Seeing & Looking
Kodak has been a vital and important part of my photography life, so it was thrilling to learn a while ago that Kodak Alaris brought back a new version of 36 exposure T-Max Professional P-3200/TMZ film after it was discontinued 5 years ago.
At ISO 800, its print appearance looks like TMAX 400 film. The difference is that T-Max P-3200 Pro is designed to be pushed to a higher resolution of 3200, reminiscent of Tri-X, but to have a finer grain film when raising its ASA to 1600 or 3200. It is an ISO 800 box speed film. Now, this film is different than original Tri-X and T-Max (the latter used for the photograph above). But the relatively new T-Max P3200 will be useful for concert photography, night images, and for low light street work.
Film is Kodak's heritage. Tennis is my heritage. I started playing amateur tennis when I was 9, and professionals like Stan Smith and Jimmy Connors seemed like heroes who lived on another planet, visible only through a small, distant TV screen. As a kid, watching Connors, I craved a Wilson T-2000 metal tennis racket, so I could hit as hard as "Jimmy" did. Ha!
Then, I heard Connors was coming to a Fall tournament in Denver, Colorado. Now, I had the chance to see my hero, the bad boy. For 160 consecutive weeks, Jimmy Connors ranked #1 in the world. When he played in Denver in 1978, my senior year in high school, Connors was the men's singles champion of the Denver Open for the 3rd year.
I quickly volunteered to be a ball boy for part of this tournament. During one match, photographing from court side, I exposed 36 frames of TMAX-3200 at the Connors-Smith match. Because the two pro players were moving all the time, I concentrated on timing. Only one frame of 36 had the tennis ball in visible focus; it was of Connors returning serve. I made copies of the image in our high school darkroom to get the black and white tonality right to make a final printed photograph. What can I say-some of us loved the graininess of TMAX-3200.
In 1978, fast film was still a pretty new concept for high school photography. To be able to shoot at ASA 3200 was truly useful for stop-action. This speed of pro tennis, the player's serves and strokes, move way to fast to freeze action at SAS 400 or even 800, in the indoor area lighting.
For that match, with just one roll of Kodak TMAX 3200 film in the camera, I pushed the entire roll two stops, exposing and processing it at ASA 3200 (1:25, stand developed it in Rodinol in the high school darkroom, with instructions from Mr. Thomas Schultz, our high school photo teacher). Thanks Tom. I overexposed the highlights on the film negative. It didn't matter. The experience of watching the pros play was embedded in my dreams and in a few timeless B/W photographic prints.
Recently, TMAX Professional P-3200/TMZ has been moving slowly through my film Nikon. Its about $10 a roll. When all is developed, the story will continue. Thanks for your visit. Jim Austin Jimages.com
Photos and Writings by Jim Austin Jimages