On the Virtues of Film

Discussion in 'Ethics and Philosophy' started by df cardwell, Feb 14, 2006.

  1. df cardwell

    df cardwell Subscriber

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    This is a little thing, but it shows the systematic generosity of FILM and how it makes life a little happier.

    This weekend I shot a birthday party for some friends. A 90th birthday.
    It was a big deal, lots of friends, lots of family, and a very, very good time.

    I knew lots of the folks: friends from the neighborhood, from church, and the town in which I live. Perfect.

    The job was to record the event, casually but professionally, and get lots of pictures of folks over 80 years. Show the life, not the wrinkles. Don't be in the way. ( and from hard experience, something that would be deathly to try with digital ).

    Here's how I shot the 'do'.

    I used a Nikon F2, with a 50/1.4 and an 85/1.8.

    A vintage Metz 60 ( with a remote sensor ) and a Chimera 16x22 lightbox.

    The Metz is about 25 years old, and has survived two swimming pools and a hot tub, numerous baggage handlers, and bizarre incident involving a dog, a jeep, and two goats. Don't ask.

    Basically, a state of the art outfit, circa 1980. I shot Fuji NPS. It was processed and printed on a Fuji Frontier.

    I remember the recent days of labs perversely proofing 35mm through mylar sheets. I don't miss that one bit.

    The shooting was easy, fun, and I was confident the exposures would be good. With the extended useful range of NPS ( like EK's Portra ) I could over-expose by 5 stops and still be alright. But quick meter readings beforehand showed the old non-TTL flash was +/- 1/2 stop throughout the hall, from 4 feet to 20 feet, and I exposed with a little generosity.

    For close-ups of the birthday girl, and some of her friends, a Nikon Soft 1 discretely went onto the lens.

    It was all "f/4 and be there."

    And the dinner was great. The entire "WORKFLOW" was no more than:
    1. Shoot 2. Drop off the film 3. Pick up the pictures 4. Deliver, and get hugged.

    When I picked up the snaps today, it was like every other time since I was 16 when it all worked out right. Rich color, accurate color, flattering lighting ( with the Chimera box, eyeglasses didn't even glare ) and the form, and bone structure of all the faces of men and women... of a certain age... looked great with not an unseemly wrinkle to be found.

    I knew everybody would be happy.

    And, surprised, I reaized somebody was looking over my shoulder.

    He said, "Great shots, man."

    - Gosh, thanks.

    "Which camera you using ?"

    - Uh, umm. Nikon ?

    "Oh, the D2X ? "

    - Umm, no an F2... old camera.

    "You shooting film ?"

    - Um, uh, well, yeah.

    We looked at the pictures.

    "TTL ?"

    - No. Just dialed in a little overexposure.

    "Why are they so good ?"

    - Film did the hard work, I just went to the party.



    Be good everybody. Shoot film, have fun.

    And three cheers for NPS and Portra, and the dazzling printers that make us look SO good.

    And the Metz. But NEVER ask about the goats.

    d.
     
  2. Lee L

    Lee L Member

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    So which film were you using with the goats?

    Lee
     
  3. Earl Dunbar

    Earl Dunbar Member

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    Don: This is my experience also; it's all SO much easier.

    But do you REALLY expect us to not ask about the goats?
     
  4. Sanjay Sen

    Sanjay Sen Member

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    Nice story. What about the goats? :wink:
     
  5. df cardwell

    df cardwell Subscriber

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    An editor called. it was January. It was cold. It was snowing. Really, really snowing.

    The advertiser got the publisher out of bed.

    The publisher got the editor out of bed.

    The editor got me out out of bed.

    I went out into a fricking blizzard. The advertiser had a boutique farm.

    His beloved goats got out of their enclosure,
    and somehow on to the roof of his house.

    "Won't this just be a darling picture ?"

    Jeep. Ladder on top of the jeep.

    Blizzard, 2 am. Nikon. 180. f/5.6. Tri X. Metz. FLASH !!!!

    Goats go berserk. One falls off into a snowdrift. I fall off the ladder into a snow drift with the Metz. Metz goes off. Goat goes crazy, attacks the dog. Advertiser starts screaming like a maniac.

    I go home, tear the phone out of the wall, have a drink.

    Great picture. Won an award.

    Advertiser stops me in the street:

    " Kid, you'll never work in this business again !".

    I still have the Metz, but I haven't worked with goats since.



    There. Happy ?
    .
     
  6. Earl Dunbar

    Earl Dunbar Member

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    The best reason to have a drink I have EVER heard. As Coach would say, "Beauty, eh!"
     
  7. Sanjay Sen

    Sanjay Sen Member

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    Thank you! Another interesting story...:smile::smile: Gotta love a good photo story. Now, can I see the picture? :D
     
  8. MurrayMinchin

    MurrayMinchin Membership Council

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    Ohhhhh...silly me...I thought it was YOU who flashed the goats :smile:

    Murray
     
  9. MattKing

    MattKing Subscriber

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    Errington B.C.

    You probably don't want to travel to Errington, BC.

    There is a tourist attraction/market there that is quite well known.

    It has an old barn-like building, with shops and a market inside, a thatched roof, and a claim to fame - goats on the roof!

