Last Batch

Professional Photographer Cork
Photography Old School

My small stock of film finally lost its space in the Freezer at the weekend.  In fairness it’s been there a few years at this stage and we have a glut of frozen blackberries that had higher priority.

I think I have a couple of rolls of standard colour neg film in the fridge but this was the ‘special’ collection of film which I’ll never be able to get again.  In particular I remember when I bought that last batch of HIE it was very hard to find any that was still fresh.  I’m not sure if you can still get the Velvia but certainly it’s very hard to get processed last time I tried (and that’s years ago).

I came to digital photography at an ideal time – the D3 generation of sensors was the tipping point where digital overtook film in pretty much all practical applications at 35mm or smaller.  While there was still an advantage to studio medium format at the time that’s pretty much gone at this stage.

So I never had to struggle with a film / digital mix.  I didn’t have to deal with lots of compromises in final image quality for the convienience and flexibility of digital.

But I still love film and would love to find more excuses (and time) so shoot some.

There is something in buying film that filled me with expectation and excitment about what you might create.  It’s like buying an artist’s pad of fine paper and a new pencil.

There’s a thrill of endless possibility and potential.

The world has moved on and digital has changed the way we take photographs forever – and mostly for the better.  We do tend to over-shoot and under-think, we don’t get to enjoy your images in the physical way we used to with printed film but we have the opportunity to experiment, learn, develop, create and share more than ever before.

The essence of good photography doesn’t change with the medium.  The proliferation of photographs in the world just highlights the difference between good and bad (because there’s a lot more bad) but the value of the good is under threat.

I’ll find a new home for my antique film and hope that when I finally find a worthy project for it it’ll still be capable of rendering images in its unique way.

For the record, Kodak HIE is an infra-red (IR) sensitive film what, when used with a suitable filter, was capable of recording reflected light in the IR spectrum.  So you get these wonderfully eiree landscapes with black skies and bright folliage (and ghostly portraits).  I love IR in the Irish Landscape but a couple years ago I converted a D70 to only record IR and moved to digital for that too.  IR photography is very experimental and it’s a lot easier with digital – although no way as much fun.  Fuji Velvia is a high quality slide film which renders strong, bright colour with very little grain.