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Some of the people here are interested in photography, and I wanted to take a moment to show that actual film is still useful in this digital world. I recently bought a couple of new 'old' film cameras for my collection and have been testing them out, and thought photo-fans might like to see some results.

'Lomography' has been increasing in popularity in the hipster community - this is a genre of photography which revels in using very simple and sometimes badly made cameras that use film, which give an actually desired effect of light leaks, soft focus, unintentional double exposures, and other serendipitous, unexpected effects.

I find it somewhat funny, as when I learned photography it was drummed into me to avoid all these 'accidents' AT ALL COST, and to have everything on a photograph explicitly planned out, exposure perfect, framing and composition exact. So for me, it's very difficult to get my head around the new style, but I see a lot of worth in what people are trying to do - tear down all the old structure, and build something new. If you're also interested in trying these things out, I highly recommend you DO NOT spend your money on a crappy POS camera (like a Helga) for $50 - $75, but spend the same or a bit more on an actual camera that you can buy used on Ebay, at a camera store, pawn shops etc.

The cameras that I bought for this purpose (and that star in this diary) are a 1950s era Twin Lens Reflex, 'Dejur', which shoots 120mm film (gives you a negative 2 1/4" square)


This type of camera holds enough film to give you 12 exposures. Quite different from today's digital cameras, which will sometimes allow you to shoot thousands of exposures! They both have their pros and cons - more shots allow you to really practice and shoot as much as you'd like, whereas fewer shots make you think more about what you're shooting, and forces you to plan more.

Some of the older cameras you might find will use '620' film, which is the exact same kind of film as '120', EXCEPT that '620' is rolled onto smaller diameter film rolls - 120 sized spools will normally not fit properly in these cameras because they're too big. 620 film is no longer made or sold, but that doesn't mean you can't use these cameras, since 120 film can be made to work in them. If anyone would like more information on how this is done, please let me know and it will be a subject for a future diary.

The other camera we'll be seeing is the Polaroid 250 'Land' Camera, which holds Polaroid 'Pack' film, giving you 8 shots total in a pack. These packs are how professional photographers used to test their lighting and composition - a pro camera usually has a special film 'back' which holds the Polaroid film, and exposes the film with the pro camera, showing whether exposure etc. is correct. If so, the Polaroid back is removed and another back holding actual film is mounted, and the fun begins. (Like what happened to Coco in 'Fame' - Tres Jolie, Coco! Tres Jolie!!)


What's interesting about this type of camera is that it not only gives you the peel-away Polaroid print, but also will give you a NEGATIVE that can be cleaned and used to print with! It's a rather complicated and messy process though, if anyone ever decides to do this feel free to contact me and I can explain how to do it, possibly in the same future '620' film diary. Definitely NOT for the casual photograstar though!

Normally I don't do a lot of 'snapshooting', but I wanted to give it a try, so I brought them with me on a gig I did a few weeks ago in the Four Corners area of Arizona/Utah, Capital Reef National Park, Goblin Valley, and a few other places I dragged them along to, including some test photos at home to make sure the cameras worked properly - ALWAYS shoot a test roll before doing anything worthwhile, just to see if shutter speeds, film take-up, and light-tightness are all okay - and to learn how the camera works. To see how sharp the lens is, one of my tricks is to hang a detailed map (road map, geographic etc. - I happen to use a Nat. Geo. map of the Moon) in the sun, take a photo with different shutter speeds and f/stops. A map is good to use because they have words, details, and fine lines that you can see how well they were reproduced. If all this starts to sound complicated, remember that it's how EVERYONE used to take pictures back in the old days - and if I've been able to figure it out, anyone can! 'Cause I is dum. And think of the sense of accomplishment you'll have when you learn how to do it yourself, instead of letting the camera do it all for you.

Here are a few examples now - the 'square' format shots were taken with the Dejur, and the 'rectangles' were with the Polaroid.

BTW, did I mention that I bought both of these cameras on Ebay for $75 apiece? Remember, that's the fun of it - good results without breaking the bank!




I had a couple of friends 'test pose', with surprisingly good effect. It was a bit more difficult than what I'm used to, but it helps me appreciate what photographers in the past had to deal with!



These next two were shot with old 'Infrared' 120 film that I actually had JUST LYING AROUND FOR YEARS, believe it or not! The 'shifted' colors are a giveaway, but this shows that older film is still usable for fun. 'Infrared' is mis-understood by many - a lot of people believe that it's for low-light or nighttime conditions (like the 'thermal' views you see from the Predator!). Really it exposes different wave-lengths of light, giving you color shift effects. Believe it or not, this can be quite interesting to shoot portraits with! The poster photos for Tim Burton's 'Batman Returns' were shot with infrared film, if you'd like to see an example.



