Back in July when we were visiting Melissa and Tom, I received an email that made me very happy. The message was from Kim Miller, a photographer whose work I admire, informing me that I’d won a give-away posted on her blog for a Canon AE-1 film camera. I was super excited as I’ve been trolling the used section of B&H for about 2 years debating about purchasing this very camera. So the Universe must have simply decided it was time.
Although I have been shooting film with my Diana and my Polaroids, shooting film on a camera like the AE-1 is a whole different ballgame. Since the Diana is a toy camera (no pejorative-ness intended) there aren’t aperture and shutter speed settings to actually manipulate. Similarly, the Polaroid cameras I shoot with have little in the way of adjusting save focusing and lighten/darken (not that this makes shooting with Polaroids a no-brainer). But the AE-1, this baby is all manual.
I was excited to load up this new-to-me camera with the first roll of 35mm film and get shooting. But I was also nervous to shoot completely in manual mode (i.e., selecting every setting on the camera–aperture, shutter speed, ISO, focusing). I understand how to shoot in manual, but typically shoot in aperture priority with my digital SLR. I usually want a shallow depth of field (blurry background for those of you thinking, “what the hell is she talking about?”) and so typically live in this setting, allowing my camera to do the work it knows how to do in choosing the appropriate shutter speed. So I knew the AE-1 would bring new and creative challenges.
I spent time in my neighborhood, my backyard, and the Farmer’s Market shooting through this first roll of film. I found myself giddy as I traipsed around town shooting with this sleek little black beauty. Like my Polaroid and Diana cameras, people stopped to ask me about the AE-1, amazed that there are people who still shoot with film. I had so much fun! Not being able to see my results instantly on an LCD screen or on a developing piece of film in my hand added so much charm to my experience. And a bit of anxiety. I was worried I wasn’t using my photography knowledge correctly, not setting the camera appropriately, basically “not doing it right.”
So imagine my anticipation in picking up this roll of film once it had been processed. I was nervous! I couldn’t even wait to get home before I took a look. I sat in the car, took a deep breath, and opened the envelope of photos. These 6 photos are some of the beauties that I discovered. I was beyond pleased with this first roll of images. It was like photography became brand new to me all over again. The look and feel of film photography is really just so different from digital. These photos were shot with an expired roll of film, and I think that adds to the dreaminess of the images. I’m loving them.
I still have lots to learn about shooting with the AE-1. I need to brush up on types of film and practice, practice, practice. I also have some scanning issues to work on as I’d love to be able to simply scan my negatives and then choose which photos to actually get made into prints rather than printing the entire roll each time (trying to save a little $$$). But as of now, I’m still working out the kinks of matching the color of the scanned negatives to the color of the actual photos. (BTW, the 2 photos here that have white borders are scans of actual photos while the other 4 are scans of negatives).
A huge thank you to Kim for being so generous with this awesome give-away. So grateful I won! And now, I can’t wait to get the next roll of film loaded up.
Do you shoot film? Do you have any favorite types of film? If you don’t shoot film, do you miss it at all? Do you notice a difference between film and digital photos?
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