KIRO 400 from FilmNeverDie sold itself to me with its yellow leopard on the film canister. If you love cats and wild animals, you may also be compelled to purchase some based on appearance only. The film stock has the option to make it into a keychain after shooting the roll, which I still have today.
I purchased KIRO 400 from UK-based Analogue Wonderland, which has an excellent selection of 35mm film. They quickly shipped it to my home in the States, and I checked my mailbox every day, eagerly awaiting its arrival. Of course, it came during the one day of the entire week when I wasn’t home. We were down in Atlanta, melting in the sun and taking photos. The film was placed in my mailbox, which acts like an oven on a hot, humid day.
Do you know that the inside of a mailbox can reach over 140 degrees Fahrenheit? While I am not sure if the film would be damaged in a short amount of time, we ended our day early to prevent any possible heat damage to the film.
Luckily, the KIRO 400 was just fine, and my fears were put to rest, along with the biggest sigh of relief. The film chilled for a week in my fridge while I tried to figure out where I wanted to shoot it.
A Medium-Speed Film With Warm Tones
KIRO means “yellow” in Japanese. The medium-speed film gives yellow and warm tones in the images, which I say is pretty accurate after trying the film. The film works well with skin tones, buildings, and other objects. It is versatile in different light settings, making it a great daily-use film.
On the box, it says you can get 27 exposures, but I only got 26 with my camera. You can probably push for more, but my Canon EOS-1N camera has stopped short on a few film stocks lately. Not sure why, but I hope to figure that out soon.
I never shot KIRO 400 before, so I set the ISO on my camera to 200 before taking pictures. Since it is easier to recover from overexposure on a color-negative film, I rather have the film overexposed than underexposed.
But I am absolutely terrible at changing my camera’s settings and forgetting to put them back after I’m done. My camera was overexposed by two stops from a previous shoot. So, the first few images were slightly bright, but fortunately, I caught and fixed this mistake about five exposures later.
Finding a Location
After some consideration, I knew I wanted to shoot KIRO 400 in a city, but not Atlanta. Having just visited there, I knew I wanted to try the film somewhere I hadn’t been to in a long time.
Finding time to travel and shoot film with a full-time job can be challenging at times. So, my mind immediately went to Chattanooga, Tennessee, as the best choice since it is not too far from home, and I can go on the weekend.
It has been many years since I went to Chattanooga. My parents always took me to the Tennessee Aquarium, but not much further from that. They were never really into walking, so I figured I could shoot KIRO 400 while taking a leisurely stroll down the Chattanooga Riverwalk and downtown. Fortunately, the weather was in our favor this past weekend, with a gorgeous blue sky and puffy clouds. We hopped in our car and made the short journey to Chattanooga.
Chattanooga Riverwalk on KIRO 400
Walnut Street Bridge and the Zig-Zag
The Chattanooga Riverwalk area has a few bridges, and I figured I would start there since I love photographing anything architectural-related. Walnut Street Bridge is a popular, pedestrian-only bridge and a perfect place for street photography. The bridge stands out with its blue wrought iron and steel frame.
People were walking their dogs, jogging, painting pictures, and sitting on benches enjoying the balmy breeze. Shooting around noon is not ideal lighting conditions, but the warm tones that KIRO 400 gives are still evident in the photos.
Looking down from Walnut Street Bridge, you will see one of the neatest things on the Chattanooga Riverwalk: the “zig-zag walkway.” It provides some fantastic photography shots with shapes, lines, and light.
It is my favorite photo that I took out of the entire roll.
Coffee and Photo Stop at Rembrandt’s
I worked up an appetite while walking and taking photos around the bridge. Reaching “hangry” status and in dire need of afternoon coffee, we stopped at Rembrandt’s Coffee House.
Located near the riverwalk, Rembrandt’s has the best caesar spinach wrap I’ve ever tried. Later, I bought some ingredients at my local grocery store, hoping to replicate the wrap but failed miserably—all the more reason to return to Chattanooga, hopefully with more KIRO 400.
After grabbing the coffee and wrap, we found a nice seating area behind the coffee shop with cafe tables, a small garden, and a statue.
I sat down with my hot mocha and began to browse my iPhone. After a few seconds, out of the corner of my eye, I noticed a dog staring intently at me with my coffee cup. It was almost as if he was saying, “Hey, You! I want some of that too!”
Wanting to capture this funny moment, I quickly grabbed my Canon EOS-1N off the table, adjusted my settings as fast as possible, and took a shot.
Knowing I had to take this image on the fly, I didn’t expect it to come out well. But I was wrong. There is some motion blur in the photo. However, I think it came out great, and now I have something that reminds me of the cute pup!
By the time I was almost done with my coffee, the afternoon light was really showing through the overhead vines creating a dynamic look with the light and shadows. The two people sitting at the cafe table while browsing their phones is another one of my favorites from this film stock. It captures this moment in time and provides a nice, warm tone.
After Rembrandt’s, we finished the afternoon walking in and around the Chattanooga Riverwalk and the art district. I only had about seven exposures left of KIRO 400, so I had to plan my shots accordingly while wishing I had bought more.
Unknowingly, my last exposure was the uniquely designed Tennessee Aquarium. Thinking I had two exposures left instead of one, I was disappointed when I heard the familiar sound of the film rolling back into the canister when no exposures are left. As I mentioned, there is an issue with my camera, not with KIRO 400.
Final Thoughts on KIRO 400
I guess you might be asking if this is a rebranded film stock. I believe that it is.
Film is usually not made in 27 exposures; typically, that number of exposures is found in disposable cameras.
I am not sure whether it is Kodak or Fuji, but the markings on the film register say 400-3. Right now, in 2021, color-negative film manufacturers are really down to just a couple of people. You can ponder who it might be.
Despite it being a possible rebranded film, I love the graphic design on the box and the film canister. The graphic designer, Edmund Li, has incredible skills, and I am glad to see this work showcased.
And at the end of the day, it supports the growth of film. Yes, film is becoming more expensive. However, it is always nice to see film eagerly sought to take incredible storytelling images.
Plus, I have a pretty cool keychain with the KIRO 400 35mm film that I can keep forever. I hope FilmNeverDie continues to have these fun film stocks, as I will most certainly purchase more!