IntroductionI put down the ol’ digital camera after picking up a freshly-CLA’d (Clean, Lubricate, and Adjust) Canon AE-1 film camera that came with a Canon FDn 50mm ƒ/1.4 lens. I had been wanting to shoot some 35mm film for quite a while, and I saw this for a good price, so I snagged it. My ultimate intention, however, is to get a Canon New F-1 as my main camera, and perhaps a Canon EF “Black Beauty” as a backup. I’ve always really admired how extensive the FD system was, and I started really focusing on photography years ago with my Canon digital camera, so I have a bit of a soft spot for this brand. That said… I instantly become a dog who’s spotted a squirrel the moment I see a Minolta or Olympus lens. Haha. I love it all, and I’m willing to bet it’ll be next to impossible not to pick up a Nikon F3 at some point or another. All this excitement, and I haven’t even mentioned medium format yet. 🙂
So, enough rambling. This will be a photo blog, and not a review (I’m not sure I ever want to do reviews again, as specs and test charts bore me. Oh, and I really wish that I could make this a YouTube video, but I don’t quite have the necessary equipment to get a channel going yet. I’m working on it, though!). I wanted to get back to the roots of photography, where the camera features don’t go too far past the exposure triangle. I had concluded a while back that I didn’t need things like Wi-Fi, GPS, or an overload of automatic modes in my camera, and this new setup makes me really happy. Let’s get into it!
Fujifilm Superia X-Tra 400I picked up a 4-pack of this stuff at our local CVS Pharmacy, as it was cheap and readily-available. I’ll definitely be trying out some pro-grade film soon (stay tuned for future posts!). I loaded up the Fuji in my Canon AE-1 and shot it at the box speed of 400 ISO. Seeing as it was my first time experimenting with this film, I didn’t want to under/overexpose it just yet. I shot everything in full manual mode, and had the film developed/scanned by The Darkroom photo lab based in San Clemente, CA. I’m going to set up my own darkroom at home, eventually, but I’m currently planning for a move out to Colorado in a few months.
This was a shot I took of one of our cats, Possum. She was laying on top of a chair in a fairly low-light setting, so I pulled the chair closer to the window, where a small patch of sunlight was gleaming through. With an ISO of 400, this allowed me just enough light to squeeze out a 1/60 sec shutter speed at an aperture of 1.4. Anyone who’s a cat owner knows just how difficult it is to get them to sit still for a photo, so this wasn’t an easy feat. lol 😉
You guys know that there’s no way I can photograph just one kitty, right? So, my next challenge was to attempt some candids of the other two cuties. The photo above is of kitty #2 – Pepper. In terms of sitting still for a photo, she’s even more difficult. After advancing the film lever, I got my proper exposure, and waited by the window, as still as a tripod. I think a bird or something had caught Pepper’s eye, so she was moving around quite a bit. Being that this was taken in the same room that Possum was in, there wasn’t a big change in the lighting department. I watched carefully through the viewfinder, and when Pepper crept slowly toward the window… snap! I was pretty sure that I had missed the shot, so I was surprised to see that it turned out fairly well once the photos came back.
Kitty #3 – Gyspy – was unfortunately laying across a table in an even darker room, so I decided to keep her somewhat in the shade, and expose for what little I could. My lens was already wide open, and I didn’t want to drop the shutter speed below 1/60, so the above photo is what turned out. I actually quite like how moody it is. Gypsy is such a sweet little kitty, so it doesn’t represent her completely, though we know that cats tend to have a mischievous side (Gypsy is no exception), so perhaps it’s quite suiting.
Of course I had to try this film outdoors. If I had to guess, I’m fairly certain that I shot this one at ƒ/8. I don’t remember the shutter speed, but it was a bright day, so it must’ve been pretty fast. I exposed for the sky here, because I really liked that cloud. It isn’t entirely a silhouette, though, as we can still see some of that really beautiful green of the trees that Fujifilm Superia X-Tra 400 delivered.
Speaking of beautiful greens, take a look at the background of trees in the above photo. I’m somewhat shocked as to how vibrant this film can get, as I wasn’t at all expecting it. The left side of the bird feeder has some blown highlights here, since I exposed for the right side, and didn’t want it to fall into shadows; the sun was that bright. I could have shot it from another angle, but I really wanted to get the trees behind the feeder. Overall, it’s an uninteresting photo to me, but for demonstration purposes, I love the color here.
This one shows the sharpness of the Canon FD 50mm ƒ/1.4 lens when stopped down to about ƒ/2 or ƒ/2.8 (I honestly can’t remember which).
Anyone who’s followed my work knows that I’m absolutely in love with black and white photography (I tend to prefer it over color). For those that are interested, I intend to grab some Kodak Tri-X 400, Ilford HP5+ 400, and Fujifilm Neopan Acros 100 for some future photoshoots, blogs, and (hopefully) photowalk videos for YouTube! Donations for audio/video equipment accepted. >=) ).
This statue of Buddha sits just out front of our house, so I thought it’d be a good opportunity to test out how Fujifilm Superia X-Tra 400 handles a black and white conversion in post (I used Adobe Lightroom CC for this one). Converting photos to black and white feels much more natural when shooting digital for me, for some reason, and when it comes to film, I feel that I’d just rather shoot an actual black and white roll of film. I know it’s probably silly, but that’s how I feel. lol. All things considered, I like how the Buddha turned out. 😉
This particular roll of Fujifilm had only 24 exposures, so I wanted to get a photo of my fiancée Jessica somewhere on it. This was the very last shot, and sun was slowly descending behind the trees. Unfortunately, the lens flared a bit for this photo, and the contrast was nearly gone. I did what I could to bring it back, and that’s why it’s a bit grainier than the ones above. Still, I like this shot of Jessica, but it doesn’t compare to the shots of her I took with an expired roll of Kodak UltraMax 400! Thanks for reading. Stay tuned! 🙂