Now we move to Utizona, what's interesting about these next two photos is that they were both shot with the Polaroid camera - but the first photo is a scan of the Polaroid print, and the second is a scan of the Polaroid NEGATIVE that I mentioned earlier. You can see the difference in detail, color and sharpness quite well.








Here's a couple of interesting photos of petroglyphs, that really strained my 'off-road' ability! Another necessary few items for a photographer on 'walk-about' are a small separate flash, and some kind of portable reflector. Fortunately these days there are inexpensive 'pop-up' circular reflectors that fold up into very small packages, and open up into a decent size to give you a little extra 'fill' light for darker areas. It helps if you have an extra set of hands to hold these things where you want them though! 'Fill-flash' with these cameras is a great thing to use, especially with the 'TLR' type camera, as the flash 'syncs' at any shutter speed - in 35mm cameras, you normally have one special shutter speed you can use a flash with, otherwish part of the photo will not be exposed due to the movement of the 'shutter curtain'. Oh man more technical stuff when we're trying to keep it fun! Anyway both of these photos were shot with a combination of flash and reflector, to give more light and interest. The flash and pop-up reflector I had with me were both bought for about $20 each at Amazon - remember, we're working with cheap and fun gear here! But if you don't want to spend the money on a reflector, anything white will work to bounce light in - a piece of paper or cardboard, or even a white shirt you might have along.



I was shocked that these petroglyphs were basically 100 feet from a main road, with no protection! Being from Los Angeles I could imagine how long they'd last there - I'm glad that apparently people in Utahzona have more respect.




Now, Black and White film is still very useful and effective - but in this day and age, I recommend that you shoot color film stock at all times. 'Photoshop' type programs ALL have a 'B/W conversion' function, and by shooting in color this gives you the option to have the best of both worlds. Once again though, I had B/W film sitting in the fridge for years, so this gave me a good chance to use it up.




I found out another surprising 'plus' of using the older cameras - people are much more outgoing and relaxed if you ask to take their photo with one! There's not the 'fright factor' of having a modern professional camera pointed at them, mostly they are enthusiastic about posing, and I got the 'oh my grandfather used to have a camera just like that!' a lot. This is a Spanish rider 'extra' in a parade, and some street performers after.



One of the best photo-portrait maxims is - compose your photo, then step TWO STEPS CLOSER! Most people stand much too far back to take photos, learn to break that 'personal/camera space' barrier, get close to your subject. You will almost always get better results from your camera, and from the people you're snapping. Try it as an experiment and see!

Also, if you want to take good photos you've got to be ready - this photo was taken as we were just waiting around at the end of the day, as the sun was going down. I saw this rider on the ridge above us and only had a moment to shoot 5 digital photos, and this one with the Dejur TLR - and it's one of my favorites.


To wind up, let's talk quickly about today's photographer's Best Friend - digital manipulation! It almost makes me cry to have the ability to do so much with a photo, once it gets into the computer, because I remember how almost ANY special effects took HOURS to do, through chemical processing, exposure, printing etc. And very seldom were you able to do the same thing twice for multiple copies! You can do so very much to change and improve your photos with even the simplest Photoshop-type program, it's an absolute must for anyone wanting to have fun with photography today. You don't have to pay the hundreds (or thousands!) of dollars for the professional Photoshop to get great results - once again, we're working on the cheap here! All of the photos in today's diary were 'sweetened' through the 'amateur' program I use for fun, as opposed to the 'pro' programs I use for my bidness. I recommend it very highly, it's pretty danged user-friendly and comes with a huge suite of effects, it's 'Corel Photoshop Pro X4 Ultimate', which has a price of around $40-$50 at the Corel website or Amazon.

With any digital manipulation program, you can change almost anything you want regarding the photo's size, cropping, color, film stock effects, cut out your ex-wife or husband from the picture and replace it with the current squeeze - almost anything you can think of. Just taking the photo is only the beginning of the adventure! Once you get your base 'master' image, you can spend hours experimenting to get your perfect photo. Even exposure is not so necessary to get 'perfect' anymore, because so many sins can be fixed in the computer. So get out there and make some art.

I hope you enjoyed the diary and that it may have inspired some of you to go out there and have fun with film - it's still a great thing to play with, and you can be proud of being able to use a classic art which is becoming forgotten by the masses! Amaze your family and impress your friends.

Originally posted to Fordmandalay on Tue Jul 10, 2012 at 01:18 PM PDT.

Also republished by DKOMA and Community Spotlight.


Would you try film photography?

