It was a while since I shot black and white film. The last time was about two years ago, and although I was content with the way the images came out, I wasn’t impressed, and for whatever reason, I held out on shooting it again.

Until last week.

This time Im more than content, Im actually pretty happy, and I cant wait to insert another BW film in the camera.

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Last days of summer, in film | Personal

Here are some images (film images!!) of my little people, and their cousins, enjoying the last days of summer, at a FDNY Family Picnic in Long Island, NY.

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Fuji Xtra 400

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And a second roll, in just two weeks | Personal

And I did it again. I shot another roll of film, and again, I’m in love.

No, not all images came out right- under/over exposure, and bad composition took precedence in some of the pictures. And I’m actually not as happy with this roll, as I was with my last set, but content I am!

To look at these prints, and see how far I’ve come, is just so gratifying.

When I first picked up a film camera (after so many years), about two years ago, I had no idea I’d struggle, the way I’ve struggled. For some reason, I thought it would be second nature, since I was an avid digital photographer, and my dad shot film for so many years. But no, it wasn’t as easy. However, I did anticipate learning a lot more about photography in general, and that did happen. It’s still happening.

I find it impressive that I have such a better understanding of light compared to a few months back, and that my framing has gotten so much more interesting. And although I have a long way to go, I’m finally grasping the technical aspects of capturing a picture!  And all this without a lcd preview screen? It is mind boggling to me.

With each load, with each experiment, with each print, even the bad ones, Im understanding more, and I’m becoming more interested. Its becoming an obsession to want to take pictures all.the.time. The fact that I’m making my mistakes, learning from them, and even finding beauty in those mistakes is what has me so intrigued.

Like I wrote before, I’m just so in love with this format.

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Fuji Xtra 400

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Something keeps pulling me back in… | Personal

For whatever reason, I get bored. I retreat. I walk away. And I take breaks, long breaks. And during each single break I think, ‘ I don’t believe this is meant to be; I don’t think I have it in me to continue, to make this work; Im just not good enough’.

Failure, failure, success, failure, mediocre success. And failure once again. It’s a cycle.

But still, something always pulls back in. It’s like my heart mysteriously becomes enlightened, and all over again, I fall back into the thoughts that lured me in, in the first place- The tones. The light. The grain. The control. That essence of  ‘you don’t ever know what you’re going to get’. The mystique that differentiates you from all the rest. The often, beautiful mistakes. It’s actually such a simple, complicated story.

See, ’cause I don’t think Im bored. No, actually Im not. I think I just lack that confidence that pushes me to try harder. And its that lack of confidence that drags me into this dark place, where I sit and wilt. There’s so much I want to achieve, so much greatness I think I’m capable of, but then a setback, could be minor, could be big, that humbles me, and I get scared. I then end up frustrated, upset, and bored. That’s when I get bored. When I feel Im not capable of giving more, and in turn, not getting anything back.

Its as if I want things to work out, immediately. I’ve wanted that from day one.

I don’t want to deal with mistakes- artistically, monetary, or emotionally. I just want things to be great, from NOW. And funny, Im normally, not so desperate with goals, but I just expected this to be so much easier. The impatience grounds me.

But then each time I do take the chance to try again, Im reminded that each mistake has made me better. I stand back, see where I am now, and compare it to the past, and realize how much I’ve grown. If it weren’t for the mistakes, I wouldn’t have known how to approach things differently. I wouldn’t have known to change my perspective, and look at things differently. And I wouldn’t have bothered to change my focus, when focus was the only thing I needed. I wouldn’t have known to change my stance on some occasions just to let a different light in. And I can go on, and on.

So no, frustrations aren’t great, and yes, they can be paralyzing, causing you to stop dead in your tracks. But why do we insist on evaluating our journey based how much we have left to go, as opposed to seeing how far we’ve gotten?

At the end, Im still enamored with film. More today than yesterday, but likely not as much as tomorrow.

Its that love, that prevents me from ever really giving up on it.17880002178800042013-08-09_0001178800031788000817880005

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This is where I am now. Quite far from where I was some time ago, and to think, this relationship is just in the beginning stages. The thoughts of what awaits me, makes me so giddy.

Fuji Xtra 400

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Film. Back at it. | Personal

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These images are from a roll, that sat in my camera for about 6 months. A roll that I put into a brand new camera that I received for Mother’s Day.

Im not sure why it took me so long to unwind the film, and furthermore, Im not sure where that enthusiasm to see what I had photographed, was. But I do think a lot had to do with the fact that I flunked so many times before, with getting great images. And so many rolls of film were wasted.

Yea, I did get some pretty good shots, shots that I actually do love, but still, so many more images were never even recorded. Maybe it was the processing, maybe the lighting, maybe it was a fault with the (old, now broken) camera. Or maybe it was just me- Maybe I wasn’t made for film photography. So once I finished this film, its was no surprise that I wasn’t in any rush to see how bad of a ‘photographer’ I had likely been.

And so, it sat in my camera (my brand new Nikon film camera), for months. But then, I decided I had to see what, if anything, I had captured.

I dropped off my film, and left, but not before leaving a warning,’they probably wont even come out. But if they do, can you include a cd?‘. I then waited a few hours, and prepared for the ‘worst’- another blank film.

And then I got the film back. I received a thick envelope with so many prints, and a cd. I took the prints out, and saw one decent picture, then another, and another. And not only was I happy that the pictures were visible, but also, those prints were proof (for lack of a better word) that I do ‘kinda’ know what Im doing; that i have a good understanding of lighting and exposure; and that my eye continues to develop nicely.

So yea, you can bet that my spirits have been lifted, and my confidence boosted.

There is now another roll in my camera. A few shots have been taken, and Im excited to continue. Perhaps not all the images come out. Most likely a few will be over-exposed, and others out of focus, but whatever the case, Im going to be ok with that. I cant expect to get better if I don’t fail, then learn to understand the mistakes, and ultimately find a way to alter my technique, and try again.