When you think of dramatic displays of Autumn colors, you probably don’t think of Arizona. It’s easy to miss that Arizona has a significant amount of mountainous terrain, with extensive forests and even snow-capped peaks in the winter. In autumn, some of these trees change color as the leaves prepare to drop. The fall foliage in Arizona can be impressive!
Two days ago I drove up north to the slopes of the San Francisco Peaks just outside of Flagstaff for an autumn hike. The trail is called Aspen Corner Trail, which sits right below the Snowbowl ski resort. Interestingly, I was looking for the Aspen Loop Nature Trail, but I didn’t quite go far enough, and didn’t realize until later that I wasn’t even on the intended path. I had never been on any trails in this area before; I saw all of the cars and the many photographers, and just figured I was in the right place.
It was an easy hike, with very short sections that might be considered moderate (maybe). I didn’t go anywhere close to the end, just perhaps a quarter mile down where the thick forest opened to a large meadow, then back to the car as the sun was beginning to dip below the horizon. The place was nothing short of stunning!
I had my Fujifilm X100V with me. I picked seven Film Simulation Recipes—some because I knew they’d do well, and others because I wasn’t sure how they’d do and I wanted to find out. The Recipes that I chose for my C1-C7 are The Rockwell, Kodak Ektar 100, Kodak Portra 400, Reggie’s Portra, CineStill 400D v2, Fujicolor Superia 100, and Fujicolor NPH. I’ll discuss each briefly below, providing some thoughts on how well they did. One more note: I used a 5% CineBloom filter with all of these pictures.
For those who don’t know or remember, the way I’m currently using my X100V is the rear LCD is turned off, and the hybrid viewfinder is set to OVF. That means that I don’t know how the pictures turned out until later when I review them. This is intended to replicate a film-like experience, in a way. Since I don’t know what I’m getting, I try to take a little extra care to ensure that I get it right. Also, I really enjoy reviewing all of the photos at once, not knowing how exactly it all went; there’s a certain thrill when one is especially great or unexpectedly interesting. This process has been a good exercise for me.
Now, let’s take a look at the seven Film Simulation Recipes that I used to photograph fall colors on my Fujifilm X100V!
This Recipe produces bright and colorful pictures. If you want to really show off a vibrant scene, The Rockwell will do it! The flip side is that it can be over-the-top sometimes—too bold, too colorful, too crisp. I was confident that this would be a good option, and I was right. If you want to emphasize the vivid colors of autumn, The Rockwell will deliver just that. I used this Recipe more than any of the others.
I don’t shoot with the Kodak Ektar 100 Recipe all that often, so I thought this would be a good opportunity. It’s warm and vibrant, and seemingly a good match for autumn photography. After reviewing the pictures, my regret is not using this Recipe more! The image above, for example, is one of my favorites of the outing. I’m going to keep this one programmed into my camera for awhile longer.
Kodak Portra 400 v2 is one of the Recipes that I typically use the most—definitely Top 5, maybe Top 3—so I thought I’d try the “v1” Kodak Portra 400 Recipe instead on this trip. I just don’t shoot with it often enough. After reviewing the pictures, this is another one that I wish I had used more. While it doesn’t emphasize the colors like the two Recipes above, it does produce an analogue-like rendering that’s easy to appreciate.
Another Recipe that I didn’t use a lot was Reggie’s Portra, although it certainly did quite well. In retrospect, I probably didn’t need to have both Kodak Portra 400 and Reggie’s Portra programmed into the camera. Personally, I prefer the aesthetic of Kodak Portra 400 just slightly more (although, overall, they’re pretty similar), but Reggie’s Portra is more versatile, so it can be the better choice if the light might be something other than sunny daylight. If I were to do this again, I’d choose either Kodak Portra 400 or Reggie’s Portra and not both.
This is a Recipe that I suspected might be very good for fall foliage photography, but I wasn’t certain. I’m now convinced that it is! Upon reviewing the pictures, CineStill 400D v2 was one of my favorite Recipes that I used, and another that I wished that I used more. Very beautiful results, perhaps the best of these seven for the light and colors on this particular adventure. I really liked this one!
Fujicolor Superia 100 was my second-most used Recipe (only behind The Rockwell), and I chose it because I wanted a Fuji color-negative film look, plus I thought this might be a good option for autumn images (although I wasn’t sure). While the picture at the very top of this article, which was captured with this Recipe, was one of my top favorites of this trip, overall I was a tad disappointed with Fujiclor Superia 100. It wasn’t a bad choice for fall colors, but it wasn’t as good as some of the others that I used less often. So, basically, Fujicolor Superia 100 was great sometimes and mediocre at other times, depending on the exact light and colors.
I wondered how a Recipe with a bit more green in it might fare in the fall. I knew there’d be some pines, and figured that the Fujicolor NPH Recipe might render those well. I think the results were interesting—and definitely different than the others—but this was my least favorite of the seven. That’s not to say that it was bad, but only I preferred the other six more. It has some potential, though—for example, the very last picture has an obvious similarity to some prints I have in a photo box in the closet. But, overall, I think there are better Film Simulation Recipes for autumn photography.
See also: 10 Film Simulation Recipes for Fall
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