In early April, I did a blog post on Polaroid, right at the very beginning of my renewed interest in film photography. (On another note, I can’t believe it’s only been a month and a half; it feels like it’s been a year, given everything I’ve been doing.) As fascinated by and happy as I am about the former Impossible Project (now Polaroid Originals), I’ll be honest: I’ve been pretty disappointed in the reality of it. Just yesterday, I read this blog post over at Emulsive that really resonated for me.
Late last week, I received back from The Darkroom my latest batch of film processing. It was a mixed batch; four cameras, six rolls. And the results were also mixed. To be sure, there were some photos I really liked and am proud of. And there were also a ton of duds I didn’t even bother uploading to Flickr. But this process has gotten me thinking about film, about control, and about those results.
Since getting my “new” Pentax 645, I’ve been thinking about all the wonderful things that would allow me to get more good out of it. A flash. A zoom lens. One or two long, fixed focal length lenses. A teleconverter. Maybe that 120mm with macro focus. To be sure, all of these things would indeed bring more utility to the camera. And then, I started thinking about my Kodak Duaflex II — and about my music production journey, process, habits, and thoughts. Then, I started to see parallels that deeply concerned me.
If sifting through Google search results is any indication, I’m wading into fraught territory here. But in looking to acquire more lenses for my Pentax 645, I had to get some basic understanding of focal length equivalency, because my familiarity with what you get, picture-wise, with a lens of x millimeters in focal length is rooted primarily in the 35mm world — and to a lesser degree in Canon’s version of the APS-C world.
In Parts 1, 2, and 3 of this series, I talked at length about getting reacquainted with old friends: film cameras. While I’ve not taken the Polaroid out since Part 1, I have shot film in my old Duaflex (Part 2), and my Minolta XG 1 (Part 3), and have finally received them back from the lab.
It may surprise you to see a picture of a package of Duracells as the featured image for this post, considering the title. But as you might well guess, the two are related. I’ll jump to the point: When you camera requires batteries to function, always, always carry extra batteries, because they will fail you when you need them most.
I’ve never been much for eBay. Even in its early years, I never trusted the site — or more accurately, I never trusted the people selling stuff there — to accurately represent anything. Rollei repair guy Mark Hensen has a page on his site where he says he’s bought over 500 cameras on eBay over the years, and not a single one has been as promised. My main issue is I never trusted that I was even going to receive what I bought, never mind if it matched the promise. But I was willing to put less than $20 on the line recently for a Pentax flash, and I have to say, it exceeded my expectations.
One thing I’ve done too much in my life is asking the simple question, “Why?” I’m trying to do a lot less of that these days, especially when I consider the ebb and flow of my multipotentialite-driven passions — some of which end-up being quite ephemeral.
But as I’ve begun to re-embrace film photography, I’ve been asking, “Why?” Not questioning the fact I’m doing it, but more to wonder why and how it appeals to me. I think I’ve unearthed some answers.
Readers of this section of my blog will know I’ve recently rediscovered some old friends, including my Polaroid OneStep, my old Kodak Duaflex II, and finally, the Minolta XG-1 I used in photography class back in high school, <cough> years ago. This week, I made a brand new friend: a Pentax 645 medium-format film camera.
In Part 1 and Part 2 of this unplanned series of posts, I dusted-off my old Polaroid OneStep and my even older Kodak Duaflex II cameras. Digging through boxes that have remain untouched since moving here over four years ago, I found another camera relic: My old Minolta XG-1, a 35mm SLR, which I bought for photography class when I was in high school after draining a small savings account someone had set-up for me as a kid.