Since first getting into photography roughly 7 years ago, I have stuck mainly to digital. It was only in recent years that I picked up a film camera– not many rolls have passed through the lenses though. I may have to change that.
This Canon AE-1 was my first real 35mm film camera and remains my go-to. My father has been keeping his eyes peeled at rummage sales and thrift stores for any cameras. Because of this, I have nearly 20 or so film cameras, many being so old that they don’t even sell that format of film anymore. I recently got the bug to shoot some film again– which caused me to pump out two 24-exposure rolls in less than a week. One with the Canon and one with this Pentax, which was the first roll I shot with the newly acquired camera.
On top of these two rolls, I had another laying around. I figured it was from about 6 months or so ago– turns out I took the first shot nearly one year ago and only filled it up in June / July. That made for a nice surprise.
I dropped my film rolls off early afternoon and about 4 hours later I received a call informing me that they were developed and ready to pick up from the local photography store, The Darkroom, in downtown Missoula.. I hadn’t felt excitement like that in quite some time. It is hard to explain– it was essentially an art project that I had started a year ago and I was finally finishing the end product (with no clue on what to expect).
The other part of the excitement is just seeing whether any of the photos actually turned out, or if underexposure and blurriness would dominate my film. Turns out that out of everything, it was light leaks that dominated my film. (That’s the red / blue streaks you’ll see in many photos.)
The couple photos in there of these two fellas were a nice surprise– Corey (on the right) had to depart Montana earlier this year. This was one of the first and last adventures we were able to partake in together before Las Vegas sucked him in for a few years.
This video was shot the very same day– capturing out hiking, fishing & general shenanigans.
Excuse my moment of nostalgia– but that is what shooting film is really about. It’s about capturing a moment, then forgetting about the moment, followed by developing and opening up that envelope with as much anticipation as a 5 year old on Christmas morning.
For me, film doesn’t have to be my best work. It just has to make me slow down.
It is the random snapshot of my girls..
.. to the even more random and forgotten snap of hometown buddies from months ago.
It’s the never-ending quest to find sunflare.
Film keeps me humble. It doesn’t have the huge amount of data to utilize in post-processing. It’s real, it’s true, it’s honest.
Film is the airplane mode of the photography world– technology is restricted.
Many of these shots would look quite different if I snagged them with my digital, because then I would have the immediate impulse to jump into Lightroom and edit away. Sometimes I even try to replicate film..
It is this honesty that keeps me coming back– which is why I may impulse buy a slightly newer (think 90s) Canon SLR that’ll let me utilize my new lenses that are mounted on my digital bodies.
Next up with be a home development kit. I like to be hands-on after all. (One step at a time though.)
The thing about letting someone else develop your film– you’re allowing them to view your shots before you even get to.
No hiding the bad ones & only showing off the gems.
Like I said– it’s honest work.
With that being said– I take off next week for a two week journey that’ll take me on a roadtrip from Missoula to Los Angeles for a little over a week, followed by a flight to Chicago before returning back home. That seems like the perfect time to further experiment with this film thing..
** Updated November 10th**
I just snagged this camera today. Manufactured in 2003, it will allow me to utilize my new digital lenses to shoot film and the built in light meter will assist in snagging the correct exposure in every frame!
Represent your love for photographing this beautiful state with our Montana Camera Stickers & your love for exploration with our NW Compass design!
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