I'm so glad you found me! I'm a San Francisco photographer, and this blog charts my journey in the ever-evolving world of photography. One of the things I love about photography is that it's a journey, not a destination. I'm constantly learning and meeting wonderful people. Please peruse the blog to your heart's content, then check out my website and feel free to contact me! (I love hearing from you.)

“Which of my photographs is my favorite? The one I’m going to take tomorrow." – Imogen Cunningham

“A portrait is not made in the camera but on either side of it.” – Edward Steichen

Is Film Better? Who Knows? Is It Harder? Yes, Maybe. Is It More Expensive? It Feels That Way, Yes.

OK, here are some shots from my first roll of film with the Elan 7n (what does the n mean? I haven't been able to figure that out yet. Nifty? Naughty? Negligent? N . . ?)

I bought some Kodak Ektar 100 and some Portra 160 to start with. These are all Ektar shots, I'll show you the Portra next week.

But first, I would really like a huge round of applause for having ANYTHING to show you at all. Honestly, I was expecting wildly over and underexposed shots, maybe some light leaks or the film not advancing properly (look, I know it's not a Holga, but I'm a beginner, ok?).

When I went to drop off my film for process, prints, and scan I was surprised that I didn't have to pay up front.

"That's because we only print the frames that were properly exposed," the surprisingly friendly guy behind the counter said.

I laughed nervously. "Well, hopefully all of them."


But I think we both knew that wasn't a given.

So when I came back two days later to be greeted with 72 prints (36 from each roll! yay!), I was just a little bit proud. Proud that shooting in manual mode on a film camera I hadn't totally screwed it up. Good pictures, bad pictures, who knew, but at least I had pictures. I was also a little shell-shocked that 2 rolls had cost me $50 to process (with 4x6 prints and a CD). That brought the total per frame to almost exactly a dollar each. I'd spent more on the first two rolls than I had on the camera.

So, anyway, here's about 25% of that roll. (I still haven't completely broken the habit of shooting multiple shots of the same thing, but I'm working on it.) Let me know what you think. I'm honestly not quite sure myself.

These shots are of the same subject as this blog post. Not shot the same day, so it's not an apples to apples comparison, the light was different, but they do have quite a different feeling.

And this shot is one that I think would also have felt completely different in digital. For one thing, I'm pretty sure that the sky would have been a bit more blown out.

The flower doesn't seem too different to me, however.

Also compare to the sunflower here. Again, different day, different location, different light, but still. I think you can see what the film brings.

I purposely haven't edited these photos at all, except to resize them a bit for the blog. Color, contrast, crop, it's all just the way I got the scans.

So, what do you guys think? Is film a fool's errand these days? It might be. But I think I'll play with it a little more. Any recommendations of other films I should try? I have a roll of Neopan 400 in the camera right now, and I'm finding it difficult to compose in black and white. And I think I want to try out Fuji's 160S and 400H sometime soon. Any other tips from people with more experience than me?


  1. I think film is very important to learn, as you really are careful about f-stops and exposure and whatnot. More thinking before you shoot. Obviously digital is simpler, but I imagine you'll find getting a good shot with digital is easier after you spend some time with film.

  2. That's my hope! Plus, there's something exciting about not knowing what exactly happened when you pressed the shutter button.

  3. Film? Fruitcake nutsiness if you ask me - but enjoy yourself! :)

    PS - I think film is easier than digital (as long as your camera has a built-in meter!). Film has a much nicer 'shoulder' at the highlights - harder to blow out a sky with film.

    And with color film, after you press the shutter, your commitment to improving that shot is pretty much over. With digital - it never really ends. Every few years there's some new PP miracle just begging you to revisit all your old files and start from scratch all over again. :)


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