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Comment Preferences

  •  Cool stuff. (7+ / 0-)

    My first camera was a TLR. My step-dad was a pro photog. I souped film and did some printing at the Stude, as we called it, after school. The LTR that the pros used at that time was a Rollieflex, mine was a Yashica. I'd never heard of a DeJur.

    The GOP ... Government of the 1%, by the 1%, for the 1%

    by Azazello on Tue Jul 10, 2012 at 01:28:49 PM PDT

  •  My Best Camera Is A Nikon N-70 (6+ / 0-)

    You know one that uses film. I joke it is hard to take a bad picture with it.

    When opportunity calls pick up the phone and give it directions to your house.

    by webranding on Tue Jul 10, 2012 at 01:28:57 PM PDT

    •  I hear you there. (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      dear occupant, cotterperson, wblynch

      I have my Nikkormat 35mm SLR that I bought in 1973.  It's completely manual and I love being able to play with focus and exposure the way I want to!  That camera is built like a mac truck!

      “It is the job of the artist to think outside the boundaries of permissible thought and dare say things that no one else will say."—Howard Zinn

      by musiclady on Tue Jul 10, 2012 at 09:16:45 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  So, are you using old Polaroid film that you've (5+ / 0-)

    kept in your fridge?  New Polaroid film (what type  ?  665?) or Fuji 100 C film?

    Just curious.

    •  Polaroid types (3+ / 0-)

      The B/W was old 3200 ASA that had been in there for... 15 years? The color was new Fuji 100, which gives a great neg once you do the cleaning process - unless you're carrying the exposed neg around untreated for hours in over 100 degree heat! I lost about half of them due to that.

      The Fuji 100 is still easily available, for around $6.00 per pack. I get mine through Amazon. It's a HUGE improvement over the old Pola 669!

      Romney 2012 - A wealthy man can afford anything except a conscience. (Ferengi Rule of Acquisition #261)

      by Fordmandalay on Tue Jul 10, 2012 at 04:12:31 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  At Motophoto... (4+ / 0-)

    I usually use a digital camera, but a few months ago, I went into Washington, DC's Old Post Office and wanted to take pictures of its interior without exposing my digital camera to the security x-ray machine.  I bought a disposable film camera, and actually took some decent pictures with it (not as good as yours, of course).  The thing that surprised me was that when I got them developed at the Motophoto on Capitol Hill (yes, there are a few Motophotoes left!), there were actually a lot of finished rolls there.  There must be a significant number of people out there who still use film cameras.  

    Don't crash the gate--take back the keys.

    by lungfish on Tue Jul 10, 2012 at 01:45:37 PM PDT

  •  Back when I was a child (5+ / 0-)

    my father owned a 16mm Bell & Howell movie camera and a Polaroid camera similar to the one shown in the diary. He supplied me with the film and processing and I had a lot of fun with those film cameras.

    Later on when I was in high school I purchased a 35mm Kodak camera and shot hundreds and hundreds of slides a few of which have survived.

    When I was in my 20s I owned several cameras including a Minox spy camera which was a lot of fun because it was so small and it took pretty decent pictures for it's size.

    Later on I invested in several Pentax 35mm cameras including a Pentax MX and Pentax LX.  

    It was a sad day back in the fall of 2006 when I dropped the LX as I was swapping lenses. I didn't want to spend the $400+ it would have cost to repair the LX and at that time I purchased a Nikon D40.

    One of the things I really liked about those cameras is that they made you stop and think due to the cost of film and processing.

    Sometimes with the D40 I just don't feel like I'm in control any longer. I miss the manual, split image, focusing and the big focusing rings on the older lenses and find the tiny focusing rings on the new lens very awkward so I just switch to auto and snap the shutter.

    Thanks for the memories.

    Honesty pays, but it doesn't seem to pay enough to suit some people. Kin Hubbard

    by Mr Robert on Tue Jul 10, 2012 at 01:49:02 PM PDT

    •  Go medium or large format (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Mr Robert, Kingsmeg, cotterperson, wblynch

      I started shooting 4X5 and that really makes you slow down and think.

      No auto focus, not even a split prism,  you're either estimating, using a range finder, or focusing on ground glass.

      I really miss the split prism focusing screens. They were much brighter and critical focus was a snap. I have an old Minolta with a 50mm, and looking through that, then in to my D300s is like looking out on the beach, then looking in to a cave.

  •  Where (5+ / 0-)

    do you have it developed?  I have a few rolls of exposed but undeveloped Ektachrome (sp.) and Kodachrome that I haven't any idea whats on them.
     Nice photos, the colors are amazing.

