12 Months of film – March: A Clockwork Turquoise
12 Months of film – March: A Clockwork Turquoise

12 Months of film – March: A Clockwork Turquoise

This blog post took way too long to be written and published, as life–and writers block–got in the way but here it is finally. I’m currently too tired to write a witty intro, possibly due to being far too excited about finally being able to write a blog post without mentioning a fuck-up on my part because there wasn’t one!

And maybe that’s the problem. Maybe I’m best at writing about fuck-ups and bad stuff, so I have a hard time expressing when everything’s fine. I believe I just stumbled onto something important for understanding my own psyche, but this is strangely starting to feel like a psychotherapy seanse, so I’ll just…stop. 🙂

Anyways. Here’s the song for the day, and let’s dive in.

After the shenanigans I pulled with the Lomo Turquoise during the first few weeks of February (blog post to that particular clusterfuck ), I changed the whole plan (elaborated here) — “mastering” of Olympus OM10 and Zenit 12XP will have to wait some other time. This year, there will be 12 different films and 12 different cameras. And here’s the third:

Minolta SRT 303 with MC ROKKOR-PF ƒ/1.4 58mm lens

Minolta SRT-303 is one of the most visually striking cameras in my possession, although it requires a strong grip, being quite heavy–a body of 710g and a lens of 305g. Maybe not the best option for a beginner–there are many less heavy and robust manual cameras that one can learn with–but its size and weight add to the overall experience. SRT-303 is a cult model, and it justifies the hype.

First, a few technical details:

The viewfinder shows needles and a meter to view the level of exposure, ISO, shutter speed (1/x), and F-x (aperture)
ISO ranging from 6 to 6,400 (which you need to set manually)
Internal battery-powered light meter
710g weight
Hot shoe flash
Fully manual film loading, advancing and rewinding

I have to say that writing about the technical aspects of a camera is not an easy task if you’re not knowledgeable about the intricate workings of levers, shutters, mirrors, lenses, optics, the life, the Universe, and everything–there’s not a small chance I’ll say something ridiculous. Better to leave the knowledge to the knowledgeable, and let’s just focus on the vibes. This is not a review of a camera, or the film but just a semi-beginner’s attempt to show the learning journey. Thankfully, I’m not Elon Musk so I’m well aware of my faults and deficiencies, and I’d argue he is not.

To reiterate–Minolta SRT-303 is heavy, sturdy, fully manual, and beautiful. Look at it!

Regarding the film used, Turquoise is one of the Lomography’s Lomochrome films–like Metropolis, Purple, and Redscale–with special color effects. Besides the color-shifting or color-effects, all of the Lomochrome films have an ISO that ranges from 100 to 400–something a guy from the photo studio in my hometown mansplained to me “is not possible”. I would say that the only thing that’s not possible is someone being a bigger dickhead than he is, but that’s neither here nor there.
The official Lomography in its film guide uses these pictures as reference images to give an estimated indication of what color-shifting effects one can expect with Lomochrome Turquoise.

Lomography Color Negative ISO 100
Lomography Lomocrome Turquoise ISO 100

I’m inclined to believe that the Turquoise image is heavily edited, but I’ll elaborate on that in a bit. For now, this is what the end results for every box speed should look:

And here’s one example of a raw and edited photo out of my role:

raw photo, ISO 100, f/11, 1/1000s

Now, we’re all aware that colors in photos differentiate depending on the scanner (or scanning method), the screen you’re seeing them on, the developing process, the amount of editing, or lack thereof, and of course, the ISO used, where higher ISO gives stronger results (as pictured here). But there is no way to get those strong results with Lomo Turquoise without really heavy editing–meaning, none of those “sample photos” are raw. And to be clear, I’m not against it–editing photos, especially analog ones, is both needed and a common practice in photography, and something one has to expect was done to every photo encountered–but it is something to keep in mind while shooting and developing your film.

The shooting process was pretty straightforward–I’ve changed ISO depending on the frame and circumstances–but one thing I have to note here: most of the film was shot outside, in bright and sunny weather, meaning that–with SRT-303’s maximum shutter speed of 1/1000–400 ISO was too fast most of the time. And with slower ISO, the color-shifting and colors, in general, are not as strong.

ISO 100, ƒ/8, 1/1000s
ISO 200, ƒ/11, 1/1000s
ISO 200, ƒ/16, 1/1000s
ISO 200, ƒ/16, 1/1000
ISO 200, ƒ/11, 1/1000
ISO 200, ƒ/16, 1/1000
ISO 200, ƒ/16, 1/1000s
ISO 200, ƒ/16, 1/250
ISO 100, ƒ/11, 1/1000s

I really do love this film. It’s fun and it makes everything look like a 1970s fever dream. With that said, I have to note that it’s also…weird. Extremely inconsistent in its results, a pain in the rear end to scan, and even a bigger pain to edit. But I guess that’s the price you pay for an experimental film. This is not a critique per se, just an observation to remind myself–and tell you–to adjust our expectations accordingly.

Next–or, to be precise, this–month’s film is Kodak Portra 160 in the Contax 167MT, which is a breath of fresh, automatic air, after a few months of fully-manual cameras.

Take care, and I’ll see you soon.