Y’ALL, I DID IT.
I didn’t do it well, and I shook for a couple of hours after I did it, but I finally picked up the Canon EOS 1 that I have had sitting with the rest of my equipment for nearly three months, and I did something with it.
Oh wait. I didn’t mention I’d bought a film camera? SO! By the way! I bought a professional film camera for about $650 at the end of April! Excitement all around!
But seriously? I have been completely, totally, massively, thoroughly intimidated by that thing. Even after researching and talking with sweet Sara Hasstedt and taking lots of deep breaths and buying three different books about shooting film and finding my old Nikon F65 (my very first SLR that took me through lots of pretty photos on autopilot) in my parents’ attic two weeks ago.
Because you know what? I really know SQUAT about the technicalities of photography. I can wing the dials on a digital camera to make it do what I want it to do through trial and error, shoot from my gut and capture the moments, but shooting film with manual settings on a camera that didn’t come with a camera manual? HOLY COW. There is not a lot of grace if you blow it with film.
But for some reason – I don’t know if my to-do list was making me suicidal or WHAT – I picked the film camera up yesterday morning. And I intentionally WASTED 36 exposures of Fuji 400H Pro, because that is how I learn, pushing buttons, playing with the light, watching what happens. BUT Y’ALL. I HAD TO LOOK UP HOW TO LOAD FILM INTO THE FLIPPING CAMERA. And then in trying to OVEREXPOSE everything, I massively UNDEREXPOSED it. Because the directions are different on a film camera meter, I think. Or I just have a WHOLE lot more to learn (Well THAT, anyway.).
But the point of this whole post is that I did it. I shot film for the first time in over seven years. And I shot film on manual for the first time EVER.
And you know what? I got a rush. It was pure adrenaline, I am not even kidding you.
I called around and found a photo lab that could scan the roll for me the same day. And I realized halfway through the roll of film I was blowing just to see what the camera did that I was ME again behind the camera. I wasn’t shooting what I SHOULD shoot. I was shooting WHAT I SAW, fully in the moment again, not even able to let my perfectionist tendencies weigh in.
And believe it or not, in spite of my embarrassment that I completely bombed the exposure in front of a real photographer I wanted to impress, I DID find grace in shooting film. Because even JPG scans can be corrected, and with film? There is just SO. MUCH. MORE. THERE.
My images were so underexposed that I went digital on them (old habits and all that) and processed just a little bit, adjusting lighting and converting a few to black-and-white. (As an artist, I can get away with these things.) But the depth and tangibility, the color, the absolute richness of these images… Just… Wow. That is all. Wow.
I am scared to death that I am saying this, but I think this shoot just changed my life.
One of the funniest things about this adventure was Pip and Squiggy posing for me, then running over to see their pictures in the back of the camera. They were so BUMMED not to be there! But I loved getting them in on what I was learning too (oh yes. I did check after nearly every shot, only to find the black camera back – ARGH!), and we had a blast on our “field trip” to Accu Photo Lab.
Which had live bunnies in cages for the kids to meet. Unbelievable.
(I know. I passed up a PRIME iPhone photo opp. Please forgive me. I was a little distracted.)