On the first of this year, I started My Film Beginnings Project. I am attempting to shoot at least two rolls of film each month and to make at least one shutter click on a film camera each day of the year.
The Boring Details
As a long time digital photographer, I recently started a project that involves shooting 35mm film. You can find a few of my Street Photography digital images here: www.instagram.com/dspaedt.
For this session of My Film Beginnings Project I managed to get through two rolls of Kodak Double X 5222, a film I’ve never shot, and use the Yashica Electro 35 camera for the first time. I made a mistake while using the Yashica and I learned a valuable lesson but I still managed to get a number of keeper images. In addition, I was able to get out for my first solid photo-walk of the year. It was an early Sunday morning, the temperatures were in the low 40s and I found myself in a small town with numerous unique photo opportunities. The first and third images of this post came from that walk.
The Kodak Double X 5222 was a pleasure to shoot, develop and scan. I used Kodaks recommended 250 ISO when shooting in daylight. I developed using D76 1:1 with the times suggested by the Mass Dev Chart and an agitation schedule of 4 inversions every minute. Using that development procedure and my scanning method, I thought the images came out a bit contrasty for my taste but not over the top. I also noticed that the film gave poor results for two images that I purposely metered in the dark shadows to overexpose. Of course, I’d need to do more testing to be sure but I’d suspect that this film wouldn’t be a good choice for overexposing and pull processing.
Rarely do you see a polar bear just hanging out, but whenever you do, you have no choice but to stop and take a picture. The Sunday morning walk was nice and I’m looking forward to milder weather because it’ll provide more photo-walk opportunities. The town was Saugatauk, Michigan. Over the years, I’ve had many conversations with others about how lucky we are to live so close to Lake Michigan. The immense size of Lake Michigan makes it comparable to having an ocean shoreline within driving distance of our home. That hundreds of miles of shoreline are speckled with numerous towns that have evolved to be full of unique character and atmosphere to help attract casual vacationers. If you like photography, the western shore of Michigan provides ample chances.
Shortly before beginning this session of my 24 roll challenge I received a Yaschica Electro 35 GTN. I was amazed at its condition for a camera produced in the 1970s. It looked nearly brand new and everything appeared to work. I’d be willing to bet that in the future I’ll do a review post of the Yashica Electro 35 GTN. Because of its superior condition and functionality, I simply loaded up a roll of film and used it. After generating the scans I wasn’t impressed with the images. The camera has a reputation for housing an excellent lens with an ability to produce solid images, so I was puzzled. I’m just a novice but the scans looked as if they came from pushed film based on online reading I have done. I took the camera out and tested the metering in countless different lighting conditions, comparing it to two other modern cameras and a light meter phone application. I found that the Yashica was metering a full two to three stops to low. Three stops indoors in low light and two stops for all other lighting conditions. The good news is that I now know that this film can handle a two stop underexposure because all of the images were at least usable but the bad news is I’m not certain if the camera has a lemon for a lens. I suspect that it does but I should first shoot a roll using the correct metering before I make my final judgements on the camera. Up next for the 24 roll challenge is Tri-X 400. Until then, thanks for reading!
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My Film Beginnings Project has also intrigued me to try using other 35mm film cameras along the way. If you have a working 35mm film camera that you no longer use please take a look here to see what I’m thinking. Any help you can provide would be greatly appreciated. Thank you.