My first year of shooting film Part 3
My journey exploring film photography continues (read Part 2 here)… After shooting three rolls of film with my first film camera (a Minolta Hi-Matic 7S) I decided to trade it for an Olympus-35 SP because of it’s brighter viewfinder. The light meter is broken, so good practise for all-manual control :-). I shot a roll of cheap colour film with it to see if there were any light leaks (all working fine, but I am not sharing the results, really bad scanning at my local drugstore).
I decided that the second roll in this camera would be Kodak Tri-X 400. I rarely do black and white with my digital camera, but I wanted to do some portraits of colleagues, and I thought monochrome would be better (also easier to find subjects as black and white feels less exposed I guess).
Before doing portraits I took the camera on my usual landscape exploring, so I’ll start with some of the results from the forest and the beach. At first I was a bit disappointed with the contrast in the photos. I added contrast and clarity in Lightroom, but after viewing the photos a couple of times I appreciated the originals better, I guess I had to get used to it. A couple of photos were a bit too dark for my liking though, so I increased the exposure slightly.
On to the portraits. I don’t do portraits, or very rarely. I thought it would be nice to do some co-workers, but it took me some time to get the nerve to ask them. When I finally did, I got mixed reactions. Some said that no-one ever took a nice photo of them (let me try!), some just said ‘ok’, and one really surprised me by saying that he would have chosen a different outfit had he known I would take his photo today (I work in a high-tech company, so I consider me and my co-workers as nerds, and outfits is not something that seems to get a lot of attention…). I limited myself to one frame per person. The photos were taken on different days (different light) and at different locations. I could have thought it trough a bit more, when taking the photos I realised that it is quite difficult to just take a nice portrait, without any preparation time or time for exploring the location. Most of the photos were taken during lunch break, and people needed to get back to work quickly. It’s not allowed to take photos inside, so I couldn’t include a work-related context. After seeing Hamish’ photos of his co-workers I realised that I had been too far away, so I gradually moved closer…
There is one portrait that I particularly like, because it has more dynamics and a fun. I asked Petra if I could take here portrait during a lunch walk on a path lined with trees, and I asked here to toss some leaves in the air. Again, only one shot, and I liked how this turned out, although her face is partly covered by the leaves. By the way, people think it is quite strange that after one click you say you’re done, without checking anything (display, screen).
The final photo is from the campus were I work, as is the photo on top of this page. These two were taken in really bad weather, although it doesn’t really show in the photo below, apart from the blurred/moving leaves. A few moments before there was a lot more wind, blowing all the leaves across the path. But I was afraid to take the camera out in this (wet) weather, which of course I regret now.
I am not sure about these photos. Maybe there were too many things taking me out of my comfort zone: film, new camera, no light meter, black and white, portraits (shooting people, scary!). And the turn-around time for the development of these photos was almost 4 weeks. That is a lot of time, I went from excitement to a lot of concern about them being any good. What I have to learn is how to catch light on black and white film. I don’t know if different exposure would have made a difference here (mostly I used my metering App and exposed at about one stop extra).
I am not sure about black and white for landscape, I’m usually triggered by colours, but that is where my comfort zone lies. Photographing people is still difficult for me as I am usually too scared to ask, or too aware of myself to take a photo. For example, I like the top photo, but it could have been better. I wanted to take a photo, but there were a couple of people standing there, waiting for the rain to clear, and I was too busy thinking about what they would think of me taking a photo that I waited too long and missed the best moment. But I do see the potential in some, it just takes some time to get used to this kind of look and appreciate what you can do with this type of film. I guess I will have to explore further…
The film was developed by AG photo lab in the uk.
For anyone interested, you can find my digital work on www.whataukjesees.com
Thanks for reading, and Hamish, thanks for having me!