Fallen Leaves on Film – Fuji Superia 400, Developed at Home

These photos were taken approximately November of 2020. It was a cold day and I went to a nearby wooded park to try to capture some of the beautiful autumn leaves. I was struggling a lot and experiencing intense anxiety and depression. I made an effort to try to focus on the process of seeing and taking in my surroundings while in the wooded area at the park, appropriately setting shutter speed and aperture, focusing my camera, winding and advancing the film frame by frame. I also brought my digital camera and alternated between using the two cameras. Part way through taking pictures my Nikon FE jammed up, I was not able to advance the film and when I looked through the viewfinder it was black and I couldn’t see through it which caused me some distress at the time. I am thankful this roll was not a complete loss due to my camera malfunctioning.

This was one of the rolls of film that I developed during my second time developing my own film at home. I was afraid that I may have lost all the images since my camera malfunctioned. It was a stressful and exciting process to try developing my film for the second time. I am thankful I persevered and did not give up. It was challenging and I definitely had to push myself as I felt very overwhelmed. Since this was the second time developing film at home it was a little less foreign feeling.

I see a lot of parallels to my own life with being fearful, anxious and scared of the unknown or trying new things. When I try to be kind to myself, put in the hard work and try to me mindful and learn in the process I often find that I manage to survive and even learn, grow and appreciate the end result.

It was amazing to take my reels of film out of the developing tank and see that there were images on the negatives. There don’t seem to be words to describe such a thrilling and exciting moment for me.

These images were taken with my Nikon FE and Nikon 35mm f/2 lens and developed at home using Unicolor chemistry. I scanned the negatives with my DSLR setup in my dark basement, imported the images of the negatives into Lightroom and used Negative Lab Pro to convert the negatives to positives. So many steps and such a fulfilling process with the reward of seeing the images in the end.

The first image is what I first saw when I opened my car door just before stepping onto the ground the day I went to the wooded park. It was a refreshing sight to see the raindrops on the fallen, brown leaf that was resting on top of the pile of leaves that coated the ground as I felt the chill of the cold, fall air and savored the moment.

Nikon FE, Nikon 35mm f/2, Fuji Superia x-tra 400, self-developed with Unicolor chemistry, fall 2020

The second image was a beautiful sight to me. It is captured just as I found it. I was struck by the small branch of green leaves with raindrops collected on top that stood out in contrast to the pile of dead, brown leaves that were lying in a thick layer over the ground. This natural sighting reminds me of choosing life and nourishment in the midst of death, decay, hardship, pain, and struggle.

Nikon FE, Nikon 35mm f/2, Fuji Superia x-tra 400, self-developed with Unicolor chemistry, fall 2020

How do these images speak to you? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments.

4 thoughts on “Fallen Leaves on Film – Fuji Superia 400, Developed at Home

  1. These images are so sharp and beautiful, and capture such a delicate state – drops of liquid on a fallen leaf – and to know not just the fraught journey undertaken to photograph them but also knowing you developed these at home…! Astounding. I love seeing this deeper insight into your photography Amanda. Thanks.

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    1. Paul, thanks so much for taking the time to read my writing and look at my images. I truly appreciate your encouragement and feedback. It helps encourage me to continue doing this. Thank you!!

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  2. These are very nice, and I enjoyed reading your narrative. I’ve bought some Unicolor chemistry and read up on the process but I keep making excuses and putting it off. I think I need to set aside my anxiety and mix up some chemistry,

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    1. Bryan, thanks so much for taking the time to read through my post and share your thoughts—I really appreciate it! I can relate to what you said about putting off mixing the chemistry….I did the same thing. It’s a big step and I hope the process goes well for you when you’re able to do it. Would love to see your results!

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