USER REPORT: Light & Shadow in San Francisco w/ Zeiss 21mm & TMAX 3200 By Ryan Melideo

USER REPORT: Light & Shadow in San Francisco w/ Zeiss 21mm & TMAX 3200 

By Ryan Melideo

First off, I’d like to give a big thanks to Steve for developing this site and providing so many examples and reviews of new gear in the industry. His insight is definitely appreciated and I think we all feel the same way. I also would like to thank him for allowing me to contribute to the content on the site. This is my first guest posting, but second attempt at one. I didn’t get a response to my first idea submission. What’s up with that Steve?? j/k

I have been doing photography for about 2.5 years. What got me started was when I purchased a Canon 7D to shoot video. Over time, I noticed myself using the camera for more photo than video. I have worked with models and actors in the Los Angeles area for the most part, however over the past year, I have been gravitating to photojournalism and documentary photography and also have been experimenting with composited scenes. I currently shoot with a Nikon D800e as my main camera. I also have a Nikon F100 and F5 that I have been able to pick up dirt cheap used, but in impeccable condition. In addition to 35mm,

I have used a Mamiya 7ii (which I am ever so close to purchasing). I really enjoy using film and like the feeling of actually creating something you can touch when shooting on the medium.

The examples I provided here were taken one morning on a recent trip to San Francisco and were shot in the Mission district. I had brought along my Nikon F100 and a Zeiss 21mm f2.8 with the intension of using some Fuji Velvia as I walked around the city. The first morning, when I went to load the Velvia, I noticed that I still had a mostly unused roll of TMAX 3200 loaded inside the camera! I had put it in the camera weeks before when I was going to be doing some indoor shots of a band’s performance. I ended up not going to the performance so the TMAX was left inside to wait. I decided to head out and burn through the roll so I could get my Velvia loaded for the day. I wasn’t used to seeing a high iso film used in the broad daylight. I thought to myself that it might turn out interesting or it might not, but what the hell I’ll try it anyway! I decided to expose mostly for the highlights and fire away. I was using an aperture of f13 or f16 and a shutter speed of 6400 for most of the shots. I quickly shot through the roll in about 45 minutes to an hour.

When I returned from San Francisco I immediately packed up the film rolls to be shipped off for development and scanning. I usually get my film scanned at Their turn times are fast and they have a new scanning resolution they refer to as “super scans” which are scanned at a resolution of 4492×6774. While anticipating the scans, I had really not even thought about the roll of TMAX. I was only thinking about the Velvia shots I had taken. It turns out I was much more interested in the TMAX upon review. I thought that they had an interesting and gritty quality to them.

I processed all of the image files in Lightroom 5 and only made adjustments to further enhance exposure (overall exposure, highlight, shadow) and contrast. No sharpening or other effects were applied. By reducing the overall exposure and painting in exposure in certain areas with the adjustment brush I was able to enhance the eerie feel and make the shots that were taken during the bright morning to appear that they were taken at night or dusk.

Please feel free to take a look at my website for samples of my photo and video work if you would like

Feel free to drop me a line anytime!










  1. Looks like you are underexposing – that stuff is ‘only’ ISO in daylight since it is made to be more sensitive to tungsten lighting. It’s not a bad thing necessarily.

  2. It’s likely the scanner — sometimes happens in overexposed regions. It’s not as bad here as I’ve seen it in examples with low speed films. I think it’s a form of aliasing.

  3. hey ryan, i m not the biggest fan of the tmax 3200 because of the grit. i like some of your shots, especially the firebird one rocks! what you should do with the tmax 3200 go for an exposure of 25k this makes it realy harsh and gritty. and it kicks ass in any low light situation.
    greetings the big man

  4. Wow ! Really like the results. It is not so much what is in the frame but how it looks. I like your style of shooting/processing the images. Very well done.

  5. The first shot of the house is stunning to me as well as the car. You did a great job processing them as I thought they were night shots or at least, dawn or dusk. Well done makes me want to pull out my old film cameras.

  6. Elegant Images. Well done. Always liked, even prefer, the 21mm focal length.

    Thanks for submitting your work for us to enjoy.

  7. Image 2 has an odd cross hatch pattern in it, a screen door effect.
    Was that a faulty scan?
    Otherwise the images are wonderful, dark and dreamy and generally desolate.
    The way I like it.

  8. Gorgeous, haunting images. They show that limitations can really bring one’s creativity to life.

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