Route 66: Sun n Sand Motel⁠ — Trying Recipes (That Are Not Mine…)

Sun n Sand Motel – Santa Rosa, NM – Fujifilm X-E4 – “Kodak Portra 66”

The possible number of potential Film Simulation Recipes is almost unlimited. For example, on my Fujifilm X-E4, there are 750 different Kelvin White Balance options that could be selected, and 361 unique White Balance Shifts that could be assigned to each of those different Kelvin options, which means that, if all other settings were identical, you could create over 270,000 different recipes just by changing the White Balance and Shift. Granted, many would look extremely similar to others, but they’d be at least a little different. My point is that there can be millions and millions of potential recipes for Fujifilm cameras, particularly the newer cameras which have more JPEG options. I’ve “only” created just under 250 recipes for Fujifilm cameras⁠—I’ve barely scratched the surface!

Some of you have created your own Film Simulation Recipes. A handful of you have even had your recipes included on this website and in the Fuji X Weekly App. I love that you are diving into your camera settings, getting creative, and sharing the results with the community⁠—it’s all so wonderful! I’m very honored to be a part of all this, and to have a front-row seat.

I’ve shared before where you can find many of these Film Simulation Recipes that were created by others (recipes that are not by me), but today I want to point you to some specific ones: “C1 Classic Neg” by Luis Costa (Life, Unintended), “Aged Negative” by Justin Gould (Fuji X Weekly Community Recipes), and “Kodak Portra 66” by Justin Gould (Film.Recipes). Why these ones? They looked particularly interesting to me for the subject that I wanted to use them for.

The photographs in this article were not captured with these recipes, but instead were RAW files reprocessed in-camera to apply the recipes to exposures already captured. I used my Fujifilm X-E4 and Fujinon 27mm lens (originally with my Fujicolor Natura 1600 recipe) to photograph the burnt Sun n Sand motel in Santa Rosa, New Mexico. This hotel first opened along Route 66 in the 1950’s, had major renovations in the late-1990’s, and closed for good in 2013 after a severe storm caused major damaged. Apparently homeless moved in after it closed, and sometime later (although I couldn’t find exactly when) fire damaged much of the property. It seems to be in the process of being demolished, albeit slowly. The Sun n Sand motel has been left in a sad state, and the opportunities to photograph this somewhat-iconic site along The Mother Road are fleeting. I’m glad that I had the opportunity.

C1 Classic Neg by Luis Costa

“Ironically, I think it resembles Slide film much more than Negative film!” ⁠—Luis Costa

Motel Window Reflection – Santa Rosa, NM – Fujifilm X-E4 – “C1 Classic Neg”
Family Units – Santa Rosa, NM – Fujifilm X-E4 – “C1 Classic Neg”
Red Arrow – Santa Rosa, NM – Fujifilm X-E4 – “C1 Classic Neg”

Aged Negative by Justin Gould

“It reminds me of prints I made from 35mm film in the 1980s.”—Justin Gould

Historic Route 66 Motel – Santa Rosa, NM – Fujifilm X-E4 – “Aged Negative”
Burnt Junk in a Bathtub – Santa Rosa, NM – Fujifilm X-E4 – “Aged Negative”
Burnt Door – Santa Rosa, NM – Fujifilm X-E4 – “Aged Negative”

Kodak Portra 66 by Justin Gould

“Some things seem to be made to go together, and in our world of film simulations and recipes, it’s Kodak Portra and fading Americana.” ⁠—Justin Gould

Cheap Desk – Santa Rosa, NM – Fujifilm X-E4 – “Kodak Portra 66”
TV & Chair – Santa Rosa, NM – Fujifilm X-E4 – “Kodak Portra 66”
Oh, Deere! A flat tire – Santa Rosa, NM – Fujifilm X-E4 – “Kodak Portra 66”

If any (or all) of these Film Simulation Recipes look interesting to you, please visit Luis’ and Justin’s websites⁠—they have many more! I haven’t personally used most of them, but there are plenty that look pretty good to me, based off of the sample pictures. I’m sure many of you will appreciate them. If you have the Fuji X Weekly App, tap the circle-with-dots icon at the top-right, and you can manually add these (or any other recipes) into the App, if you want to take them with you on the go. Don’t have the Fuji X Weekly App? Download it for free today!

