Personal Projects Exposed a la Film.

The smell of darkroom chemicals disgusted me to be honest. It's burned into my smell memory-- that pungent odor of those liquids that made a blank canvas into shapes, shadows, and figures.

Yet the mystic and intrigue with how light transformed white paper always fascinated me. You all know my Mom was a film photographer. I was actually the one that finally converted her to digital, and now here I am with piqued interest in my film work again.

Boy oh boy is it a learning curve, photo-fam! I'm used to creating the film-look in post-production, not in camera.

But before the questions are asked, no, I don't plan on offering film for my sessions. :) It's just not practical for me and my biz workflow... and especially since my work is already film-like thanks to my little ole Lightroom.

However, film is my catalyst. It is taking me back to personal projects. Stretching muscles, old and achy from disuse.

I have kept these hidden because I got nervous. I got nervous because I'm still stretching, still warming up. Still trying to figure out how to manually focus on that blasted Nikon 85mm lens with no auto focus. ;)

(Note: If you wear glasses, you know why this is difficult. The optics in a camera can be off from the optics of your eyewear. It can be a huge challenge, and it's why I use auto-focus on my digital lenses. We don't need any out of focus subjects... ;) )

Out of the 60 odd photos I took as my practice rolls back in February, the four below were the only quality ones. The ones that are pushing me forward and saying, "Use that Kodak Portra film that you got at WPPI in February. And then dive into that black-and-white goodness you have on your shelf."

(And to be transparent, yes, it literally was out of about 60 photos. The others were well... something left to be desired. haha)

So, photo-fam, this is my public accountability. By the end of the year, I'm going to not let that film sit on a shelf. I'm going to use it. Capture things that often go unnoticed and master that manual focus. And hopefully tap into my inner Ansel Adams with those black-and-white rolls. :) Just for me.

Assignment: Manual Settings with Manual Focus
Location: Balboa Park
Equipment: Nikon N90s, Nikon 85mm f/1.4 AI-s
Film: Kodak Gold 200
Date: February 25, 2012


  1. When you get back, you and I should do a film photo field trip to Williamsburg! I'll have my 50mm by then. :)

  2. Absolutely, Jenn! Drag me with you and keep me accountable! Though it won't be too hard... you did say Williamsburg after all. :)

  3. I doubt dragging will be necessary! I will however force you to pick a date. We can meet at my house, ride the ferry over and have a photo ball!

  4. PS I have that issue with manual focus too though so I totally feel your pain. I hate to have to rely on auto focus so much but your so right about the optics difference. I think the 50 mm I'm getting has auto focus but it doesn't work if I use it on my D60 which isnt really a huge issue since I'm buying it primarily to use with my n90s.