Thanks to Sharon Walters Knight a fellow WordPress blogger and Facebook friend , I have in the last three weeks started to take a look again at 35mm film photography.
Over the last three years or so Film is starting to make a big come back, mainly with the help of film suppliers and film fan supporters lomography, they sell and process films along with camera bodies and offer some great new ideas as to how to use film and get some creative results from it.
I have just finished shooting my first role of 35mm black and white film supplied from Lomography Europe, using my Nikon FM2 and when I get time this week I will post this roll of film off to them and wait for the negatives and online scans to appear!
For the moment I have been looking at some of my old negatives and scanning them, the results are good I feel for these old black and white frames, My impression of how film compares to current Digital cameras is one of surprise, I love the grainy and organic feel to black and white films!
I had not realized since I stopped looking at film as my main photography medium, just how much digital has moved forward year on year! I feel that even when scanning a film frame at 10 megapixels with a good scanner, even with ISO 100 film the detail is so much less that can be found in todays digital sensors. Film grain is loved by many, yet when you look closely a lot of the image details are lost in this grain. A simple fact however when using film is that while digital cameras have kept developing all the time, film scanner have not. Another fact often lost today is that film was not designed with scanners in mind but with wet/dark room printing on light sensitive photo-papers, often designed by the film suppliers to match the film being used. Thus it could still be true that the best results when printing from film can be achieved in the dark room and not using a scanner at all!
I still love the idea of using a film camera at times when you want to use a simple process and travel light, just packing a film camera, a few lenses and rolls of film, without the need to take battery chargers and laptops with you. Another fact is that Film cameras work better when your outside and need to keep changing lenses, you never have to worry about dust and dirt getting to your sensor!
Here are some film shots I have taken over the years, at some point this week I will post more on them, including some closer looks at just how much detail is in the full sized images and just how film grain looks at 100% print size.
Ilfords Black and white film Gallery
A Morning Walk at Hastings
These images were taken on a visit to the coastal town of Hastings , way back in the 1990’s . I remember that I had just invested in a Nikon FM2 Camera which I still own. Getting up very early one summers morning I loaded some Kodak Ektar 100 colour film and went for a walk along the sea front.
Hastings is a great sea side town located on the south coast of the UK and a wonderful place to get some beach and sea front images, I remember being really pleased with these images and encouraged to keep taking more.
I think finding a good location for your photography is key to keeping you going and learning as much as you can about using your camera and adding to your photography skills.
Hastings a Gallery
Grand Union canal, Harefield (1988 to 2014)
Up until some 18 years ago I lived and worked in Harrow , Middlesex, North London. Working in the IT industry with long hours and shift work included. I really Valued my time off and would spend a lot of my weekends out walking in the country around North London. The Grand Union Canal was one of my most visited locations , it runs from Inner London to Birmingham in the Midlands of the UK.
Recently I took some time off to visit the Canal again after some twenty six years, It was great after all this time to get back and walk some old steps, I had no idea what could have changed. When I got back I remembered that I must have some old images taken during my original walks here.
So when I got back home to Ireland, I found some black and white images of an old canal side factory that marked the start of my walks, the images below show just how little the building has changed. It looks like it is just used for smaller office units these days but apart from this, its still very much looks like the place in my film images.
It was great to walk these old places, I have very good memories of walking and doing my best to relax after a long working week and to get a fresh image of the old canal in my mind was just great.
Film Gallery (1988), using a Nikon FM2 and Ilford XP2 Black and white film
Digital Gallery (2014), using a Fujifilm X100.
The window at North mimms church
Ilford XP2, 35mm film
50mm f1.8 lens
The wonderful darks and contrasts in this shot is one of the biggest reasons I want to have a small go at using film again.
I will never use film again as my main medium but I am going to include it in a planned way for the most appropriate subjects and with black and white film only.
It has been some time since I loaded a film into this old camera and shot all of 36 exposures and then sent it off to be processed or had a go myself.
For many years I have been using Nikon/fujifilm digital equipment and photoshop to process all resulting images but in the last few week I had a request to scan some old slides and film, I had a Minolta film scanner in the loft so down it came and I set it up again.
After I finished doing this work for them I left the scanner sitting there and kept looking at it for a little time then I found lots of my old film stock. I could not resist the need to see them again so I scanned many of them back in to my pc.
The only remaining film camera I had was a fully manual Nikon Fm2n that I also had in the loft. So I realised that a return to using film is well within my grasp. This along with my father’s old Agfa camera (Post…) will be great fun to use.
I have created a new film photography category on my blog menu in order to share this journey with you as I hopefully begin to enjoy this form of photography again. I hope also that you find this area useful if you want to do the same.