Frugal Film Project – Marius Voicu

FFP 2020 – July – Green 

I don’t know how July is in your part of the world, but here in Romania it gets hot…really hot. Usually we have 40-45 degrees Celsius (104-113 Fahrenheit) and we literally melt on the streets in the city. During the noon we stay inside most of the time and get out in the evening when it gets cooler. Since the pandemic is not over yet, getting out trying to do something on this heat wave is not such a good idea. Still, the monthly roll had to be shot, developed and scanned. This proved to be very exciting since I finished the whole Lomo 800 phase and now we have one of my favorites (and more expensive) film stocks: Kodak Ektar. That, plus the fact that I get to use an actual manual camera, with focus, aperture setting and a really good lens.  

Last year, in December 2019, I purchased a Fed 2 from eBay to use it in this year’s edition of Frugal Film Project, for 3 months. This Fed 2 joined the team, along with a Fed 5 and a Zorki 4. Since I usually test each camera before using it for a project or other personal work, I shot a roll of 12 frames with each camera to see how good they are in reality, not what their previous owners said. Just to be clear, when I ordered the Fed 2 I already had the other 2 cameras and was not counting on it. It was just an impulse buy, the backup camera. And good thing I bought it because the Fed 5 and Zorki 4 proved to be total busts. The Fed 5 has serious light leak issues, most likely the seals need to be replaced, and the Zorki 4 has some strange issue. The frame comes made of 3 separate frames, like the curtain suddenly stopped twice before doing the full movement of letting light and exposing the film. The exposed film from the Fed 2 was flawless, no issues at all, and it hadn’t the usual Russian camera “special”: tearing the film from the spool, like I read in all the forums. Usually not many photographers get a Russian camera anymore due to this issue, plus the really bad quality control.  

So, having a good camera, I started planning where I would shoot. Due to the harsh light and heat in general, shooting during the noon was not an option, and in the evening, when it is cooler, it’s a bit dark outside for Ektar (from my own experience shooting this stock). The only option was to shoot early in the morning, when it’s cool and nice. Luckily for this months theme I didn’t had to go searching for worthy subjects. Even if there is a heat wave outside, the plants and trees are still green as ever, making quite a scene wherever you go.  

Near me there is a park and I have always wanted to shoot very early in the morning to capture that serenity and tranquility of the nature and the birds inhabiting the lake. When I reached the park it was quite and the ducks were sleeping on the lake. A few people jogging here and there, but almost nobody disturbing the peacefulness and stillness in the air. Having quite the temperatures the day before made for a bonus: steam was rising from the lake creating a magical scene. One that I would like to shoot again, given the current global situation. Working from home does have its benefits.     

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