Film Still Lives!

In early October I accepted a challenge to try taking some photos using a film camera. Back when the GeoKids were really young (we’re talking about 15 years ago), Mr. GeoK took all the photos. I have a bad habit of not holding the camera still when I depress the shutter button, so my attempts at photographing our wee ones resulted in wasted film and development costs.

I wasn’t sure I’d do any better this time out, but it seemed to me that Mr. GeoK must have carefully packed away his old Canon EOS Rebel XS for situations like this. So I searched out some batteries and took even longer searching a few local stores before I found some fresh rolls of film and could get to work.

Way back when I last used a film camera, I had no idea what shutter speed, aperture and depth of field meant. This time around, I ended up carrying two cameras every time I went out to take photos for this challenge: the film camera was used to take the photographs and my digital camera served as my light meter. This approach worked pretty well for me.

I shot one roll of colour film (24 images, ISO 200) and one roll of black and white film (36 images, ISO 400). Here are my favourite 15 images from the lot…

NOTE: If you’re curious, click on any image to view full size and read the title I’ve assigned.

The Peace Bridge
Film Challenge - South End of the Peace BridgeFilm Challenge - Peace BridgeFilm Challenge - Inside the Peace Bridge

The Big Head (officially named Wonderland)
Film Challenge - WonderlandFilm Challenge - Inside WonderlandFilm Challenge - Wonderland in Profile

Autumn at Home
Film Challenge - Autumn LeavesFilm Challenge - Late Blooming CosmosFilm Challenge - Summer's Last HoldoutFilm Challenge - Fall Fade

Along the Banks of the Bow River
Film Challenge - Bicycle Under BridgeFilm Challenge - Mallard Drake and Hen

Autumn in Canmore
Film Challenge - Reflection of Three SistersFilm Challenge - Equipment From a Bygone Coal Mining EraFilm Challenge - Inverted Reflection

In his original post, PJ mentioned that there’s a certain feeling of anticipation when you’re waiting for the film to come back from the lab. He’s right about that!! I should have been doing something else the evening I picked up my film images on CD, but I couldn’t wait to fire up my computer and take a look.

One other thing worth mentioning is that taking part in this challenge has made me a lot more mindful about my images. I developed the good habit of more carefully thinking things through before pressing the shutter button. I more carefully consider subject matter, composition and light. Even though I completed the requirements for this challenge in early November (the original deadline for the challenge), I find I’m still asking myself, “Is this photo worth the cost of developing and printing?” even when using my digital camera. In that way, I think this challenge made me a slightly better photographer.

I’d be open to doing this type of challenge again, although not for about a year or so (hint, hint PJ). For one thing, I dropped Mr. GeoK’s old camera and broke the battery compartment cover. I think it would be pretty much impossible to sell with duct tape holding the battery cover in place, so I guess that means I get to use it from now on. Secondly, the black and white film was quite a challenge to find; then I had to have it developed by a local photographer and then scanned to CD by another lab, which obviously cost more than the processing needed to share digital images! But now I know better and should be able to bring the finished project in at a slightly lower cost next time around.

I’m not sure how many people ended up taking part in the film photography challenge this time around, but if you’re curious – or just want to see some other film images – check out PJ’s post here.

Do you have fond memories of using a film camera? Or do you still shoot film – at least from time to time?

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