VIEWS -- Vanessa on Success & the Gift of Giving

Hi everyone and welcome to the very first VIEWS blog post! 

I'm so thrilled to announce this new endeavor, as it's something I've been mulling over for a while. Since last summer, I've been trying to figure out how exactly to go about starting a YouTube channel in a way that feels authentic and not scary to me, considering that being in front of the camera is highly uncomfortable for me (there's a reason I'm always behind it). But regardless of any shyness or anxiety surrounding the prospect of putting myself and my work out there for the world to see, I know deep down inside that what I hope to accomplish through these things is bigger than myself, and completely worth the push outside of my comfort zone. It feels somewhat like a duty that I must fulfill, especially given the opportunities that I have right now to actually make it happen.

VIEWS Project Goals:

My hope for this project is that it starts small and grows into something I can travel for and do worldwide. Sure, of course I want to interview established people someday and learn from them and their experiences in whatever field they're in, but sometimes just regular people doing regular things and finding the joy within whatever they do is the most inspiring thing. I never want to forget about that, and so I am anticipating these first few videos will always be the most special to me. Staying present and enjoying the little things in this project (and in every project I embark on for that matter) is really a necessary practice that I become better at every year, and hope to master one day.

I want to share film photography with the world and reintroduce people to the romance behind the idea of slowing down, of the beauty behind a lot of inconvenience, and that is absolutely so important to me. However, what's even more important is the idea of giving women (& non binary and queer people in general as well) a platform to discuss whatever topics they want the world to hear. I realize at the moment the audience I have the ability to reach is relatively small, but my goal is to grow in visibility for the sake of both art and politics.

So without further ado..

Let's get right into it.


This week on VIEWS, I tested CineStill50D against the highly popular classic, Portra 400 on my Canon EOS N-1 35mm. Now, as said in my video, I know what you're thinking-- the speed of the film is totally different and thus they cannot (or should not) be compared. While maybe I'd agree more if they were both in black and white, but when it comes to color, so many factors come into play that I really enjoy using Portra (mainly either 160 or 400) as a baseline to test color balance/contrast/tones with other film brands regardless of speed.

For this week's interviewed I asked my favorite lady (and lovely girlfriend) Vanessa to sit down with me for a chat about what she does and why it makes her so happy. This girl really loves her job, and rightfully so. She's a badass #girlboss who gives gifts for a living, and also happens to be one of the kindest, most genuinely sweet and positive people I know.

But all gushing aside, success and positive manifestation through acts of kindness are something she's both highly interested in, and very good at achieving, and I think we could all take a page from her book and study it in our own ways. 

Needless to say I was thrilled to ask her a few questions on the subject of success and positivity (what a great way to start out the year/a new project too right?), and how even though not all times in our lives are always going to be 100% happy/easy to get through, it does get better, and in the end we're stronger and better for it. I also really wanted to see how this film turned out.

Well, *drumroll* my (and probably yours too) expectations were correct.

And likely super obvious to even the amateur film junkie out there. Lower light + slower speed film = not impossible but probably necessary to use a tripod if you want to keep your images from blurring.

However, I was pleasantly surprised at CineStill's performance even indoors on an overcast day considering just how slow it is. The beauty of this one is that it's balanced for daylight (although important to note it also comes in 800 speed), and the color tones are really beautiful and have an unsurprisingly cinematic feel. It kind of makes all your photos feel like stills from a movie which I love.

Also notable with any film, but especially color, is that not only does the final result depend on your films manufacturing, but also the development process. I get my C-41 processing done at Blue Moon Camera & Machine, who are absolute experts (and also friends of mine). I'm sure in a very short amount of time all of you will be so tired of how many times I mention Blue Moon, if you're not already-- but it's with very good reason. Maybe one day if this YouTube thing kicks off I can convince them to let me record them all doing things at work for a video, haha. *scheming*

Anyway, beyond the people developing your film and the way it's manufactured, you then have to factor in scanning to digital form, and balancing with whatever scanning program you use. I personally have an Epson V700 film scanner, and I just use the software that came with that to get the most information out of my files. This is important for (at least) two reasons in case you don't already know: 

1. You need to get all of the information that the scanner can give you about each negative so that when you're editing later you're not missing visual data

2. This will help balance the colors/exposure to what they're more likely supposed to be, and make editing later on (if you so choose to do so) much easier.

Here is an example of two photographs from the same roll of CineStill, one that has been manipulated (not edited, neither are edited) in the scanning program, and one that has not. Take a look:


As you can see, the tones are totally different. I will say that if you're trying not to do any editing what so ever, the bottom image looks better coming right off the scanner, but the top will have far more data in LR or PS, and will end up looking way better/not blown out.

Here is another more subtle example with Portra400:


Okay aside from the scanning tangent, here are Portra400 and CineStill50D side by side, without the use of a tripod (and some double exposure comparisons for fun):


As you can probably tell, without a tripod the CineStill is relatively blurry in comparison to Portra400, but that's to be expected. All in all I was kind of impressed at the look/feel of the tones and ability for it to stay clear enough to be acceptable even though the light was so low.

The main difference besides the speed of the film I'm noticing is basically that the Portra400 is way more color balanced in my opinion. The CineStill is so lovely in its own way but for neutral skin tones/backdrop tones I would still use Portra. However, I do enjoy the cinematic look of CineStill more, so if you're someone who doesn't mind editing their film in post, you could definitely make the tones of the CineStill a little more balanced.

But then there's these weird mystical times when both films' tones look almost identical and the only difference really here is the blur factor? *shrugs* color is mysterious like that.


And finally, here's a couple of close ups of the CineStill, both with no tripod:



So there you have it, folks.

The very first episode and post for VIEWS. Who knew film reviewing/interviewing could go so well together.

Please comment any questions below, and for the interview go watch the YouTube video here

Also if you feel so compelled, social media links here:

Subscribe on YouTube-- 

Follow on Instagram-- 

Facebook-- please like my page if you haven't already, I'm new here so I need all the help I can get!

Twitter-- want to use it more and will if people start following ;)


I hope you guys enjoyed this process/idea, and if you did please let me know! If there are things you'd like to see differently or other video or blog suggestions you'd like to make, please feel free to voice any of that as well, I'm totally open to suggestions.

Until next time,

xx MK