On Learning Film Photography

Like riding a bike, relearning film is coming back quick, as if greeting an old friend for the first time in ages. As I promised earlier on, I plan to document what I learn as I return to the field of film photography to help those just getting back or starting to explore film for the first time.  Since jumping to digital in 2008, I am pretty amazed at how much I need to remember, though.  Well, not totally amazed, as I can't remember what I had for dinner last night.

Bodies for the Return

Hasselblad 500c
Hasselblad 500c

For my return to film, I'll be dealing with both medium format (120) and standard 35mm film photography.  The bodies I will be using over the next year are:

Film Selection

Not totally sold on what I'll be using, but so far have a good supply of the following:

Extras

Hasselblad 500c - Portra 400
Hasselblad 500c - Portra 400
Hasselblad 500c - Portra 400
Hasselblad 500c - Portra 400

Lessons Learned So Far

Patience.  I've learned - especially with many conversations with my good friend and film fanatic, Johnny Patience, that film is a whole different beast than digital.  Especially when it comes to metering.  With my first roll back, I metered like I do with my Leica ME.  Things were not looking the way I had expected, so the first tip Johnny gave me with film was:

Meter to half the box speed.

Golden tip!  I noticed my early images where I metered to the box were a little dark - a little cold.  Film does better with over exposure than it does with under. So, say you're shooting ISO 400 film - set your meter to ISO 200 - as I did with the photo above.  For me, rendered exactly how I imagined!  Huge detail, perfect light - no edit.  Same with the image to the right.  That's once again metered at ISO 200 - no edit after the scan.

Another tip from Johnny:

For warmer color, expose longer.

Hasselblad 500c / Portra 400
Hasselblad 500c / Portra 400

Yes, this was another amazing tip! I did notice through some of my scans that the images exposed for shorter time with the Portra had cooler tones while those exposed a little on the long side leaned toward the warmer, earthy tones.  Something I never through about, but damn, that's cool!

That's it for now - but I do intend to keep you updated with posts as the year goes on.  Like I said, this is a year long project to really get back into film, so I will have tons to share with you all!

Happy New Year!