Kodak Tmax 100 in the Fog  Kodak Portra 800 Kodak Tmax 100 in the sun

Hamburg turns gray

Pictures with the Kodak Tmax 100 with a gray overcast sky

Hamburg, Kodak Tmax 100, Leica M Elmarit 2.8 28 asph.

Hamburg without shadows today

How does the Kodak Tmax 100 behave in standard gray

We are once again in Hamburg and today we are visiting the new HafenCity and the famous Speicherstadt. The sky is covered in gray and shows no contours and nuances in the clouds. The light is diffuse, there is actually no shadow. How will the pictures be with the Kodak Tmax 100 under such conditions?

Hamburg, Kodak Tmax 100, Leica M Elmarit 2.8 28 asph.

Gray against boredom

Naturally cloudy and the Kodak Tmax 100

Photography is painting with light. Light can be defined in many ways. But it is most beautiful when it also creates shadows. Then contours and contrasts are the order of the day. But if you visit a city like Hamburg, there is a good chance that you will not find any shadows. Because when it’s not raining, Hamburg feels like it’s under a huge white dome.

Taking pictures on such days is ideal for smooth and even portraits. But tension does not want to arise under such lighting conditions.

But if you are in Hamburg, you want to take pictures and, above all, enjoy your pictures later.

Orange filter brightens up the dark brick facades

a little light in the dark

We have inserted the finest-grained black and white film in the ISO 100 range, the Kodak Tmax 100, into our analog Leica M7 and are curious to see how it does. We use an orange filter to approximate the brightness values ​​between the dark red brick facades and the light gray sky.

The facades in the narrow gorges of Hamburg’s Fleete are made visible in this way.

Hamburg, Kodak Tmax 100, Leica M Elmarit 2.8 28 asph.
Hamburg, Kodak Tmax 100, Leica M Elmarit 2.8 28 asph.

Highly detailed or gray porridge

A fine film only with a fine lens

Even if many do not want to hear it: A high-resolution film like the Kodak Tmax 100 only reveals its very fine qualities if the lenses of the lens have excellent resolution. And that has its price. A film simply cannot dissolve more finely than the glass that is screwed in front of it.

So if you have a fairly simple lens with you, it is better to choose a higher-contrast and more sensitive film (both go hand in hand) to compensate for the deficits of the lens.

But if you own a very good lens, you will be able to implement the individual tonal values ​​with the Kodak Tmax 100. The historical iron bridges over the Hamburg Fleete, characterized by wind and weather, will show their patina in a special way even on boring gray days.

If there are the finest cloud structures, they are visible in the combination of high-quality lens and fine-grain film. With simple optics, the sky usually turns completely dark white.

What shots in gray weather

Evenly. Low contrast. Shadow free

Evenly diffused light does not have to be a disadvantage for good pictures. There are genres for which a light gray sky is ideal. For example, there are close-ups that are unique due to the shadow-free lighting in all its details.

This also includes portraits with a factual or soft look. Or also the architecture, which brings out its contours through the uniform light.

In the same way, these can be long exposure times on the water, in which the movement even dissolves.

In contrast to sunny lighting, light and dark areas of the image are closer together and accordingly easy to control. Dark picture elements give the otherwise bright surroundings the necessary tension. However, if the image only consists of similar tonal values ​​and brightnesses, the image quickly becomes flat. The targeted use of filters can therefore make a lot of sense even in diffuse light.

The Kodak Tmax 100 supports the recordings with its very fine resolution and excellent edge sharpness. Without exaggerating. However, like all modern ISO 100 films with flat crystals, the Kodak Tmax 100 wants to be exposed correctly. Ideally, you measure the mean gray values. Exposing the shadows to the Kodak Tmax 100 alone could result in the bright image areas being reproduced in a uniform color. You have to like this effect, then one speaks of high key recordings.

Hamburg, Kodak Tmax 100, Leica M Elmarit 2.8 28 asph.

„If there are only a few shades of gray, it is good to at least be able to tell them apart. With the Kodak Tmax 100, that's a very fine thing. "

Hamburg, Kodak Tmax 100, Leica M Elmarit 2.8 28 asph.


Gray is also just a color

All in all, we love the Kodak Tmax 100. The grain is very fine and in combination with a high-resolution lens, the Kodak Tmax 100 also brings out barely perceptible cloud structures in a gray-covered sky. When it comes to exposure latitude, the Kodak Tmax is a small mimosa, but is in line with the other modern black and white films with flat crystals. These films really want to be exposed correctly.

You will be rewarded with an unprecedented level of detail.

A lot can of course be controlled via the development process. However, if you want to achieve a higher contrast under comparable conditions with just as fine grain, the Ilford Pan F 50 might be an option, but its use is altogether more demanding to handle.

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