The South West Slide Path

The South West Slide Path 1800 1089 John Whitmore Photography

There’s a massive buzz around Kodak Ektachrome at the moment, since the re-introduction of E100 in 135 format earlier this year the internet seems to be awash with slide film.  I have always avoided shooting with positive film as I generally print using an analogue process but these photos were drawing me in and I couldn’t resist looking at ways of (hopefully) producing optical prints from slide film.

Generally I only scan film for use on social media, on this website and recently for creating a zine, all my prints are made directly from negative film and I want to continue making them this way.  Since the demise of Cibachrome it has become impossible to produce a print optically from positive film.  I have experimented with cross processing (developing reversal film in C41 chemistry) before, but have never printed from it, the colours just seemed too funky.  The other hybrid option is to scan the negatives and produce a digital negative but this sounds less than ideal to me!

One other option I uncovered was creating an inter-negative, that is develop the slide film in E6 chemistry and produce a negative by either contacting printing or enlarging onto negative film.  This was the route that appealed most to me, keeping everything analogue and skirting around the digital realm.

First step was to actually shoot some slide film!  Fortunately I had a roll of Ektachrome E100G in medium format waiting in a cupboard, it had been sitting around a few years, collected from a haul of random films.  Stored without care, I wasn’t expecting great results but it was would be a way of testing out the chemical process and get a feel for the process.  And with Kodak due to release Ektachrome in medium format later this year would give a a taster of what’s to come, time to hit the road (South West Coast path) and crack out the Mamiya.

EktachromeTest - Photographed with Film - Kodak Ektachrome 100 at ISO 100 on Medium Format 120 Roll ID-155-007

Development

This was done using the 2.5l Tetenal, 3-bath + stabiliser kit, done at 38°C it includes a first developer (6mins 15s), Colour Developer (6m) and Bleach Fix(6m) – each stage requires a wash between (2m30s) and it is finalised in a stabiliser – I added some wetting agent to this to help reduce water stains on drying.

Scanning and post processing

When the film first came out of the tank it had an extreme blue cast to it all but after drying it seemed to go. Leaving behind the magical, real world colours of slide film.

IMG devwet
IMGdevdry

I have limited knowledge and understanding when it comes to scanning colour film and to keep things simple I opted for the ‘auto’ option in the Epson V750 software.  This produced results that I was happy to proceed into Lightroom with but did seem to have a slight blue cast to them all.

To slide or not to slide

After a little experimentation in Lightroom I decided a reduction in the saturation in the blue channel and an increase in warmth of the colour temperature produced the most pleasing (correct?) results.  I also increased the contrast slightly in some of the images and added a small amount of sharpening.

Since developing it I have read that the film should not be continuous agitated during the first stage (which I did), which may have caused the blue cast – or it may have been because it was expired – I need to do further tests with fresh stock to confirm this.

Overall I am happy with the results and has certainly encouraged me to continue testing and shooting more slide film.  Stay tuned for the next stages in this adventure, but first, time for a little sleep…

EktachromeTest - Photographed with Film - Kodak Ektachrome 100 at ISO 100 on Medium Format 120 Roll ID-155-008