Friday, May 14, 2010

On Photography

Let's face it. I'm a dying breed. I shoot on film. I like all the imperfections that come with it, and I even like having to wait to see my images.

While we're on the subject of waiting, here's a picture I took in the summer of 2008, while enjoying the sun and waves on Cocoa Beach for the Army.

Don't get me wrong. I've got no problem with digital, and I even shoot with digital most of the time - because it is easier (though getting a good picture is just as hard and the creativity is the same, you get to see if you messed up and you can try again immediately if you did).

This picture illustrates just what it is I love about film. Maybe this small size won't do it justice, and JPEG compression certainly does a number on the vividness of the colors, but the rays of the sun and the little film spot balancing them down at the bottom make this image what it is for me, and that film spot is exactly that - it would not exist like that in a digital camera.

This last picture would likely have been just fine with a digital SLR, or any camera in which I could precisely control the exposure as I did. I do think the colors are a bit more vivid than most digital cameras produce, but again, some of it was lost in the JPEG conversion (I've got the 23.7 MB tiff files if you want them...). Finally, though, digital cameras just don't quite do film grain, which is a feature of film images I've come to love - the "grain" that occasionally crops up in high-ISO digital photography is too perfectly regular, occurring as it does from a perfect grid of pixels. The alignment of particles on film is almost truly random, so the grain is never quite the same picture to picture, and I love that individuality of image.

Long story short, I like digital photography... but I love film.


  1. I like digital because I like to take hundreds of pictures in one day and I'm the most impatient person around. Even when I did use film, I also went and go the pictures developed the very next day.

    I believe my DC vacation consisted of 533 pictures on my SLR, 120 on my little canon and maybe 20 on my iphone.
    My problem is I will end up getting most of them printed anyway so I don't "save" money like most people do when they stop using film.

    I still wish I used film sometimes. I miss developing my own. I probably still have my old film camera somewhere. I haven't used it since college. Currently I own my 4th and 5th digital cameras so I've been using them for awhile.

    (why is it that when I should be sleeping, I'm reading your blog or your google reader? My flight is at 7:30am tomorrow)

  2. Oh and I love the one of Brie.