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.
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.
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.
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).