Adventures with film
A few years ago I was given a Bronica ETRS medium format film camera. At the time I received it, I was full of good intentions to have some adventures with film. I bought some 120 slide film (Velvia 100) and then the good intentions sort of disappeared. That single roll of film took me the best part of two years to finish. For various reasons, I just never got round to finishing the roll. Anyway, I eventually finished the roll and I sent it off to be processed.
Within a week the developed film arrived back. What really struck me about the images was the vibrancy of the colours and the way the image seemed to leap out at you. It’s hard to explain, but maybe the fact you are holding the image you produced in your hand without any help from computer enhancement This could, in part, be down to using Velvia slide film. Velvia is known for it’s super saturated and vibrant colours.
It’s not like digital where the files live on a hard drive and very rarely get printed. Film is tactile, you can hold the slide film up to the light and just marvel at the richness of the colours of the image.
Once you have your film, there are a few options. You could get prints made from the negatives, or you could scan the negative and you then have all the options that you would have had with a digital file.
Why bother then, I hear you ask, if you are going to scan the negative and use a computer with the scanned image. Why not just shoot digital to begin with if you are still going to end up with a digital file. There are a couple of reasons to bother. The fact that film only has a finite number of shots per roll forces you to take a bit more time with each image and slow down your approach. This can only be a good thing as the extra time taken with each shot makes you concentrate a bit more and get the best composition. There’s no machine-gunning of images like digital can be, hoping for a decent image amongst a handful of frames. Film also has a unique look, various types of film give a certain look to images. This can be reproduced in photoshop with certain plug-ins but to me it’s still not 100%.
My first roll of 120 film in the Bronica ETRS
The Bronica shoots 6×4.5cm images and a 120 roll of film will give 15 images per roll. Here are some images from my first ever roll of Velvia slide film.
Buachaille Etive Mor (Stob Dearg to give it the proper name)
St Monans Windmill, St Monans, Fife.
Elie Lighthouse, Elie, Fife. You can see how the sunset reds have been super saturated by the veliva film. I had to tone down the reds in the scan as they were just too bright!
Lady Janes Tower, Elie, Fife. Another image from the same night as the one above. The ‘golden hour’ about one hour till sunset.
Loch Ard, Aberfoyle.
I was very pleased with the results of my first film, so much so that I have since put a few more films through the Bronica along with buying a few other additions for the camera.