West Baden Springs Hotel

A roll from our trip in October 2021

Visiting the famous dome at the West Baden Springs Hotel has become something of a tradition for our family over the years.

This time I tried out a roll of Fuji 400 speed color film. (The first 6 shots are at home testing it out on the cats and our young artist!) Compared to the Kodak Ektar we used at the beach, this roll produced some lovely subdued color with very realistic skin tones. The balance might be a little blue or green, but overall much more realistic tones than Ektar. When you zoom in, the pictures are a litte more grainy than Ektar, but not bad at all.

Even with the realistic colors, the low saturation and soft tones give some of these a dream-like, timeless feel. I really like them, and I like how they came out a lot differently from similar pictures on my phone's camera.

I have to say, the iPhone takes great pictures, but the colors are getting to be hypersaturated, especially on the new ones with HDR capture and simulated HDR playback. The film photos provide a really nice contrast (when you're in the mood).

While I'm rambling about photography, I do have to say that equipment really matters for a lot with film. Back when I was younger, most of our pictures were on fixed-focus cameras with super wide angle lenses and small apertures. They were basically the same inside as a disposable camera, and the pictures looked like it. It was very hard to get anything that looked decent unless you were in full sunlight (and even then it was a crapshoot). In contrast, I took these on a top of the line (back then) consumer SLR with a fast f1.8 lens, so the natural light performance is really great. All of these outdoor shots were taken at sunset, and really the only ones that needed more light were taken in the graveyard under the trees. Really puts the "old days" in perspective!