Every April, the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) hosts its annual meeting. The size of this meeting (I.e. many, many thousands of delegates) restricts the location of the meeting to only the handful of cities that have conference facilities large enough to handle the meeting. This year, the meeting was held in Philadelphia, which gave me the opportunity to visit a city I've never been to before. It also gave me an opportunity to travel back to New York City (which is only about 100 miles northeast of Philadelphia) to take care of some business and, of course, do a little walking and make some photographs.
Gear-wise, I took my Domke F2 loaded with:
- Leica MP + CV Nokton 35 f/1.4 MC
- Canon 7 + Canon 50 f/1.4 ('The Japanese Summilux', if you'd like)
- Mamiya 7 + 80 f/4 & 43 f/4.5
- Tri-X (35mm)
- Portra 400 (120)
- Portra 160VC (220)
- Ektar 100 (120)
- Kodak 50D & 250D (5203/5207) motion picture film (35mm)
- Provia 100F (35mm & 120)
- Agfa Precisa CT 100 (35mm; actually rebranded Provia 100F)
- Bilora Biloret tripod
I also brought my Billingham Hadley Small, packed into my carry-on bag. The Billingham served as my day-to-day bag, and I never carried more than two cameras at a time. I decided on the Mamiya 7 over the Hasselblad 500cm for this trip, for the simple reason that I've been shooting a lot of the 500cm lately, and I felt that the Mamiya deserved some attention. Also, I wanted to do some shooting with the absolutely brilliant 43 f/4.5, a lens for which there is virtually no equal, on any platform.
I flew down to Philadelphia on Saturday morning (it's about 1 1/2 hours from Toronto to Philadelphia...thanks, Air Canada!) and spent Sunday in New York (first half of the day in meetings, second half walking and shooting). After that, I had roughly 3 more days in Philadelphia, before flying home on Wednesday morning. A quick trip, but a fruitful trip. Philadelphia is a lovely city, full of charming back streets, great art, and terrific food. What more can you ask for?
In the end, I shot the equivalent of 15 rolls of 35mm and 120 film; I say equivalent because I shot 1 roll of Portra 160VC in 220 format, which is equivalent to two rolls of 120. I've had a bunch of 160VC 220 in my freezer for a while (with an expiration date of 2/2004), and I decided to give it a shot. Shot it as I normally would any colour negative film (i.e. one stop over box - EI 80 here - metered for the emerging shadows), and processed normally. Worked absolutely wonderfully, providing even more evidence that, if properly stored, expired film can provide excellent results.
Standard C41 processing was done at Toronto Image Works, while processing of motion picture films, B&W film, and slide film was done in my basement, using the Tetenal C41 kit, Diafine, and the Tetenal 3-bath E6 kit, respectively. Scanning was via my DSLR method (Nikon D800), and all colour negative conversions were done with my new Photoshop/Lightroom-based method (and yes, I'm still working on part 3!), which worked mostly flawlessly, with the exception of the motion picture film, which required a little bit more tweaking than usual (but still far less than I'd usually be doing). Nevertheless, the more I use this method, the more I love it. It provides both fast results and high resolution, and has the added benefit of not requiring an additional piece of hardware (as long as you've already got the DSLR, of course). I've also started using metal enlarger film carriers (I've got 35mm, 6x6, 6x7, and 4x5) to hold my film flat, and BOY do they work well. MUCH better than anything else I've used, short of ANR glass (which has its own issues). All in all, I'm very, very happy with my circa-2015 scanning rig.
Oh, one more thing: I shot one roll of Ektar 100, which has never been my favourite film. And still isn't. I just don't love the tonal palette, and I find it very susceptible to colour shifts that are difficult to correct in post. I've seen some lovely work done with Ektar, but it's just not for me.
Anyway, enough words. I hope you enjoy the photos.