Considering that Tanya and I own 5 film cameras that have not been used in years, I have decided to break one of them out and use some film. My Nikon FE that I bought in 1982 has been sitting in a container for 3 years (without batteries, of course). I know what you are wondering – why go back to film when we live in such a digital capture world? That’s a great question, and here is my answer:
The film I bought was infrared, and infrared film is incredibly hard to shoot. It requires loading the film in TOTAL darkness and special considerations must be factored into exposure and focus. Yes, I know that there are digital cameras that are infrared and, yes, I know I can make an infrared-esqe image with the channel mixer in Photoshop. But this is film – and film is hard to work with but fun. I have read of some photographers who are offering film again because most people do not have film cameras any more and film still has a certain warmness and look that cannot be copied with digital…yet. Now that I have started working with film again I am excited to add it back into Albertex’s repertoire. For those who do not know what infrared photos look like it takes the green trees and makes them white. It also makes the sky almost black, which is why clouds can be so important in the sky.
Infrared film requires a dark red filter over the lens to hold back the visible light and only allow the infrared light in. In all my years of photography I have never shot infrared, so to start it now has been a good challenge. I had to order the film from California, and even though I have a filter that is close, I ordered a different filter that is more suited to infrared photography. My filter won’t be in tomorrow but I went ahead and did some tests over the weekend and used the filter that I already own. As Tanya mentioned in a previous post, we went to the museums and Botanical Gardens of Ft. Worth to photograph some friends of ours. I used my FE with the infrared film while Tanya shot digital. We have obviously viewed the digital photos, but I will have to wait until I take the film to BWC photo lab in Dallas for processing. In today’s digital age I had forgotten what it is was like to have to wait to see my images. Hope to have something to post for all to see by Friday!
In addition to film and the filter I also bought a unique “lens” known as a pinhole lens. Before the use of glass or plastic as the lens on a camera a simple small hole like a pinhole in thin metal was all it took to allow light into a light tight box to make an “exposure”. The pinhole lens I bought is a pinhole in metal that is installed on a Nikon camera body cap that fits on a camera body in place of a regular lens. It has no focus or aperture. The opening is so small it is an f-180 (a typical lens is only f-22 at the most). It is the equivalent of a 50mm lens with my film cameras and about a 75mm on our digital cameras. I have made several pinhole cameras in my photo career but this is the first one that just fits on a regular camera body. It gives a very soft, dreamy, ethereal effect that is not suitable for people, but looks great for scenic imagery. The photo I have posted is one from the Japanese Gardens at the Ft. Worth Botanical Gardens. It was exposed at 2 ½ seconds. Obviously on a tripod. These are no digital effects, just the photo as shot. Enjoy!