7.21.2011

A lesson in patience: Film.

Over the weekend (somewhat on a whim) I bought myself a little present : a used Canon Elan IIe film SLR camera that I found for $50 at the sidewalk sale on State Street. It is a total dinosaur.


I'm not sure what exactly pushed me back into trying film, though I think it came about from a few different sources, not the least of which is my insane nostalgia. My very first camera was a late 80's Canon film hand-me-down that I carried throughout high school. I remember how much I loved the little shutter click that camera made and was pretty sad to hear that my mom recently threw it out, even though it hasn't worked for years. Tear.


I'll admit, I had some initial trepidation after bringing the Elan home, especially when I realized that I had to buy a battery for this thing and couldn't find a photo 6 volt at the first two stores I went to. I'm not exactly the queen of keeping track of chargers, so maybe a battery is better for me after all. Or, most likely, I'll endlessly forget to turn it off and never keep additional batteries in the house, which will result in tantrums when the light is 'just perfect' and the camera won't turn on. Poor Brent.


When I finally did have battery and film in hand, I set about trying to learn how to use her. I'm quite embarrassed to say that it took me at least 10 minutes just to figure out how to turn the damn thing on and then less than 30 seconds to accidentally rewind a completely unused roll of film. Sigh. Ok, start over. I put in a new roll, flipped the setting to P and started shooting.


I've gotten pretty good at manipulating my digital SLR on manual setting. And I shoot almost exclusively in that on my T1i but it still often takes me multiple tries to get the image that I want. I forgot how much of a luxury it is to be able to immediately see what you shoot, retake if needed. In this age of so instant gratification, film really requires an immense amount of patience and photography skill. Part of the reason I wanted a film camera in the first place because for 1. patience has never been a virtue I've extolled to any degree, or even pretended to have. I really am the worst at waiting for anything, particularly food. And 2. not having the option to retake means that I really have to think about the picture, the lighting, the focus before I push that little black button (and forever hold my peace). It also only allows me to shoot in one ISO setting (those film numbers really do mean something!), so that too has been tricky because I generally like to be all over the place. This is a good thing.


I've shot four rolls in the last week with 15 more due to arrive on my doorstep any minute. Images below are from the first two that were developed on disc at The Camera Company. Unfortunately it doesn't look like Blogger does a great job at maintaining the color (another benefit of film). But if you scroll down to some of my digital pictures, you can definitely notice the grainier difference. Hopefully with some more professional film and experience on my part, the images will get better. More to come as I get them back....
















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