Abandoned Location: Hugh’s RV w/ Fujifilm X100V & Fujicolor Reala 100 (Video)

I had the opportunity recently to photograph the abandoned Hugh’s RV in North Salt Lake, Utah, with Fuji X Weekly reader Ryan from Oregon. The last time that I was there I used my Kodak Portra 400 film simulation recipe. This time, both Ryan and I used my Fujicolor Reala 100 film simulation recipe on our Fujifilm X100V cameras. Two photographers at the same location using the same camera with the same settings, but with different perspectives. Check out the video!

I had a great time shooting with Ryan! It was a good opportunity to talk cameras, recipes, photography, and more. I want to give a special “thank you” to Ryan for participating in this adventure, for allowing himself to be filmed, and for sharing his pictures in the video. Please check out his Instagram account, as his pictures are great!

Let me know in the comments what you think of the video. I appreciate the feedback!

This post contains affiliate links, and if you make a purchase using my links I’ll be compensated a small amount for it.

Gear:
Fujifilm X100V  Amazon  B&H
Fujifilm X-T20   Amazon 
Fujifilm X-T30  Amazon  B&H
Fujinon 10-24mm   Amazon  B&H
Rokinon 12mm   Amazon  B&H
GoPro Hero 8 Black   Amazon  B&H

Film Simulation Review: Abandoned RV Dealer with Kodak Portra 400

Journal – North Salt Lake, UT – Fujifilm X100V – “Portra 400”

I recently stumbled upon an abandoned RV dealership in North Salt Lake, Utah. It’s been vandalized. Broken glass and graffiti abound. Nature is doing its thing, too. It’s significantly dilapidated.

Hugh’s R.V. apparently hasn’t been closed for very long, I believe less than two years, but the building looks like it has been abandoned for a decade or more. One of the reviews I found for this place stated that it looked dilapidated—this was when it was still open!—so it was already in a state of disrepair prior to abandonment, and that partially explains why it looks so bad now. Perhaps more than anything, people have just trashed it since it closed.

I captured Hugh’s R.V. with my Fujifilm X100V using my Kodak Portra 400 film simulation recipe. I love how this recipe looks for many things, including structures. Really, it was an easy choice! This particular film simulation recipe could be many people’s “only” recipe. It’s good for such varied situations, and an abandoned building in afternoon light is no exception. This Portra 400 recipe on the X100V is an especially great combination, and a one camera, one lens, one recipe philosophy could be embraced. I appreciate the film-like aesthetic of my Portra 400 settings.

My challenge to you is for one week (or at least one day if that’s too much) use one camera with one lens and one film simulation recipe. If you don’t have an X100V, that’s no problem, just use what you do have. I think the restriction will empower your creativity. Limitations improve art. If you accept this challenge, let me know in the comments which camera, lens and recipe you plan to use, and also report how it goes. I look forward to your feedback!

Hugh’s R.V. – North Salt Lake, UT – Fujifilm X100V – “Portra 400”
Hugh’s Graffiti – North Salt Lake, UT – Fujifilm X100V – “Portra 400”
Closed Circuit – North Salt Lake, UT – Fujifilm X100V – “Portra 400”
ERNL – North Salt Lake, UT – Fujifilm X100V – “Portra 400”
Open Door, Broken Window – North Salt Lake, UT – Fujifilm X100V – “Portra 400”
Trash in the Shadow – North Salt Lake, UT – Fujifilm X100V – “Portra 400”
Tubes & Tablets – North Salt Lake, UT – Fujifilm X100V – “Portra 400”
Out of Office – North Salt Lake, UT – Fujifilm X100V – “Portra 400”

See also: Film Simulation Reviews

Video: Abandoned

I created a new video entitled Abandoned, which features my black-and-white photographs of abandoned places that I’ve captured over the last five years. I used to do a lot of “urban exploration” type photography, but I don’t venture into that genre much anymore. I do think that it’s important to document these forgotten and neglected structures, as they’ll crumble away someday, either by man or nature, and the opportunities to record them are fleeting. The photographs also serve as commentary to how society deals with what’s unwanted and unneeded. The decay speaks of our values, and how we handle change.

