FILM SPECIFIC FAQs…
Why not! It’s just a medium – like choosing oils or charcoals, carving wood or sculpting granite. Film, like any other artistic medium, just takes practice and patience to master.
WHAT KIND OF CAMERAS ARE YOU USING?
Most of the film I am shooting is standard 35mm film, using any of my many Nikons – my original F100, the amazing F4s, the absolutely built-like-a-tank F5, or my newest and last-of-the-breed Nikon F6. On occasion, I’ll also bring out my Hasselblad 501CM with an 80mm lens. The images from the 2 1/4 inch negatives this camera produces will blow any FX or DX-format digital camera out of the water – image quality-wise. ALL of the other Nikon lenses, flashes, and accessories are the exact same ones that I use when shooting digital.
CAN YOU STILL GET FILM?
Yes, film never went anywhere (said with a chuckle!) Both Fuji and Kodak never stopped making film, and camera stores never stopped carrying it. In fact, film has been evolving right alongside digital technology. Right now, I’m shooting Kodak Portra 160 & Portra 400 color films and Kodak BW400CN chromogenic film. Plus, I was so thrilled when I heard that Kodak wants to begin manufacturing their E100 slide film again – one of my favorites being brought back to life!! And, just recently, Kodak has put their amazingly versatile TMax p3200 high speed B&W film back into production. A true sign that film is making its comeback!
HOW DO YOU KNOW THAT YOUR IMAGES ARE TURNING OUT?
That’s actually a funny question! First and foremost, I am a photographer – metering and photographing is what I do, and have done for years. I actually used film for far longer than I’ve shot digital (15 yrs. vs 8 yrs.) And second, watch those “other guys” shooting digital who check every single photo on their LCD screen after every single shot. Obviously they aren’t too sure that their photos are turning out even with digital!
DO FILM IMAGES LOOK AS GOOD AS DIGITAL?
Another funny question! It wasn’t but 8 short years ago when people were arguing whether digital looked good enough to be used in place of film! Film hasn’t changed too much, and neither has digital – so the reverse of that argument must be true. Neither is better or worse – just different. Film has a subtle grain, an organic texture. Film can capture complex tones like digital never can. Film is much more forgiving in mixed or complicated light. You either like the creamy look of film, or you don’t.
DO YOU ACTUALLY PREFER FILM OVER DIGITAL?
Yes. I love the look of film. I love loading film. I smile to myself feeling film move through the camera as I shoot. I have been shooting more and more of my own personal photographs on film. Shooting film again feels like coming home to me. I developed my passion for photography shooting film, and I’m so glad it’s back.
TRAVEL PHOTOGRAPHY FAQs…
FIRST & FOREMOST – HOW TO TRAVEL WITH CAMERA GEAR?
My cameras and lenses are ALWAYS my carry-on. ALWAYS. That should go without saying, but I’ll bet more than one person has packed an expensive camera between a couple pairs of jeans and shoved that in their checked bag! Not the best idea. I have 2 camera gear specific LowePro backpacks; which one I take depends on how I am basing my shooting and trip. One pack holds more gear and is used when I’m more hotel-based. The other holds less camera gear, but more field gear, and is used when I’ll be wilderness-based for longer. Both of these packs fit easily into an airplane overhead bin. I’ve even fit them (surprisingly) under my seat on the small regional jets that fly me in and out of Montana. My carry-on will always hold the cameras and lenses, in most cases everything. However, when travelling heavy with gear, I’ll sometimes pull the vertical grips off the cameras or the shades off the lenses and pack those in my checked bag.
HOW MUCH GEAR DO YOU TAKE?
That depends on a few factors; where will I be shooting, what will I be shooting, how will I be based? For example: my last trip to the Grand Canyon was a hiking trip, a tent-based trip, a weight-based trip, and a landscape shooting trip. There was no reason to pack a heavy and bulky 70-200mm lens. For the Grand Canyon, I only wanted one camera and a few light wide primes (a 50mm, a 35mm, and a 24mm.) In Alaska on the other hand, where wildlife shooting was a high priority, that 70-200mm was a no-brainer, of course it went! And a second camera body with a wider lens for landscapes sat on the car seat right next to it (in Alaska, I was lodge-based.) Think out your specific goals for each trip and try to plan you specific gear to your main task. Will this backfire sometimes and I’ll wish I had brought a different lens? Of course, but try to improvise!
HOW TO TRAVEL WITH FILM…
Oddly enough, I have found it easier to travel with film nowadays, than it was in the days before digital! I keep my film in a Ziploc in the front zipper pocket of one of my LowePros. When you get to the TSA checkpoint, just ask an agent to hand check your film. OK, so I lie a little bit – they might ask you what speed your film is. Just tell them there is some 800 in there! I have not had a problem getting film hand checked. In fact, it usually sparks a cool conversation!