One of the many things I enjoy about film photography is the abundance of options available. Everything from the film format to the camera and lens used. Then you have all the film stocks available. I wanted to try something new. I decided to shoot some Redscale 35mm film. Briefly, Redscale film is when you expose your film on the backing layer side through to the emulsion side of the film creating a red-orangish-looking photograph.
Selecting A Film For Redscale Photography
You can purchase some ready-to-shoot film from Lomography or you can do it yourself, which is what I chose to do. There are plenty of tutorials on how to make Rescale film so I won’t go into the details here, but basically, you need to roll your unexposed film into an empty film canister emulsion side facing out. The Darkroom website has a quick step-by-step tutorial that could help get you started. It was all experimental and I had very little expectation that I would capture anything exceptional on my first go, but I wanted to give it a try.
For this project, I decided to use some Kodak UltraMax 400 with my Canon New F-1. Most of the tutorials that I’ve read say for better results you should set the ISO two stops lower than the film’s ISO rating. In this case, the Kodak UltraMax is a 400 ISO film so I set my camera’s ISO to 100. Because the film is rolled-backward the film curls away from the take-up spool in the camera, making it a bit more challenging to load. But, with a little patience and persistence, I managed to get the camera loaded and headed out to visit some spots along the Willamette River that I thought could be interesting.
I received my negatives back from the lab a couple of weeks later and scanned them using my Fuji X-T2 and 80mm macro lens. Being that this was the first time I’ve shot Redscale film I wasn’t sure what to expect. The results were a bit mixed, mostly positive. A few of the frames looked to be a bit underexposed. These images looked extremely flat and boring. A few of the other images were overexposed creating a weird color shift, but the majority of the images looked pretty good. Below are some of the images I really liked.
Would I try shooting Redscale film again?
Most definitely. I like the look of the images that I exposed correctly so that would be one thing I would work harder on getting correct. I thought this style of film would lend itself well to old abandoned places (Urbex) type photographs. But as I’m looking at the images from this roll I can see that it’s pretty versatile.
Camera gear used
Cameras: Canon New F-1
Lenses: Canon FD 50mm f/1.8, Canon FD 24mm f/2.8 S.S.C.
Film: Kodak UltraMax 400