Shooting Film at Night - Cinestill 800T

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I’ve long had a passion for film photography, and whilst I haven’t done as much of it as I’d have liked, my interest and passion for ‘going old school’ has still burned bright indeed! 

For me there is no doubt, that it’s the most rewarding way for me to take photographs. Simply buying a roll of film fills me with excitement and anticipation. It’s the tactile nature of everything, not to mention the feeling of being able to get back to the wonderful world of manually operating a camera.

Now before I crack on with the actual topic here, I’ll clarify...I still shoot digitally and enjoy it very much. I’m not anti technology at all, but probably I’m just craving the way I used to do things, in the same way everyone’s returning to vinyl albums rather than cd’s.

There is something that happens to my soul when I shoot film, it's hard to explain but from simply loading the film in the camera to winding on each frame, and ultimately getting the roll processed, I truly feel enriched by the whole thing.

Little Red Jacket

So...On with the actual topic in hand. I really enjoy shooting at night, I guess partly because living in Liverpool in the UK, I'm used to taking photographs in cloudy dull light. The summers feel short, so chasing that golden hour is like chasing a lottery win. At night however the darkness, punctuated only by shop windows, street lighting and car headlights means I can forget about chasing the light in a traditional way.

So what was it like shooting Cinestill at night? Well, it was amazing but not without its challenges.

The first was the difficulty in metering for a good exposure - To explain, I decided not to push the film at all, sticking with 800 speed on the box. Whilst this in itself wasn't the issue, the real problem was actually seeing the meter in my Nikon FE in particularly dark areas. I think if I'd pushed a stop, I think I would've worked out that I could've took a few more risks and just gone for the shot knowing I would still at least be around 1/60 of a second without worrying to much about reading the meter.

Anyway this was only an issue in particular places which were pretty dark.

The second issue wasn't with the shoot itself - You'll notice in some of these shots that I ended up with what appears to be spots and fluid blotches on the pictures. Now I'm pretty sure this has happened at the processing stage in the lab I used. I haven't yet been back to ask them about it, but I definitely will the next time I go. I tried to clean them up in post best I could, and I'm happy enough with the results. In some ways I feel it's part and parcel of shooting with film full stop. Sometimes its perfect and sometimes not, it's kind of why I love it weirdly!

Taxi Rank

Matthew Street


Also I'd like to say I took my time with my single roll of 36 exposures, but to be honest I got trigger happy and felt like a Royal Marine on a firing range. I went through the roll in 90 mins!

Next time I'm going to chill for sure.

Cinestill film really is a wonderful film to use. The halation which pops that glow around lights is nothing short of beautiful in my humble opinion. The way it harnesses the reds and blues and greens is a marvel. The way the pictures have that cinematic feel and look regardless of my lack of patience is brilliant.


So go buy some, load your camera and enjoy. I'll be out again before long, but this time I'll work much harder to capture the magic this film can give you. It was a test I suppose, I'd never used it before, let alone shot film at night at all, but my appetite to do it all again is insatiable.

Please ask questions or comment if you should so wish. I'd like to here form ya'll.