  •  Outstanding (6+ / 0-)

    I especially like the landscapes, reminiscent of Sunset magazine circa 1960s :-)

    The last shot -- amazing. So seldom do the stars align for a shot like that. That's why I take my pocket SONY everywhere I go.

    Also FYI -- I'm just getting into HDR photography and I've discovered you really don't need a high end camera to do it, as long as your pocket camera has bracketing you can make it happen. I've been getting great results with the little SONY. I have no doubt they would be better with a more "professional" camera but until I can afford one I'm pretty happy with what I've come up with so far mostly because the Photomatix HDR software is really beyond magical.

    There are two types of republicans, the rich and the stupid. The rich ones strive to keep the stupid ones stupid and the stupid ones strive to keep the rich ones rich.

    by frankzappatista on Tue Jul 10, 2012 at 02:26:36 PM PDT

    •  Better - is relative (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      cotterperson, Phil S 33, NoMoreLies

      Some of my best photos were taken with older, low end cameras.

      More important than tack sharp photos is vision and composition.

      I used to teach photography at the adult education level. The first project was to hand out disposable cameras, give them an assignment, collect the cameras the next week and have them processes .... then came the slide show.

      Got some amazing, and not so amazing, photos.

      Its like painting ... you could buy the best brushes but the art is only as good as the artist.

      "The only difference between a religion and a cult is the amount of real estate they own" - Frank Zappa

      by Da Rock on Wed Jul 11, 2012 at 08:16:29 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I always taught similar techniques (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Da Rock, where4art, Phil S 33, NoMoreLies

        With high school age, although not quite disposable cameras - I made them start off by buying a manual 35mm with actual settings (shutter, f/stop because they were interested in photography as a career), but paying no more than $50.00. That would usually wind up being something like a Canonet QL rangefinder, with a fixed lens. The simplicity of the camera helped them learn the basics of exposure etc., but more importantly it made them focus more on VIEWING, PLANNING, and CREATING a photograph.

        Romney 2012 - A wealthy man can afford anything except a conscience. (Ferengi Rule of Acquisition #261)

        by Fordmandalay on Wed Jul 11, 2012 at 09:14:30 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Great pictures, and a fun (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    MKSinSA, Mr Robert, cotterperson, wblynch


    I came to the craft of photography backward: I gained proficiency in Photoshop years before I had a good camera. I never took to a darkroom, so the beauty of film manipulation was always out of my reach. But I admired those who were able to pull it off, and it's cool to see that some folks haven't given it up.

    I admit, though, that I'm not a fan of most hipster-style photography (film or phone app). I see it as analogous to their music and fashion sense -- innovative and occasionally compelling, but mostly insincere, ephemeral, and a means to signify cultural superiority rather than an artistic end in itself. The minute a popular magazine does a feature on the resurgence of old cameras, they'll move on to the next ironic hobby (broad brush? Maybe. But I'm a battle-scarred veteran of those cultural wars. Long story for another time).

    However, those with a sincere love for the craft, who happen to gravitate to the style, have produced some great work. I love the way you use the quirks of the medium to set a mood and tell a particular story, especially with the national parks pictures (and the Spanish rider with the blown-out hat, against the dark sky, is a really cool effect). A good eye is a transferable skill to any platform.    

    You are reading my signature line. #hashtag

    by cardinal on Tue Jul 10, 2012 at 02:32:35 PM PDT

  •  Oh my (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    derridog, cotterperson, wblynch, Phil S 33

    I have a real love-hate relationship with lomography and the people who get really far down that rabbit hole.

    One of the tenets of lomography (and simultaneously Instagram) is to shoot from the hip and hope for happy accidents. This doesn't just apply to the quality of the film, but also the composition and elements of the shot itself.

    The result is a raft of really terrible photos that are only made interesting because of the effects of the film.

    Granted, there are some talented photographers in that bunch who are actually composing their shots and know when to follow and when to break the rules, but they are absolutely overwhelmed by the low effort point and shoot crowd that endlessly pat themselves on the back for being photographic geniuses because they once cross-processed a roll of C41 that was a mishmash of awful.

    I do understand that a lot of people are in to this as a hobby, and that's fine. They are free to point and shoot and never give a flying anything about anything else, but this attitude has started creeping in to the professional world and I think we're all going to suffer because of it.

    Funny though, like the lyrics of the song, everything old is new again. The lomography movement is very reminiscent of the Pictorialism styles of the late 19th/early 20th centuries. I hear it time and time again how people like the lomo look because "it looks like a painting" and I just have to chuckle and shake my head, because the kids think they are doing something new, even when what they are doing is older than they are.

    On the love side, I love that people are still using film. While I did love it that film and processing equipment got really cheap there for a while, Kodak going in to bankruptcy and 4X5 instant film becoming extinct in the wild were terrible blows to the hobby and profession. My hope is that more things like the Impossible Project breathe new life in to film manufacture.

