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How to Select the Right Film for Photojournalism



TECH TIPS


TEXT AND IMAGES BY SCOTT EKLUND

As a photojournalist, my subject matter varies dramatically from day to day. So I need a film that consistently delivers the results I want in all circumstances, lighting, and weather conditions.

From paupers to presidents, NFL playoffs to ballet performances, most of my work involves photographing people. I've tested different films over the years, and know that from one shoot to the next you can get very different results. Regardless of the assignment, the one film that I've found to be flexible enough to handle the shadows with great detail, hold the highlights without blowing out, and capture different flesh tones carefully and accurately is Fujicolor Press 800.

Test It Out

Living and working in the Seattle area, we get a lot of dreary, overcast days. There have been times when I've begun a job with 800 film, only to have the sun pop out, and not have time to change film right away. Not a problem with this film.

Upon occasion, I've pushed 800 ISO film to 1600 or used different high-speed film. To me, pushing the Fuji Press 800 one stop looks noticeably better than most of the 1600 film on the market. It gets great saturation without looking too contrasty and the grain has never been a problem. It's very even and never chunks together.

I scan most of my own images. To my eye, the Fujicolor Press 800 shines even brighter once I scan it and play with it on my computer. You really see the latitude you're getting when you play around with the shadows and highlights.

Results That Delight

The shot of Steven Tyler of Aerosmith really tests the film's latitude and color saturation capabilities. The light was constantly changing, with bright spotlights and lots of color. Yet I was able to capture Steven on stage, while keeping the huge video monitor behind him. And the flesh tone is a perfectly accurate rendering of the existing lighting conditions: he was bathed in a yellow spotlight at the time I snapped this image.

The image of the little girl holding the candle was taken at a candlelight vigil for Alaska Flight 261, which crashed in Southern California on its way to Seattle.

The little girl lost a couple of her playmates and her sorrow was clear. I shot this photo with a long lens without flash, so I wouldn't disturb the service.

I needed every bit of speed from my film, as I was shooting at 1/30 second at f/2.8 with a 135mm lens and very little light. I had this image blown up to a 30x40. It looks incredible.

On assignment, if I do my job right and capture the image I want, Fujicolor Press 800 will consistently make that image worthy of publication.

When you find a film that performs so well, you know your search has ended.

For more Eklund images,
visit www.scotteklundphotography.com

For more information about Fujicolor Press 800, visit
www.fujifilm.com

Based in Tacoma, Washington, Scott Eklund is a freelancer for The Seattle Post-Intelligencer. He has won awards from the National Press Photographers Association and the Associated Press, and has been published in National Geographic, Time, LIFE, Vanity Fair, and The New York Times Magazine.


   







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