I took my vintage 1959 Rolleicord Va with me on our trip out to Oregon in hopes that I might be able to get some decent shots on Black & White film. I took 5 rolls of Fuji Neopan Acros 120 with me and managed to complete 3 of the rolls. A few days ago I got around to developing some of that film (two rolls) that I shot.
THE ZEN OF FILM
Unlike digital photography film photography is a much more deliberate, some might say "zenlike", process and takes extra time to get to the point where you can share your images with others. That's one of the things I enjoy about film, the deliberateness of it. Here's a brief summary of the steps I go through to get a single image ready to share here on the blog, flickr, Google+, 500px, etc.:
- developing of the film
- waiting for the negatives to dry
- cutting the negatives into manageable sizes
- "flattening" the film to get the inherent curl out of it
- preparing the film for scanning (removing as much dust as possible, etc)
- actually scanning the film (each medium-format sized negative takes 2-4 minutes)
- converting the RAW scan to a usable image
- adjusting the image in post-processing
- adding appropriate metadata, keywords, title and description
- upload/share the image
Whew, finally done !
As you can see it does take a bit more effort to get an image from exposed film to final shareable image. Many people say it's too much effort now that we have digital cameras. I say the exact opposite: "the extra effort is worth it because of digital!" Why do I say that? Because the analog (film) photography process makes us better photographers by forcing us to slow down, take our time and invest something in each image we make. I have found the whole process to be extremely rewarding. Shooting film has made me a better photographer, no doubt.
Anyway, here's the first of what I hope will be at least a few "keeper" images on film from our trip to Oregon. I call it "Along The Nehalem":
I made the image near the place were staying in Wheeler, Oregon. Wheeler sits along the Nehalem River just before the river empties into the Pacific just a couple miles away. As a result the river get pretty much the full effect of the tides, rising and falling every day. We got to Wheeler in late afternoon and I got out the Rolleicord when I noticed these interesting old piers and dock along the river. I helped that there was a Gull sitting on top of one of the piers and that there was a small boat tied up along the dock. I figured it would make a good scene, especially with all the detail in the piers.
The Rolleicord doesn't have meter in it so I used a light meter app on my phone to get the approximate exposure. After that I spent a little time moving around, trying to get the best composition I could considering that I was standing on a small dock and that the Rolleicord has only one focal length (about 49mm). After I felt good about it I fired off the shutter and captured what I hoped was a decent image. To find out if I did though, I would have to wait until I developed the film (no "chimping" with analog cameras!). A few days ago I developed the film using the following process:
- Load the film onto a plastic reel and place the reel in a light-proof development tank inside a table-sized "changing bag"
- Perform a 1-minute pre-soak of the film
- Develop the film using a 1:47 dillution of Kodak HC-110 developer in 72 degree water for a time of 5.25 minutes.
- After development I stopped the development process and "fixed" the film to prevent the image from fading from the developed negative.
- I rinsed the film in cold water for a minute to remove all the residual development chemicals and then hug up the negatives to dry overnight in the guest bathroom.
I'm happy with this image! I got the exposure pretty close and I'm happy with the composition. I hope you enjoy it as well!
I'll post more images from our trip (both digital and film) as I get time so stay tuned.