  •  Your poll is missing (8+ / 0-)

    a few options, like "I never stopped doing film photography".

    I currently shoot everything from half-frame Olympus Pens through a Deardorff 8x10.  Don't diss B&W though, it's possible to bring costs down through doing your own development & scanning, to a point where each shot is costing less than a penny.  I'm currently burning my way through a 1000' roll of expired motion picture film.  The only downside is that I've pegged it at ASA 6, which is a tad slow for a lot of the candid stuff I usually like to do.

    190 milliseconds....

    by Kingsmeg on Tue Jul 10, 2012 at 06:44:19 PM PDT

  •  Gorgeous. Thanks for posting these. eom (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
  •  I had to choose pie (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    koNko, cotterperson, where4art

    I never really stopped using film, just slooowed waaay down.  My Canon EOS Elan IIe is just sitting there taunting me about being too cheap right now to develop film...........

    “that our civil rights have no dependence on our religious opinions, any more than our opinions in physics or geometry.” Thomas Jefferson

    by markdd on Tue Jul 10, 2012 at 09:53:23 PM PDT

  •  I never learned to use a film SLR, and always (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    cotterperson, Phil S 33

    wanted to.  I took a few hundred shots today with my rebel xti (in the Blue Mountains of Oregon), not one of them on "auto".  I like to play around with aperture and exposure (to me it seems most auto exposures are a little over exposed anyway).  I ran into problems shooting sunsets with my auto-focus, and my eyes aren't good enough for manual.  Kind of a bummer, as my shots are fuzzy where I want them crisp.  It really made me stop and think about what a difference it would have been shooting with film.  

    Thanks for a thought-provoking diary.  Photography is a fun hobby in so many ways.

    "Slavery is the legal fiction that a person is property. Corporate personhood is the legal fiction that property is a person." David Korten, When Corporations Rule the World

    by Delta Overdue on Tue Jul 10, 2012 at 10:12:54 PM PDT

  •  I shoot mostly film (5+ / 0-)

    I have some sort of jinx on digital cameras. They all end up breaking within a year or so. My old Pentax SF1 is still going strong since the '80s.


    I have about 10 film cameras, most off ebay, but I just picked up a Rollei 35 in very good shape at a flea market.  Also broke down and shelled out for a Slim Black Devil cause I just had to.

  •  I still shoot some film (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    But if you like Zeiss Ikon, better grab the range finders while they last because I heard a rumor they will go out of production.

    Here in China we still have Seagull and lots of local film.

    What about my Daughter's future?

    by koNko on Tue Jul 10, 2012 at 10:20:58 PM PDT

  •  some rules for photography (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    cotterperson, where4art, Phil S 33

    1. SHOOT SHOOT SHOOT AND SHOOT SOME MORE. There is no substitute for practice.

    2. The most expensive camera in the world won't help you if you don't have it with you. Cell phone cameras are wonderful, if only because you always have it with you.

    3. The most expensive camera in the world won't help you if you don't know what you're doing. The camera is just a tool. Conscious selection of subject, based on conscious awareness of conditions, is what makes the photo. (Likewise, lomography won't make bad photos into "art")

    4. A great photographer can take great photos with ANY camera. Cell phones, disposables, whatever. Once you learn to SEE, and learn what the camera can and cannot do, you can always get great photos.

    5. Learn to edit! Most photos are bad, even those by good photographers. The "best" photographers only ever show you a tiny portion of their work. My "keep rate" is 2-3%. I know photographers who are even tougher than that. But if you can shoot ten thousand photos, 2% is 200 photos... a very large body of work.

    In capitalist America, bank robs you!

    by Orbital Mind Control Lasers on Tue Jul 10, 2012 at 11:06:39 PM PDT

    •  That's why kids today have it easy (shakes fist) (4+ / 0-)

      With digital cameras, once you've bought your system you can shoot forever - memory cards today hold thousands of shots, you can shoot as much as you want, download onto your computron, then shoot thousands more! When I was learning, one roll of 36 exposure film cost around $12 - $20 to buy and have processed (unless you had your own darkroom setup, but then you had to deal with the cost of chemicals, keeping their temperature right, buying the equipment to develop, creating a darkroom area, being exposed to the toxic chemistry and then dumping it down the drain into the drainage system...), and that was a lot of money for a poor kid, and it's hard to get good at something if you can't practice it a lot, and make tons of mistakes.

