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Living with Film and why you should develop yourself.

For the last couple of months I have not added much to this blog because I have been having difficulty putting together my thoughts in a cohesive manner.

This article has been written and scrapped continually for months as I didn’t like what I was proof reading and mainly because the title of this blog is about a transition and not the place where I find myself now.

Writing about a journey is easier than writing about where you spend your life – as the scenery changes and there is always something new to talk about.

This is true for this blog as the journey from digital to analogue has been long, complex and enjoyable – but for now I am not on the train going somewhere else as I have successfully made the transition to film.

Much of what I have written in this blog has been in the way of sign posts for others wanting to take the same or similar journeys and so subjects for the posts came easily.

Now however I am in a much more self conscious place where I can’t hide behind the beginner title any more and have to admit that I have learnt a vast amount in the last couple of years and in that process have become much better (at least technically) at what I do.

I still make stupid mistakes and also perhaps take less risks as I try to be more controlled.

Do I ever find that I am limited in what I can achieve with film over digital? Sometimes yes.

Does this limitation stop me? Probably not – especially with cameras from the last 60 years in my arsenal.

Does my use of film give me something that digital doesn’t? Absolutely yes – otherwise why would you get apps that change your iPhone camera to make it look like ‘film’ or even on the new Fuji X-Pro 1 top end digital rangefinder; a menu to change the look of the image to fit in with the specific films that Fuji still produce – and this in an expensive camera at US$ 2,000 for just the body.

So this post is about making everyday choices with film and the fact that I am not longer someone who is returning to film but someone who is most definitely in the ‘using film’ camp.

I’m not going to change the name of this blog but please just realise the articles I write are going to be more about taking photographs rather than specifically film (as we can all just assume that film is being used). I am not going to be reviewing the latest analogue cameras or even more of the history of cameras as I really have enough to be getting along with now.

To start this off I took some fast shots of Lola and Cassius on Sunday afternoon with the Hasselblad 503 CX, Fuji Acros Neopan 100 and processed them with TMax Developer.

As scanning is so time consuming, I have been using the lab for B/W development recently and this has been a mistake. My local lab and most labs in HK have the ability to process colour film (C41 and E6) on site but send the B/W to a central location for processing. This is due mainly to the low volume of B/W processing and so you would assume a lab with a dedicated machine for B/W would do a really good job – but unfortunately not.

Exposure varies wildly, tide marks and dust appear all over the scans and all of this for double the cost of a C41.

So I am back to developing at home (and again apart from not being able to count properly to measure the right amount of chemicals) it is a really enjoyable process to do.

These are the few where Lola wasn’t moving so much that she was a blur and Cassius was sort of in shot.

Posted by simon on May 9, 2012

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