I’m in the middle of making a video about how to develop a roll of black and white film… that got me thinking about why I like to shoot film. I took the M7 out on a rainy day when I was walking to meet up with a friend at a local watering hole.
Objectively, film is way lower resolution than the current crop of digital. Dynamic range is kind of a toss-up between them, they simply have very, very different response curves to light. You can’t see what you shot right away with film for the most part — instant films like Polaroid are obvious exceptions of course.
Right now my thinking is gravitating towards 36. The number of shots on a long roll of film.
The number of frames spaned that Oscar Barnak’s outstretched arms when he was making what we now know as 35mm film and inventing the Ur Leica. But that’s another post.
When I’m on a walkabout with a film camera I have the mentality that I want to get through the roll of film so I can develop them to see what happened on the latent images.
After doing such an outing I can keep the same feel with digital for a few days. Then it wears off.
The messed up thing with this is that each time I click the shutter with film there’s a real cost to the exposure. Even when I’m loading bulk black and white film the cost of the shot is around $0.10. Add on the development which is cheap if you do it yourself; add maybe 3-4 cents if you’re being super rounding up.
Printing would be extra… at this point, I’m scanning though. I think it’s cheating, but I’m ok with it.
It’s a contradiction — each shot is worth more, but I start to react in a more experimental way at the same time. I take shots that I’m not as sure of with film than I do with digital for some stupid reason. Maybe it’s just because you can’t see the result immediately; you can’t be disappointed right away. Then there’s the pressure like I said before.
Whatever it is… it’s something that gets my juices flowing again every time I bring it out.