Wednesday 19 June 2024

Sakura Hanami with Harman Phoenix 200

 For this years Sakura Hanami, I wanted to see how Harman Phoenix 200 handled the pink, green and brown hues of the trees filled with cherry blossom. Despite the almost constant dark, wet, cold, dull and gloomy days here in Wigan, I managed to get out on a reasonably bright, yet overcast day in mid April that would diffuse the light and hopefully make the colours pop. I chose to again use my Olympus OM10 with my 28mm f/3.5 and 50mm f/1.8 Zuiko lenses. I loaded my film and toddled off out.

The Cherry Blossom never fails to impress me with it's full spectrum of pinks interspersed with the dark colours of the branches and green leaves. This year, despite not being the warmest start to spring I have noticed over the years, the Cherry Trees had once again taken their chance to put on a superb display for us. The overcast sky did try to let a little sunlight through, but for the most part it was diffuse light.

As I was enjoying the beauty of nature, a couple stopped their car, got out and started taking photos with their phone cameras. It was nice to see it's not just me that appreciates the cherry blossom near my home. Spring always brings a smile to peoples faces as they climb out of the winter doldrums and see the earth awaken with colour.

I was having a lot of fun hunting nice flower heads and generally documenting the display for 2024 that I hadn't noticed I had almost ran out of film. I took my final photo and made my way to the next part of my walk to try out my recently purchased second Balda Baldax, loving named Baldy Jr. Once that was done I headed for home to have a well earned rest and a cuppa tea.

I sent my roll of Harman Phoenix 200 back to Analogue Wonderland for developing. I was very impressed with how my first roll turned out and I was happy to send my other rolls to them. It takes a little time, but it's worth it to give my Harman Phoenix 200 to a proper lab for developing. I would also rather not have it sitting in my fridge for months waiting for me to shoot enough colour film to make it worth my time buying a C41 kit.

When I got my negatives back from Analogue Wonderland I had a good look at them. The conditions gave me a chance to explore Harman Phoenix 200 when shot in diffuse light. It loves to be exposed on a bright sunny day, but an overcast day was a challenge to get my exposures right. I had put my faith in my OM-10 and it's excellent aperture priority metering when maybe I should have gone with my instincts.

I shot it at box speed on a grey day when the sun didn't quite manage to shine through the overcast sky. I could have rated it at 100 or maybe even 50 iso to gain that extra exposure time. However, it does make for a different aesthetic that I would not have got with my favourite Kodak ColorPlus 200. Hindsight is a wonderful thing, but we live and learn for another day.

I know the two are miles apart in terms of research and development, but ColorPlus is the cheapest colour film in Kodak's current roster. Harman Phoenix at the very least needs to be on par with Kodak's cheapest film in a wide range of lighting conditions and I reckon it will in future iterations.

I digitised my film using my Nikon D700 (I was counting on it's dynamic range and bespoke colour profile to help me out), Tamron Adaptall 2 90mm f/2.5 macro lens, Valoi 35mm film holder, Pixl-latr and A5 size led light pad. I processed my RAW files with Affinity Photo 2.

When I started processing my RAW files I could see the potential for next years Cherry Blossom season shot on Harman Phoenix 200. I like to keep my editing simple and the auto functions in Affinity Photo usually do the trick with a little sharpening and small adjustments. Colours are decent, there's still that red halation and my exposure settings aren't the best.
Some did need a little more work, but that's ok, it's all part of the fun of editing. They were easily tweaked in Affinity Photo 2. I just need a sunny day to get the best from this film.

Here's a few Cherry Blossom photos from my roll of Harman Phoenix 200 shot with my Olympus OM-10 and Zuiko lenses. I know they are much different to my previous Sakura photos over the years, but that's fine by me. Harman Phoenix is an experimental film and will take time to perfect. In the mean time it's fun to experiment and give Harman as much data as possible. I have placed them and a few more in an album on Flickr you can visit using the link below. I hope you enjoy them.

Sakura Hanami - Harman Phoenix

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