5 frames with...

5 Frames with a Canon EOS Rebel XS and Kodak Ultramax – By Simone Kuo

April 26, 2020

My father teases me that I’m a bit of an old soul even though I’m only 16. I like shopping at thrift stores, collecting vinyl records, and now taking photos on film. My fascination began the summer of 2019 when I bought a disposable Fujifilm camera at my local drugstore. I carried the pocket-sized camera everywhere, taking pictures constantly. Very quickly I ran out of shots, so I dropped off the camera for processing and waited impatiently for weeks. When I got the pictures back, I was hooked.

Knowing my father to be a serious camera enthusiast, I inquired about getting a “real” film camera of my own. It just so happened my mother had her old Canon EOS Rebel Xs sitting in her closet gathering dust. One Saturday morning my father taught me how to load film and adjust the controls. I carried my camera everywhere for the next couple weeks determined to get the right images and not waste shots as I did with the disposable camera.

During the President’s Day weekend my friends and I decided to have some fun with the camera and set out on an adventure to Amoeba records in Hollywood. The first photo is of my friend Rowan in the backseat when we stopped at a gas station. I was playing around with the camera and caught him off guard. The second photo is my friend Mckenna braving the I-10 freeway on our way to our destination. The third is me taking a cliché selfie.

After shopping we decided to visit a popular hiking trail on our way back home. The final two photos were taken at sundown during the last fleeting moments of daylight. We were all shivering and unaccustomed to the cold weather that set in.

Weeks later, when I got the CD back and saw the photos for the first time, I was thrilled. It was my first time shooting on a real film camera. They were grainy and textured and reminded me of something I could find in one of my mom’s old scrapbooks. People my age use artificial filters on their iPhone photos to get that effect, so I was proud that my images were authentic. I shared them with my friends, and they loved them – so much so that they asked their parents for film cameras too. All in all, using this camera was a fun experience; it made me think of photography in a whole new way.

Support 35mmc

For as little as $1 a month, you can help support the upkeep of 35mmc and get access to exclusive content over on Patreon. Alternatively, please feel free to chuck a few pennies in the tip jar via Ko-fi:

Become a Patron!

Learn about where your money goes here.
Would like to write for 35mmc? Find out how here.

32 Comments

  • Reply
    Malcolm Myers
    April 26, 2020 at 10:22 am

    Great shots and welcome to the hobby! If you have any questions be sure to ask, there are loads of friendly film photographers who are willing to help. Check out some of the podcasts too: Sunny16, Negative Positives. Plenty of others too.

    • Reply
      Simone Kuo
      April 27, 2020 at 7:48 pm

      Thank you, I’ll check it out.

  • Reply
    Richard
    April 26, 2020 at 11:30 am

    I really like seeing so many younger people taking up film photography. Being mid 20s myself I havent really experienced the heyday of film either. Just like you I haven’t been shooting for a while yet, so seeing more people pick it up gives me more hope about film once again becoming more relevant (a trend that has of course been going for a while already)
    Thanks for sharing!

    • Reply
      Simone Kuo
      April 27, 2020 at 7:47 pm

      Thank you! Learning to shoot film was a fun experience.

  • Reply
    Brian Pearcy
    April 26, 2020 at 11:47 am

    Good shots. I’m glad to see you are experimenting with and enjoying film.

    • Reply
      Simone Kuo
      April 27, 2020 at 7:46 pm

      Thank you!

  • Reply
    AmDe Sidik
    April 26, 2020 at 11:53 am

    Nice to hear young person like you appreciate this ‘old image ‘ looks in print..it must be to do with colours. Colour does create atmosphere

    • Reply
      Simone Kuo
      April 27, 2020 at 7:46 pm

      Thank you, shooting these was a fun experience.

  • Reply
    Mike Hinkleman
    April 26, 2020 at 1:40 pm

    Lovely photographs. The magic of non instant picture taking. Next you’ll need a photobook.

    • Reply
      Simone Kuo
      April 27, 2020 at 7:45 pm

      Thank you, I’ll think about getting one.

