Film photography has forced me to slow down. The process of taking a shot by itself doesn’t require that I slow down. I can still shoot as many shots on film as I do with digital. For the most part, my film camera is still as capable of spray shooting as my digital camera. The more limiting factors are the cost and more importantly the work required to process my images afterwards. I don’t really want to spend time developing negatives hoping there’s at least one or two good images on a roll of film. My photography no longer can afford to hope that at least one frame might be good. My analog photography now asks me to think harder before exposing a frame. Film requires me to slow down and be more deliberate so I don’t waste my time in needless effort to process my film. It’s really no different if I send my film to a lab, I still don’t want to pay for useless or meaningless images. I thought I had slowed down but now I realize I haven’t slowed as much as I really need to. I need to slow down even more.
I went out Monday for a walk on my favorite and closest hiking trail. I got some images earlier in the day for my Project365. Images from the first two weeks of my Project365 can be found here. So I had the freedom to shoot with my Rolleiflex medium format camera. I walked through Blue Sky Reserve which includes several groves of old oak trees, some of them scorched and still recovering from a wildfire.
As mentioned, I took my Rolleiflex and five rolls of Ilford HP5+ film. Now why the heck should I expect to shoot five rolls of 120 film? That was a crazy assumption and a symptom of a mindset where quantity overshadows quality and ignores the amount of work I’d generate if I shot all the rolls in my bag.
At the end of the hike over about two hours I shot one roll of film. Only twelve images and that was more than enough. I was only focused on images that seemed worthy of a frame.
When I got home, I was glad to have only one roll of film to process. I felt much more at ease. I wasn’t stressed out thinking of the backlog I’d created. It turned out to be a much more relaxing experience and one that I actually looked forward to.
It’s also that way with my Project365. I’m now shooting about a roll of film every week, about five or so images daily. I’m much more deliberate and thoughtful as I take my daily images to support my project. Throughout the day, I shoot what I think is interesting knowing that I should limit myself to five frames at the most. If I don’t get five, maybe I will see something more interesting tomorrow with the freedom to shoot a bit more. At the end of the week I only have one roll to develop and one roll to scan. It’s a more comfortable pace.
I’m also taking notes during my Project365 using a Journal app on my iPhone. I take the same general picture on my iPhone of the scene I’m shooting for my project with my Leica. I take a few notes including the aperture and shutter speed and maybe a few general notes about the context of why I shot the image. It really causes me to slow down.
Here are a selection of images from my hike today using my Rolleiflex.
As always, thanks for reading