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Playing with Film

Remember film? I do. Mostly what I miss is the beautiful simplicity of classic cameras. I’m something of a minimalist at heart, so the idea of a straightforward camera without any bells and whistles fits my style perfectly. I’m certainly not afraid of the march of technology, I just think that some of the features of today’s electronic marvels are more of a distraction than a benefit.

I recently picked up a classic Nikon FE from the late 1970s, which is exactly what I feel a camera should be. Simple, direct, and comfortable. The only nod to automation is aperture priority and a basic center-weighted light meter. Manual focus only, of course, and most at home with a prime lens attached – no zooms here. So I loaded a roll of film and over a couple days shot all 24 exposures.

That’s right, over a couple days. With digital I could do that over a couple minutes. It’s amazing how much more careful you become with each frame when there’s a very real cost associated with every single shutter click. Rather than machine gunning through frame after frame, I’d take my time and make sure everything was right before spending $.50 to click the shutter.

I’m hardly ready to throw out my digital cameras, but it was certainly a fun, nostalgic experience that took me back. Here are a couple images from that first roll. Nothing exceptional or artistic.

Above: I asked my wife, Annette, to model for me a bit in the back yard. We didn’t have a very colorful fall, but I tried to capture a little color in the background. Nikon FE, 105mm f/2.5 Nikkor.

Above: I stopped by the St. Peters, MO Rec Plex and took a couple photos around the lake. The day was overcast, which actually made for nice, soft light. I love the shallow depth of field with just a 50mm lens! Nikon FE, 50mm f/1.8 Nikkor series E.

Above: Just a family snapshot. Because a completely manual camera tends to encourage a somewhat slower pace, it was pretty tough to get everyone together, in focus and actually looking at the camera for even a 100th of a second.

While I’ll never abandon digital, film cameras will always give me the tactile sensation that only a click, crank and snap can!

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