Friday, March 16, 2007

Panda Labs - most excellent customer service

OK, that's it. Panda Lab just rules. This place is two blocks from my house [edit: no longer true, but still pretty convenient and still my main place to get processing done, as of January 2011], and I've been by there a bunch of times, and never gone in. Why not? I don't know. They're awesome. Yeah, OK, so their systems could maybe stand to be computerized or something, but... wow, what excellent customer service. I took them my two rolls of IR film (my first ever -- for the class I'm taking at PCNW), and dropped them off on Wednesday. I asked (actually they asked me what I wanted) for just basic development (no push or pull, or anything special), and a contact sheet... Everything was ready yesterday, but I didn't have time to go in until today.

So today, I went in, to pick things up. Eager to see how my first rolls of IR would come out. Well, I got more than I bargained for, and in a good way. The gal at the counter got my stuff, and handed it over, then proceeding to do up the bill. Distracted by watching the hand-processing of the invoice, I somehow failed to even bother looking at the results yet. And then as she was processing my debit card, she apparently mentioned that one of the IR pickups was here. So this guy Dana comes out, and in a very friendly way offers to look over things with me.

And so I opened things up, and looked what was inside. My two rolls of film (cut into 6's, as had been the choice I'd made when asked if I wanted 5's or 6's -- very nice) were there, in Print Files, and 8 contact sheets. Yup, that's right. 4 contact sheets per roll, each exposed a different amount, so that I could see the results of all the insane bracketing I'd been doing. Wow, that's flippin' cool.

And it didn't end there. Dana proceeded to pull out a couple of the contact sheets, and the negatives, and lay them down above and on (respectively) a light table, and take a look with me. He pointed out the varying densities of things, and asked me about how I'd been metering, and gave me pointers about things, and told me which negatives he thought had the best densities (yay, they were mostly the ones I'd metered for -- so I guess I was doing OK on the metering already), and just all sorts of little tidbits about things -- telling me about which shop I could go to (Camera Techs, in Ballard) to find out if I could fix the DX coding reader problem that blasts one set of sprockets on my film -- or to get a different body, if I couldn't do that, and just generally being helpful and friendly and cool.

He even said to say hello to Patricia, the instructor for the Infrared course I'm taking.

Just cool. Contact sheet scans:

Roll #1:

Contact Sheet, IR Roll #1, version 3

Roll #2:

Contact Sheet, IR Roll #2, version 2

Scans of other images to follow over time.

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