    The tourists love it! :D
     
  10. vet173

    vet173 Member

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    Truth is stranger than fiction, cuz fiction has to make sense.
     
  11. Soeren

    Soeren Member

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    Could have been worce. Could have been a Bull :D
    Cheers Søren
     
  12. kwmullet

    kwmullet Member

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    two ripping good yarns.
    Thanks d. !

    -KwM-
     
  13. Lee L

    Lee L Member

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    He can't have been very experienced at this kind of thing. He didn't even ask for alternative takes? Dog on the roof with the goats, goats on the barn roof, can we get a horse on the roof?, wouldn't it look great if.... etc. You obviously needed an art director on this shoot. :smile:

    Great story.

    Lee
     
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  15. df cardwell

    df cardwell Subscriber

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    I did, but I didn't want to tell that part. Stuff stays on the internet forever.

    Oh.

    DOH !

    .
     
  16. SuzanneR

    SuzanneR Moderator Staff Member

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    Great stories, Don... thanks for sharing. Gave me a good laugh over my morning coffee. Those b-day pictures will be very meaningful to the grand and great grand young 'uns!

    Perhaps the goat pic will be meaningul to the "kids", too. :tongue:
     
  17. df cardwell

    df cardwell Subscriber

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    In every good story, there is ALWAYS a little bull....

    .
     
  18. MurrayMinchin

    MurrayMinchin Membership Council

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    Suzanne, that's baa aa aa aad!

    Murray
     
  19. avandesande

    avandesande Member

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    df you nailed it. I am a computer professional and I find dealing with a DC a PITA. Much easier and better results when I can just drop off a roll of film. I wonder how people that stink at computers do it?

    Soon they will be selling strips of disposable memory that you drop off at the lab.
     
  20. jd callow

    jd callow Moderator Staff Member

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    Many labs will take memory cards and sticks, along with CD's, DVD's and zips. From the consumer level it is an interesting phenomenon. People used to shoot film, drop it off and come back for the prints. Years latter you can find the prints (often faded and or stuck together), but the negs are no where to be found.

    Now people load up there memory cards, print a few out, email some, post a few on the net, or even drop the card/stick etc. off to have prints made. They then delete the originals and move on.

    Its sad, I wonder if we can blame Bic
     
  21. Lee L

    Lee L Member

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    For the disposability trend, or for people burning their negatives? :smile:

    I propose that all APUGers write to Bic and demand they revert to manufacturing fountain pens, refillable sturdy metal lighters, and straightrazors. We have enough clout that we can turn this thing around if we all pull together. :smile:

    Lee
     
  22. roteague

    roteague Member

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    Of course, you realize that the Fuji Frontier is a "digital" printer. :tongue:

    .
    .
    .

    Fuji just introduced a new version of the Frontier printer at 2006 PMA - it will scan upwards of 4000 35mm negatives an hour.
     
  23. NikoSperi

    NikoSperi Member

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    Yeah... nice story but I'm afraid we're gonna have to see that picture. ;-)

    I will, in good faith, concur and say NPH stands for "I'll save your exposure" in Japanese.
     
  24. df cardwell

    df cardwell Subscriber

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    And PROUD of it !


    :D
     
  25. nc5p

    nc5p Member

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    Thank you for the goat story. I own two goats (I'm too lazy to mow) but have never used a flash around them. The warning is well taken and I'll be sure to not ever use it out back.

    Doug
     
  26. digiconvert

    digiconvert Member

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    Just to add to the vote of confidence in film,
    I just shot my first wedding (fanfare of trumpets and break out the valium ) which was a wedding present for my Brother in Law and his new wife.
    Anyway, I shoot film - in this case 35mm- not digital so I was a little apprehensive about it all, no deleting and shooting again!

    The day went quite well, a little cold for too many outdoor shots and not the most photogenic of locations for the reception, if you know what a 'miners welfare' is that is where it was held- we know our roots around here, but not too many problems.

    Back to my title, I dropped the film off at my local ASDA/Walmart on the Sunday morning, 1 hour later I had 2 developed films,60 odd 6x4 prints and a CD with Hires and lo-res images, my wallet was lighter by just under £12 ($20/euro). The 'clients' were able to choose from actual prints which ones they wanted in the album and I am now in the process of using PS to crop/modify etc. prior to printing at 8x10-which looks very acceptable.
    Compare this with digital, I would have had to download the images in some way to get the 'proofs' or else shown them on screen, my in laws do not have a computer. The process of sorting photographs for them would probably have taken longer.
    I am doing to the CD images what a digital photographer would do anyway, so I am no worse off than they would be.
    The killer of course is cost- Cost of film plus processing (additional to what a digi photographer needs to do-but assuming no proof prints were produced on digital) is around £18 ($25/euros) but the camera plus lens cost £80 ($100/euros) - how many of these events could I do before I had paid for a new digital ? (I guess around 20-30) and would the digital be 'old technology by then ?

    I can see why a press photographer with a top spec digital would use this medium- it makes economic sense and fits into the digital workflow of a modern publication- but for a reasonably competent amateur there seems to be no benefit to the user BUT a huge benefit to marketing departments of the camera companies.