  • Reply
    Merlin Marquardt
    April 26, 2020 at 2:39 pm

    Delightful.

    • Reply
      Simone Kuo
      April 27, 2020 at 7:42 pm

      Thank you!

  • Reply
    Roger B
    April 26, 2020 at 4:13 pm

    Good work, a fine start on your personal analog highway!

    • Reply
      Simone Kuo
      April 27, 2020 at 7:42 pm

      Thanks!

  • Reply
    Daniel
    April 26, 2020 at 4:51 pm

    Looks like you had a fun trip! Fun photos and write up, keep shooting! Thanks for sharing

    • Reply
      Simone Kuo
      April 27, 2020 at 7:41 pm

      Thank you!

  • Reply
    Marcel Zyskind
    April 26, 2020 at 5:01 pm

    Congratulations and welcome. You’ll never be bored. Now get into black & white developing.

    • Reply
      Simone Kuo
      April 27, 2020 at 7:41 pm

      Thank you, I’ll try experimenting with black and white on my next roll

  • Reply
    Jed
    April 26, 2020 at 5:08 pm

    Beautiful results and warms meh heart to see the next generation picking up the traditional process.

    • Reply
      Simone Kuo
      April 27, 2020 at 7:40 pm

      Thanks!

  • Reply
    Becky Waters.
    April 26, 2020 at 6:48 pm

    Simone! What a wonderful new adventure for you. My son is a cinematographer and also a photographer. He shoots film also but on a Mamiya. He has recently learned to develop his own film because of the Covid-19 stay at home orders. Check out his IG account @coreycwaters.

    • Reply
      Simone Kuo
      April 27, 2020 at 7:39 pm

      Thank you, will do!

  • Reply
    Jess Lsmtz
    April 27, 2020 at 2:00 am

    Awesome shots! you’ve got a great handle on the exposures. Come check out the Negative Positives Film Facebook group and podcast! A great bunch of folks over there.

    • Reply
      Simone Kuo
      April 27, 2020 at 7:39 pm

      Thanks, I’ll check it out !

  • Reply
    John Murch
    April 27, 2020 at 3:42 am

    Great work, keep going!

    • Reply
      Simone Kuo
      April 27, 2020 at 7:38 pm

      Thank you!

  • Reply
    Eric Norris
    April 27, 2020 at 4:10 am

    I’m proud to say that I got my daughter involved in film photography as well. She uses a poet-and-shoot that we found in a camera shop in Cologne, Germany, last year. She’s currently sitting on a few rolls of undeveloped film while she tries to find a place to process them!

  • Reply
    Quintin
    April 27, 2020 at 7:01 am

    Such lovely photos. You should be very proud of yourself. Your friends are lucky to have a friend that understands photo composition.

    • Reply
      Simone Kuo
      April 27, 2020 at 7:37 pm

      Thank you!

  • Reply
    Matthias
    April 27, 2020 at 10:07 am

    Welcome to the world of film photography…
    I think you are lucky to start with a Canon Rebel, a quite modern film SLR. It’s (for my taste) not as beautiful and cool as the classic, fully manual SLRs from the 1960ies and 70ies (let alone rangefinders and medium format), but it’s comfortabel to use with AF and some auto-features. And it exposes really nice, the second image of the driving girl is really good. Try out what it can offer, aperture-priority, manual metering etc.
    What lens did you use ? I you haven’t, try a 50mm prime lens, it’s so much fun to play with shallow depths of field. Your last shot is a bit out of focus, never rely on AF (if you used AF for it) ! It’s nice to have and helps a lot for spontaneous shots, but it doesn’t know, what you want to do. Some skills in manual focussing are really helpful.
    But the most important: Have fun…!!!

    • Reply
      Simone Kuo
      April 27, 2020 at 7:31 pm

      The lens that I used was a Voigtlander 40mm EF lens. Thank you for the advice, I will try manual focusing on my next roll.

  • Reply
    Anu
    April 27, 2020 at 7:35 pm

    Great shots Simone!! I remember that thrill of getting my images back on CDs back in the day. Thanks for sharing!

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.