Film: A Leap of Faith

Hi Folks:

Just a quick thought, appropos of nothing really, but I invested a good portion of the day sorting through thousands of old 35mm slides… I started photography seriously when I was about 15, and started shooting digital back in 2005 (a few years later).  I still shoot both film and digital and won’t come out in favour of one over the other, but in looking at those images from decades ago it occurred to me that shooting film always involved a leap of faith.  There was no live view, no instant review on the camera’s LCD, no histograms.  As a photographer one took one’s accumulated knowledge and experience, working knowledge of the camera and film in use and made an exposure or series of exposures based on a ‘best estimate’ – but it was often days or weeks before the results could be viewed. By then the moment had indeed passed and could never be brought back again. In shooting slide film the image ‘in hand’ was the finished product, which put great onus on ‘getting it right in camera’.

I fully appreciate the latitude and the options digital processing offers, but to me there was always a certain mystery involved in shooting film.  I don’t think I’ll ever lose that feeling.

Now go out and make some photographs!



Swift Current Creek, SK, 1982 (Kodachrome 25)

S.O.O.C. (straight out of camera)

Hi Folks:

This is a short (for me) and somewhat tongue-in-cheek rant because I always find it amusing when I see people post images they’ve made on the various social networking sites, along with comments that say, “No Lightroom!  No Aperture!  No Photoshop!  No iPhoto! No _____!” as if it’s a badge of honour they THEY do not stoop to post-processing their images.  I find it funny because it’s also completely false.

“The moment an emotion or fact is transformed into a photograph it is no longer a fact but an opinion. There is no such thing as inaccuracy in a photograph. All photographs are accurate. None of them is the truth” ~ Richard Avedon

Continue Reading →

Photo of the Month – A Return to Film

Hi Folks:  According to Wikipedia, it was 120 years ago (1892) that George Eastman first began supplying Thomas Edison and William Dickson with 35mm film for their movie projectors.  Film was around before that, of course, but in a variety of sizes and feeding systems; 35mm film became a standard in 1909, and in 1934 the 35mm film cassette for still photography was introduced.

So, in honour of 120 years a group of us met on a rainy afternoon in November at Ross Bay Cemetery to celebrate a (temporary?) return to film and to the days of B&W.  Some had never shot film before, for some it took a while to remember how to work a film-advance lever, and for others film is still in daily use.  For the most part there was no autofocus, no LCD screens (“you have to look through the little viewfinder there”), and no ‘instant’ results.  Those who had film cameras brought them, and those who didn’t were welcome to bring some film and borrow a camera from someone else.  I brought six cameras (five 35mm and one double lens reflex) and loaned out three.  For those who just can’t get into film, they were welcome to bring their digital cameras and there wasn’t a bucket of tar nor a bag of feathers anywhere about.  More on that in a bit.  Overall it was a lot of fun.  Continue Reading →

How to Buy a New Camera

Hi Folks:

The first 35mm film camera I ever used was my dad’s Argus A5; it had four shutter speeds, five f/stops and ‘guess the distance’ focusing. No lightmeter, of course. It taught me a lot about photography. Back then I couldn’t always afford film, but I’d take that camera out in the woods and make compositions through the viewfinder, measure the light with the little handheld lightmeter and calculate exposures. My first SLR camera was an Asahi Pentax Spotmatic F; a definite step up in photographic terms, and a great little camera, even though I eventually jumped ship and went with Minolta instead.

Continue Reading →