POST 029





Well, it’s been over a month since my last post on this blog. I keep posting and then forgetting about the blog and then coming back to it and promising consistency, however, I fear that cycle might be turning into a habit so I’m going to try to break it by just saying that I’m bored of trying to “catch you up”.

What I mean by “catch you up” is that I have been trying to re-write everything in my film journey up until now so that you could have an overall picture of who I am and how I started. But I’m learning that I am quick to avoid writing these blog posts because, well, it hasn’t been that enjoyable to look through my film archive and to re-create what happened. I really want to start writing about what I’m doing now, so I think, what I’m going to do is I will touch on a few major events over the course of a few blog posts and then we will be all caught up!

And then, once we’re all caught up, I’m hoping to write more about film cameras that I’ve been shooting with and film stocks that I’ve enjoyed using and I’m hoping that these posts will start to become more detailed, informative and more fun to read as I start posting on a regular and current basis.

And so, to kick things off we’ll talk about my first big mishap.

Nikon l35AF with on expired Kodak Ultramax 400

That photo was not the first big mishap. Although I will admit that using an Epson v550 to scan most of my early photos was an overall mishap that plagued me until I finally upgraded to a plustek. But the mishap that we are talking about in this post happened a few minutes after that photo was taken and after the L35AF had rewound that particular roll of expired Ultramax from which that photo was taken.

In fact I have the exact moment of the mishap recorded because this was early on in my Instagram reels phase:

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It's hard to tell in the video, but what happened was the film leader didn’t catch and I didn’t check the camera to make sure it was advancing properly. On the L35AF there is a small window on the back that will show if the film is advancing or not, a window that I didn’t even think to check.

So, my first big mishap was not loading a roll of film correctly, but the actual mishap was thinking that it was loaded properly and shooting an “entire roll" of photos of my friends on Halloween. And if you’ve ever done this you know just how devastating it is when you realize that all of those photos and moments are impossible to recreate. And no matter how extraordinary or memorable they were they are in a sense photographically “lost” due to your singular inability to load a roll of film.

This is the type of mishap that, when you boil it down, is purely your fault and it is brutal because of that.

Nikon l35AF with on Kodak Ultramax 400

I tried to blame Instagram, convincing myself that it was evil for encouraging me to focus on producing the content of loading film over taking the time and care to load and use it properly. I actually began working on this website after this mishap because, as much as I was trying to look for something to blame, I did genuinely want a place where I could share my work on my own accord (so in some twisted way there was an upside from incorrectly loading that roll of film). But nonetheless, this event was neither instagram or anyone elses fault. It was all mine.

Nikon l35AF with on Kodak Ultramax 400

I discovered that I hadn’t loaded the film properly when I was taking photos of my girlfriend (back when we were just dating) during Halloween. I was pretty sure that I would finish the roll that night since I was at 20 shots, but it kept winding past 24, or at least making the sound that the film was advancing inside the point and shoot. At frame 27 I was suspicious, there was no way I got three extra frames, so I decided to rewind the film and listen closely for any evidence that the film had come out of the canister. My heart dropped when the rewind gears stopped after 10 seconds, not nearly enough time to rewind an entire spool of film.

At this point I was about 98% sure that there were no photos on that roll of film and thus began my mini depressive episode of hating photography and Instagram. At that point in time I was a hack that couldn’t load film correctly and I was ashamed that I wouldn’t be able to share those moments that I had been so excited to capture.

Nikon l35AF with on Kodak Ultramax 400

I was bummed about this for quite a while, but eventually I got over it and what helped was “wasting” in a sense the roll that I had thought to have used. The roll that I loaded was a unexpired roll of Kodak Ultramax, when I loaded it it didn’t catch of course and this lead to the whole saga, but this meant that I still had the roll to use. So, on a cold and bare winter day I decided to load it back into the L35AF (properly this time) and take it out and shoot it at 800 ISO. Sort of as a punishment to the roll but as a way to let out my frustrations by just shooting without caring. The photos from that day are the one’s that I have been using in this blog. I’m not particularly happy with any of them, they’re boring scenes and I shot it at 800 for no good reason but it did feel good to finally finish the roll and be done with it, so it was helpful for that.

Not a lot of good comes out of incorrectly loading a roll of film. It’s a terrible feeling to realize that you missed so many great photos because of it. And I think that it is a curse that all of your best photos will be on the roll of film that never advanced. There are three or four photos from that roll that I still think about today. But it did teach me to triple check whenever I load my film so I did learn my lesson that. And I’ll knock on wood after saying this but it hasn’t happened again.

So until next time, thank you for reading and I hope you enjoyed this one. This post/event was one of the reasons I wanted to start this blog, so I’m glad that I finally got to write about it and thank you so much for reading and I will see you in the next one!

And if you are wondering, I still use the L35AF, I’m just very very careful whenever I load it.