Touching the Red Dragon

Following my initial tests with the Red Dragon, after tripping out with some psychedelic redscale and some play time with the green kitten, I felt it only fair to shoot a roll of Ultrafine Red Dragon at its rated 100.

Coincidentally, the One Touch 100 defaults to 100 with non-DX coded film. A match made in heaven? Let’s see…

In harsh, midday sun, and with a bit of play in post to remove the blue fog, Red Dragon is great at 100. But if the light gets a bit low, or if the contrast is too high, you can look forward to some blocked up shadows and blown highlights. I suppose the same can be said for other film stocks, but the Red Dragon seems to be a wee bit more temperamental than other films I’ve shot.

A couple of weekend ago, I visited my nonexistent hometown (Smithfield, TX was wiped off the map in the late 1980s) and stopped by the cemetery where my great- and grandparents were buried. Most everything I shot there was wildly underexposed, due, I think, to the base fog on the first dozen frames (as seen in my cuddle time with the green kitten), but I did get a nice, clean picture of the vacant lot behind it.

 

There’s not much detail in the midtones and the shadows go to black in a flash, but I think this is precisely what redscale is supposed to do, so I’m mostly pleased.

I shot a bit around the office on the way home from work, and the contrast just killed everything.

Perhaps the tint on the windshield fooled the meter? Either that, or this was early enough on the roll that the base fog ate up whatever latitude there was. (This would explain the sort of vignette in the left third too.)

The bare crepe myrtle out front seemed like a good subject, and with the sun in the frame, I got something mildly interesting.

But that confirms what little latitude the Red Dragon has at EI 100.

Again, it does ok in the middle of the day, but the decorations on this ice cream truck creep me out.

After a slow start, I finished the roll strong last Saturday. I stopped by a vacant neighborhood park in the midmorning. It was sunny and warm, and I was shocked that there were no children at play, but that meant I felt comfortable shooting whatever, and had a good time on the slide (with some nice, bright side-light)…

…and the tire swing (with strong backlight).

I hoped for more from the tire swing, but alas. (I got a better one at EI 6, I think: more on that later.) And after the park, I met up with @Mark_Snaps at the train yards in downtown Grapevine. He tried to duck out of the way, but I got him, partly, before he escaped…

So, for the record, I don’t much like the Red Dragon at 100. It’s better at 50 and better yet at 25, but with plenty of light, at high noon, it works well enough.

Stay tuned: In tandem with this, I shot a roll at EI3.

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