I decided to throw in a roll of expired True Colors film in my bag right before a road trip to Tagaytay with two of my best friends and boy am I glad I did. The results of shooting with not-so-fresh film never fails to surprise. Looking back, it's probably the best ₱40 I ever spent!
I was at Hidalgo Street in Quiapo running some errands one day when I decided to step into the True Colors photo shop to check out their goods (but primarily to avail of their air-conditioning). They had the standard brands of 35mm film for sale, plus an intriguing one I hadn’t seen anywhere else before.
Sitting there were some rolls of True Colors 200 ASA 36 exposure film that were apparently made in Italy yet priced at only ₱40 (roughly $1). The batch expired some time in 2010 but, like any true Lomographer, that didn’t stop me from wanting to shoot with it so I bought it.
Fast forward to Halloween 2011, my friends Joseph, Judd and I decided to drive to Tagaytay at dawn on a whim, after getting sufficiently creeped and crazed out from the night’s costume parties. The True Colors roll somehow ended up on my closet floor and I just picked it up before heading out the door.
One of the better split-second decisions I’ve made!
We arrived after sunrise and it wasn’t so foggy, which is unusual for the city that runs along a mountain ridge. The sun was beaming—albeit filtered by a bit of clouds—above Taal Lake and it was so serenely spectacular. I thank nature for giving this photo of the three of us an organic Redscale effect. One of the perks of the film too, of course.
I loaded the roll into a point-and-shoot Centuria camera I thrifted for about $5 so I didn’t expect it to produce great flash photos. It’s okay for tighter shots but not so much for, say, medium framing outdoors at night while you’re in a forest-y location.
I also tried shooting indoors which wasn’t so successful either but it was fixable. Our peach hotel room looked really pretty bathed in afternoon light but I forgot that the film was just 200 ASA so it ended up not as sun-soaked as I had imagined, except for that light leak. I decided to post-process our room shots and they look grainy and great in black & white.
So based on my experience, True Colors 200 works best outdoors in the daytime. Here we are frolicking on a hill which we might have trespassed into. We couldn’t help it—the view was too breathtaking not to exploit. What’s so harmful about lying in the grass anyway? Actually, there’s the risk of skin cancer since we were out there at noon. The film subdues harsh daylight though which is one of its good points, although we were sweating it out a little in real life.
I wasn’t expecting groundbreaking results when I got the negatives back from the lab but seeing these photos from the True Colors roll made the long drive, lack of sleep, awkward third wheel moments, cold limbs, and rule-breaking so worth it.
This roll contains some of the most hilariously stereotypical yet memorable friendship photos I’ve taken, made even better by True Colors’ quirks.