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MY JOURNEY INTO FILM

July 18 2021

I really started shooting film in the spring of 2020. My first film photo in my Lightroom catalog is dated March 4, 2020, so I’ll count that as the start of my film obsession. Of course, that photo was not my first on film. My very first images were taken on a cheap Fujifilm disposable that my parents had bought me for a family trip to Nicaragua in 2007. Most of that roll contained pictures of my sister showing off her stuffed animal collection and blurry scenes through the rental car window.

Those photos are a little too far from the present to be included in this blog. They were taken back when film was everywhere, it could be purchased cheaply, shot rapidly, and developed quickly at your local pharmacy.. I was too young to appreciate film back then :(

Fujifilm QuickSnap

This blog will focus on my modern film images. The images from an analog renaissance that has caught and convinced me and many other 'film photographers' that the analog vibes are worth $0.70 per frame... but honestly, they kind of are.

I've fallen for it, the incredible 'real' colors, the slow analog process, the physical negatives, and the cool vintage gear are hard to say no to. And to top it off clicking that little button to take a film photograph is addicting. There aren't many things that I can do which will distract me in such a way... an afternoon photo walk is unbelievably peaceful. And on a realistic note, it is the only thing that I have felt passionate enough to blog about.

Nikon FG with Nikkor 50mm f2 on Kodak UltraMax 400

Now let’s go back to the start of it all... sometime in the spring of last year. The image above is from my first roll on my first camera. It was shot on a Nikon FG that I overpaid for through eBay with some expired Kodak UltraMax 400 that I bought from an Amazon seller. I really didn’t have any where or how to buy film things. They were shot through an old Nikon 50mm f2 AI-S lens and scanned with a Plustek scanner that was available for students at the University of Utah.

Nikon FG with Nikkor 50mm f2 on Kodak UltraMax 400

My first roll was mostly random pictures of my roommates and around my old house. None of them were particularly amazing, but it was my first time using a film camera. And even though I've shot digital before I had no idea how film would turn out. My expectations for my first 24 frames were that everything would be underexposed and blurry. But that didn’t happen, some of them came out, so I was stoked.

Nikon FG with Nikkor 50mm f2 on Kodak UltraMax 400

Full disclosure though... in January 2020 there were two pictures that I took with my ex-girlfriends Minotla SRT 201. I'm pretty sure those didn't turn out at all. The camera’s meter was broken, and it was a bright snowy day, which is very challenging to meter for even with a functional meter. I’ve never seen those pictures since we broke up before she developed the roll, but I anticipate that both photos are overexposed barely recognizable blurry scenes of a snowy desert landscape. I’m bummed that I’ve never seen those photos but c’est la vie.

Nikon FG with Nikkor 50mm f2 on Kodak UltraMax 400

There were definitely a few frames in that first roll that I messed up and I have far from high hopes for the Minolta ones.. but I'm okay with that because I think it's okay to mess up with film. Perhaps I’m glorifying my own mistakes, but I think messing up film is part of the experience... and maybe adds significance to the medium??

It sucks to get scans back and discover that you messed up a shot. It kills me to know that I messed up and can never go back to recreate that exact moment. A missed opportunity that is out of my control. But a scan comes back properly exposed, sharp and in focus then it is even more incredible to know that that moment was successfully captured on film, forever.

Another disclaimer... I have made countless mistakes and I probably will continue to make them... but it's all part of the fun.. right?

Nikon FG with Nikkor 50mm f2 on Kodak UltraMax 400

Thanks for reading!