// Posted by :Unknown // On :Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Fuji Velvia, 50 ISO, 4x5, Slide, Film, Hong Kong Harbor, Victoria's Peak,
Fuji Velvia 50 4x5 Slide of Hong Kong Harbor from Victoria's Peak
So excited!!! I just received about 50% of the slide film and all of the Velvia I shot on my trip to Japan, China, and Hong Kong. Now I'm going to take some time to talk about both the photos but also film.  Let me make something clear. I'm not anti digital. Those of you who spend a lot of time with me might think I am since I do talk about how much I love and enjoy film, and the positives it brings to the table.  I shoot digital quite a bit and greatly enjoy the convenience of instant images. I feel now in the digital age anyone can learn to take good photos quite quickly. That is awesome. The instant feedback digital cameras give, make it so easy to see your mistakes and correct them right away, without forgetting what it was that could have caused the mistake in the image.  I don't hate digital I just have more respect for film and the photographers who use it.  I'm going to stop now becasue I've said what I wanted to and I don't need to start preaching about film here. I'll save that for a different post. Right now I just want to share some film magic with you.
Fuji Velvia, 100 ISO, 120 Slide Film, Japan
Fuji Velvia 100 120 Slide Film Various Locations Around Japan

Most of us have been around long enough to remember a time without digital cameras.  No DSLRs, no cell phone cams, and no digital video recorders either.  If you think back to those days, all of us shot film. Duh~ That was the only option. When digital came out, it was awesome, easy, and cheap. Most of us never looked back, I mean why would we. The future had come, so join.  Now how many of you shot more than just a throw away camera? Hopefully most, but I know some of you haven't.  As a kid I used my dad's Minolta SLR and became fond of shooting macro photography with a 200mm lens.  I didn't know it was called that at the time, I just knew I liked the details I could see close up and the creamy bokeh of the background when I opened the lens wide open. I didn't know the rules, or names.  I didn't know what aperture, depth of field, or anything was.  All I really knew was how to use the in camera meter.   I got a few great shots purely by accident and loved them.  But more often than not, I would spend my hard earned cash on photos that were aesthetically just horrible.  And becasue it usually was a week or longer from when I took the photos to getting the prints into my hands, I didn't know what I could do to do to improve.  So maybe after a summer of shooting I gave up. This is one reason I know digital is very welcome to us. Cheep to shoot, easy to correct a shot.
Fuji Velvia, 50 ISO, 4x5 Slide, Film, Clock Tower, Kawloon, Hong Kong, Harbor,
Fuji Velvia 50 4x5 Slide Film Clock Tower on Kawloon side of Hong Kong Harbor
Why would I ever want to go back to no knowing if i got the shot? Why would I want to possible pay for a junk frame that wasn't exposed correctly? Why would I want to go back?  Very easy to answer. A few simple reasons. Magic, Romance, and Discipline. (maybe a good book title no?)
I'll start off with the magic of it all.  Digital photography was magical maybe the first time we experienced it. It was so new we couldn't help but be dazzled. But I think the razzle dazzle is long gone from digital as a capturing medium.  But there is magic in film.  Many old school photographers who spent the greater part of their careers using film might cures film's existence now that digital is hear since digital makes their jobs less stressful. These people usually disagree with me. I'm not in love with film becasue it is convenient because it really isn't. I think that is obvious. The magic is in the not knowing how your image will look like. The magic is in the planing your shot very carefully. The magic is in knowing you can't edit and your image will be pure. And my most favorite part of the magic is getting some physical back from the lab that you can touch and and share. I physical captured an image with chemistry on a physical medium. Sadly looking at these photos digitally just isn't the same.  In person, it is like you are really looking into a portal to the actual place I photographed. The quality is just fantastic. The photos you see here are a little dark since I just shot them with my camera. (Ironic, a digital camera capturing film) When I scan them they won't be so dark. 
I don't know how many of you have ever used slide film before.  I hadn't until this year. If you like colors in photos, you should pick of a roll of slide film while you still can.  Unfortunately I don't believe these films will be around much longer.  Already I can't get my slides developed locally.  I have to ship them out to Denver CO. Slide film is what all the National Geographic photographers used up until they started going digital. Give the magic a try.  You can't really understand unless you try for yourself. 
