Friday, October 12, 2007

Cross-processing The Bean ...

To make a long story long ... I had a free day in Chicago last Sunday. I met a local friend for a late lunch and I planned to spend the afternoon and evening shooting. I set out maybe 2:30pm, finished up a roll of Kodachrome and started a roll of Sensia.

After less than an hour I was getting uncomfortable, as this was the day when it was unseasonably hot and humid, the day when they had the fatality at the Marathon and ended it early. It was more like Birmingham in August than Chicago in October, too {expletive} hot and oh-so-sticky! So I went back to the hotel and took a power nap and planned to resume just before sunset.

I wanted to get some shots of The Bean at night, so I headed off in that general direction, intending to shoot the rest of the Sensia before I lost the remaining light of day, then switch to Fuji 800 for Night At The Bean.

First attempt at a shot -- no meter movement at all! :( Pointed it right at the still light sky, nope! :( Took out the battery for a taste-test -- DEAD! :( So I went to the nearest Walgreens, they had a peg for 625 batteries, but no batteries! :( Next a CVS, nope! Another Walgreens, nada! :( {profanity!}

So here I was losing daylight, more than half a roll of Sensia (200 speed) still in there, a totally dead battery and no meter except the carbon-based light meter which I've carried with me for more years than I admit to. I'm confident enough exposing negative film in bright light using the Sunny-16 rule and my eyes, but in twilight, street light, ambient light in a park?

Plus, this is slide film, and it can't take a joke as far as exposure is concerned!

Then the light bulb hit! If I exposed this film as if it were 200 speed negative film, cross process it as C41, I may get more exposure latitude than if I had it E6 reversal processed normally.

Cross-processing is (was now, I guess) one of those things on my "eventually try it once" list, however, sometimes you just have to say "what the {heck}" and it looked like eventually was Sunday night! I had a good feel of what the speed and f-stop was like for photos I took with a meter in similar light, plus I was confident that I could hand-hold at 1/15 if I really concentrated, so I just went ahead and did it.

When you cross-process slide film, what you get back are color negatives, but without that amber mask that's familiar to anybody who has shot color negative film. With some fairly simple adjustments when scanning, a near-normal color rendition can be achieved. (I would not want to try mini-lab-processed prints with this, however.)

The Bean is totally different at night. From a distance, it sparkles ...

At times it's like it's illuminated or has an image projected from within.

This is that other sculpture in Millenium Park, just to the north and east of The Bean. I've never seen this at night before, and is absolutely gorgeous with the sweeping colored lights. The photo doesn't do justice to this. You really need to see it in person to appreciate it.

As kind of a follow-up about amateur photographers getting hassled for shooting The Bean, there were cameras all over the place.

It was very obvious who knew, and who did not know, what they were doing. Every few seconds there was another flash, somebody doing a point-and-shoot, then chimping, then frowning. Only a few used no flash.

I don't know why, but for some unknown reason I'm always the one who seems to be approached by others, asking me to take their photo with their camera, and such was the case last week. A mother and son asked me to snap them with their digicam, and they moved over to stand directly in front of The Bean. I motioned them to my right, so the dark sky was behind them and the bean was to their right side and I was able to get them a very nice shot showing both them and The Bean without the garish reflection from their on-camera flash.

But anyway ...

The guys shown below were quite obvious and received no attention at all.

See the following for the original story:

Forbidden Images, Polishing The Bean

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