I've been frustrated with photo labs lately. I've had so many color photos ruined by sloppy processing or digitally muddled by mediocre machine scans. It's driven me toward shooting B&W almost exclusively since the processing is less demanding. Almost all the competent labs in the Boston area have gone out of business, leaving only Dorian Color to trust for critical work–but they don't do scanning! And what's the use of film processing without pro-quality scanning in this day and age? (I do own a very nice film scanner, but scanning is hard and quite time-consuming.)
The Interwebs enthusiastically suggested that I try Richard Photo Lab in Hollywood, California. So I flew to Los Angeles for DaleX's wedding and took a bunch of pictures. I went home to Boston with the film, put it in an envelope… and mailed it back to California. (So much for thinking ahead.)
The first scans came back yesterday. Here's an unmodified image straight from the RPL scans. This is Kodak Portra 160 film on my Leica. The skin tones and exposure are basically perfect right out of the box. In some ways this is easier than shooting digitally. I'm happy to say that RPL is my new lab of choice! I think there is more color in my future.