Addie joined me for a stroll to pick up big brother & sis from their last week of the school year. Nikon FA 35mm film camera came along too. I’ve been snapping film pics of the near daily walks home from school. Some with the camera pictured, some with stranger contraptions loaded with light sensitive chemical layered rolls of film for surprises to see when I develop them. Life is busy enough without rushing home to edit & post photos. I’m excited to see what comes from the expired color 35mm film, the classic black and white flavors, and the experimental stuff loaded the wrong way just to see what happens.
Meet Charlie, our adorably derpy newest member of the family and Rarely Stationary Club.
#nofilter needed while out on a December day that felt more like early spring than a year end holiday countdown.
Happened upon a little beam of warm sunlight making shadows through this bench. Kids are calm, film camera out of the bag to work on completing an old roll of 35mm I know I’ll leave sitting for ages. #istillshootfilm – and I leave it undeveloped for years.
The shutter click is a cathartic song of simpler times, the image making process is merely a pause in the routine of our days so easily lost in the shuffle.
To be clear, I don’t want those days back – they were cashed in to pay my fare to today. My manual focus lenses couldn’t see this far ahead and tomorrow is still beyond my field of view.
Quiet reminiscence of the eventful year winding down and thoughts to days ahead with those I love. Lens capped & camera back in the bag as the evening calm yields to homework & dinner routines. I crave the quiet calm already. I’ll be back soon.
While rummaging for some #ThrowbackThursday images to Instagram I noted several rolls of unmarked, processed 35mm film I had set aside in 2012 and all but forgotten about until early 2015. Holding the negatives to light I instantly recalled the moments I took with my Holga but was surprised by the images I had waited to see once they hit the scanner.
The last day of summer vacation winds down as the exposure dials hit their limits and rolls of film wind back into canisters, the last of the instant film ejects, and a memory card is downloaded. Today was a naturally great day for making photos. Plenty to look back on as the summer concludes and the new school year approaches.
I loaded the last of my FujiFilm FP-3000B black & white instant film into the 1960s Polaroid Automatic 100.
My trusty Minolta X-370 was still working on a roll of Ilford Delta 3200 so I got to snapping with that too – through a 28mm, 50mm, and 135mm. Love those lightweight manual focus prime lenses.
Instagram would feel left out, so I threw it some photos of film gear and prints.
And then the brainstorms hit minutes before thunderstorms arrived, the kids and I took as much camera gear outside as I could remember where it was squirreled away, and set up a self-timer shoot to end the summer properly. Kodaks and Argus and Minoltas, oh my! Kodak Instamatic, a few One Touch Sx-70 Polaroids, Argus C4, 35mm Nikons from fully manual FM to fully auto N65, bags of accessories to boot.
After picking up a shiny new 6-megapixel digital SLR in 2004 I found myself using less film. Make that near no film at all. I had done my homework, invested in a camera brand / system that offered lenses compatible with my 35mm film equipment as well as the newest digital camera bodies. Experimenting in digital photography was effortless, the results instantaneous. This was a huge boost to my already inquisitive imagination as far as tinkering with ideas, reflections, abstracts go, and made learning manual exposure techniques far, far easier when the results could be previewed on an LCD screen.
This yellow fellow was photographed with slide film for a color photography class study in cross processing. As with so much of my film photography, it sat in boxes & binders… until now.
Between the bokeh of a very unfocused background and the colors of the alternative film processing I ended up with an almost watercolor paint blur of shades behind the flower.
Next time you fire up Instagram, know the odd filters packed in the app have… (dandelion pun!) roots… in old-fashioned film photography.
My late teens and early twenties were a blur of travels and my blurry film photography thereof. In 1998 I found myself visiting Beijing, China. I flipped through the photo album last week, searching for some previously unpublished image to upload, and found this photo tucked away, almost forgotten.
It comes from a time when I did not -invariably could not– simply dial up the ISO sensitivity for low light evening photography. If I wanted a black and white photo of a moment, I shot black and white film. I have both color and black & white images of these dancers. I carefully rewound my last roll of color negative film, marked the canister to remind me how many frames I had used, and loaded a roll of higher sensitivity black & white film, advancing beyond the frame last shot used before composing and adjusting settings for a new image. It was an undertaking.
Now a decade and a half later I had to stop and think where I saw these dancers when I paused and decided to shoot the moment both in color then reload for this monochrome image. No metadata, no GPS tag accompanies the image. Unless I noted in my journal that I had observed this performance the handful of frames I photographed is all the detail and memory of it left.
That, perhaps, is what draws me to share this image most from my first travels in Beijing – the faintness of my own recollection. I had the determination to spend some of my limited 35mm film supply to record the moment, persistence to unload one type and reload a different film, yet today remember nothing aside from the prints in the album.
My photos show it was a hazy, late summer evening when this was taken outdoors. Adults in modern dress danced under the incandescent glow of the bulbs outlining the rooftop behind them. Some of the dancers are blurs of movement, rapid steps and turns caught mid-stride.
It haunts me. A mix of dreamy haze and already nostalgic black and white travel scenery only adds to my minuscule mystery trying to recall the moment I took this photograph. Perhaps it’s good fortune to have forgotten so much surrounding the minutes of my late teens when this view crossed my camera’s viewfinder, if just to see it years later and spark my curiosity. -eB
Happy accidents were a major part of my early film photography adventures. Using manual-focus and manual exposure 35mm SLR (single lens reflex) cameras and lenses in changing lighting conditions, focus, and a 15-year-old’s attention span resulted in more than a few unfocused, under- or over-exposed, or otherwise just “off” frames of film. Hours, days, sometimes weeks later I would see these slices of 35mm once they had been processed & printed on paper. I remember tinkering with the shutter speed dial when taking this photo, guessing my way through the first few rolls of drugstore special 35mm film before I found a manual to the Olympus OM-10 camera. I’m lucky this roll was even loaded correctly; my first attempt never caught the take up spool and 36 frames of memories were exposed one atop the next, amounting to a disappointing wait to see that I had a lot to learn about these cameras before even taking a usable photo.
This image came back badly-exposed, printed with the hopes of salvaging an image from the ill-exposed negative. And it became a favorite print, a reminder that my earliest enjoyment of photography wasn’t about technically perfect image creation, but the enjoyment of the hobby.
My dad’s habit of finding quirky gifts strikes again. A crisp $1 bill got him this nifty Kodak Instamatic 104 Outfit box set at a garage sale. Sweet yellow Kodak box contains an Instamatic camera, unused flash cube, old AAA batteries and box from the last 126 cartridge that expired in May 1975 all stored inside. Now I’ve just got to find a 126 film cartridge to reload and get snapping with this camera!
The surprise gift just sucker-punched this sluggish Monday. It was his original find of a manual Minolta 35mm camera that got me hooked on photography way back in the teenage years. A Kodak Brownie Hawkeye, Agfa folding bellows camera, this Instamatic 104, and a handful of garage sale and auction treasures have been great surprise gifts since then!
I shot this on an exceptionally photogenic day in Sweden, a day that started out with everything outside covered with frozen fog frost. While visiting the capitol city with my flatmate and Finn friends the sky that was perfectly clear blue in the morning had incredible clouds at dusk.
I didn’t have very fast film, a fast lens, or a lot of light for sharp hand-held photos and didn’t take a tripod with me. I did what my years of shooting cheap and watching MacGuyver taught me: improvise. I had in my backpack a hacky sack beanbag for the occasional time wasting fun and makeshift camera stabilizer. (Dual purpose travel accessories are great space savers!) With the camera strap over my neck I balanced the camera on top of the beanbag on a bridge railing and composed this shot.