snapshots on film

Above are a few random snapshots from my first roll of film that I got developed earlier today. I'm so excited to share them with you all and was like a kid on Christmas Eve when I went to pick up the roll from the lab (even though I opted for 1 hour developing). I was anxious to see what I got...hoping at least one image would turn out okay. Turns out - I got a lot of keepers!

I'm in love.

If you follow me on twitter, and even if you don't, you've probably heard me talking (writing) about teaching myself to shoot film. About two or three weeks ago I found an old Canon AE-1 (a 35mm camera I've been looking for off & on) at my favourite thrift shop. Perfect condition, with original leather case and 50mm/1.8 lens - cost me all of $25. Such a major score.

I immediately got a roll of film and started, carefully taking pictures. That's one of the things I love about shooting film. I love the process. As someone who has only ever shot digital - shooting film is kind of like a whole new world. I find that I slow down. A lot. I take my time. I really consider how I'm composing the image and all of the elements that are involved. I mean, I do this with digital but not to the extent that I do with film - because each click of the shutter costs money! With digital - you can simply check it right away, see if you got the image, and if not take as many more as you like. Not so with film! So I really take my time.

Anyways, after taking my time for probably close to two weeks - I finally finished the roll and brought it in to get developed....only to learn that I hadn't loaded the film correctly. BUMMER (but at least I could reuse the roll). You can bet I'll never incorrectly load film again - lesson learned!

So, this was my second attempt but still on the first roll...this time loaded correctly. I guess everything worked out for the best because I ended up going to a different lab that is MUCH cheaper and that I really like the results of - so I think I've found a lab to do my developing. Awesome.

I don't know if you all can tell the difference between film images and digital images but to me the look of film, for the most part, just can't be beat. I love the colour/tone of film, the grain, even the natural vignette on some images (vignette is when the edges of the picture is slightly darker...as in the 1st photo above). With film I also find you keep a lot more detail in the sky and in shadows (so instead of the sky being blown out and appearing all white or dull blue - it actually looks like a blue sky with with clouds and has shades of blue...). Also, even when focused and sharp - I find film to be softer than digital. Digital images tend to look super sharp and "crisp" - which is totally fine. But I quite like a softer feel (that's why when I post process my digital images I typically do not sharpen them). I find that when I shoot digital I, sometimes, try to post-process it (in photoshop) to look like film. To get that film colour and film feel. It's not impossible - I've seen photographers do it very well - but it does take time. That was why I decided to teach myself to shoot film - I mean, I love the look and try to duplicate it on my digital images ...so why not just learn to shoot it? These images above - no post processing at all. No adjustments done while being developed. Literally sooc (straight out of camera). Perfect? Not quite. But I still LOVE them.

I still have a lot to learn but it's safe to say that shooting film is something I'll be doing much much more of. Some of my favourite wedding/lifestyle photographers shoot film and when I look at their work I am so inspired.

Do any of you shoot film (or are you learning how to)? If so, what's it about film that you love? And what camera do you use? Can you see something different between these photos and the usual photos I post?

*please let me know if there's a formatting issue with this post...like huge spaces or things aren't aligned. thanks!


Anonymous said...

I LOVE shooting with flim. I used to take as many photography classes as I could back in high school, and I agree with what you said about the process. There's something about being in the darkroom, inhaling the fumes (*eek) and watching the image appear in an otherwise blank sheet of paper that just made me fall in love with photography. Alas, over the years I've succumbed into digital photography trends and forgotten how great film is. Well that, and the fact I was always unhappy with the results from the printer and I didn't have a darkroom of my own (after leaving high school, that is) to tinker with the process.

Seriously though, what a great thrift find! These pictures are softer, and carry a surreal, almost vintage feel--I immediately get a sense that there's a story behind the photos (I LOVE LOVE LOVE the one with the school bus--nice!).

I don't know if I'll ever go back to film, as now my thoughts are obsessed with getting a slr ever since someone took a fantastic photo of my dogs with one...

###### said...

me likey kay...alot

Tonia Lee Smith said...

Great looking film shots, I've almost forgotten. I still prefer digital. I've never been too keen on film and when I was I would always have the photos but on disc, that way they were easy to use and send via email.
OH and what kind of film did you use?

K said...

I definitely love film and in fact, I felt a little old reading your post as I grew up on film. In fact, I used to have the flat camera that took 110 film WAY back in the day. Then I shot with 35 mm for years until I got my first digi cam when I was like 26 years old. OMG. I'm actually thinking about returning to film but I'm not sure if it would be a hassle. I just love the anticipation of going to the shop and picking up your pics and putting them into a real photo album lol. I hate that I have thousands of pics on my computer rather than in my hand. I'm making a blurb book with my pics of my travels over the last 5 years, but it's not the same, is it?

