Kodak Ektar – spring, summer, autumn … but also winter?
First and foremost because the Kodak Ektar is something of a residual color enhancer even in cloudy weather in connection with high-resolution lenses. But how would he behave if we came into the winter landscape in the mountains? Will the Kodak Ektar live out its penchant for warm colors when it snows?
We started from the southernmost point in Norway and want to travel to the northernmost and easternmost point of the country. We spend the three months in our VW T6 California, and especially outdoors. Again and again we drive on our route into the mountains, sometimes up to well over 1000 meters. Our analog Leica M and Kodak Ektar are always there.
A number of routes are still closed in May, not so much because of snowfall, but rather because of everything that has to do with defrosting the snow. These are small and large avalanches and snowboards, but also rubble, which gets into motion due to the heavy snow masses and falls on the streets.
Our overnight accommodation is often covered in snow and at the same time it is already light until late at night. We finally approach the region where the sun never sets. Snow will be with us until July. Sometimes in front of a bright blue sky, sometimes in drizzle or fog. You don’t have to drive all the way to the north of Norway. Because in the south, the scenic drama is hard to beat.
We describe the individual sections in separate articles. Here we investigate the extent to which the Kodak Ektar has proven itself for shooting in the snow or for reproducing shades of white. Since we like to be outside, we do without theoretical pseudo-scientific laboratory games. We do what an analog film, a Kodak Ektar for, there is: we take pictures.
Kodak Ektar or Kodak Portra 160?
We have long considered whether we should use the Kodak Ektar or Kodak Portra 160 for our Norway tour. A mix of the two films was out of the question. Both the Kodak Ektar and the Kodak Portra 160 are my absolute favorites. Ultimately, we chose the Kodak Ektar because it really produces the best results even in gray and hazy weather. Snow, however, or the reproduction of white is a challenge for every film. Of course, you can also edit each picture in color, but this will lose some of the character of the film.
The challenges with snow are very different, why you should also avoid the so-called consumer films. There are dozens of names for the different shades of white, even in snow. They should all be reproduced in a differentiated way. Likewise its plasticity, its contours and contrasts.
However, even the best Kodak Ektar is useless for cheap lenses with moderate resolution. Then the shades of white blur into a white soup.
In addition to the snow, there are usually other parts of the picture. Be it a bright red VW bus in the snow, as in our cover picture, or be it trees, houses, rocks, water or sky. All of these elements in the picture must harmonize with the snow depicted.
As a rule, earthy, warm colors are found in snow areas wherever the snow gives way. These must also be on the same wavelength. If the snow were depicted “too cold” here, the harmony of the image would be gone. And so you will notice with the Kodak Ektar that the snow is also to a certain extent covered with a hint of reddish-brown. This is reinforced by more intense light in the mountains, but also by the reflection of the surroundings. Because snow is not all white, snow is like a clear mirror.
And so snow looks gray when the sky is gray, bluish when the sky is blue and reddish when illuminated mountains throw their colors back onto the snow. Two examples of how differently Kodak Ektar works with sun and diffuse light.
Kodak Ektar and the Snow: A Conclusion?
Now our tour is over, the films are processed one after the other and their results are also reflected. The question remains: can you use the Kodak Ektar for shooting in the snow?
Yes, you can. The question of personal taste remains. The Kodak Ektar once again proves its diversity in a wintry environment. He does not deny his subtle penchant for warm tones. But winter landscapes don’t have to appear cold across the board. In reality, they don’t. I myself can say that I will have a hard time with the next upcoming tour with the question of whether Kodak Ektar or Kodak Portra 160. Both films are in the top league. If necessary, you have to draw lots. Ultimately, whether the picture succeeds with one or the other film is the result of your own ability.
P.S. We have compiled a list of companies that supply analog material worldwide at very good conditions. We call not to unnecessarily feed a giant like Amazon, but to order directly from the retailers. The links are there hier.