Winter in Vancouver ft. Lomography Potsdam 100 & Kodak TMax 400

It’s been awhile since I’ve scanned a roll of film since I haven’t been shooting much recently. With the world in a battle with the invisible, I haven’t been motivated to go out specifically to shoot. That’s my excuse for why the roll of Potsdam 100 has so much dust on the scans.

Last December, I was gifted a bunch of film from a friend that had gone to Washington state for a business trip. Most of the film was the standard mix of Kodak TMax, Tri-X, Portra at various speeds and a modest number of rolls of Fuji Superia. Among the rolls there was one roll from Lomography, the Potsdam 100. I’ve never shot anything from Lomography before and I was curious.

It wasn’t that I had a biased against Lomography film stocks; to be honest I’ve not seen much from Lomography and being the market for film in Vancouver being limited as it is, I hadn’t seen many merchants carry stock from Lomography.

I loaded the roll almost immediately into my 6×4.5 camera and immediately came to regret it. The roll had sat in my camera for over a month without being shot. At the beginning of this month I had self-declared that it had been long enough and I made it my personal mission to expose the entire roll.

The TMax 400 images were shot on the same day as the Portra photos in Stanley Park.

I thought it would be interesting to have a comparison, for myself mostly, between a film stock that I knew and the Lomography 100. I shot both rolls at their respective box speeds.

It’s not a fair and true comparison but it’s always helpful to have a baseline, a point of reference, when examining something new.

One is not better than the other; they are simply different with their own charms and merits. And besides, a photo is not about which tools and medium were used.

The grain is significantly more noticeable on the Lomography Potsdam 100 and, acknowledging the different speeds between the two films, there is less variation in the grays, especially in the shadows in the Potsdam. The Potsdam is very high contrast and rich.

I’m not a fan of surprises and the most I can handle, in terms of relinquishing control of outcomes, would be throwing in a new film stock into my camera and investing the time to expose the entire roll. I don’t think I would actively seek this roll to shoot again but I don’t mind the results. I think they look like photos that my grandmother may have clipped from newspapers stored in old scrapbooks. It’s a dramatic, inky look.

In hindsight, it would be a better film to try now – in July – rather than during the overcast transitional season. Just by looking at the photo with the windsurfer backlit by the setting sun, the film does a great job at capturing the silhouettes of the clouds and the rays of sun hitting the beaches in the far distant.

That being said, a 100-speed film stock being better for sunny weather than in the dead of winter is an obviously redundant statement.

On a side note, I really am curious if all these scratches are made by me or if it’s part of the film. I will have to check again. I know I tried to excuse my incompetent scanning by blaming my lack of recent practice and inspiration to shoot because of the current circumstances but even with that into consideration, I can’t believe myself to be this crummy as to not be able to use an air-blower and a flatbed scanner. I want to cautiously allocate some fault to the film stock but I could be proven wrong at a later time.

Potsdam 100, me by not me

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