Film Photography: B&W Paris at Night

When I started thinking about what film to take for our trip, I immediately thought about my standard B&W film - Kodak Tri-X 400. I knew exactly what it would look like at night and I wanted those strong, ink-black images. Maybe I was looking at too much Brassai or something. The weird thing is that I shot mostly color on this trip. We were blessed with perfect weather all four days and Paris really seemed better in color. I used Portra 160 NC or Portra 400 depending on the brightness and time of day. On two nights though, I loaded B&W film into the Nikon FM2n and took several pictures. Then I'd wake up the next morning with a bright sky and a yearning to shoot color. And of course there was still B&W Tri-X 400 rated at 1600 ISO in my camera. I probably should have taken a second Nikon body, but I didn't want to drag around three cameras. What I ended up doing was quickly firing off some random shots on the way to our destination to use up the rest of the B&W and then popped in a color roll. I don't normally do this, but we only had a long weekend.

That's one of the limitations of film, you're stuck with shooting what you have in your camera at the time. Digital does makes it so much easier, but then again digital will never look like this.

A Dark Corner, Paris

Series of Arched Doorways, Paris

A Waiter Smoking on Place Saint-Germain-des-Pres

I was really more interested in the corner of the building in the light than the waiter, but he wouldn't leave.

Saint-Germain-des-Pres Metro Sign at Night, Paris

The Seine River at Night, Paris

Paris Street at Dusk

Busy Sidewalk and Paris Metro Sign at Night

I took a lot of pictures of Metro signs. I mean a lot. What the hell was I thinking?

All images were developed at home in Kodak Xtol Developer for 9.5 minutes.