Learning as I go

On my previous film post I mentioned that I thought the EOS 3 sucked, and that mine crapped out on me...  Well, I still think it's not the greatest piece of equipment out there (you can read why here), and side note, after assuming mine crapped out, I simply needed to change the battery, yeah.  But after putting a roll of black and white film through it this past summer, I was a little less ready to jump on the suck train and was actually pleasantly surprised.  Nothing revolutionary or amazing here, but pleasantly surprised.  I'm pretty sure, however, it's time to up the game and go medium format to really get the results I'm after.  I think 35mm, however, is a great option for black and whites and plan to keep a roll or two on hand.  

Film Photography, the struggle is real!

I have a love hate relationship with film.  I absolutely love everything about it, but I hate that it costs like $40 a roll (professional grade) to purchase, ship (two ways) and have scanned.  Yeah, that's a little over a dollar per image for a 35mm roll, ouch!  And when you're just learning, those can be some very costly mistakes.  So for anyone that cares, I'm guessing mostly other photogs who are picking up their first film cameras, I thought I'd write up a little something from time to time that maybe you could learn from, or find useful from my experiences when I shoot film.  Disclaimer, I am in no way an expert on film, just learning by doing.  So, what did I learn from this roll?  Well, first let me break it down for those who are interested.  These images were shot on a Canon EOS 3 (more on that in a minute) with a roll of 35mm Kodak Portra 400 rated at 200 and overexposed 1 stop.  I do not use the meter in my film camera.  I have a hand held meter because I don't trust the in camera meter to be correct, especially when my subject is back lit.  A side note about the roll of film, it was not cold stored, yeah, oops!  Ideally I should have had the film in the refrigerator from the get go. So, the main lesson with this roll of film that stands out to me is that I shouldn't have back lit as much as I did.  It resulted in a number of underexposed images.  In hind site, I should have either stayed out of that light that allowed sun flare in the camera, or had my lab push the film when they processed it.  Sun flare when shooting digital and film are apparently two different beasts.  Secondly, my camera the EOS 3, in my opinion, sucks.  It has this eye control feature that once calibrated to your eye, you can look at the focus screen and the camera should automatically pick up exactly what you're looking at and focus on that point.  Well, it does do that, but it's SLOWWWW, and usually takes a few tries before hitting the focal point you want.  In theory it sounds great, in real life, it's not ideal and there's no way I could use it when shooting active kids.  35mm film is not going to be as sharp as digital, but the eye control feature misses focus waaaay too many times and results in soft images.   And by the way, after this roll was shot, my EOS 3 crapped out on me anyway, so there.   So to highlight,  what did I learn?  I will remember that back lighting (especially with sun flare) can trick your camera into thinking there's more light coming in than there actually is resulting in underexpose images.  However, I actually love some of the underexposed images I got off this roll, especially the one below.  See that mysterious heart reflecting on her shirt?  I totally dig that, like love it!  So, it wasn't a complete loss, and everyone is going to have different tastes when it comes to exposure. I'm just highlighting the basics of what I learn with each roll.  Underexposure and 35mm are not good together, the grain can get waaaay out of hand.  I personally think it's usually better in most situations to overexpose.  One other thing, somewhat unrelated, did you know that when it comes to shooting 35mm film, it kinda doesn't even matter if you're shooting with a $300 camera or a $3000 camera?  It's all about the lens!  Good to know right?  So for all you photogs out there who have invested in L Series lenses for your Canon digital camera, you can still use them on a Canon SLR film camera.  That's money in your pocket!

Next week I'll be going over what I learned from shooting a roll of black and white film AND staying away from back lit images.

About my subject, it's my Madi.  She'll be a junior this year, never too early to get a started on Senior Photos!  That little kitty she's holding was dumped off in a Hy-Vee parking lot because people are awesome like that.  I'm a complete sucker when it comes to animals and will take in all the strays.  Sorry about your college funds kids!

Farmhouse Views

When we first moved out here, I remember waking up early to let the dog out.  It was a rare December morning, it almost felt like Spring even as the sun started to rise.  As I stood there, I took the shot in the lower left corner, it was one of the first images I took of "our" farm.  I remember having this overwhelming feeling of gratitude.  I was so happy to be standing in that very spot that very morning.  Since that day, I frequently find myself coming back to this exact same spot, sometimes with my phone, sometimes film, now that I think about, I have yet to shoot it otherwise.  I've decided to shoot a series of these and add them as prints to my soon to be store, baby steps.  So for now, here are four of my favs thus far.  Can you tell which ones are iPhone and which ones are shot on film?  If you follow me on Instagram, you probably already know :)

Film Challenge Senior Sessions

This past year I've been challenging my self to incorporate more film into some of the photo sessions I provide.  It's a work in progress, but we've all got to start somewhere.  These images are from a few senior photos sessions last summer.  Overall, I'm pretty happy with the results.  I know I've posted about the reasons why I desire to shoot more film before, but in a nutshell, I do it for my heart.  Shooting digital is for the mind, it's a security blanket.  At this point in my career, I usually have zero doubts about the results I will get when I shoot digital.  But honestly, I like a challenge, and film does just that.  It challenges me to slow down and really see what I'm shooting without looking at the back of a camera.  So I continue to march down this path, hoping to add a few more pieces of gear to my bag and keep pushing and learning.