Caught on Film


Last weekend whilst searching the house for my misplaced macro lens, I stumbled upon my old film-camera that shot 800+ photographs of New Zealand back in 2001. That’s around 40 x 36f rolls of film!

The Canon EOS 500 [Image] was quite a formidable camera for its time. But with the advent of the digital age and the expensive cost of developing film, this camera was destined to wear mothballs.

Upon finding it last weekend, I smiled with delight. For a few months I have been wondering if the evolved camera skills that I’ve learnt upon my newer Canon EOS 400D [Image] are transferable back to a film camera.

This morning I returned to the camera to see what else the camera bag held. To my good fortune there was 2 rolls of 36f film – maybe those not used on our NZ trip.

Amusingly very few of my newer lens will attach to this old camera. I was thankful to find that the 28-80mm Zoom will attach and feels comfortable, both for weight and aesthetic.

With new batteries installed (for the flash!), I was ready to start shooting. I anticipate shooting 1 roll per week. Suddenly film is worth 10x what I previously valued it at – because it still costs so damn much to develop!

My flickr gallery will soon get a new section dedicated to film so you can see how my efforts develop!

During my train ride home that night, I shot a few photographs of the tracks ahead. It felt weird not to have a view-screen to check out the results immediately, and I soon discovered how unsettling it is to be deprived of the modern niceties that the next generation of photographers would will take for granted.

Two shots later I chose not to take any more. The expense of developing them made me consider testing every setting on the camera before going any further. The knobs and buttons all felt foreign, but my instinct kicked in quickly once I had it in M mode.

I now plan to put both cameras alongside each other to compare settings. All the digital features I had grown accustomed need to be remembered alongside the old methods for shooting scenes.

Sounds silly I know, but somehow my mind has adjusted to multi-firing with a digital camera. Some would say this is not very professional of me, and rightly so. I need to start over and relearn.

Film, it’s the best way to learn about light, composition, patience and seeing the whole shot before taking the shot. The digital age might allow us to shoot more and easier, but it steals the years of learning from those who have gone the hard yards.

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