BTW, where did you get your pics developed? And would you recommend that I buy 35mm camera and shoot with film until I can't find a place that prints photos or just bite it and buy a SLR? Mind you, I'm a true novice but willing to go all the way with this...

K said...

* Meant digital SLR.

Anonymous said...

These are beautiful pictures, chica!!!

Amanda said...

I love shooting film. I've just bought a digital camera as I've been finding my Holga habit to be a bit pricey (12 shots for 15$+ of film and processing!) but she's a hard bitch to quit.

Actually, a Holga's a great second camera if you want to play around with film more. The standard size shoots 120mm so you get these great square 6x6 shots, and it's characterized by vignetting, light leaks, and a dreamy softness. Like a Diana, but a bit more reliable, I find. Plus they can be endlessly modded, like as pinhole cameras or shooting 35mm (or you can load up 35mm and expose the sprockets!)

There are many options you can get, but I love my plastic lensed one with 4 colour flash.

A few examples from my blog:

I'm warning you though: toy cameras are a slippery slope of addictive awesomeness. I just got this one and there's no end in sight http://www.fourcornerstore.com/collections/frontpage/products/shironeko-holga-the-white-cat

Love your blog, dear!

Kay* said...

@jaivirdi - haha i totally hear you! i won’t be switching to film entirely...i mean, i’m not giving up my digital slr because it certainly has it’s benefits (convenience and instant gratification!....and i’m buying a new digital point & shoot at the end of the month...so excited!) but i mean, the way you described my film shots - i love that!

@tamstyles - thanks!!

@tonica - thanks tonia. for these pics i used fuji pro 400h. my favourite film photographers seem to use that film quite a bit so i thought i’d try it out. the current roll in my camera is kodak - i’m comparing a couple to see what i like.

@kaki - i totally understand you - nothing beats an actual photo print out. i find that i don’t do that with my digitals - they are all on my computer too! but i’ve seen great blurb books and i plan on making one with my digi pics.

are you in toronto? i got my film developed at this little independent lab in a local (cheesey) mall near me. $5 for a roll of 35 developed in one hour and scanned to disc! so much cheaper than my alternatives.

as for whether you should buy a 35mm...i think it depends. i LOVE my digital - don’t get me wrong. film for me is just another way of doing something i love & enjoy (photography). digital has so many benefits and i think, really, for the majority of the people - digital is the way to go. you just can’t beat it for convenience sake and it can be a great learning tool for newbies to photography. and the cost has come down so much that you don’t have to spend a lot to get a good quality slr. although you think you’re a novice - if you’ve been shooting film then you’re not a novice like you think :) you’ll pick it up in no time.

@sunny - thanks lady!!

Mrs. Limestone said...

I didn't realize I was THAT much older than you but I guess I am. I shoot film back when owning a digital SLR was only a pipe dream. (I remember knowing someone who had one in 2002 and they had spent $15K on it!!!)

Your enthusiasm for a traditional camera is fabulous but I kind of don't get it.

I can appreciate the novelty but I so love having digital. All of the things you are mentioning you do with film is very important but I think it can be done with digital for no cost. Im way too cheap to pay for developing. And too lazy to have to go pick up and drop off. Not to mention the pain of having to scan in negatives to get them on the web.

Not that Im trying to convince you - Im totally not. Im just confused.

Kay* said...

@Amanda - Thanks for sharing. I’m a bit familiar with diana and holga pics as i’ve been seeing them on a few film blogs that i follow. sometimes the look is too drastic for me but it’s something i may play around with later. thanks for sharing you work! definitely will be checking it out!

@Mrs Limestone - I don’t think you’re that much older than me...(though i’m not sure because i don’t know how old you are!) but then again I don’t remember digitals costing $15k!!! Really!!! Wow - that’s incredible. Perhaps I just wasn’t into photography then so I didn’t pay attention.

Hmmm...what can I say? All of the things I like about film can, like I and you both said, be done with film - but for me it takes a lot of time playing around in photoshop. There are a handful of photographers I follow who shoot digital but have a film look (jonas peterson being one - his stuff blows my mind) and I’m certain he’s figured out a formula that allows him to achieve the look easily...but I just haven’t. So it just made sense for me to learn to shoot it. I don’t think film is a novelty at all (i mean diana and holgas yes but not straight forward traditional 35mm of MF) and - I dunno, there’s just something about the look that is so different, to me, than digital, that I really like. If you look at photographers like Elizabeth Messina, Jonathan Canlas, and Leo Patrone - who all shoot 100% film - there’s just something about their images that really stands out to me. There are endless amounts of tutorials out there that teach you how to get your images to look like film (even entire action packs sold for PS to get a vintage look and things like Alien Skin...) so there has to be something about film that people love and want to duplicate to their digital images....

