A Journey Back To Film Photography

A Journey Back To Film Photography

The road to something else

I’ve had this idea in the back of my head all year. I wanted to play with film photography again, crazy, right? I have a plethora of Nikon lenses, vintage and modern. Some M42 and Pentax as well for adapting to my Z6. All I needed now was a decent body and some film.

I decided to go cheap on my initial dip back into film. Something modern but not too new. Something Nikon for obvious reasons. I settled on the Nikon N6006 which I purchased from Usedphotopro for $35. I was able to source a few batteries and started a selection of Black and White 135 film for this new quest.

Nikon N6006 film photography
Nikon N6006

I decided some Ilford XP2 Super 400 film would be a good choice to run through my first dance. I knew I wanted shoot primarily black and white. Though I found out quickly that most of my newer Nikon lenses wouldn’t work. Back to Usedphotopro which I acquired a 35mm f/2.8D and a 28-70mm f/3.5-4.5D. I also picked up a few Tiffen colored filters to go along with my Black and White testing.

Off to the races

With my new little 35mm run and gun kit I thought I’d be out burning through film like gangbusters. I was so wrong. The whole pandemic in conjunction with work, it getting dark at 5pm, Indiana being horribly overcast anytime I want to leave the house. Getting through 36 exposures seemed like a level of purgatory Dante couldn’t even fathom.

I’d slowly get one in here and there. No composition that shook me up but I was taking pictures. Maybe just to take them or maybe to get through the roll. By this time the holidays are upon us. Now It would seem, I am leaving the house once a week just to pick up groceries. So this was becoming extremely problematic to keep doing photography.

Nikon N6006 film photography
Nikon N6006

Diving in deeper

While chipping way through this roll of film I decided to educate and reeducate myself on all things film even more. I dove into hours and hours of YouTube. Nick Carver, Ben Horne, GrainyDays, Shoot Film Like a Boss. Endless reading through Emulsive and various other forums.

The deeper I dove, the more I wanted to shoot film. One observation I started noticing that a lot of fine art photographers weren’t shooting digital. They were shooting film! Medium and large format at that. Medium format is definitely something I have been wanting to get into. I keep saying if I was to sell my D850 it would be to purchase a Fuji GFX.

Medium Format… it Happened

I wound up picking up a Mamiya M645. While a year ago I was trying to go smaller/lighter to shoot more. Now I have a huge camera body, again. I loaded up some Ilford HP5 and started chipping away. Mind you, I still haven’t got through my first roll of 35mm yet. Different tools for different pictures I guess or just pure madness.

I called a friend up to see what they were doing for New Years. Low and behold there was a trip to North Carolina planned for photography. This made me rethink the whole black and white things I was pushing for as we aiming for vintage hotel signs. Now I wanted to shoot color, go figure.

I scrambled hard. Went though all the color films trying to find that look I had in my head for this. Toss up, Portra 400 or Ektar 100? I decided Ektar 100 but got some Portra anyways. I thought hard about Velvia or Provia but considering I still had not got one roll of film finished much less developed I aired on the side of caution.

Mamiya M645 film photography
Mamiya M645

Conclusion

While I got back from that trip. I did finish off the roll of XP2 and loaded some Ektar in the Nikon. The Mamiya I was able to finish off the roll of HP5 and get through the roll of Ektar as well.

3 rolls of film have been sent off to Memphis Film Lab for developing and scanning. I’m still putting together my developing and scanning gear. Not sure if I will be developing any color soon but who knows. This spectrum of photography can be much deeper and intimate than digital.

I don’t plan on doing film photography 100% and ditching digital altogether. I think there is a time and place for both. Different mediums for different photos (or moods).

Mamiya M645 film photography
Mamiya M645
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