Firstly, thanks for the response you guys gave for the website and blog. I Would love to share my experiences with films.
If there is one word that comes the moment I hear/think about the word Film, is MAGIC. Those who have used films would have definitely learnt the hard way. We loved it that way too.
My First Film camera was given to me by my dad by 1999. It was a Canon Sureshot 85. Spelled down by its Date feature during those days coz it’s hard to maintain dates, places written on film strips. This Canon produced amazing results even for a novice cameraman like me. After clicking more than 1000 pictures, the journey was satisfactory for me. The shots were mostly landscapes. I started learning how to maintain films by then. One of my uncle who went abroad called me from there and I asked him for a Camera where i can remove lens. (that’s how I knew SLR as). He came back empty handed. It was a disappointment & all i could do is, wait. I started learning the process of film processing and the types of processing.
It’s hard and very expensive to print and check the photo one by one. Like every other guy I used a torch in the bottom and a matt finished glass finish above it where I placed my film and checked it with a zoom lens on the top. The light projects the light into the film from bottom and I could check the focus & the image through. (Can’t find the procedures photos anywhere in internet).
Maintaining film itself is very hectic but a lovable process. It’s a beautiful thing when we browse 100s of films to get just one shot and write down its Numbers in Print labs inventory and wait for hours just to see it. The thrill is just missing these days. I used to organize films on the very cover which they gave for prints. They write down the numbers, size and date in it. It would be easy for the next printing sessions. Every roll is numbered with place, date, time in sketch pens. Now let me begin 🙂
My First SLR:
It was in 2002 where I convinced my dad to buy a SLR. Camera Citi was the showroom which showed me the way for SLR. I was shown different cameras but one thing that struck me with its features its none other than Minolta Dynax 5. It was an award winning camera that year. It has a very classy feature which is missing even in today’s SLRs. It focuses whatever it sees through the body movement. We don’t have to half press the shutter release to focus. It virtually acts like a Eye. I was bowled out and the camera was purchased for a whopping 40000 Rs. The excitement was so high I never bothered to open up the user manual but went ahead directly for the shoot. Took few of my dad’s friends to the beach at 8pm and daringly fired many shots without flash. Went ahead to print it in lab and the result was full of lines in black picture. “Well may be there’s something wrong with the film” I guessed.
“Well may be there’s something wrong with the film”
We bought a SLR now let’s go shoot goddamn it. Gimmie more was the word. Packed loads and loads of film rolls inside my camera bag. Few of our friends suggested Kumarakom our very own Gods Country. With additional information about Indian Prime Minister Vajpayee’s stay at Kumarakom (an added point to visit there). It was an out and out family vacation who had no idea on how I’m gonna torture them throughout the journey. For a journey which should end in 5-6 hours extended to 12 hours. Got down everywhere to shoot almost everything. Was busy shooting waterfalls which is a kilometer away with my kit lens with a blame going inside my heart (“Damn did that camera guy fool me? Why is my kit lens not focussing that waterfall which is just a KM away”). Finally reached the destination by midnight. Everything which got noticed through my naked eye was recorded. First time saw a snake which was just few feet away. Took a variety of birds through my Kit lens once again. With no idea about how to allocate films for every location I went dry on 3rd day completely. So did the battery. Ok we should have some stunning visuals is what ran in my mind. Reality is?
“Damn did that camera guy fool me? Why is my kit lens not focussing that waterfall which is just a KM away“
That Awesome Moment:
First thing I did after coming back to Chennai is running to print lab to check the prints . The Billing guy after seeing this much number of rolls gave an idea about “Index Print”. Index print is where all our prints are printed in miniature size where the whole of 36 exposures would come in a small sheet of paper. That index print came and it was filled with Black in color.
“Ok there should be some mistake with these printing guys. How can my prints be black?“
I asked them to print all exposures only to realize all those photos were either under or over exposed. In short USELESS. Less than 20 came out properly exposed among those 100s. That was a very very very expensive lesson to learn. Not to forget I should be ready to accept scolding from my family who were expecting to see their pictures.
Fine you have done some grave mistake now let’s concentrate on taking good pictures. Take that User manual out. Shutter, Aperture, Exposure read them again and again and again.
The blank exposure amount slowly got down from 30, 20, 10 and after months of learning all 36 exposures came out properly exposed. One fine achievement then. Shoot Shoot and Shoot was the word. There was no one whom I could ask help nor have proper guidance about photography. Everything was learnt by many many failed attempts.
Journey Will Continue . . .