For our opening image today, we go back to 2005, my first trip to the Blue Ridge mountains in NC despite the fact that I’d lived in the state since 1990 – in fact, I’d moved out of state (to three different states, but that’s another story in itself,) before moving back in the year previous to this. Anyway, I was following vague directions to various waterfalls when I came across a small cave deep in the woods, with runoff forming a curtain across the entrance, and in one small spot, a ray of sunlight was lancing through the forest canopy to illuminate the water splashing on the rocks. This formed a very small rainbow, and so, I shot the image.
Except, between the exposure setting and the higher-contrast of slide film (this being Fuji Velvia F,) the rainbow effect didn’t register too well at all. I might have done a lot better with Fuji Astia, which has lower contrast and a more neutral color tone and saturation level, but this was what I had loaded at the time and I wasn’t switching rolls just for this frame. I mean, technically I could have, because I did it from time to time, rewinding mid-roll and marking the frame number that I’d reached on the film can, and then reloading it again later – the Canon Elan IIe and the EOS 3 were so precise in framing that this could easily take place without even a gap in the frame spacing, but usually I only did this when I would be shooting numerous shots of something that required a different palette, and I likely even thought the increased saturation of Velvia F would bring out the rainbow better. So much for that.
But the next frame was taken perhaps only a minute or so later (if not earlier.)
I also had the Canon Pro 90 IS with me, my first digital camera, and so shot the same subject with that, which did slightly better. The contrast and saturation settings were neutral, and I can tell this from the EXIF info, so the appearance is different, though bringing out the rainbow still requires boosting the saturation and curves a bit, and it still isn’t impressive. Ah well.
I did a lot of comparison shooting that weekend, still enamored with the vividness and detail of slide film (especially given the low resolution of the Pro 90) but interested in the versatility of digital. I haven’t shot any slides in quite a while now, more because of the difficulty and expense of getting it developed than in finding digital to be better, but they both have their strengths and weaknesses. I actually have a slide developing kit sitting on the shelf behind me, awaiting that time when I feel up to tackling this (conditions and temperatures have to be precise, the water has to be distilled, etc.) Someday it will happen, but it’ll be when there’s actually something worthwhile to shoot out there, and not drab and shitty conditions – spring ain’t here yet.