YOU DON’T TAKE A PHOTOGRAPH, YOU MAKE IT. -ANSEL ADAMS
Film! Film you say? Who still uses film? Well, many photographers still do.
I grew up in a time when everyone used film, that was our only option in those days. My Grandpa Olund, Uncle Bob & Uncle Jack always had a camera in their hands and plenty of film in the refrigerator. They were always saying, wait hold that pose, wait that's not the setting I want and then finally click. Our family get togethers consisted of eating, chatting and then setting up the slide projector and screen and we all sit in the living room for the slide show. I truly cherish those memories, it was a time when the whole family was together laughing and just having a great time. It was the photos that brought us together for that moment in time.
Time was changing and technology was improving the way we took our photos. The digital era was here and they were improving at a fast rate. It seems like every 6 months they are changing the camera's. Each time a new camera comes out we are so crazed by their capabilities, even though they have a big $$$ attached to them. For us photographers we need better computers and hard drives to hold of our digital photos, add to that sharper, bigger screens to edit on. We have to make sure to be loaded up on memory cards to hold the photos, and plenty of batteries on hand. I have found that the Sony and Fuji cameras go threw a lot of batteries, the Canon batteries are wonderful and last days. The programs! Wow, there are so many programs out there to process the digital photos. I admit that I am a camera and program junkie. I shoot all of my photos in RAW which means that I have to edit all the photos from scratch much like a negative. Believe me, I love all of my programs they each have some great features. Recently though I have found that I am only using 2 or 3 of them for different reasons.
I find myself sitting at my desk for so many hours each day to edit all of my photos, which now is effecting my left arm that I use for the mouse and my lower back. The time out actually taking the photos is the shortest part of the business. I told myself something has to change and soon. What change do I make? Take less photos? NO! Find some other business to do? NO! I love doing my photography, it is what I do and love, it's my passion.
Then one day I read my Photography issue #9 by David duChemin I love this magazine! A featured story by Sherri Koop called "In Search of The Honest Portrait". There was just something about her photos that drew me into her story. They were all B&W which is a passion of mine. They were composed so beautifully, light & airy, and the contrast was done so well. Once I finished starring at the photos I started to read her story. They were all done with film. Yes film! Yes, they still make the stuff! My heart started to race with excitement. Photographers are still using film? I've been away for it so long that I just didn't pay attention, I figured that everyone these days just use the digital cameras. Well, my friends there is a whole community of photographers that are using just film. There are also many photographers out there using both film and digital, which they are called hybrid shooters. My mind was going is so many directions. I continued to do more searching and went to Sherri's website. After looking at all of her photos I found that she had an ebook which she wrote called "Film (RE) Discover The Magic". This book was exactly what I needed. It was fresh and exciting! Thank you Sherri, we have never met but you have inspired me.
So now what? I need a film camera and don't have any in the house. Well, the first person I thought of was Grandpa Olund, he must have something laying around the house. I gave him a call and asked him about any film cameras he might have, and he said I have a Canon EOS 650 35mm with lenses that is laying in the closet collecting dust. Ok great ship it down to me! Grandpa asked me if I can still get film. I said yes they still make the stuff. The best thing about his camera it uses the EF lens mount which I can use my current Canon lenses with. Now it's time to order the film. I ordered all my film from B&H, they are a great company.
While I was waiting for the camera to show up I kept on reading Sherri's book over and over. Then one day I was looking on the forum page on Clickin Moms and found Sandra Coan she taught a lesson on "Film" for the Click Photo School. She is planning on another class this summer. Here was another woman using just film and her photos were so dreamy and beautiful. More information for my mind. Both Sherri and Sandra use a light meter and really advise on getting one and learn to get comfortable using it as it will make your photos look their best. I got back online with B&H and ordered a light meter. I had noticed that both Sherri and Sandra use Medium format cameras, hum I've never used those before. The negative was larger, the camera was larger than a 35mm, the look they produced was heavenly. The good thing about going back to film cameras you can get them at a really good price online at Ebay or KEH. Remember I told you that I was a camera junkie!! This new quest of mine is starting to add up. The medium format cameras use 120 or 220 film, the 220 film is harder to get these days. You only get about 16 shots on a 120 roll, and on the 35mm you get 24 or 36 shots. So why the medium format? The photos are out of this world fantastic, plus the cameras are awesome to use. I was back on my computer to look around at all the different options, and this is what I ended up getting. A vintage Yashica 635 (1958), Pentax 645 nii and a Hasselblad H1. I have the cameras and film, now it's time to load the film and take some test shots.
The first cameras to try out are the Yashica 635, using the Ilford HP5 B&W film, and the Pentax 645nii, using the TMax400 B&W film. I was really nervous taking the photos and not being able to check the back to see if I got the shot. Did I use the light meter correctly? Did I load the film correctly? I finished the rolls of film and now it was time to send them off to the lab. I have chosen to use a highly recommended photo lab in UT called The Find Lab. They deliver your scans via an email dropbox and you can choose to also get prints made that are mailed to you. It takes about a week to get the scans or you can pay extra for faster service. I was really excited when that email came in and said your photos are ready to download. Wow, and I didn't have to sit at my desk for hours. Someone else processed them, I just have to hope that I did every in camera correctly.
Here are some shots from my first two rolls of film. I must also thank Sandra Coan for helping me out with the light meter questions via email. We have never met in person, and you have been very helpful.
BTW, I have film in all my cameras, so more to come!