Ektar has entranced me. The colors rich, bold and in your face. The images are soaked in charm and transforms the ordinary mundane into the atmospheric mundane. But too much editing can undo it's magic. This weekend I spent the day at Santa Cruz beach, trying some advice: shoot wide open(or almost). So with a Leica M7 and a Zeiss 50mm/1.5(Sonnar) I finished a roll of Ektar 100 (rated at 100) with every picture at f/2 - f/2.8. Fearing every photo will be over exposed I didn't further jeopardize the situation by exposing for shadows - I exposed for the subject. What did I learn?

That Ektar is gorgeous. That Ektar can overexpose by 5 stops without blown out highlights (though some contrast goes). And that a lot goes on in the digital darkroom. I got the film developed at Photoworks,San Francisco and scanned them using TLXClientDemo and the Pakon 135+ scanner. A scanner beyond superb - the image colors were beautiful and it blew me away to see every photo so nicely exposed. But I chose to scan RAW and get colors using ColorPerfect, a very useful Photoshop plugin to convert RAW scans to color, a plugin with character, a character that only the weirdest UI in the modern world can give. These photos were then taken to Lightroom for color corrections. All in all, 30 minutes is all it took to scan the roll and another one hour for color correction. For this, shops charge about \$22 for scanning and processing. I think I saved \$14. Given my time is relatively cheap, I'm happy with that. My pet peeve is that the photo studios don't give you the RAW files (which they easily could).

So you have some lovely Ektar photos. Ektar is opinionated in it how it comes from the bath and into your computer. Punchy looks that can easily redden skins but when all is right, hook you. In Lightroom, you can easily make the image brighter and lighter (that hackneyed wedding photo look), but you lose the punchy saturated Ektar look. I tried to not bring up the exposure but for some I have (I wanted a brighter image, and it fixes reddish complexions) - I could have easily exposed for shadows in some of these pictures. Increasing the highlights and whites and simultaneously bringing down shadows preserves the strong colors and at the same time makes the image brighter.

Overall, I'm impressed. I think there is a slight magenta tone to some of the pictures and sometimes a blue cast. By repeating the cycle of shoot, process,scan I'm getting to know the trio of film look, lens, and exposure better. For example, I was hoping for the Zeiss pop, but I don't think I got it - the chair comes close, but none are really like this one . End of this month, I'll be in Yosemite. Neopan and Ektar will come along for the ride.

obstaculous adj. of the nature of an obstacle e.g. the journey of love is an obstaculous one.