Monday, December 01, 2008

Under a blood-red sky ...

"Redscale" is a technique which was accidentally discovered by users of color sheet film, when film was loaded improperly with the substrate (acetate) side facing the lens.

(As an aside, for some reason, at least on the monitor I'm testing on, most of these images look REALLY bad on the previews, but normal when opened with a mouse click. I'm going to go ahead and publish this, but to get a good view of most of the photos, you may have to open them.)

The result is that the red-sensitive layer of the film, the layer usually closest to the substrate, is well-exposed, the green-sensitive layer, normally in the middle, is underexposed, and the blue-sensitive layer gets very little exposure.

As expected, the images have a strong red cast, with oranges and yellows in the highlights, very few blues and greens except for an occasional bright green peeking through.

Redscale has become trendy in some circles, being seen as somewhat artsy, and is embraced as part of the lo-fi (low fidelity) genre of photography. Lo-fi can best be described as a shift away from technical perfection in a photograph.

Special "redscale film" is available commercially for several dollars per roll, but in actuality, all this happens to be is regular 35mm color film wound backwards into a 35mm cartridge.

Total slop shot from the breakfast table in the restaurant, looking out:

All red except for the yellow light bulbs ...

The more pleasing results seem to occur when there's enough exposure to tickle the green-sensitive layer of the film, resulting in more yellow. Fans of this technique say to overexpose by one stop to compensate for the lack of exposure of the blue-sensitive layer.

If I try this again (BIG if!) I'll overexpose a bit more.

Green stoplights are sometimes bright enough to shine through and appear as green in the redscale image:

Just for fun, I tried creating a B&W image from one of the redscale shots, using only the red channel.

The result was not unlike the look and feel of many of the urban scenes I took back in my late teens, when I was first getting into photography, using Kodak Tri-X, such as this example, shot in the late 1960s, not to admit to my real age. :)

Redscale is one of those things I'm glad I tried once, but I really don't see much of a practical use for it.

Technical information: Canon QL17 GIII, Kroger (Ferrania) el-cheapo house-brand 200 color film. (All except last B&W.)


Anonymous said...

i guess i just don't get it

Ted Brockman said...

This is a great blog! Hope you'll continue to document more of the lost landmarks in the area.

Jimbo said...

Your redscale are too red. You need to over-expose 3-4 stops. Get more yellow.

John Rosenberg said...

Great trip down memory lane. Here are few more restaurants from the 50's thru early 70's. The steak houses have already been mentioned.
1. Blackstone Hotel's Orleans Room and Golden Spur Coffee shop. The Schimmel brothers brought fine continental cuisine to the agri-midwest. The Orleans room could arguably be considered the forerunner to the Old Market's French Cafe. Factually, the Blackstone is where the Reuben Sandwich really did originate despite all the other claims.
2. One of the classiest restaurants in town on 49th and Dodge, the Hilltop House owned by the Matson Family.
3. Continuing west on Dodge, The Dundee Dell for fish and chips followed by Cris's Drug's real soda fountain on 50th and dodge.
4. Jack Holmes, known for ribs, opened the Ground Cow on Pacific near where Spirit World is now. This was the Baskin Robbins of hamburgers as they had 31 different toppings. The Ground Cow also had a limited variety of Mexican food. I especially remember their tamale float. (tamale floating in chili)
5. The best fried chicken in the world was at Cliff's out near the Golden Spike Drive-In. Cliff's eventually morphed into Jack & Mary's.
6. One steak house that I didn't see mentioned is Farmer Brown's, owned by the Stengline family. It's still a going concern out near Elkhorn. Unlike the Italian atmosphere, Farmer Brown's has the rancher/farmer look and feel. Great food.
7. Two restaurants to mention near 78th and dodge in Beverly Hills Plaza. The B & G used to be an actual drive-in, but for quite a while has been a storefront in Bev. Plaza. They are known for the loose-meat hamburger and great chili dogs. The other Beverly Hills restaurant years ago was Skeets Fisher's Dixie Kitchen. The theme was southern family style ribs and chicken. High quality food.
8. As a kid in the late 50's and early 60's it was a real treat to go downtown and eat at Brandeis Cafeteria. Great macaroni and cheese.
9. Anyone remember Northrup Jones? Downtown fast food in the auto mat style. I remember coffee served in glasses in metal holders. They had the best chicken salad sandwich anywhere.
10. For Chinese food, where else but King Fong downtown on 16th between Farnam and Harney by the Orpheum Theater. The food was typical American Chinese but the restaurant had a real big city Chinatown feel. This was a seciond floor restaurant accessed by climbing the long narrow staircase. There was the main room anfd in the back, a number of private booths. The decor was authentic Chinese.
11. The Ak-Sar-Ben horse crowd and Omaha Hockey crowd use to hang at Sortino's for pizza near 72nd and Pacific.