I got my best results (or, rather, most pleasing to me) out of EI 25. Here are three shots, with apologies for the framing: left to right 100, 50, 25.
I love the clouds in redscale, but the light was low there, so maybe they’re not the best examples. Here are three selfies, at my desk, in the middle of the day, with strong window light streaming in from the back left and harsh fluorescents above. Again, left to right: 100, 50, 25.
I tried to vary the EI value with each scene, but didn’t always make it, and I tried to shoot under a variety of circumstances too, and I mostly succeeded at that.
Overall, I like the results best outdoors, during the middle of the day, or in cases where there’s a strong source of light and a bunch of darkness. For example, here are EI 100 and EI 25, from my usual light trails out the office window test shot.
Here’s a couple of favorites, one from a #Lunchbreak walk I took; the other a quick grab from the car window at a stoplight, both in the afternoon at EI25.
There’s a bit of a blue cast on some of these, like the center right of the image above. It’s random, and not unpleasant, but I’m not sure what caused it. It’s not a light leak: it’s too random for that. I don’t know what film the good people at Ultrafine use to roll their redscale, but I’ve de-redscaled a roll and am 1/3 the way through the roll as I type, so I might discover something, maybe. (There are no edge codes to refer to, so I’m not sure what I’ll find…)*
The tutorials I read about redscale suggest shooting with a strong backlight, and I managed a pretty good one of the Hanabibti in this same stage-like scene, but I won’t share it as she’s not wearing a hijab.
This one, too, has the blue cast in it, kinda makes everything go a bit magenta.
Honestly, EI 100 with this film, on the LC-A is way too red for me and what I tend to shoot, and unless something changes or I get a good idea, I plan to shoot the rest of my Red Dragon stock at 12 or 24. I also want to try try shooting through some blue gels and see what happens there. February is #BIFscale month, and God willing, I’ll shoot through a couple of rolls then, and maybe consciously try out some of the tips I read, but forgot about. These were particularly good:
If you want to join in, please do! It’s going down on Twitter, and probably Instagram, effbook, and others in the month of February. Get some film ready and get to shooting!
Well, this is going to be my last #weeklyroll for awhile. I’ve enjoyed it, enjoying trying different films and forcing myself to shoot more often, but in 2017, I want to change directions a bit, shoot with more purpose, forethought, intent, and actually shoot in order to produce something, rather than to just click the shutter. I’ve said that before, I think, and I don’t really know how to do it or where I’m going, but if you stick around, you’ll find out!
*If you go read my findings with the Green Kitten, I expect the blue cast is the same base fogging from Ultrafine’s manufacturing process. I’ve recently found ways to remove it in post, but I’ll probably stick to self-rolled Redscale, or maybe try the Lomography stuff.