The magic (and disappointment) of film

The last few times I’ve travelled overseas I’ve taken along one or two small(ish) Minolta instamatic film cameras. Maybe I’ve been inspired by Terry Richardson, or maybe I just want to have that little bit of doubt every time I take the camera out and the little flutter I get from gambling with the expected outcome.

Film is certainly a gamble. It used to be pretty bloody hard to get decent snowboard shots when you were working with slide film and not given the lattitide for exposure correction that regular negative film has (ie, in the processing of “regular” film into photos the lab can correct most minor mistakes you made in over or under-exposing your shots). Digital has made things even easier, with mistakes being able to be corrected in Photoshop or Adobe Lightroom. (You may have noticed that ever since Himbrechts put me onto Lightroom I’ve used the preset colour/saturation/etc settings on many of my photos, just to make them a bit more interesting). But not only that, digital allows for the snowboard style police to instantly check a frame and make sure arms, body, head and grab are all the way they should be…and if not, it’s a hike up the hill for the rider and another attemt to “get the shot”.

So it’s nice to play around with film when the end result isn’t so important, like with my travel shots. And I’ve always liked to add an extra level of “gambling” on the outcome by putting in rolls of slide film and then getting it cross-processed in the chemicals normally used for regular negative film. Here you can see the outcome of only 2 rolls I shot on my travels. I thought I had snapped off more frames than a mere 72 in 9 weeks, but I guess digital is really taking over my life if the amount of shots taken on my little Sony Cybershot are anything to go by. You’ll probably recognise a fair bit of the same subject material from my previous posts – I often wanted to be able to compare the film to the digi shot.

If you are interested, the film I used here was Kodak Ektachrome 100VS, cross-processed and scanned lo-res at Vanbar Imaging in Carlton. And I’m not sure if the gamble paid off. I’m not so happy with all the end results – maybe I expected more? I dunno. Maybe next time I’ll take alond a Canon EOS5 film SLR with a cheap zoom lens and use that as my “Go-To” cross-process beast: it’s fairly compact (certainly much more so than my 2 EOS 1 bodies), it seemed to handle tricky exposures well, and I got a heap of published snowboard shots back in the day with it, so it has good memories.



Committed to all things rad ... man! Snowboarding, surfing, photography, journalism, travel, fashion, art and anything else that pops into my mind is what you might find here. And the Radman nickname? It was coined by a couple of snowboarders back in 2006 and has well and truly stuck!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: