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35MM: Blast from the past, Or why I don’t use film anymore

35MM: Blast from the past, Or why I don’t use film anymore

12:05 28 April in Personal, Photography
2 Comments

This past weekend, I found a roll of unexposed 35MM film while going through art supplies to take back to my studio.  I had no idea how old the film was, but I knew it was likely OLD.  I turned quickly and beheld my Pentax K1000 sitting on the shelf in my office…  I thought.. Yeah.  Why not?

On opening the camera, a camera I don’t recall touching in a long time, I discovered an exposed roll of film, rewound and ready to be processed.  Hmmm… Mystery Roll… This made for an interesting day.

I pocketed the exposed roll, and loaded the unexposed one, 400 speed Kodak from the gods know when, and proceeded to walk about the property with my son and take pictures.  When we were done, I took both rolls to the pharmacy (wait, what?) to get developed. (You mean I have to WAIT??)

At the drop off, I knew that the film was likely no good, but I still had a yearning to play with the old Pentax, so I bought a few new rolls of Fuji 200 film.  This was all they had.   I came home, took some pictures at a neighborhood affair, then some more shots around the house.  These are they.

Granted, some of these shots are okay.  And I like the effect, looking at film after so long using digital.  I’m not quite a digital snob mind you.  My first career job in the creative industry was at a photo studio as a retoucher.  Its a long story, but I loved the processes involved.  These shots seem so warm compared to digital ones… but there are a few things….

  • Remembering you have to advance the film
    The fact that I have to remember to move a lever to take another picture is hard.  Hard things make me quit.
  • Looking at the back of the camera and not seeing my last shot
    Seriously, every time I took a picture, I looked at the back of the camera for no reason other than I’m conditioned now to do so
  • 24 Exposures
    You mean I can’t take a near infinite amount of pictures???
  • Sending film to be developed
    But I want it now!!!
  • Paying for film to be developed
    You’re kidding, right?

I still have a roll and a half of 200 speed Fuji left to use.  I’ll use it on sunny days.  Maybe I’ll play with other speeds, but it will be something that just sits there to the side.  Honestly, film in this age isn’t what I was used to back at the studio.  But it was a different environment at a different time.  I think actually that I’m comfortable with what I have at the moment.  I am using a Canon 20D DSLR, from 2004.  I recently went and looked at some of the new Canons, just to see, and… well, I really miss things like dials and wheels.  Too many buttons turned me off.  Didn’t see that coming.

Oh, and as to the Mystery Roll?  The roll of exposed film I found in the camera back at the beginning of the story?  It, like the roll I shot this weekend, came from the year 2001.  This is what was on it:

That is Tas.  As soon as I saw him, I knew exactly how old the film was. He was my best friend for 8 years.  I had him from the time those pictures were taken in 2001, until he died in 2009. These pictures are from late September 2001.  I told his story in 3 parts, which you can read here: 1, 2, 3.

Finding that roll was a pleasant shock.  I smiled at opening the envelope, and yes, I had something in my eye.

If you find a stray roll of exposed film about your house… you may have found a treasure.

2 Comments
  • David 12:07h, 06 May Reply

    I still use my Canon 35mm SLR on occasion. There’s something about film that’s attractive. I suspect it has something to do with the mystery, “is it a good shot or not?” Besides the drugstore option, we have some professional photo labs that still process film.

    • Thomas 12:10h, 06 May Reply

      This is a very rural area, so there are very few options. I’m keeping the Pentax loaded and in with my other camera supplies should I see anything that I think would look good on film. You are right that there is something about it 😉

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