Welcome to the Red Mill: the first stop on my Lomochrome Metropolis tour around New Jersey.
I’ve been to the Red Mill before. It’s one of the most photographed buildings in Central New Jersey, and for good reason. Between the waterfall, and the lush greenery, and the vibrant redness of the building itself, it’s all just so picturesque. Throw in some stonework, a giant wooden wheel, and a big bird, and you’ve got a recipe for nice photos.
So I took Neil, Aidan, and an impossible number of cameras with me for some photo fun. Though our adventure was over almost before it began, when a thunderstorm rolled in. We made it back to the car just in the nick of time, and sat there to wait out the deluge before heading back home.
I chose this destination because of the red. Something with a strong pop of color is what I was after. I am not sure why, but it disappointed me in that respect. Maybe it was the lack of sun, and the moody storm clouds. Who knows? Normally, I enjoy some moody storm clouds in my photos, but it may just have dampened the vibrancy of the building too much.
I was able to enhance the redness in my digital photos after the fact, so they looked more like what my eye thought it saw. That sounds like a cheat, I know, but sometimes the camera doesn’t capture things in the same way that your creative eye sees it. And for that, we have Lightroom and other photo editing tools 😀
All of the wide-angle photos above were taken with my phone (a Samsung Galaxy Ultra S21, which I bought refurbished last year and love). The closeups were taken with my DSLR (a Canon EOS 80D). For the camera shots, I used an 80-200mm f4.5-5.6 II lens that I picked up recently on eBay for about $40, coupled with a cheap 2X extender that I bought ages ago.
I had forgotten all about that extender, because it came with the wrong mount. It had an EF mount and my go-to telephoto lens had an EFS mount. My camera could handle both mounts, but the extender couldn’t so it was useless to me. But it works with this new (old) lens, and it extended my maximum focal length from 200mm to 400mm. That was just what I needed for getting close up to the Blue Heron.
Also, please enjoy my unnaturally red hair, which I have regretted since the moment I dyed it. I am waiting not so patiently for it to grow out. In fact, this morning I went [temporarily] green, which I like much better 😜
Anyway, the main reason I was looking for a pop of red was that I wanted to try out a roll of LomoChrome Metropolis film that Neil gave me for my birthday in May.
Metropolis’ claim to fame is desaturated tones with pops of color. So, I was expecting to get some barely there blues and greens, with impressive reds. That didn’t happen. Maybe it was the weather, or maybe this is just not the right kind of scene for this film. I suspect it’s a little bit of both, but especially the latter, since, as the name implies, it is meant to shine among cityscapes and such. But we were out in the country effectively, surrounded by trees and water.
The first image in this gallery is an instant photo taken with my Instax Mini 9. It was a bit disappointing, but I’ll be honest, that is often the case with my instant photos, so I didn’t think much of it 😜
The rest were taken with the Metropolis film in my Canon EOS Rebel 2000, and mostly they are not what I was hoping for. I tried to tweak the colors a bit in Lightroom without losing the character of the film, but I didn’t have much luck. Though I do like that last image of the town. It illustrates the point pretty well that Metropolis has its place among buildings and the human element.
I enjoyed this little trip. And I love the digital photos I got. But I found the film photos of the Mill itself disappointing.
This is not the end of the LomoChrome Metropolis story, though! I took it on a few more outings, which suited it much better, and I’ll tell you about those in a few days 😁