I’m pretty lazy too and the developing aspect is something I was worried about - but the lab I’ve found costs all of $5 to develop a roll of 35 and scan to disc - all within an hour. So I’m really happy about that. He also appears to be the kind of shop owner who’ll cut me a deal if I bring in more than one roll - or just become a regular. So I’m not too worried about the cost.

With that said I’m totally not knocking digital - I love digital! It can’t be beat for certain things and 95% of the photographers I follow shoot digital. I’m actually planning on buying the new Lumix LX5 when it comes out at the end of the month and I’m SO excited about that camera. But film just has a different look that I can’t easily get from digital.

Not trying to convince YOU :) just hope this kinda helps with some of your confusion?

Michelle... said...

First of all, LOVE your shots! I think you may have inspired me to grab my AE-1P that I haven't touched in ages and shoot a roll. I was going to ask you how you scanned them, but I see the lab did it for you. Now, if I can only find a lab around here that'll make great scans like that.

Thanks for sharing with us!!

My @ tha Hotness said...

Absolutely love the film shot. The bakery shot is gorgeous.

Anonymous said...

It blows my mind to think that some people have never known film because they grew up in the age of digital. It makes me feel so old and I'm only 35.

Dottie said...

These are fantastic. What an excellent first roll! Three that really stand out to me are the one from the bus window of Chinatown, the one with the ambulance, and the one of the woman wearing the feathers.

How heartbreaking that the first "roll" you spent so much time on was not loaded correctly. Funny, the first roll I used with my Minolta could not be developed at all because the sprockets got stuck and ripped (probably because I did not know what I was doing with winding and unwinding).

As for digital vs. film, for me there is no contest. I much prefer the look of film, as well as how it makes me slow down and think hard about each shot, as you mentioned. I have a really nice Nikon DSLR and I can barely stand to use it now. The images look so hollow compared to my film images. It's good to have for quick shots, unimportant shots and shots I need to post/email quickly, but I don't plan on using it for anything important anytime soon. For example, I'm not taking it along when I go on vacation to France next month. I will, however, have four film cameras with me :)

I can't wait to see what you and your Canon produce next! (And what a great deal she was!)

Danielle Moss said...

L.O.V.E these photos!!!

lesapeamusings.blogspot said...

Love them all, keep them coming.

Lisa xx

Anonymous said...

Hi Kay,

I have a lot of make up stuff (lipstick, eye shadow palette, a tons of make up product in bottles, packages etc.) I usually put them inside a shoes box & decorated it on my own. Lately I found out that my tables seems quite messy & I am really out of idea where should I place. Do you have any suggestion? What kind of stuff you used to keep your make up products?

Thanks! :)

kay* said...

@michelle - thank you! and yes - dust off your ae-1p and get shooting!

@my@that hotness - thank you!

@anonymous - well, in all fairness i'll say that when i was growing up we had those automatic point and shoots---which used film...but it was the ones where your rotate the dial and just click. we also had polaroids...but my family wasn't too big on taking pictures - which is probably why i'm SO into it. i think having pictures, of everything, is so important.

@dottie - thanks dottie! i love your film blog and your film images. i have a nikon dslr too but i will continue to use it....for convenience. but i'm so in love with the way the film shots turned out i know i'll be carrying it with me a lot now too. i can't wait to see your pics from france and nyc! they will look fantastic :)

@danielle & lisa- thank you!! i'll definitely share more in the future :)

Clumpy Dumpy said...

I love lo-fi photography and toy cameras. I have a Holga and Fujifilm Instax Mini (which is like the mini Polaroid). Love the contrast and vignetting you can get with the Holga though it's equally frustrating because my last roll was very blurry and I have no idea why!

Jason Hudson Dot Com said...

It really is amazing how quickly photo-technology has advanced.
I went to PHOTOGRAPHY SCHOOL and digital hadn't yet entrenched itself the way it is now. I mean, it had in a high-end commercial setting, but not in the mainstream.

I guess when you learn with film, have your hands in carcinogenic chemicals for years, and withstand that horrendous stench, it's a bit easier to give up the romanticism of it.

But I do think it's important to learn the true artform before you bastardize it with digital technology. But even as I say that, I wonder why, really. Traditional vs. digital - Apples and oranges, really.

All that said - Enjoy!
I should teach you how to print your own images! Learning the ropes in a traditional darkroom is your next step, girly!

Kyla Roma said...

I love shooting film, but I haven't in a really long time. I'm hoping to play with my Diana more and fall in love with that process :)

Aspiring Kennedy said...

your grocery store pics are making me hungry! :)

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