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Chalk and Yews in Chocolate

As well as their own new integral materials like PX600, the Impossible Project’s online store is selling off their remaining stocks of the peel-apart films. Having had fun with the type 100 Blue I got on e-bay, I decided to try some of the other variants on offer. First up is the Chocolate, another ISO 80 type 100 pack film, but this time monochrome. As the name suggests, rather than a grey-scale image the Chocolate film delivers rich brown tones, from light buff highlights to rich dark chocolate shadows. From the samples online in the Impossible store, and of course on flickr, I had a feeling I was going to like it.

Like the Blue, it works in the super Colour Swinger III at the slow speed setting, without requiring any real adjustment. this also means it’s shooting at the full aperture of the Polatriplet lens, which in my experience with the camera so far means nicer photos with a chance for creative focus which effectively disappears at the 3000 setting. However, full aperture is still only f/9.2-ish, so as per usual, it needs good light or a tripod.

My first chance to try it out came on a trip to Kingley Vale, an ancient woodland in Sussex. The woodland here is populated by some incredibly old yew trees, which make great subjects for any photograph, but also create an awful lot of shade, which gave me a little trouble due to the awkwardness of the shutter release. The first shot as a result was a rich brown, but rather wobbly, mess. Later I tried again when we reached a thickly wooded slope covered in younger yews with fist size chunks of the local chalk covering the surface of the forest floor. I took a couple of shots with the Bronica, but the one I took with the Chocolate and shown here at the start, is my favourite of the three from that spot.

At the Hare & Hounds

I took a few more on our wander around the forest and the surrounding downland, including the second shot here, taken when we stopped for lunch at the Hare and Hounds in nearby Stoughton. This photo show the range of tones you get at the brighter end of the range, although I think I peeled it a little early so it may be a bit lighter than it could have been. Another thing it shows is the texture this film has. If you click through to the full size version there’s a clear angled texture to the image, which can almost make it look like a pencil sketch in places. While I quite like the effect, I found it could cause problems when scanning, as the chocolate is very reflective, and the texture could show up too brightly as a green ripple in shadow areas. The solution I found was to be careful when choosing the shadow point in the green channel to exclude the texture.

Chocolate Autumn

I didn’t finish the pack on that trip, as the finite supply of these films makes me think of each frame as quite precious, even when I’m trying it out. As a result the last photo here was taken on a later day when I went off on one of my walks around Hursley during a break from work. It’s a bit shaky due to gloomy autumn weather, but it works for me. Somehow the various chocolate tones perfectly capture the colours of autumn.

So, as you can probably tell, I really like the Chocolate film. My only frustration with it is that the Super Colour Swinger III isn’t really a very good camera, and I’d love to see what it looks like when used with a decent lens. In the meantime I’ll have to make do, and have got a couple more packs so I can keep shooting this lovely stuff.

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