Film Friday: Incredible India by fiftyasa

Film Friday: Incredible India

by fiftyasa

Dear Brandon,

after having sold my last digital equipment (a beautiful Fuji x100), I left for a trip to India, more precisely to the state of Rajasthan, together with several rolls of film, my Zeiss Ikon, my girlfriend and her Nikon FM2 (the camera with which Steve McCurry supposedly shot the Afghan girl). I think Rajasthan is one of the most vibrant and inspiring places in the world for a photographer (or amateur like myself) and, talking about Steve McCurry, I suggest everyone, if not done already, to watch the National Geographic documentary where Steve shoots the last roll of Kodachrome in Rajasthan:

and each frame of such a roll on his website – his pictures make my attempt to take photos in the same region ridiculous…

Anyway, I would like to share with you some of the pictures I took back home. Hope you like them. I am happy to receiving comments and suggestions from the readers of this helpful and informative blog.

The films have been scanned by a film-specialized lab in UK. These guys did an amazing job with Kodak Ektar 100, Gold 200, ProFoto XL 100 (a Kodak professional film type I bought in India when we were running out of film).

I selected a few pictures for this post. The rest is available on my website for those interested:

Holy Festival in Jaipur. Nikon FM2 with 50mm f/1.4, Kodak ProFoto XL 100. Photo by Paola.


Zeiss Ikon ZM with Planar 50mm f/2.0 and Kodak Ektar 100. Photo by Marco.


Zeiss Ikon ZM with Planar 50mm f/2.0 and Kodak Ektar 100. Photo by Marco.


Nikon FM2 with 50mm f/1.4, Kodak ProFoto XL 100. Photo by Paola.


On the train. Zeiss Ikon ZM with Planar 50mm f/2.0 and Kodak Ektar 100. Photo by Marco.


Zeiss Ikon ZM with Planar 50mm f/2.0 and Kodak Ektar 100. Photo by Marco.


Zeiss Ikon ZM with Planar 50mm f/2.0 and Kodak Ektar 100. Photo by Marco.


Jodhpur, the blue city. Zeiss Ikon ZM with Planar 50mm f/2.0 and Kodak Ektar 100. Photo by Marco.


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  1. Thank you for posting Steve McCurry’s adventure with the last roll of Kodak film! This was my film of choice for the very reasons he stated … the saturated color … until I started shooting with digital. What a tragic loss for photographers everywhere. In the meantime, my husband and I are planning an adventure in South Dakota this fall and I picked up several hints from Steve that I will keep in mind while shooting. Using digital for test shots is a great idea. I intend to work in B&W and color as well as digital infrared and may even drag along a Holga for some vintage-looking shots of the “old West” … But at the Wild Horse Sanctuary I believe my Nikon FE will reign supreme! I will try to treat each roll of film as if it were the last roll, carry a monopod and use my Olympus E620 for the test shots, though depending on the circumstances my E620 shots will be taken as if they are the “last” as well…just in case!

  2. incredible shots, love the one in the train and the little kid. would have loved to see more!

  3. Love the expressions you captured. Think the first one and the one with the girl are my favourite. Nice capture on the train too, really brings back memories.

    • Wow, that seems really the same spot and the same person!! It was a narrow street in the labyrinth of Jodhpur. I wouldn’t be able to find it again, but apparently we both were there! What a coincidence! Thanks for the link to your site. Some very good shoots there.

  4. Great place, great shots.
    I see you seem to shoot wide open under the sun. If that’s so, did you use ND filters?

    • Thanks, Felipe. I didn’t use an ND filters in this trip (but I do sometimes). Under strong sun you can reach something between f/2 and f/2.8 at 1/2000 on 100 ASA. The Ikon ZM gets to 1/2000. The Nikon FM2 goes to 1/4000.

  5. Fantastic images – congratulations! Film is something else, isn’t it? 🙂

  6. Beautiful! I love Ektar 100. I also use an FM2 as my main film camera. The VF is huge! Now keeping my eyes peeled for a deal on a 105mm f2.5 🙂

  7. Oh the irony. How many times do we see B&W photos from India shot on digital cameras? Now fiftyasa brings back India on color film. Well done.

  8. Nice work! Looks like your film got through various x rays,etc whilst travelling. Was it hand checked or just straight through hand luggage X-ray? Given its 100 speed probably not as concerned.

  9. Well done! Those colors are awesome! My favorite is the #4, what a wonderful portrait. Your post reminds me that I have to fill my fridge with some rolls 🙂 Thanks for sharing!

  10. Don’t you know how to focus? Also, well done on taking the same portraits of wrinkled locals that everyone else has taken a million times before. Nothing like reinforcing a stereotype.

  11. Thank you, these are beautiful pictures, congratulations! Would you mind sharing the name of the UK lab that developed and scanned these pictures? I am really struggling to find one as good as this!

    • Thanks Al for the comment. Try “UK film lab” on your search engine… 😉 Another very good lab (IMHO) is in Spain. Also here, try searching for Spain film lab… it should come up in the top 10 results… they have a similar business model and their core competence is scanning (on Fuji Frontier). Hope this helps.

  12. Well done Marco & Paola,

    Love the look of film. Sadly, it’s a pain in the *ss to travel with now days due to all the security issues & X-raying. Just returned from Cuba & some off the film I shot looks a little off.

  13. Excellent photos with really nice colour!
    Love that you used film.

    Best regards

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