Introducing NoColorStudio # 99: European Satellite Reconnaissance Film

Recently, NoColorStudio released a new film, Experimental Satellite # 99. I wanted to talk more about the inspirations of this movie release and its previous uses. The starting point for this outing was an interesting conversation about various film stocks with a fellow photographer. We were mainly talking about the grain of the films and the number of photographers who preferred to choose a lower grain film rather than a very grainy film, perhaps because the subject of the image itself is much more important than the material. on which it was taken or a lot of grain would mean not professional enough material to put in your camera?

But I am a huge fan of cereals!

When I make gum prints from my negatives, I usually choose a paper that would give a tremendous amount of particle chaos to my image. For me, a specific type and amount of grain gives a more intimate relationship with the subject and the material in which it sits.

After this discussion, I started my research in the aerial photography department. My thought was that usually a higher ISO film gave off a lot more grain in the image just because the emulsion has bigger molecules and can capture more light at any given time.

This process is simply controlled by the rate at which the silver halides are introduced into the gelatin solution. So I looked at some industrial aerial reconnaissance films that are still in use today. This one intrigued me because it was even once used at extremely high altitudes – from reconnaissance satellites! I just had to check it out, because I’ve always thought that the film (especially the higher ISO film) had a big problem with withstanding radiation just from an airplane flight, let alone a flight to the space and return. But as I discovered, with proper transportation anything is possible.

I learned a lot of things while researching more information on this, like how very high altitude photographs were usually only taken in infrared and black and white as color films would be affected too much by what is called atmospheric haze. In addition, the fact that this film is quite grainy also apparently depends on the objectives used, because during aerial reconnaissance at high altitude, mainly very high-end equipment was used. So originally the images that came out of this film from the satellites were not as grainy as they come out of my simple camera today!

Making this film usable for everyday / creative photography was quite difficult as there was very little information about it for the common man. The processing of this film is mainly used in automatic processors. Its speed also varies from the temperature used in the processor, so I really had no idea how fast this movie was overall or how to process it in my lab.

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At one point I even thought that there were just too many variables to start with and I should just abandon the project, but I persisted in my testing and eventually went with ISO 990 – d ‘where the name # 99. I have had great results with a few developers so far: Kodak D-76, Kodak D-11 and Rodinal, but most photographers who buy my film tend to experiment with it. different developers and development times – so do not take my conclusions. to heart and feel free to experiment for yourself and let me know what you find by emailing me.

I am currently on my way to do some testing to see how far this film can be pushed and pulled and I will definitely post my results on my instagram @nocolorphotography.

I’m so glad that I didn’t give up on this project before it even started as it’s now my go-to film for most of my creative projects. For now, this film is available in the High ISO set, which includes two rolls of # 99 and the special edition of the push process # 10. You will also find this film in the 35mm sampler box. Both sets are available in the nocolorstudio.com Web page.

The Studio plans to release this film separately in January 2022, both in single rolls and in sets of 5 and 10 in handmade origami boxes.

Thanks for reading!

~ Arnas

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About the Author

I am the founder of No Color Studio. an experimental initiative, seeking to expand the possibilities of analog photography. The studio works in the production of specialty films, large handmade formats … View Arnas Špaka’s full profile and links



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