I have started shooting film again. Why you ask? I began my photography obsession many years ago in the mid 70's is when I bought my first film SLR (Single Lens Reflex). Of course back then there was really no choice just film. So I shot like most teenagers do friends and family and events. I always had my camera near by. I only knew enough about photography to get a good exposure and that was about it . As I grew older joined the military and got married I started taking photo's again and got a little more serious. In the mid 80's I was shooting color slide film and developing it at home. I did that for a while. Later in the late 90's and early 2000 I was shooting Black and White film developing and printing at home. This was a big operation and labor intensive. Especially when you make your one and only bathroom a darkroom. When digital came out I jumped on it full bore and set my trusty Fully Manual SLR on the shelf and that's where it has stayed for 15 years. I had been shooting manual for so long I had to learn how to shoot Aperture Priority and Shutter Priority and all of the fancy stuff that camera's were doing. It was like I was learning all over again how to shoot a camera. I started with a point and shoot and worked my way to the biggest baddest camera Nikon had to offer and all of the lenses to go with them. I had to learn how to process my photographs in Lightroom & Photoshop. Slowly but surly I started to go away from the big full frame cameras and started shooting mirrorless crop sensor camera's. And I loved the way they feel in your had like 35mm SLR's did. And I just love my mirrorless camera and lenses.
But something was missing . I can't put my finger on it but it was the sound that a mechanical camera makes. The weight of the camera. Rewinding the film. The Analog process I was missing. I listened to a podcast called the Digital Story by Derrick Story and he also has a blog the Analog Story. I listened and started to get excited about film again. I wanted to crank that crank and manually focus and turn dials that clicked. I wanted to shoot film again. I heard that shooting film will make you a better digital photographer. It will slow you down. I don't want to go fully to film I will always be a digital photographer first but I do want to shoot some film when the occasion suits. How to go about it now in the digital age when film is kind of scarce?
First I got my old trusty 35mm Pentax MX off of the shelf. Cleaned it up well. I had to replace the light seals that go around the door. Those are the little felt or foam pieces that keep the light from ruining your film. That was a chore and it took me a couple of times before I got it right but I did. What about the light meter in the camera? Was it any good? The only way to find out was to get a roll of film shoot it and get it professionally developed. I went to my local Walmart and guess what ? Film was on sale! 4 rolls for 5 bucks! So I bought 2 ,8 rolls of film. I shot a roll of film in a couple of days and took it to Walgreens to get developed. Well things have changed in 15 years. They have to send your film off so it takes a week to get it back . But not really because they don't give the negatives back you just get a CD with the scanned JPEGs on them. All for 15 bucks! I was not a happy camper over the price. But when I got my photo's back they were all correctly exposed! So Yay! Light meter works and is accurate! Now I can't afford 15 bucks every time I shoot a roll of film So I had to come up with a way that I could develop them myself. I had never developed color negative film before but I had done black and white and color slides so I had all of the equipment I just had to get the chemicals and learn how. So I did and I developed my first roll of film and it worked out great! I had color Negatives!
So now I have color negatives I need to get them scanned into my computer so I can get them into Lightroom and Photoshop and print. But how I really don't have a scanner that can do a good job. I don't want to spend anymore than I have to. So I decided to use my Mirrorless camera to scan the negatives to get them into the computer. I used my iPad with a white background to produce the light that shines through the Negative I had a old film holder that I had from the B/W days to hold the film and I used my Sony A6300 and a adapted Nikon 60mm Macro lens that I have to focus Manually. I have the camera Tethered to my laptop so I can look at the Negative larger to make sure its sharp. And it worked! I don't know If Ill keep using this system I would like something that autofocuses because my old eyes don't work like they used to. But for now this will do until I find a better way.
Now there in the computer but still a Negative so there is some processing that needs to be done. The image must be inverted to make it a positive image. That can be done in photoshop. The colors also need to be adjusted because Negative film is made to be projected onto film paper and the color cast are made for that. The first couple of times I did all of this manually. And there are Programs that will do this for you but of course they cost money and Im trying to do this on the cheap. I did some research and found a free action that will color correct you photo's in photoshop. It does a pretty good job better that I was doing manually. Its good enough now that I can live with it later on I may want to upgrade to a Software that does a better job. So after I get everything into Lightroom its just like all my other photo's I can go through my regular work flow and can publish to Flickr, Facebook, Instagram or even print if I want.
It seems like a long process and it is. But I really enjoy it. Analog Photography is like listening to LP's on a record player maybe not as clear and it has pops and scratches but to me that's what makes it great. Thats all for now Keep Shooting!