Having neglected my camera for far too long, I decided that today would be a good day to get out into the wilds of northern Germany – but not too far into the wilds! – and see what can be seen. I must admit, though, that my plan was – and is – a little more than just that, than just going out and shooting a few photographs. I want to learn something, and I learn best by doing. I want to learn how to shoot photographs which are at least halfway decent and which are not digital.
Photo: Viktoria Michaelis
Isn’t everything digital these days? Are there still cameras which take analogue photographs, which use film, which have to be handled with due care and attention and only manage thirty-six images? There most certainly are, and plenty of film is still being produced for those going back to their roots, as it were, not just 35mm but also 120mm and plates. Many professional photographers, I am told, tend to use digital for planning and getting their ideas together, and film for the real work. And how do you get hold of these ancient photographic machines?
When was the last time you went to a fleamarket? Or, if you want to go a bit more upmarket, there is always eBay and, believe it or not, even some real camera shops which stock film cameras, as well as a fairly broad selection of films to make it all worthwhile. We’ve all heard that Eastman Kodak went bust, but the films are still there. And then there is Agfa, Fuji, Ilford to name but a few. Oh, and Impossible, for those who bought a Polaroid and now don’t know what to do with it!
Since I have almost no notion on how all these things work, I bought myself Provia 400X from Fujifilm and APX 400X from Agfa as well as ordering Kodak Ektar 100 (for color shots) and Ilford Delta 100 (for black and white). The first two I bought as single rolls simply because I sometimes don’t have the patience to wait for deliveries! And right away the first lesson learned, when buying something check the expiry date although, I am told, it isn’t too bad in this case since the Provia 400X is only six months over!
Photo: Viktoria Michaelis
Films are one thing, cameras are quite another. I am used to using my Canon EOS 40D, despite its weight and size, and feel very comfortable with it. Now I need to get used to smaller, lighter cameras and, above all, to winding the film on after each shot. The larger of the two I have chosen to use is the Voigtländer VSL 3-E, the smaller a Pentax ME. I have several other cameras I could substitute should the desire arise – including a Pentax MV, a Canon T50 and an EXA 1a – but I want to learn first, experiment, and then, perhaps, expand.
Today, however, was not as much of a success as I had hoped. Of course, I have no idea how I fared with the film cameras; I didn’t shoot all the films right through. I took my Canon along with me too, partially to have an instant record of what I had seen, partially as a sort of control for the film cameras. The two images here, from many that I shot, were the only ones which I felt even halfway pleased with. The day was dull and overcast with very bad light, but I was determined to get out there and try, if nothing else. Learning by doing is one thing, but I’m not going to be squandering all of my time and money taking snapshots which end up as discards on the cutting room floor. Tomorrow, when the shops are open again, I shall see which books are available so that I can gather a few hints and tips from the professionals too.
Love & Kisses, Viki.