Revisiting Film

February 15, 2015  •  Leave a Comment

I used film in various formats for many years. The 'go-to' was, of course, 35mm which I shot in Nikon SLR's and Leica M rangefinders. Larger format film, typically 120 roll film gave much richer transparencies which really do stand the test of time. This image is a favourite, shot in the 6x9cm format in a large rangefinder camera made by Fuji. The considered, slow pace of working with this type of camera with its single, fixed lens and manual controls helped to refine the image in your mind's eye before tripping the shutter.

Working with film in low light had its challenges too. Calculating exposure for transparency film required accuracy at the best of times, but in low light became a technical exercise in allowing for what was called reciprocity failure. Each roll of film in this camera made 8 exposures on 120 film or 16 on 220. There was no feedback as to whether the exposure was right or not and as soon as the photograph was made in camera, the job was done. No review on the camera's LCD screen or examining histograms. Instead, I recall savouring the moment on this particularly beautiful west of Ireland summer twilight.

Fuji GSW690III camera, Fujichrome Velvia film.


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