I've now shot 50 rolls of film since I dove back down that amazing photography rabbit hole so I wanted to share a few thoughts. So in no particular order here we go.
Shooting film is hard, at least for me it is
For me, the biggest difference between shooting film and digital is that most every part of the process requires thought and experience. I knew going in that I would have to become a lot smarter about exposure and metering, but I didn’t realize how much I relied on “chimping” to fine tune my composition. Now I have to pre-visualize my composition and then frame up the scene to match my vision and desired outcome.
But it turns out that I can still capture images that inspire me
And although it’s been slow going, little by little I’m starting achieve the results that I’m after using film. I would say my “hit” rate has gone down but it’s hard to compare film to digital in that regard since with film I’m far more likely to take a pass on a scene with average light or a composition that doesn’t really inspire me. And when I “nail” a shot there is a quality in film that I didn’t see in my digital images.
The process is amazing
The one part of shooting film that many think would be the worst is one of my favorites. I’m loving every part of shooting film. All of my film cameras, currently a Hasselblad 203FE & Mamiya 6, are a joy to hold and use.
I forgot how much I enjoy being in the darkroom
Currently I’m using three main of films: Fujifilm Velvia 50, Kodak Ektar 100 and Ilford Pan F Plus 50. The two color films, Velvia and Ektar I send out the lab (Richards Photo Lab) but I’ve been processing the Ilford myself and am loving it. During college I rolled my own 35mm film and processed and printed in the school darkroom while working on the newspaper and yearbooks so I was familiar with the process. And it came back quick once I dove back in. I’m still working on improving my consistency and quality and hope at some point to add darkroom printing back into my repertoire.
Slowing down has really helped me to become more intimate with my surroundings
This was, without a doubt, the biggest reason I was drawn back into shooting film. By all account I’d be considered a very slow digital photographer. But I wanted to slow down even more and give myself the time to experience my locations in more depth and with a keener eye.
I have absolutely no plans to quite shooting digital images, but the experience of shooting film again has brought me back to that passion and excitement I discovered years ago when I loaded my first roll of film into my, then, state of the art Minolta XGM. I'll check back in again after the next 50.