Fuji Velvia, 100 ISO, 120 Slide, Film, Japan
Fuji Velvia 100 120 Slide Film Locations in Japan
The Romance of film.  The ideal photographer for a story, movie, or model is a photographer who has a film camera.  Film cameras come in all shapes and sizes and produce all different kinds of images. The romance of man and a light sensitive box exploring with world, copying what they see and later working in a dark room to finally see what they got, is just great. This lifestyle is dying out.  Sure there are still plenty of photographers traveling the world shooting photos but it just isn't the same.  They are taking 100 x more photos than ever and it is rare if any ever get printed.  Professional DSLRs are being used to shoot tasteless bathroom selffies in the mirror or someone's meal at a restaurant.  There is just something about film that just screams to be printed. Printing in a dark room, just you and the chemicals. Maybe some music if that doesn't distract you from keeping time.
When I was traveling through Kyoto Japan back in October of 2012, i was wielding both a digital and film camera.  But the city was so old and thematic that I kept my film camera out most of the time.  I just shot through a roll of 220 film and found a shady spot to reload. A lady approached me and accused me of using film like it was a sin.  She said "you're using film!" in the tone a mother might use if she caught her child sneaking back home with an empty can of spray paint. She continued to say "You should give up film" like I was was doing some disservice to the photographic community by shooting film. I almost burst out laughing at her. Her attitude made no sense to me. I showed her that I was also using a digital camera so she would leave me alone, but I noticed that after that she seemed to become more irritated when she saw that I was continuing to use my film camera. I just thought "You aren't romantic." A street photographer named Charlie Kirk I've followed online said something like, Image quality isn't everything. I think that the journey to get the image is more important. Film is part of my journey. There is not right or wrong.
Fuji Velvia, 50 ISO, 4x5 Slide, Film, Mountain, Top, Sun Set, Japan,
Fuji Velvia 50 4x5 Slide Film Mountain Top at Sun Set in Japan
The discipline of photography is something I think is lost in digital photography. Imagine what riding a bike would be like if the bikes of tomorrow automatically balanced, automatically petaled forward, and had GPS navi and auto pilot.  Maybe the 10-year-olds of today would love that. All this stuff would seem cool. Make the feet a whole lot easier. But you may say, that doesn't sound like fun at all.  Down right lazy right? I agree. This is how I see photography in a digital age. The kid with a bike like this will never actually learn how to ride a bike. It gets the job done but there is a lot missed.  Now again I'm not a digital hater.  I'm just a film lover.  I have more respect for photography shot on film.  It is more difficult and requires a discipline that is lacking today. I'm not saying you can't be disciplined using a digital camera, just that it doesn't push you towards it like film does. I want to be a master in my art and that to mean means being able to get the image I want with any tool. The is a pride that come with a job well done when I create an image solely on skill. I'm not afraid or against using features when I have them but I want to be able to do just as good without them. This discipline I believes helps me understand photography more and open up my mind to creative possibilities.
Fuji Velvia, 100 ISO, 120 Slide, Film, Japan,
Fuji Velvia 100 120 Slide Film Icons of Japan
Let me talk a little about the tools I used to create what you see here. The big sand alone slide are 4x5 sheet film.  This means the film is much bigger than a 35mm cell. 4x5 film is just that, 4" x 5". The lage size of the film means that when printed grain will be much smaller than in 35mm film. Also since this film is many time larger than 35mm, 4x5 can be printed much larger without detail loss. Detail is incredible on 4x5 film, especially B&W film and color print film.
I use a Wista 45 4x5 field camera, to shoot 4x5 film.  It isn't light.  I carried that think up a mountain, racing the sun to try to shoot the sun set before it was too late. I felt sore fore days after. But the image quality made it all worth it. This camera gives you a real work out that is for use.
The images in strips of three are all on 120 film.  120 film is also much bigger.  I cut the strips here to be easier to photograph, but normally a roll of 120 film can hold 12 images. 120 film is called medium format. Shooting medium format film is the only situation shooting film is cheaper than digital.  Digital medium format cameras such as Hasselblad or Phase One cost $40,000+.  The depth of field on a medium format camera is great and it creates this unique separation effect of the subject from the background and foreground.  
I use many different cameras ranging in different qualities from pro to toy. These photos were shot on a Russian Kiev 6c and a Japanese Fujipet (toy camera).

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