If you ever sat down with a more experienced photographer, they would tell you about slide films. And a part of this magic is only felt if you ever really shot some slides and had a look at them as they came out of the darkroom. There was is need to invert these images, they could just be held and seen against light. And what a emotion that is!
Today what we can see of positive films is just a fraction of what you could buy earlier. The original reason of shooting slides was for advertising or print. Instead of using a negative to first make a print, then use the print to make a plate which could then be used for final newsprint, slides could generate a first generation result. Secondly, they have a higher color saturation and resolution than color negatives so its better for print reproductions.
So why shoot slides now? Most of the news world has moved from film to digital. And with good intentions. Digital medium makes sure that the images are posted as the events are unfolding and can be transmitted from the photographer to the audience within moments. Advertising too has moved from slide films to digital because of its incredibly machine-like sharpness and ability to move quickly from shoot to design. That means that slides are used lesser and lesser, they would probably not survive this decade. This could be your last chance to actually indulge in them.
But before you go out and pick up a few rolls of Provia, here are a few things you should know.
- Slides have a lot lesser latitude than color negatives. So where they add a lot more in color and depth into images, they need very precise lighting.
- In color negatives, you would usually work in full stops when metering. Here even one quarter of a stop can blow out or underexpose your image. So be very precise in metering.
- There are only a few people who process slide films. So check with the lab before you hand in your films.
- Slides work best in subtle light, with low contrast. If there is too much difference between the highlight and shadows area, they will both blow out. So its best to shoot where you know that the light is mild.
You can still get your hands on Fuji Provia & Velvia online along with some Xpro from Lomography. So go out and shoot some slides before they vanish! And just FYI, Idea Creative (Bombay) and S.V Photographics (New Delhi) would be able to develop them for you.