      Romney 2012 - A wealthy man can afford anything except a conscience. (Ferengi Rule of Acquisition #261)

      by Fordmandalay on Wed Jul 11, 2012 at 06:26:09 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  makes a huge difference for me (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        cotterperson, francophile, where4art

        My primary subjects are dance and theatrical performance. I started in film and moved to digital. The difference between 100 shots and 1000 shots a show is astounding for me! Not to mention tolerably clean 6400 ISO...

        And frankly, my Nikon D7000 takes better pictures than 35mm film.

        Here are some valid reasons for shooting film today...
        1. Being slower and more deliberate.
        2. The superb handling of classic film cameras.
        3. Medium/large format.

        In capitalist America, bank robs you!

        by Orbital Mind Control Lasers on Wed Jul 11, 2012 at 07:35:50 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  6400? Really? (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          cotterperson, where4art, Phil S 33

          I know my cameras have that setting, but I never even considered trying it because of my film background, I never thought usable results could come of it. Amazing - once again shows you have to dump your prejudices and try the new!

          Romney 2012 - A wealthy man can afford anything except a conscience. (Ferengi Rule of Acquisition #261)

          by Fordmandalay on Wed Jul 11, 2012 at 07:46:55 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  6400! (0+ / 0-)

            The noise on 6400 on my D7000 is comparable to the grain on Fuji color film at 800. Amazing!

            As a plus, it's really NICE looking noise, very film grain like. I often do b/w conversion at that ISO with no noise reduction at all, and it has a similar quality to Tri-X.

            In capitalist America, bank robs you!

            by Orbital Mind Control Lasers on Fri Jul 13, 2012 at 11:28:12 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

  •  Photoshop is great... (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    cotterperson, Phil S 33, NoMoreLies

    but if you don't want to spend that much money there is a free alternative that  includes virtually every capability that Photoshop has. The open source equivalent is called GIMP, which stands for "Graphical Image Manipulation Program". It is available at Check it out.

  •  digital sucks (3+ / 0-)

    I printed digital at my job for years before the lab went belly up. I never liked the way digital photos looked. Even if I wanted to change I couldn't afford the 1000s of dollars it would cost to replace my camera & all of my lenses. One thing that I find cautionary about digital is that if you don't like the way the camera renders your photos you are SOOL. You can't just try another film And photo software doesn't always do what you want to fix it. You tweek one color and another one goes off the rails.
       While I shoot slide film I've given up on what I still call Cibachrome because I just can't afford it. I use a film scanner and a decent Canon photo printer. It doesn't take hours of mixing & clean-up and I can do it in daylight.
       By the way, A&I color lab stopped processing slide film last year. One of my important rolls is still lost in translation. The Fuji lab in Kansas is still in business.

    •  Printing digital is getting gamma right (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      I carry a colour card, I take reference shots especially when I'm in odd light.  Sure does help when it comes to working with digital printing.  

      The reason digital looks so crummy when it's printed is because people have sweetened their images up for their monitor and sorta forgotten their printer, especially the high-end printers such as you were working on, or the big giclee printers.  Most monitors exhibit wretched colour fidelity.  

      People are usually more convinced by reasons they discovered themselves than by those found by others.

      by BlaiseP on Wed Jul 11, 2012 at 01:30:38 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Yes, but every new tech supplants the old (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      cotterperson, where4art, Phil S 33

      Remember, when photography was invented, painters decried it and said it was a fad that would never catch on - who would want a crappy small tintype or fragile plate of glass when they could have a beautiful full color painting done, by a master who had years of training?

      It's always about learning and adapting to new technologies - that's one of the reasons I've become so impressed with the new abilities of simple cameraphone photography with their apps, and people 'breaking all the rules' with old skool gear and merging it with modern digital tech. Things are evolving so quickly now, it's going to be very difficult to keep up - but it will be interesting!

      Romney 2012 - A wealthy man can afford anything except a conscience. (Ferengi Rule of Acquisition #261)

      by Fordmandalay on Wed Jul 11, 2012 at 06:37:55 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  I miss Kodachrome 64 (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Nice thick emulsion, incredible depth of colour.  Used to shoot a lot through my Dad's Zeiss Ikon.   Graduated to some Pentax cameras.

    Then my car was stolen, along with my cameras and lenses in the trunk.  For years thereafter, all I shot was little disposable cameras.  Those little disposable cameras taught me discipline.  The CVS in Baton Rouge could even turn them into the then-gigantic 1 MEGABYTE IMAGES.  Woo hoo!  

    Now I've got a gorgeous Sony camera with wonderful macro and zoom capabilities.  I've thought about going back to film at turns but Kodachrome's gone.  I suppose  I could shoot Fujichrome.

    But it was always a hassle to set up the projector and the screen.  I'd have to throw a party, like I did in the olden days, then torment my friends with a slideshow.   Now there's my excuse to shoot some film, I haven't had a party in a while.

