Some guidelines from a different perspective on how to with the LomoChrome Purple.
I had lots of time to think this through when my LomoChrome arrived. This review basically follows the things I haven’t heard from the film. I also wanted to know how the LomoChrome Purple would fare among the other films. I only shot one roll out of the 5 I got, mostly to try it out and see how would it go under certain situations that I had my doubts upon. Thank God, I did the experiment.
I live in Buenos Aires, which is undergoing major reconstructions to become a “green” city, along with other countries in Latin America. And I thought that using LomoChrome Purple would make a perfect way to highlight the changes and show them to the world.
It’s winter here now so it’s not an ideal time to shoot an experimental emulsion to shoot green colors but that’s exactly what I did. I hope all the information I’ve gathered for this review will help others with their stuff.
My rig is a Leica M3 with 50mm lens and also occasionally with a 135mm Hektor lens. I know, I know, it’s not a real Lomography set but where’s the fun if I can’t experiment?
My first deal was to try LomoChrome under low light to see how it would perform and to try different shades of green that would make beautiful pictures so colors would just pop up in the image. Sadly, I found out that it only reacted to certain shades of green and not with full spectrum of the color. For example, shiny green color would turn into the majestic purple we expect, but if we go into darker shades, it won’t even register.
Colors like petroleum green would not just react to LomoChrome as intended and will remain the same even with really bright light. So if you also stuck in the winter season like me, those green colors just won’t turn purple. Perhaps waiting for spring or summer would do the trick.
Another thing that struck me with this particular emulsion is how unpredictable it can be. You just don’t know what to expect.
The photo of the orange tree shows just that. LomoChrome doesn’t really react to orange but somehow highlights it and neither on the green colors of the leaves. Instead it reacts to the spots on the leaves that are slightly different from the rest by creating a different tone. I get that it’s got a certain range to operate, but damn it’s tight. (Shot at ISO 100)
As far as the unpredictability goes, it may react differently on related color shades. The top of the taxis are yellow and they just went purple when shot at ISO 100, f/ 8 at noon while retaining most of the other colors. But the picture of a tree in the middle of the meadows when shot at the same ISO would look more similar to the Lomography Red Scale emulsion. That’s great but not entirely effective when trying to paint it purple.
I have to say that the colours of that picture were darker by very little than the cab, and that the speed was 1/50, and f/16a longer exposure than the other. It was a slight variation, but enough to get two completely different results.
Another thing I wanted to make sure is the way it would react to the white colour of a building with lots of light, whether it would turn to purple to some degree or just remain the same. I’m pleased to find out that white turned to purple, with very little exposure of the film (ISO 100, f/16), so I guess the effect would be more pronounced if its pushed a little more.
On the other hand, the unpredictability sometimes can be a tricky thing to mess with. If you play outside the f/16 rule, you are pretty much on your own mostly because this is a new emulsion and we do not have lots of it to shoot with and master the film.
Look at the picture that shows a road sign. It’s got nothing weird on it, just looks normal. It was shot with the 135mm lens at 1/250, f/4,5. The ideal aperture would have been at f/16 at 1/500, but I wanted to play a little bit and the lens only goes to f11 anyway.
The picture of the dog thankfully didn’t go purple (though it would have been really cool), but the grass surrounding it just changed to a subtle red mixed with green, again more similar to Redscale (1/50, f11).
What I learned from it is the following:
- Shooting yellow objects and more light than the exact exposure turns them red with this film.
- The range of colors on green is limited. It really needs to shine to turn into purple or at least be bright and clear. You’re going to have a bad time trying to shoot other greens than that.
- Low light is a “No, no” in the LomoChrome dictionary.
Keep in mind that shooting it at lower ISO 100 not only would make your colors shine more (hence the new XR moniker) but will also change the tonalities. By this, I mean that you get a different shade of purple that is brighter than the usual shade you get.
There’s more purple than meets the eye! Don’t just settle with a small print, it won’t just show the beauty of your work. Instead, make a bigger print to really appreciate the purple tones or scan the negative and realize that lots of purple can’t be seen in the small prints (I don’t have a slide scanner, only scanned the prints for this review.)
LomoChrome Purple is a joy to use! I loved it from frame 1 to 36 but I first recommend to give a try with a single roll. I’m not a pro photographer, I only shoot for pleasure and I’m still learning all this stuff. Of course, if there’s anything in this review that states something wrong, I would really like it to be pointed out and corrected.
Enjoy your LomoChrome!