More Misadventures in Film Photography

A few weeks ago, we went on safari at Chitwan National Park. Chitwan has a good population of rhinoceroses and tigers, among other animals, and we were hopeful of some sightings. Normally, I’d take a digital camera for a trip like this, but my only long lens at the moment is a Nikon 70-210 mm, so I took the FM2,

It didn’t work out as planned. Besides the dust marks on the negative scanner, which can be fixed in easily in post, many of the negatives were marked with streaks and bizarre colors. It’s possible that the problem was with my film, but it’s just as likely that the developer’s technique and/or chemicals were off. In the future, I’ll develop my own color film. In the meantime, here are some images corrected as best as I can do.

Misadventures in Film Photography (one of a series)

I love film photography. An analog, all metal camera just feels different in the hands. The loading of the film is like a little dance. The shutter’s click tells you that you’ve captured an image, with no way to erase it, and the film winder tells you that you’re ready to do it again.

The downside, of course, is that you don’t know what you’ve captured; and once you’re done, you are at the mercy of the film processor. That’s when you discover whether your lenses are really sharp at the corners; whether you’ve stored your film properly all this time to maintain its quality; and whether the processor’s chemicals and equipment are all they should be. If any of these go wrong, you can try to “fix it in post,” but that will only get you so far.

Recently, I went shooting with my Nikon FM2 (not my D700) at Boudhanath, an enormous stupa dating from the 8th century. With my iPhone camera, it looked like this:

Out of my Nikon FM2, however, it looked like this:

The images have character, sure, but I can’t say that I’m going to stick with film for the next three years.