Pulling the Red Dragon

After my initial disappointment with the Red Dragon, and after my failings with the Psychedelic Redscale, but before I knew how the roll in the One Touch would turn out, I decided to shove a roll into the FE and see how the Red Dragon would do pulled as far as I could manage.

That meant EI 3 (ISO ring set to 12, with +2 on the Exposure Compensation dial), and it took some patience, some stability, and loads of light, but some of it came out nice.

To be honest, in many cases, EI 3 was somewhat overexposed, with blown highlights and no blacks to speak of, and I suppose you’d call this ‘yellowscale,’ but it certainly has an interesting look, and I look forward to playing with this idea some more, perhaps with some filters, and perhaps with some bleach bypass.

I had some trouble getting this roll spooled onto the developing reels, so there are some blue creases and warp marks in the film. That’s me, and not the exposure.

While processing these two rolls (this one, and the roll from the One Touch), I found that redscale film is much easier to process than normal color negative film. As you may recall, my process involves setting the black & white points on the Red, Blue, and Green levels individually, and then massaging things from there. But with redscale film, I just need to get the white balance close, then set the white and black points on the main levels panel, and voila.

Here are a couple of examples: on the left, my usual process (individual adjustment of all 3 levels panels in Capture One); on the right, the easier redscale process (single adjustment of main RGB levels pane).

For this image, I vastly prefer the more complex version. Had this been Bleach Bypassed, and maybe shot with a blue filter, it would’ve been something somewhat more evocative. But it just works much better as a sort of brown scale image than it does in redscale.

I shot this whole roll on one Saturday outing. First to that little neighborhood park in Richland Hills. I had a missfire there, but like how it came out with some careful processing.

I also got some nice trees at the back of the park. These would probably do equally well in the simplified redscale process, but I like them just fine like this.

After the park, I took Pipeline down to 26, and south to the old Richland Plaza shopping center. I paused to shoot some of the complex there, but couldn’t find the right angle, so I drove around the back and came across a Portfolio Recovery Associates call center hiding around the back.

I then drove on to Keller, wound around some till I found an old friend’s house. It makes me sad to see it like this, and I have a mild fantasy about wining the lottery or something, buying the property and rehabbing the old house. Back in the old days, it was a convent, and later a brothel (if I remember the stories about it) and then a convent again before the Miller family bought it. And boy, did I have some fun times there with Irene and Jessica, Fran, Mary, Nick, Kevin, and the gang.

Ah, nostalgia.

After that, I went into Grapevine to meet up with @Mark_Snaps, and I finished the roll there. Here we have a nice mix of both processing techniques, and I think they both have strengths.

Down the street from the old train depot, there’s a shop that sells all these yard ornaments, and I wanted to see how the whirlygigs would turn out, so I set the aperture at f/16 or f/22, braced the camera against a pole, and shot.

Eh. Ok, I guess, but I prefer the static version…

So Red Dragon at EI 3, with some creative processing, renders some very interesting effects. I’m a bit torn: I like playing around, testing ideas and processes, but I want to make something unified and concentrated. Likewise, and in retrospect, I now see some beauty in straight-ahead redscale, but I don’t have a use for it at present and really want to play around with some other modifications to see what will happen.

That said, I’m down to one roll of Red Dragon at present, and it’s loaded into the XA and I’m exposing it at EI 25. That’ll likely be the end of #BIFscale17, for me. I’m looking forward to digging into some black & white stocks in the upcoming @TMAXparty and @DeltaDefJam (both will be #neopantasic, I’m sure), and to getting back to my long-stalled projects in color.

I like the tape job: simple and effective.

Thanks for reading, and let me know how you feel about the different processing methods. I’d love to hear what you think!

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