The Badlands on Film - 2021

Kodak TriX400 + Portra400


If you're not familiar with the Badlands of Alberta I highly recommend you visit it someday. Believe it or not, southern Alberta used to be a subtropical paradise full of giant ferns, large redwoods, and... dinosaurs! Discovered, explored, and settled in the early 20th Century the area's original attraction was the coal seams found throughout the valleys and canyons in the Badlands. The valleys, carved out from receding glaciers at the end of the ice age, are home to a rich diversity of fossil remains, including some of the best-preserved fossils. Today the town of Drumheller remains as the primary city in the once-booming coal scene here alongside the Royal Tyrell Museum and various provincial parks.

There is also the UNESCO heritage site - Dinosaur Provincial Park

TriX400 - FujicaST605 2021
TriX400 - FujicaST605 2021

Shooting Film

Shooting Film In 2021 I had the fortune of getting to revisit Drumheller. But this time, I wanted to capture the history and charm of the place on film. I decided that a roll of Kodak TriX400 would be the film of choice along with an expired roll of Portra400.

Big thanks to Drew McIntyre who gifted me the roll of TriX400 earlier this year. I hope you enjoy these shots.

My trip was not completely ideal weather-wise. With a sky completely obscured by smoke from the raging forest fires elsewhere on the continent I thought I may have wasted a roll of film. One of the biggest struggles I had shooting in Drumheller was the extremely low contrast that the lack of sunlight created. Although a dream in some ways, the smoke acted like a massive diffusion filter reducing contrast and shadows in almost every shot. I'd hoped using a 3stop RED filter would counteract this, but instead, I think it did the opposite. With a soft red glow in the sky, I underestimated how much the RED filter would be impacted by the tinted world around me. And if there was any definition in the sky the RED filter obliterated it. The Portra400 frames I feel lost some of their beautiful colors due to the lack of sky, but I also overexposed most shots by +4EV. A comical error of adding 1stop for being expired, and 3stops from forgetting to reset my light meter that had been adjusted for the RED filter.

That said, in many cases, I love how these shots turned out. The grungy, high-tone character that the TriX film created with this lighting was wonderful. And in some cases made the film look like it had been aged 100years already. Below I've highlighted a few of my favorite frames and a full collection can be found in the bottom gallery.

TriX400 - FujicaST605 2021
TriX400 - FujicaST605 2021

All shots were taken on the Fujica ST605 with either a Super Takumar SMC 50mm f1.8 or Super Takumar SMC 35mm f3.5. Some images use a 3stop RED Filter for added contrast.

Photos have been digitized using an XT3 and processed in CaptureOne. Adjustments were done using traditional techniques used in darkroom processing such as dodging, burning, and luminosity only.

Full Gallery

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