Roll No.2: University of Michigan

Roll #: 2
Film: Fujifilm 200
Developer: Costco
Mode: Programmed AE

Remember when I mentioned that I was going to the University of Michigan last post about, er, a really long time ago? Well, I did! I got the photos developed really fast (2 days) because I was very eager to see how they turned out. Basically the same exact settings as Roll No. 1, except way less doubting and fiddling and general nervousness with the functions. I went AE Program the whole way.

My overall feeling with how this batch turned out was, actually, more negative than the last. I don’t know why exactly the pictures this time didn’t come out as good as the last time. If anything, it should be better, right, because of the whole more experience thing? But maybe I just got really lucky last time!

I hate pinpointing down the explanations behind “why stuff happened,” mostly because it’s so difficult to do, but I guess I’ll try stabbing at a theory here. I would guess that it was the winter weather. In my Kodak manual, it says that the whiteness of snow and bareness during winter makes the camera automatically underexpose. However, this kind of conflicts with what I observed in Roll No.2, which is that the pictures seemed to be overexposed. But I’ll let you take a look a couple and see for yourself. (By the way, I edited all of these to make them look better, but I think you can still tell clearly where the flaws all are.)


Hello, Ann Arbor!  The weather was sunny/cloudy when we got there, and became progressively cloudy throughout the day. It definitely felt like below 0 outdoors, crazy wind chill, but I’ve read up like a good photographer and so I know cold doesn’t affect film at all (unless it’s Antarctica, which in that case, why are you taking pictures with a film camera?! The poor things were manufactured in the 1980s!)

Given that I was using 200 ISO film, the lighting conditions could’ve been better, but my meter did read in the pretty high range (that I’ve seen so far), which was 8-11. So was it a lack of sunlight necessarily? In my first roll ever, the lighting conditions were around the same if not a little worse, but everything still turned out pretty good. I’m just disappointed that was none of that nice golden light effect on this batch like there were one some of the pictures from the last. As you can see in the above picture, everything was pretty gray and flat–and that was after I amped up the contrast, saturation, and exposure in iPhoto’s editing option.


Not to mention, I felt like the general quality of No. 2 was a lot blurrier. Why blurry? I might’ve been a little cold during the morning half of the university tour (shaking in my boots, to be honest; I underdressed again as is my nature to), but I’m pretty sure I held the camera quite steady. This is a picture of a small part of the downtown. I love looking at all the detail in the signs and general busyness of the scene, but everything seems to be over-washed in a dull, gray tone. This shot didn’t quite reflect the actuality of the picture, because the real setting was a lot brighter–more alive. If only pictures came out every time as they look from the viewfinder!


Near the parking structure where we put the car was a bike repair shop. Now, I’m in love with bikes very much, so just seeing this store made me extremely happy. One reason I enjoy university towns so much is that there are always so many commuters and cyclists! Being one of the 5-ish people who bike to school at my high school, I dream of the day where all my friends bike and we can all cruise from class to class in a bike posse…but anyway, moving on to the photographic aspect of this picture. It was very interesting, because all the neon signs behind the windows turned out nice and clear and legible–but the one outdoor one, that red blurry strip you see on the top, was completely fuzzed out. It must be something about LED lighting or neon lights! That makes me slightly worried, because I’ll be going to Las Vegas during spring break in April, and, y’know, the whole point of Las Vegas is the neon lighting everywhere. Maybe it’s different in the night than in the day, though, when there is less contrast between natural light and LED lighting…


About halfway through the tour, my mom and I had to leave, because we’d scheduled to attend an info session at University of Michigan’s Stephen M. Ross School of Business! If I were to have a practical major that makes money, it would be business. So, it was important that I saw what the business school at any prospective university had to offer. This is a picture of the fancy glass sign at the front of the building. I would say I was the most satisfied with this one shot in the whole roll. Didn’t have to edit it at all, and it turned out very clear and sharp–even though you can’t exactly read the lettering because of all the reflections and whatnot.

Ross itself is an amazing piece of architecture. A 100 billion dollar gift from the eponymous real estate mogul, completed in 2009, sprawling modern structure, Silver LEED-certified (which actually means something to me, because I spent a semester researching green architecture this year for a personal project), and the second-biggest donation in history to a university (right behind UChicago’s Booth School of Business, which I also visited last summer! I gotta say, Ross is prettier, though). I was not expecting it to be this cool. Why didn’t anybody tell me this before?! A school this nice should’ve definitely been mentioned at some point in passing during my 3 years in Michigan!


I was still adjusting my focus when this woman in a bright red coat walked by the building. Cue scramble to click the shutter button while making sure everything still looked right! This trip to U of M was my first time actually taking pictures “on the field,” which is very different, I should add, from walking around leisurely in a suburb taking pictures of inanimate houses and trees. Real people were in several of my shots this time. All the passerby were probably wondering why I was acting so touristy with a SLR slung around my neck, the huge lens peering everywhere, and the shutter making its loud shutter sound. But they don’t know that I live an hour away from this place. 😉 And who knows, I might be going to this university someday in the future!


One more shot of the exterior before we go in…can you see what I mean by the grayness though? It kind of puts you in a vintage/bad-film-picture-which-is-still-artistic-though mood, but I just wish what turned out reflected more of what I saw that day. Which is to say: brighter, clearer, sharper, better.


When we walked in, we just went straight through the modern building into the odd Ross building to attend the info seminar. Then we got a tour later by one of the students of the modern building again. I hid my camera away the whole time during the tour, simply because it was Friday and students were still milling about everywhere, and because of the general atmosphere of Ross. It’s a professional-looking, extremely classy, cozy-yet-serious business school. I didn’t want to disturb anybody or draw unnecessary attention to myself by being the only one possessing a camera and pointing it around everywhere! I really wish I could’ve taken away some photos of what I saw, though. It was so cool. Maybe, if I ever go here one day, I can become part of the newspaper press or something and be actually licensed to take pictures of people doing stuff.

Oh, right–in the picture above, those were solar panel lighting fixtures hanging suspended from the very tall, spacious ceiling of the main atrium area. Ross is LEED-certified, as I mentioned before. In my previous roll I’d discerned some notable difference between the effects of natural sunlight and tungsten light on film. What was cool this time is, when I pointed my lens upwards at the light fixtures, the meter read a high 11 as it would in sunny outdoors conditions! I guess it’s obvious, because they’re solar panels. I just think it’s cool, though, because the light isn’t actually coming from the Sun–yet it still retains all of its original properties. Fascinating.

After the tour of Ross, we went to their cafeteria/cafe on the ground floor and ate lunch. I gleefully took a picture of the beautiful food. I took two, actually, because that’s how nice the meal was. But, wait, a pause is in order. This post is getting long, and I am just now publishing it after, what, a month since I took the pictures–so I’m just going to stop here now!

Just so you know, the forecast for a continuation of this post is 50%. I intend to actually write one, of course, but I also did intend to follow-up on Roll No.1’s post, which….I never did. So, just being realistic here! And in case you need any more incentive to stick around (follow, perhaps, is the term on WordPress), here are some photo-noteworthy events in my life coming up for sure in the near future:

  • Development of Roll #3! The content: A friend’s Sweet 16th birthday party, and my school’s Band/Orchestra concert (we are all dressed up classy in black and white! Yay, human subjects!)
  • Spring Break–The Grand Canyon and Las Vegas! First vacation since summer for this poor girl, and also first vacation with my film camera.
  • Got a raving post on the book The Kite Runner sitting in the Draft box right now. Don’t know whether it’s ever going to see the light of day or not, but if any of you are interested in reading it, let me know!

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