Bancroft’s Folly – Taking New Kodak Portra 160 For A Test Run

A strange tower stands in Salisbury Park in Worcester, MA. A monument to George Bancroft, former US Secretary of The Navy, as well as a historian and statesman, the tower looks more like an ancient castle. Known by locals as “Bancroft’s Folly”, it looks like an incomplete, unfinished work in progress. Nearby WPI students were known to visit it in the 1960’s, during finals, and have beer bashes to help unwind. It is on the National Register of Historic Places.

I thought this might make a nice test spot for my 1st 35 mm roll of New Kodak Portra 160. Like Portra 400, this is also a beautiful looking film. The incredible wide latitude of Portra 400 really has made that my ‘go to” color negative film, but if outdoors, shooting landscape or architecture, and without low available light as a concern, this stuff is magic. The color pallet is rich, without venturing into super saturation, which maybe Ektar admittedly does on occasion. It seems to like a good supply of light. With some metering accuracy and skill, one will not get the dreaded “blown out” grayish skies typical of the metering that digital SLR’s usually provide. If you want your skies blue, this is the film for you.

It is the perfect “outdoor companion” to Portra 400. Yet, I can only imagine flesh tones for well lit indoor portraiture. What was four Portra emulsions, now down to two, really has created the strongest color negative line imaginable. The buzz really is all that and more. What are your thoughts on these films?

I shot these with the Nikon F3HP,  Nikkor 50mm f/1.8 Ai, and  Nikkor 135mm f/2.8 Ai.

Even midday shooting produced spectacular color and texture.

Even midday shooting produced spectacular color and texture.

The sky here would likely be exposed as 18% gray in digital.

The sky here would likely be exposed as 18% gray in digital.

Stone chart maps out different points on Worcester, so the visitor can know where the tower is located relative to landmarks.

Stone chart maps out different points on Worcester, so the visitor can know where the tower is located relative to landmarks.

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