After what seems like endless photo gigs with all my digital gear I needed to slow down a bit. I was missing film again. I had stacks of 120 roll film as well as 35mm sitting around but no time to shoot it. I promised myself to pause for a while and get back to film. Im so glad I did. I took out the beast a Mamiya RZ67 and some lenses. I have the 150, 110, and 50mm. Most of these were with the 110mm as that is considered "normal" on the huge 6x7 negative. I used a Sekonic L-758DR to help meter with the Mamiya. Parallel to he Mamiya I used my beloved Canon F1 New and the 55mm f/1.2 SSC. How could I lose with two amazing systems.
I'm in love with my F1. It is starting to show its battle scars over the years exhibiting the prized brass rubs marks every vintage camera shooter loves.....well I know I do. The Canon F1 is a tank of a camera. My wife picked it up the other day to move it from the counter top and let out a "Geez, that thing is heavy". I replied, "yeah thats a REAL camera", to which she replied "thats stupid". SMH....some people won't get it not that I would expect her to as she's not a photographer. When my F1 first arrived it needed a CLA so off it went and within a few short weeks it was back in my hands and never left again. A true workhorse from another era but still every bit capable and relevant in todays over crowded world of technologically advanced systems that are pumped out and forced onto us every year. In todays world you buy the best camera out, take your photographs which you will probably see before even pressing the shutter button, come home and slip in your memory card. Pull up your subscription based editing software and fix your mistakes. Post your final result and wait for everyone to Ohhh and Ahhh over your work. You feel accomplished and are given instant gratification. Trust me, Im just as guilty of all this as well. If you shoot film, this isn't going to happen for you.
Shooting film for me is a very personal experience. You slow down and put your skills to the test. Every frame is money spent. You carefully compose your shots and judge your lighting. Crunch the data in your head and formulate the exposure your after. You carefully activate the shutter button.....Did it come out? Hope so because you won't find out until much later and only after you finish your roll. I'm going to go out and say it, shooting film makes you a better photographer. Now I'm not saying if you shoot film your a better photographer then those that only shoot digital. Im simply saying that film will test your skill and make you think more. You will study your highlights and shadows making sure not to blow it. You will take care in your framing. You will judge your ISO settings and film choice before your day of shooting even begins and understand the environment you will be working in. You will learn how to trust yourself and your decisions as an artist. Everything you do is an important step towards creating a successful image.
I shot three rolls recently. Two rolls on the Mamiya RZ67. Kodak Tri-x 400 pushed to 800 and a roll of Fuji 160ns which I rated at 100. The third roll was in my Canon F1 and was Ilford HP5 pushed to 800. I sent the rolls out to Richard Photo Lab for development. They were amazing and had a fast turn around time of 2 days once film arrived. The scans were emailed back and I quickly downloaded them. Its hard to describe the feeling of accomplishment when your scans comeback and your images appear. You have all the questions of doubt in your head. Did I nail exposure? Did I miss focus? Was the composure correct? Did I double expose a frame? Film photography will give you the hard truth every time whether it makes you feel good or not. Once I opened up my scans and saw the images of my wife and daughter on organic film, I have to be honest and tell you I find the connection and emotional response so much greater then any other images I produce. I don't know what it is about film that does this to me. Is it the unknown? Is it the anticipation? Is it the organic look of film and the grain? Is it knowing that I nailed it and know what I'm doing....lol? Im not going to lie and tell you everything is amazing. Hell, I messed up and butchered some frames too. Im going to show you the entire rolls. The following are not particularly groundbreaking imagery as the two Mamiya Rolls were to test the system for functionality. Regardless here they are. The GOOD, BAD & UGLY. When you shoot film remember there is no hiding your mistakes.
As you can see a few mess ups to say the least. To be honest when I was shooting the Mamiya with the black and white Tri-x roll my film back stuck on frame 8 for about three exposures. I had to work with it a bit to correct the issue and thats probably the grey frame you see above. I also had a double exposure mistake on the Fuji 160ns roll. That was not intentional.
Now for the Canon F1 Images...............
Taking selfies with a manual focus film camera ain't easy...just sayin!!
Get out there and shoot some film. Test your skills and learn how to trust yourself. Buy a film camera if you don't have one. Their cheap nowadays. As always don't be afraid to fail and make mistakes. It will help you grow and hone your skill. Thanks again for checking in and keep looking for more blog posts from me in the future. Also check out the instagram page for daily pics. The link is on the website. I also have an youtube page which I will start adding to so please subscribe. Lastly as always please feel free to comment or ask questions. I'm also ways here to share what I know. If you have some time check out the accompanying Vlog post below!!!