Lazy Day

Skipped the dark & wet stuff and had 16 rolls of color neg done at the local lab.

Lazy indeed — jet lag is really clobbering me for some reason, much worse even than when I used to regularly do longer time shifts back and forth to France. Grrr, slept until almost noon today, then fell asleep in my chair — twice — during the afternoon. Hrrrm.

Who'd'a thunk? Before this last trip I stocked up at CostCo on color negative, grabbing some big packs of Kodak Max 200 and Kodak Max 800 — yeah, I know, I know, "consumer-grade point-n-shoot junk," for those of you willing to pay $9 a pop for every roll of Porta. We're talking a dozen rolls here for $20, and probably worth every penny... right?

Now I know Max 200 has been widely diss'ed as repackaged Gold 200 (a lineage the edge numbering makes amply clear) but despite the poor grain I figured it had to be at least as good-looking as the Max 800. So before leaving I ran a roll of Max 800 as a worst-case test, processed and scanned it, just to see if it was worth taking on the plane. I ran a single subject (two boys against a white wall), bracketed exposures ranging + or - seven stops in one-stop intervals, and snapped-off a couple of extras in shaded and direct sunlight. The results, despite the naysayers, looked great to my eye — a soft desaturated color that I really like.

The rolls of Max 800 I processed today have that same look — grainy in the blacks but with lots of latitude for the scanner to chew upon. So you'd expect Max 200 to look even better, right? More latitude and stronger colors?

Wrong! Add Max 200 to my "Never Effin' Again" list. The Max/Gold 200 has less latitude than its much-faster cousin, and almost as much grain. The only reason I can imagine for Kodak to even market this turkey is that it must be incredibly cheap to manufacture.

Max 800, good. Max 200, burn.

Just now scanning some shots (on Max 800) made around Harajuku last weekend.

After than massive success of Fruits, Harajuku has become a real photographer's magnet — I saw at least one American toting her 645 around at the corner of Yoyogi Park, along with a trio of tan-photo-vested Japanese guys using a tripoded Canon with a 400mm and a printed pad of model releases, which the cos-play zoku kids seemed happy to sign.

At the intersection of Omote-Sando and Meiji-dori (in front of the Gap store) I saw no less than six guys sitting around holding medium-format cameras, two of them heavy Fuji's with bellows and all, just (apparently) hanging out waiting for the next Great Discovery to go wandering by.

It's hard to say if the fashion kids are drawn there by the photographers or the photographers by the kids. Or more likely the shooters are just hangers-on, and the kids are the real draw for one another. Other than hamming it up for tourists, the most common activity amongst the many Elegant Gothic Lolitas was shooting each other with their celphone cams, presumably sending the photos back and forth between them or to their admiring fanpals at home.

September 13, 2003





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