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  1. #1
    df cardwell's Avatar
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    On the Virtues of Film

    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.
    "One of the painful things about our time is that those who feel certainty are stupid,
    and those with any imagination and understanding are filled with doubt and indecision"

    -Bertrand Russell

  2. #2
    Lee L's Avatar
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    So which film were you using with the goats?

    Lee

  3. #3

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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?
    Honey, I promise no more searching eBay for cameras.

  4. #4
    Sanjay Sen's Avatar
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    Nice story. What about the goats?


  5. #5
    df cardwell's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sensanjay
    Nice story. What about the goats?
    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 ?
    .
    "One of the painful things about our time is that those who feel certainty are stupid,
    and those with any imagination and understanding are filled with doubt and indecision"

    -Bertrand Russell

  6. #6

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    The best reason to have a drink I have EVER heard. As Coach would say, "Beauty, eh!"
    Honey, I promise no more searching eBay for cameras.

  7. #7
    Sanjay Sen's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by df cardwell
    An editor called. it was January. It was cold. It was snowing. Really, really snowing.
    <snip>
    <snip>
    There. Happy ?
    .
    Thank you! Another interesting story... Gotta love a good photo story. Now, can I see the picture?


  8. #8
    MurrayMinchin's Avatar
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    Ohhhhh...silly me...I thought it was YOU who flashed the goats

    Murray
    _________________________________________
    Note to self: Turn your negatives into positives.

  9. #9
    MattKing's Avatar
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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!

  10. #10

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

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