The main purpose of this video, however, is not the photographs, but the music. I have a six-year-old son, Joshua, who loves music. You can tell that he feels it deeply, like he connects with it at soul-level. He’s learning piano, and it’s impressive the songs that he makes up. He’s not a child prodigy or anything like that, but he’s much more musical than my other kids. He is music smart, and we’re trying to foster that.

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My kids like to make songs on an app where you mix samples. It’s kind of like being a DJ. It’s called “live loops” and you can select different sounds and beats, and record it as you go. There’s a lot that can be manipulated and customized. My kids record all sorts of different songs. Last week Joshua came to me and excitedly said, “Daddy, listen to this song I made!” He played it, and I was impressed. It sounded like an actual song! It was pretty well done.

Being a proud father, I wanted to share his creation with everyone, so I made a video. I hope that you enjoy the photographs, but I hope you especially enjoy the music that my six-year-old son mixed. I think that the music and pictures compliment each other, and together they tell a story. I hope that we’ll have many more opportunities to collaborate. I can say for certain that Joshua loves music, and he has many more creations stirring in his heart and mind right now.

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House Underwater – Thistle, Utah

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House in a Frozen Pond – Thistle, UT – Fujifilm XF10

Thistle, Utah, is a strange place. It’s a little ghost town in Spanish Fork Canyon in the Wasatch Mountains. It was established in 1878 and was a railroad town, situated along the Rio Grande mainline. U.S. Route 6 and U.S. Route 89 intersected in Thistle. A lot of people and cargo passed through there, but the town never really became much of anything. At it’s peak in the 1920’s, the town had a population of just over 400 people.

I had heard of Thistle many years ago, because photographer Richard Steinheimer had captured two of his most well known pictures there. I had never visited it, nor did I have any idea of what it looked like, outside of a couple black-and-white prints captured in the 1950’s. It was a recent adventure that led me to stumble upon Thistle quite by accident. I passed through it not knowing what I was passing through, and stopped because I saw something interesting.

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Photo by Richard Steinheimer

Steinheimer, if he were still alive, would not recognize Thistle. Both highways have been rerouted and the tracks have been realigned. Even the Spanish Fork River isn’t entirely in the same place. The town is almost entirely gone, with the exception of a half-submerged house and some crumbling ruins that are barely hanging on. In 1983 there was a massive mudslide that demolished the little town of Thistle. It completely destroyed the area. At the time it was the costliest landslide in U.S. history.

The ruins of Thistle are easy to miss. On the west side of Route 89 are a couple crumbled buildings that almost blend into the landscape. On the east side of the highway is an old house that’s halfway deep in water, hidden behind some tall brush. I’m sure many people drive right through Thistle and don’t even realize it. There’s not much to see. There wasn’t much to see when the town was still a town, but there’s really not much left today.

I visited Thistle on a cold winter day, much like Steinheimer did back before my parents were even born. The location is beautiful, and the snow hides the tragic remains. I’m glad that fate took me to this cold and lonely place as I appreciate the adventure. Thistle will soon be completely gone and I’m thankful that I got to see it before then. Still, I don’t think I’ll be returning anytime soon.

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Ice Cold Home – Thistle, UT – Fujifilm XF10

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Defaced & Decaying – Thistle, UT – Fujifilm X-T20

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Hidden Hiemal Haggard Home – Thistle, UT – Fujifilm X-T20

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Old Frozen Home – Thistle, UT – Fujifilm X-T20