Roll #41: The Full Spectrum

Updated: Feb 19

I recently bought a camera on ebay (Canon EOS Rebel) which was bundled with 3 rolls of Fuji XTRA 400 and a brand new battery. The previous owner had some issues loading the film and rather than give himself a headache, he freed himself from the burdensome film and camera for a cool $12. I was more than happy to take it off his hands.


Before I get to the heart of this post, I'm going to go on a film tangent. For the price, sharpness, resolution, relatively fine grain, and unique tones, FujiFilm is hard to beat. Despite all this good, I've found Fuji emulsions curl laterally during the drying process, making it very difficult to get a clean scan. I've yet to encounter this issue with Kodak films. Because of this inconvenient personal truth, which could very well be my own fault, I was hesitant to use the free film. But it was free so naturally my frugality won out---I loaded the film, hit the road, and decided I'd deal with the consequences at a later point in time.


With the weather abnormally warm (Global warming is that you?), I once again ventured to Washington DC with the family.

After visiting DC a few weeks prior with a roll of black and white, it was interesting to see how I changed my subject matter---and how I didn't---when using a roll of color negative film. Some things, like people, look great on both. Architecture, lines, shapes, etc. (see above) seem to be better served on black and white to eliminate the distraction of color. Subtle tones (like those of a winter sunset) absolutely need color negative as black and white wouldn't do it justice. I took this knowledge, put it in my back pocket and as I review my images, apparently ignored these facts---surprise.

I won't be winning any awards with this roll but I captured what caught my eye. Sometimes it was my son's smile. Other moments it was the leaves frozen in the ice which had slowly seeped out of the ice rink earlier in the day when it was much, much warmer.

We saw some new places and also returned to the familiar.


The skies were deceivingly blue. Despite being warm, it wasn't so warm that you could wander without a jacket, or a hat, or gloves---come to think of it, it wasn't warm at all.

With winter around the corner, some things were saying goodbye for the season while others were just saying hello. The old welcomed the new.

With news of a model train installment at the Botanic Garden, we headed to the gardens to check it out. Afterwards we wandered the warm corridors taking in well-curated collection of flora. Some plants looked like little fingers reaching. Some plants looked like giant sheets of money, confirming that money doesn't grow on trees---it grows on shrubs.

The lighting was fantastic. So was being warm but too much of a good thing is bad so we headed into the cold with our sights on Chinatown, an often overlooked neighborhood in a city that has so much to offer.

Everything was in Chinese---fitting given we were in Chinatown. Every building has character but there is one building whose character is hard to beat: Chinatown Express.

Roast duck hang in the side window. The glass is riddled accolades. And, for those who like to see behind the scenes, you can watch as "fresh noodle [is] made on the spot." If you hover around long enough, the chef might even pose for a photo---or maybe she just wanted me to leave.

As we made the long walk back to the car the roar of a fire engine caught our attention. It barreled down 6th street, lights ablaze. I attempted my first panning image on film. It could have been worse.


The walk continued and as we passed the Canadian Embassy, I caught a glimpse of an attractive man. Naturally, I had to capture the moment. I hope he's OK with me posting the image.

As we crossed Capitol Hill, the sun made its final descent, illuminating the sky with subtle tones of orange and pink. These tones were much more prominent when reflected off the white marble of the Capitol. It was beautiful.

Camera: Canon EOS Rebel

Film: FujiFilm FujiColor XTRA 400

When: December 2019

Where: Washington, DC

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Washington, D.C., USA 

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©2019 by Taylor Mackay