La Boqueria: Scanning Negatives From the Leica M3 and Kodak Ektar Film

The end of every adventure begins with the scanning of negatives shot while on the road. Film may not always be readily available [actually… it no longer is readily available, and I will need to place a substantial annual order to be able to procure any emulsions I want], but while I can, I will shoot film. As my Mac Pro tower fried a logic board before Barcelona, I am needing to scan using my older Macbook Pro until I can retrieve it from the Apple Store. Given what the damage could have been, I am fine paying the $400 to have the board replaced on what is becoming a rarity even at the Apple Store: a full-fledged professional tower.

Since I am scanning with what is now a slow processor, I decided to go with the 35mm negatives, which are tiny in comparison to the 120 film. I have to admit that these small negatives feel silly at this stage. Still, shooting with the Leica M3 in La Boqueria Market was simple. No flash, no sounds to bother people and no way for anyone be bothered. I had much more access with the small Leica than I would have with the Hasselblad or my Canon.

The market itself is not my favourite market in Europe. It is a place run for tourists, but pretends to be a chef’s spot. Perhaps it is at 5am until 8am, but afterwards it becomes a tourist trap with bad tapas bars that costs far beyond what they should. Unlike the upscale tapas bar market in Madrid, the Boqueria is in need of a modernization to keep it from becoming a mockery of its original purpose.

The process of scanning 35mm film has become easier since upgrading to Silverfast’s 8.0 version. I did not want to spend the big bucks required for the upgrade, but as version 6 would not run under Lion, I had to make the jump or be left behind. At the moment, these scans are taking a little under a minute, which is actually quite fast from my personal experience. So far I have loved the rich, non-digital colour coming from the film, and the clean up process should not be too intensive, I hope. Dust and scratch removal tend to be time-consuming to clean up the image from artifacts, but I find it calming and purposeful.

While the scratch removal on these was a little rushed, I am content with the overall quality of the scans and the look of the images. The Leica certainly still stands up to modern digital camera and the Kodak Ektar film emulsion remains a high quality, analog option. Hilariously, I feel like 35mm is almost free in comparison to 120 or 4×5 film. I can take a whole 36 shots without reloading and development is 1/3 the cost. I could use any of these images as magazine photos, but not full on spreads at 8×10. I think they would all look superb in a matte paper like that used in my new favourite magazine, Kinfolk.


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