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Film Photography is Not Dead

BEGINNER

I’ve always enjoyed all things vintage, objects that were made with care, so you could imagine how honoured I felt when I inherited two old film cameras from a dear family member. They stayed in their old leather cases, untouched; up in the top shelf of my closet for a long time and when the opportunity to buy film arose, I jumped at it!

I had no idea how film cameras worked, so a friend patiently took me through the process. From gently cleaning the treasured camera and inserting the film to eventually pressing that first release of the shutter button. The whole process was a lot to take in but totally worth it!

Film photograph of a fern

Photograph taken with the 50mm

Newton’s third law

Aspects that might be considered as obstacles when it comes to film might be:

  1. Finding the correct exposure is difficult compared to a DSLR camera.
  2. You can’t see the image immediately, which takes some time to get used to.
  3. To have a darkroom would be ideal and developing is expensive.
  4. Film is expensive too and can be quite hard to find.
  5. The image quality is not as good as the DSLR cameras on the market.
Film photograph of a fern

50mm – lying on the ground to get a different perspective

Reaction

  1. It might be tough but actually stimulating those brain cells to think and work on finding the correct exposure is part of the fun.
  2. It can be frustrating not being able to see if you’ve got a good shot, but that is where practice and good skill come in.
  3. Having a darkroom would be amazing but taking your film in to have them developed is exciting and the anticipation makes you feel like a kid again.
  4. Yes, film is expensive but it helps you stay focused on all the elements that make a photo good. You can’t just go on a trigger-happy shooting spree, you have to stay focused, take time and create the image.
  5. It’s indisputable that the DSLR’s on the market have amazing quality! But there is something special about old-school film. That grainy effect (that some photographers actually create using Photoshop) is absolutely gorgeous. And just like taste tops plating when it comes to food, a beautifully composed photo that stirs emotion will always beat the perfectly sharp photo.
Film photograph of the ocean

Photograph taken with the 50mm walking on the beach at about 18:00

Every tool has its purpose and just like DSLR’s have their place under the sun, so does film. I will never use my film camera to do a paid shoot where I need to take 40 good stock images and give to a client, or to take happy snappies at a New Years party. But when it comes to exploring nature and taking photos I’d like to hang on my apartment walls, I’ll take the film camera.
So dust off that old camera lying in the closet and go play, you’ll be surprised at the results.

Photograph of the view at Margate

The view at Margate beach, taken at about 14:00 on the first of January 2016

Photograph of the view at Margate taken at about 4:50am

The view at Margate beach, taken at about 4:50am on the first of January 2016

About the Author:

Wouda McMicken spends her work days as part of the driven Outdoorphoto team. She enjoys photography, especially experimenting with her treasured Nikon Film camera. The privilege of doing interviews with Professional Photographers all over the world is what makes her get up in the mornings, excited for a new day’s work. She is a self-confessed klutz and can be easily bribed with a stylish pair of jeans or good food. Having the ‘need’ for her nails to be neatly painted at all times, fresh jam doughnuts and salted caramel ice cream is her kryptonite. She dreams of a future filled with sunny skies, palm trees and sandy beaches with her Ukulele and a Piña Colada close by.

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