    People are usually more convinced by reasons they discovered themselves than by those found by others.

    by BlaiseP on Wed Jul 11, 2012 at 01:21:44 AM PDT

  •  Excellent pictures! (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    cotterperson, Phil S 33

    Thank you for sharing them. Your compositions are nearly flawless.

  •  My favorite photo I ever took was with an ANSCO (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    snap-in cartridge type camera.  That little thing bounced around to London and back and survived and had no risk of exposure like the 35mm kind that people started getting shortly afterwards.

    You didn't have a poll choice that said 'grew up lovin' it." I must be older than the poll.

  •  Thank you for the gorgeous pictures (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    and the great tips! I got a camera for Christmas and have been having so much fun playing with it.

  •  i bought a hundred dollars of chemicals & paper (3+ / 0-)

    to set up a darkroom in my bathroom & print some old kids loved watching pictures develop in the trays and shining a light on objects (keys comb etc) to make shadow pictures   (4 years ago, ages 11 & 13)

  •  You are a hoot! (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    cotterperson, Phil S 33

    Thanks for the mammories. Reminded me of my days in high school, playing the "statue of liberty" with white umbrellas while my friend shot brides who usually did not have a good side!
    Dad got a Polaroid when they first came out. Always said that the film was so expensive that they should just give you the camera..

    Only thing more infuriating than an ignorant man is one who tries to make others ignorant for his own gain. Crashing Vor

    by emmasnacker on Wed Jul 11, 2012 at 04:52:41 AM PDT

  •  Wonderful photos (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    --Enlighten the people, generally, and tyranny and oppressions of body and mind will vanish like spirits at the dawn of day. - Thomas Jefferson--

    by idbecrazyif on Wed Jul 11, 2012 at 05:45:43 AM PDT

  •  Sadly, the film itself is getting hard to find (4+ / 0-)

    Kodak and Polaroid are phasing it out. it will take some enterprising person, with money, to develop (pun intended) a location that can produce film for those who still want to use it.
    Digital photography can be great, granted, but there is something about film that is more fun.
    My brother is a terrific photographer, but has been slow to come into the digital world. He is doing so kicking and screaming.
    And I couldn't answer your poll, because it didn't have the option of "Film, always used it! Love it."
    I guess that ages me. But I don't care.
    And you're right about buying old cameras. I got one on ebay for 40 bucks, including filters and case (an Olympus) that I had paid almost $600 for back in the day. It was actually an updated version of the one I spend the big bucks for.
    Oh well. I know it's progress, but I sure hope that someone continues to make film for those of us who still would like to use it on occasion.

    Isn’t it ironic to think that man might determine his own future by something so seemingly trivial as the choice of an insect spray. ~ Rachel Carson, Silent Spring ~

    by MA Liberal on Wed Jul 11, 2012 at 08:01:11 AM PDT

    •  Oh there's still plenty available, (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      wblynch, Phil S 33

      I buy lots through Amazon, and if you do the Google for '120 film', loads of camera shops pop up that sell over teh interwebs. That's the great thing about teh interwebs, you can still find items that aren't sold by the local camera shop anymore.

      Romney 2012 - A wealthy man can afford anything except a conscience. (Ferengi Rule of Acquisition #261)

      by Fordmandalay on Wed Jul 11, 2012 at 09:18:09 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  True, but... (0+ / 0-)

        that is old stock. It's going to be harder and harder to find since the big film companies are no longer going to make it. I guess it's tie to stock up!
        But I sure wish someone would devote a factory to just doing film. I'm sure there will always be a market for it so it wouldn't be a bad idea.

        Isn’t it ironic to think that man might determine his own future by something so seemingly trivial as the choice of an insect spray. ~ Rachel Carson, Silent Spring ~

        by MA Liberal on Thu Jul 12, 2012 at 04:06:18 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  I shoot Pentax and have been steeling myself (0+ / 0-)

    for a move back to film. I sold my Minolta gear years ago. Pentax and Nikon DSLR cameras still use all of their old lenses and some of mine date back to the early sixties.

    135 is not uncommonly found at yard sales and the like, cheap. I recently put new seals in an MX and have been playing with it.

    I do like the free, as in beer, digital world.

  •  Digital gets boring.... (3+ / 0-)

    ....I was using a 1978 Minolta XG-1 for years up until about 2006 when I bought a Nikon D100, and then two years later a D80. dSLR's have many, many advantages over film, especially for shooting events, and the Nikkor lenses are so freakin' sharp, but let's face it: anyone can do it with can get boring.

