Dublin-based YouTuber Alex Doran, AKA shaka1277, has an inquisitive outlook on shooting analogue. He likes to push his rolls of film to the limits, trying them out on various cameras and ISO speeds and noting down the results. He already gave the Lomography Redscale XR film a thorough test and now he is back to talk to us about his experience shooting with LomoChrome Turquoise 35 mm and 120 film.
Hi Alex, how have you been since we last spoke?
I’ve been well, thank you! My work life is busy but I’m working hard to make more time for photography and try new things and visit places I usually wouldn’t, which has led to some fun trips to parts of Ireland I had never thought of visiting before. I’ve sold off some equipment that I don’t really use so that I can focus more on the other equipment I have and more enjoy using. I find I fall prey to “choice paralysis” quite easily, so having fewer options is actually good for me.
In the last few months I’ve spent a lot of time shooting my large format camera, with everything from expired 4x5 Polaroids to fresh color film, and also picked up a new digital camera. It won’t replace film, but it’s still really enjoyable in its own way and I’m enjoying digital photography for the first time in years. My YouTube channel has been growing too and I recently held a giveaway after reaching a milestone. I gave away a mix of expired and unusual film, so I’m looking forward to seeing what people do with it!
What made you want to try the LomoChrome Turquoise and what did you choose to shoot?
I am always happy to support new analogue products like LomoChrome Turquoise, Adox’s Color Mission, and Orwo’s Wolfen NC500 because that’s how we as a community can show companies that we’re still interested in innovation in the analogue space. I immediately pre-ordered five rolls each in 35 mm and 120 on the day it was announced so I had plenty of time to decide what to shoot. Part of the reason I switched camera mid-roll when shooting LomoChrome Turquoise for the first time was to do what I usually do with a new film: shoot it with a variety of lenses under a range of conditions to see what works and what doesn’t. This first roll was filled with everything from macro photography to wildlife, to architecture, and portraits.
How did you like the results?
I really like the results! I feel that the look may be more “love it or hate it” than with the other LomoChrome films, largely because of the way it renders skin tones, but for landscapes, wildlife, and stills, it has been a really fun creative effect film. I never would have thought I’d be enjoying photos that are predominantly yellow and green! I think that the film looks best under high contrast lighting, especially when the sun is lower in the sky and it drapes across the scene. I have found that there is a trade-off to be had: at higher ISO settings the film is grainier (as expected) but the look is more pronounced.
Contrast is quite high in general, and I did lose a little highlight detail in some shots I rated at ISO 100. I’d say that the high contrast means LomoChrome Turquoise looks better under overcast conditions than a normal color negative film like Kodak Gold would. I found the colors to be best when rating the film at 400, and they also looked excellent when I pushed a roll +1 stop to 800. This increased the contrast and grain, but in 120 format that wasn’t a problem. Even in 35 mm format, the grain isn’t anything to worry about. I tried the RETO Ektar H35 half-frame point-and-shoot camera at a Lomowalk in Galway in collaboration with Ireland Analog, and the latitude of this color negative film worked well for a camera with fixed exposure settings despite the high contrast which was a pleasant surprise because that really pushed it to its limit!
If you were to shoot it again what would you do differently?
The main thing I’ll do is avoid flat, low contrast scenes. Art is subjective but I don’t personally think that flat light works to this film’s strengths, so I’ll stick to high contrast where I think it really shines. Something I will try is using an on-camera flash to add light and contrast, just to see how much it helps. Aside from that I do want to try developing it a few different ways beyond normal C-41 processing to see how that affects the images, but that’s a project for the future.
What's coming up for you in 2023?
I have a few ongoing projects for the next few months. I want to apply my chemistry background to developing both colour and black and white slide films at home, and particularly try out pyro developers for staining black and white slides.
I have some other technical projects in the works too, like comparing Kodak developers to their alternatives from other manufacturers. I think this will be very helpful with the future of Kodak chemistry being called into question.
I’ve been trying a lot of films for the first time this year so I’m really looking forward to sharing my results and thoughts. 2023 may also end up being the year I sell the last of my medium format cameras and switch to shooting 120 film in a roll film back for my large format camera. I can definitely see myself using 35 mm cameras for portability, and my 4x5 camera for maximum quality and control, but that’s something I’m still mulling over.
To see more of Alex's work, check out his Instagram page