film friday: summer 2013


When I first started shooting with film again -- thanks to the Hasselblad -- I was surprised at how new-and-yet-familiar photography felt.  Shooting with film, particularly with a vintage camera, is a slow, almost meditative process:  you have to manually wind the film, you have to make sure that the camera settings are just so, and -- the part that I had, illogically, forgotten -- you are subject to the ultimate exercise in photography patience, in that you can't see the image as soon as you take it, but instead have to wait to run through the entire roll of film.  The first few times I shot the Hasselblad, I was unreasonably frustrated that I couldn't just look at the back of the camera to see how the image turned out.  Eventually, though, I got over it, since the roll of 120  film used for the Hassie only has 12 shots on it, so it's pretty easy to run through a roll and get it to the film processor the next day.

You might remember, however, that since being bitten by the film bug, earlier this year I also dusted off my old Nikon FE film camera.  And while I love this old thing, using it has reminded me of yet another little film-camera-related frustration.

See, the 35mm film I buy for the Nikon FE comes 36 shots to the roll.  This, it turns out, is an awful lot of images, especially when in between each shot I'm doing the slow, methodical, meditative, get-the-settings-right-wind-the-film-manually dance.  So, given the pace, whenever I was using the FE, I'd find myself shooting maybe 5 frames with the thing, and then thinking to myself, "You know what? I'm done," before getting bored, retiring the film camera and picking up the digital again.  This means that the film sits for months in the camera before I can ever take it to the processor (kind of like it always did before I started shooting digital).

That's what happened with this roll of film I'm sharing today:  I had put the film in the FE months ago, and I hadn't found a reason to keep taking film shots.  I finally got tired of waiting for the perfect moment to take the camera out, so on Monday, I took it out for a spin to use up the last dozen-or-so frames, and took the film in to be processed that afternoon.  

When I picked up the processed film yesterday, I remembered that shooting analog isn't all frustration, since every time the film processor hands the images back to you, it feels like a mini-Christmas:  slowly opening the package, having no idea what you're going to see, or whether you'll even like it. It's awesome.

So anyway, these shots are from this most recent roll of film.  I apparently shot the first images at the beginning of the summer, and the last ones this week, so it's a pretty accurate chronicle of the last few months.  Something else I love:  these images were processed very minimally, so for me, it proves that there's something so nostalgic -feeling about film.  

These first shots below were taken when we went with our friends Trish and Carl and our kids to Lost Parrot Cabins.   We'd just arrived, but clearly hadn't been able to unplug yet (although please let the record reflect that even though I had a film camera in my hand, it technically wasn't "electronic").


Eventually, I managed to get them away from their handheld electronics, and everything began to look the way a July 4th weekend in secluded cabins should ...


... hours in the pool ... 


... and after, wet swimsuits on the balcony.  Perfect. 


The image above was taken a couple of weeks ago at Surfside Beach.  I love how the water "feels" on film.


The two photos below were taken at a relatively new haunt, Blacksmith Café.  I sometimes go there for breakfast after I drop Alex off at school, and the light is always so lovely.


These next shots were taken on Monday, at Glenwood Cemetery.  It's been around since 1871 and is the first professionally designed cemetery in Houston, where many famous people are interred (not the least of whom is aviator Howard Hughes).  I first learned about this place from my friend Jenny, when we went to shoot her red dress portraits.  It's incredibly serene (if vaguely creepy), as well as very, very beautiful.  I drove there specifically to get a few images of it on film.


The pretty building, above, is the office.  I love how it's this lovely fairytale building, surrounded by gravestones. 


I loved this angel statue. 


Finally, these last images were just taken around our garden.  (I admit it:  I was getting really tired of looking for things to photograph.)  


Our pecan tree is starting to bear fruit. 

That's how you know autumn's coming. 


The crepe myrtle is bearing its fruit, too: 


That's how you know summer's ending. 


So there you have it: my most recent roll of film.  It was actually my last roll, so I've ordered more -- but who knows how long it'll be before I finally get it through the camera. 

Have a great weekend, everyone. 


Song:  Sister moon, as performed by Herbie Hancock, featuring Sting.  I'm in a very jazzy mood, lately