Why I Shoot Film

March Madness – the time of the annual NCAA college basketball tournament, generally throughout the month of March. But for me, March is so much more (because I could not care less about basketball if we’re being honest). The month of March means Rodeo Season here in Houston, Tx; And if you happen to be affiliated with the University of Houston, it also means Frontier Fiesta.

TL;DR: March =  little-to-no-sleep and advanced drinking.

How could one possibly create an entire ‘season’ out of a Rodeo a yankee might ask. Well yah west coast surfer bro… it’s possible. And not only is it just possible – it’s the largest Livestock Show & Rodeo, like anywhere. 33,000 people volunteer (including me) split amongst 100+ committees to make this glorious, month-long event happen.

What’s Frontier Fiesta? I’m glad you asked. It’s a student-led, student-run, annual event involving variety shows, live performances (this year’s headliner was D.R.A.M), cook-off contests, cook-off tents (like the only I was assisting with) and so much more. Basically, we had to plan and host a tent for more than +600 people over a 3-day cook-off event. I will admit we had a very successful tent with the help of a lot of great people.

WHY I SHOOT FILM:

Here we go, the good stuff. If you’re still reading this, I love you and your support. Lately I’ve been in love with my trusty ole Pentax K1000, which you may have noticed. To me, there’s a special love and challenge to doing this. There are three main reasons I shoot film.

#1 The challenge. When shooting film, you get 36 images per roll shot. A roll of 35mm film goes from anywhere between $8 to $15. If you can’t develop the film yourself (like me), it’s going to run you about the same amount or more to get it developed and scanned into a .jpg file. All things considered, it cost A LOT more money to consistently shoot film than it does to shoot digital. Because of this added cost, images are far more planned out and minimal snaps of the same scene are captured. I try to only take one picture of a subject or background, but will occasionally splurge if it’s a frame I want to try a different exposure on. This may seem obvious, but not being able to see your image until after development adds some sort of a thrill I can’t explain. It’s like nicotine to me.

When shooting digital I know I will take several snaps of a subject or background every time, just because I can. When I get an image just the way I want it on film: nailing exposure, framing etc. it adds so much more pride to the end result. I feel a special connection to the image, far greater than with a digital camera. I’ve even toyed around with the idea of selling my Nikon D750 to buy a monster medium format film camera (don’t worry I’m not that crazy – yet). Anyone that has shot film consistently before will likely tell you the same.

#2 I hate editing. I have no shame in admitting that I do not enjoy spending hours in front of a computer screen editing images. I have the hardest time with it, always changing my edits and settling. This isn’t to say I have given up on editing all together; have no fear (I’m not that crazy yet remember?) I still shoot the Nikon D750 and a recently acquired FujiFilm X70. I enjoy these cameras as I spent a lot of time and effort learning them. But the darn truth is that when I finish a roll of film – thats it. I did what I needed to do and will keep my fingers crossed for the next week, until I receive that glorious email about my photographs being uploaded for my viewing.

I hope to one day take this photography stuff of mine to a profitable platform, and I’d imagine I will become very busy. When you’re shooting a lot, spending hours in front of a computer sounds like a real drag to me (I sit in front of a computer at work for the most part). Being able to actually complete the photography process immediately after you’ve set your camera down is a freeing feeling.

#3 Image quality. Film quality is undeniably superior to digital. After all, film is where it all began. I have noticed many photographers on several social media platforms shooting very nice DSLR cameras, but editing their images to emulate the end result of film. Flash back to a previous post explaining ISO and ASA: the higher the ISO/ASA the more noticeable grain is present in the picture. Film is notorious for creating some of the most beautiful grain possible. And it’s exactly that – grain. When grain is emulated on a computer, what is truly being seen is called noise.

Noise can best be understood by relating them to pixels. Think of your old box TV (kids, hop on over to wikipedia) tuned to Channel 3 – black and white dots, swimming across your screen. Now think of these pixels making up an image on a computer screen. When trying to recreate grain, pixels are being blurred together to ultimately create noise. Noise is nothing bad, I add noise into my digital images all the time. What I’m trying to get at is, there’s only one OG.

These are a few of my favorite images from some rolls you may have not seen yet. I have many more film projects coming your way. Here’s to April!

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