Learning Black and White Film Photography
Happy Halloween! Tomorrow, November is here. Pretty long time since I’ve updated this website. My last update was back in August, and I made up my mind just now: I have to post something just before October ends. Hello, very much alive here.
Sooooooooo many things have happened, and about to happen soon! And I am happy to share that I have crossed film photography off my bucket list! Like legit film photography using SLR, or single reflex camera. I enrolled in film photography class last August even though I was not required to take it. Bummer. But hey, I’ll live.
It’s not about trying to channel some hipster vibes or to look cool. I have always desired to learn photography ever since my dad gave me a point and shoot Kodak camera when I was a kid. Wanted to master photography but never really got around doing so. Yup, #adulting happened. Well… everything, this time, just fell into place, I guess. I had free time; and the subject was offered this sem during my free sked. And I had extra moolah. What luck came my way, I know right.
When I learned about it, I didn’t consider the price to pay. My excitement got a hold of me. And in hindsight, that might have been a blessing in disguise because if I seriously thought about it, I might have reconsidered and backed out.
For those who wanna know more about this, here are a few things that you should consider if you wanna take film photography (based on what I had experienced so far):
- Magastos (!!!!) It is an expensive course. No doubt. A black and white film roll of 36 shots costs about 300 pesos (Ilford HP5 plus). Developing and processing fee at a film lab might charge you around 300 pesos as well for one film roll. Film scan- 100php. And printing… well that depends on the size of the photo paper. And factor in the SLR camera. You may get a secondhand unit at Quiapo which price starts from 3000php. I got my Canon AE-1 at around 5000php there.
- It will test your patience. Which is one of the major reasons why I opted to take this course before jumping into digital photography. I must admit, being patient hasn’t been my strongest ability. Photography reminds you to have it in place because damn, the entire thing is costly and every moment is fleeting. Another trivia: Did you know that a single 8×10 black and white photo paper is around 70pesos?? So you better study the subject and scene in front of you, compose the shot, and double check your gear and settings before firing that shutter. Because you don’t wanna go home and develop your roll and end up looking at a poorly-composed shot. And yup, you can never have that exact moment again. Unlike shooting in DLSR, you can just go ahead and fire away and select your best shots AFTER. Seeing the results right away makes it whole lots easier. But not in film. Which is why it trains you to really think before you click.
- It encourages you to “see” or “look” at things in a special way. Our world is full of color. So you have to imagine things in black and white. But for that to work, you have to consider some elements so that your photos will stand out. That includes: texture and contrast. So you have to pick your subjects carefully. A majestic sunset at Roxas Blvd will not be as amazing to look at in black and white as it does in color. In short, it demands you to broaden your imagination and creativity.
- It allows you to step back and take it all in. Because we live in a fast-paced world when instant gratification is at play, film photography has become therapeutic to me. No kidding. I long for the days when I do photo walks because my mind is offline, and I am just focused on getting a good exposure. It’s inspires us to seek more of what we need in a chaotic, noisy world: focus.
- It encourages you to explore. Photo walk! I have been to Manila’s iconic spots pretty much every weekend ever since August. Escolta, Luneta, Intramuros, Roxas Boulevard, CCP.
- It urges you to have fun and experiment. The city, the people are always there. It’s up to you how to capture and frame them, and ‘take them home with you’ thru a shot.
I am sure I will discover more of photography and more of myself in the days to come. Meanwhile, in my next post, I will be sharing with you some of the photos which I took, developed, and scanned/ printed myself. 🙂