last call

Fishing nets on Kodak ASA 800 colour negative film

Toronto. Twenty years ago this month was the last time I ever shot film. I used Kodak colour negative film with a rating of ASA 800 – an amazing speed at the time. The film was used during a trip out west.

Preparing for the trip, I had both my Leica M4 and a Coolpix 990 (about 3.14 mpx) as choices. The month-long trip around BC and Alberta  by rail, boat, and auto was with my youngest. I had planned to take the 990, using the trip as an excuse to buy more digital cards. I was soundly outvoted and ended up taking my all mechanical Leica instead.

I added a 50mm lens and a 28mm lens plus a Gossen light meter. The Gossen used mercury cells which were banned by then. I belatedly found out that a converter to fit the Gossen was ‘special order’, so instead I used alkaline cells and calibrated the meter each morning.  I think the shot at left was during our visit to Prince Rupert – fishing nets resting on the pier.

Since returning home, I have used various digital cameras. My newest being an elderly NEX-6 (16.1 mpx) along with the camera in the last version of the iPod Touch (8 mpx). Both have auto white balance, auto focus, auto metering, etc. making them nearly idiot proof.

I still have my M4. While I like the ease and flexibility digital technology, analogue images developed and carefully printed have a certain mystique about them. As I think film, I think those were the days! To modern day folk, film was a dead slow media and old film cameras just unforgiving mechanical and optical instruments. Good results took skill, not just pointing and clicking… Last call, anyone?

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