The Cool Blues of San Francisco

Recently, I had an opportunity to purchase a few rolls of Kodak Vision 3 500T Film (5219). I was warned that it would be almost too ‘cool’, that it had tones of blue in most photos unless I used a warming filter, or fixed it in post.

While my style of color photography tends to be vibrant and warm (Portra and Ektar are favorite film stocks), I wanted to try something new.

I went out shooting photos of San Francisco at dusk, and also in the midst of our poor weather (on the days when it rained ceaselessly). I think that if you know its quirks, you can get a lot out of it. I really like this look and am excited to try other motion picture film stock (I have a 50ft roll of Vision 250D film I’m going to bulk roll myself).

Shooting motion picture film is an interesting premise for a film stills photographer: you can buy it in bulk! It’s affordable! And has very interesting look and film somewhat reminiscent of many of the movies we know and love (500T was used to shoot parts of Euphoria, among other TV shows and movies). The main downside is that regular labs don’t process motion picture film. It has a black layer of ‘remjet’ at the back that can lead to damage of commercial labs' equipment. What you want to do is look for someone who does ECN-2 developing (there are several), or do it yourself with an ECN-2 kit.

Also, it never fails to amuse me that people think San Francisco is a really modern-looking big city: to me, it’s a small town trapped in time, where buildings and entire neighborhoods (except the downtown area) look more or less the same as it did when hippies were running around naked in these areas.

a scan of a color photograph of a set of colorful garage doors in San Francisco with shades of brown red and light blue. Looks very retro. A sign says No Parking at any time

No parking at any time.

a scan of a color photograph of  a church in San Francisco that is painted blue set against a blue sky at dusk with pink hue and white clouds

A church in blue and pink and cloud.

a scan of a color photograph of  the stairs and front doors of a Victorian house in San Francisco that is mostly blue. A few numbers say 881 and 883

Victorians in this neighborhood seem to like blue and white a lot.

a scan of a color photograph of  the stairs and front doors of a yellow purple and blue Victorian house in San Francisco that has a purple lion on the stoop near its columns

And purple.

a scan of a color photograph of a neighborhood in Cole Valley San Francisco where the Victorian houses are mostly blue and there is a retro white car parked on the street

Retro blues.

a scan of a color photograph of a pink and blue Victorian building on a street in San Francisco with two cars parked in front of it, and a yellow building next to it

Pink and yellow.

All photos taken on Minolta Hi-Matic, Kodak Vision 3 500T film, developed and scanned by Eureka Film Lab.

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Adrianna Tan @skinnylatte
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