    I bought a Nikon FG SLR and a Leica C1 (point and shoot 35mm) recently and have been thoroughly enjoying the thrill of victory and the agony of defeat by shooting 35mm film again. Plus, I'm 10 minutes away from a camera shop that processes B&W and C-41 negatives for cheap and same day service.

    Long live film.

  •  Archival analog (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    greenomanic, wblynch, Phil S 33

    As a former news photographer, I've have had a long love of film photography -- especially black and white. I shot enough Tri-X in an unmetered Nikon F that I could judge exposures by eyesight.
    Another item in my collection is my grandfather's Kodak, plus a cigar box full of the postcard-size negatives it shot, taken around 1910-1920. (Here's some scanned to Flickr:
    Which brings up my point that 99.99 percent of all the amateur photography of today will not likely exist in 100 years like my grandfather's photos exist. Who is going to do the format conversions every 10 years or so? Digital data and media do decay.
    You can pick up really good film cameras today for a song as well as darkroom gear if you're into that. Of just make negatives and scan them.

  •  Cool pix, but give me digital (0+ / 0-)

    I was slow to coming around to digital, I admit.

    But now, not paying for dozens of photos that didn't come out right feels a lot better! With film you get what you took. You have to pay for the film and pay to have it developed. It's expensive, wasteful and bad for the environment.

    Now I can take all the photos I want to, delete the ones I don't and it's never boring to me because I now make photos instead of taking photos.






    O great creator of being grant us one more hour to perform our art and perfect our lives. ::: Jim Morrison :::

    by Kevanlove on Wed Jul 11, 2012 at 12:11:03 PM PDT

  •  Just how old was your infrared film? (0+ / 0-)

    Was it Kodak? I've still got a few rolls in the freezer... might be 10 years old. I've been wondering if there is any life left in them!

    Have you used Nik Photoshop plug-ins? Ooh, baby... I've just started using Silver Efex Pro 2, and you're right about the stunning control and choices there are for digital editing now. Ansel Adams would be blown away :-)

    •  The infrared had to be close to 25 years old (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      But had been in cold storage for all that time - as long as its kept cold, and it's a still existing process (such as E-6 so it can be processed), film lasts surprisingly long.  

      Oh and the Corel program I mentioned comes with the Nik Efex Pro 3, and I love it - it's very quick and fun, and does a LOT of amazing things.

      Romney 2012 - A wealthy man can afford anything except a conscience. (Ferengi Rule of Acquisition #261)

      by Fordmandalay on Wed Jul 11, 2012 at 02:14:00 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Wow, that's great (0+ / 0-)

        I'm thinking that the IR film I have might even retain its B&W character still.

        By the way, as a B&W lover, I agree with you about always shooting in color -- it just gives you more options. I've got some infrared prints I made in the darkroom that I'm thinking of scanning in RGB, just so that I can use my Nik B&W software tools on them. The digital prints will still be B&W, but the software will allow me to refine the editing process beyond what I was able to achieve in the darkroom.

  •  Beautiful photos! (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    I despise digital cameras.  I want my family photos in albums, and here I am, staring at them on iPhoto, instead.  My photo albums now end abruptly with blank pages. ,,,,,(

    I really love your photos.  The last one is awesome! Good for you for finding those cameras at such a good price!  

    Thanks for sharing!  :)

    I would rather spend my life searching for truth than live a single day within the comfort of a lie. ~ John Victor Ramses

    by KayCeSF on Wed Jul 11, 2012 at 02:04:09 PM PDT

  •  Film is sharp and beautiful (0+ / 0-)

    There is more to film than Lomography and LoFi-itis.

    Film still has tons more dynamic range and intensity than digital.  Film has that 3-D look.

    Digital (even the very expensive Leicas) will blow-out the highlights and crush the blacks.   Giving artificial, flat looking pictures.

    There are still people that print enlargements in a darkroom and all the digital manipulation in the world will not match the beauty of an 'optical' print.

    Film is cheap, available and FUN !

    Get a classic film camera for $50 and you can pay for decades of film and processing before you cover the cost of a new DSLR.  (The DSLR will be nearly worthless in 18 months)

    I have to 'make' my own film but I still shoot 127 and 126 Instamatic.

    Who needs 4,000 shots of a kid's dance recital?

  •  I used to love to manipulate Polaroid film (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    with a hair dryer and a dissecting needle.   You can't do that type of hands on manipulation with digital.  

    The plus side is that there are some filters and effects that can give you looks that you can't get with film, like this manhole cover, covered with dry leaves:


    You don't need to firebomb Dresden to prove that you can fly the plane.

    by SpamNunn on Wed Jul 11, 2012 at 05:03:46 PM PDT

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