Thursday night we ended up back in the darkroom to learn how to make proof sheets and enlargements. When you make enlargements you don’t need to be in complete darkness like you do when developing your film. So there was no inappropriate touching or scary ghost stories this time.
Instead we got to work in the glow of a sulfur light. This gives off a yellowish glow. [In a side note of interesting facts you may not know (or give two squats of shit about)...many street lights use sulfur lights. Other street lights use magnesium lights. If you look down on your city at night you may see some neighborhoods glowing yellow (sulfur) and others glowing blue (magnesium).] This sulfur lamp made everything in the room look like a sepia photograph. I spent the whole two hours thinking I was in old movie.
Our first assignment was to take photos of shadows. Our second assignment was to take portraits with side light from a window; first by a window with direct sunlight and then by a window with indirect sunlight. I think my shadow pictures turned out pretty well, but my portraits sucked. For one, I’m using a 50mm lens so I had to be pretty close to my subject to get just her head and shoulders. And that causes some distortion. Second, I screwed up the film trying to get it out of the camera (clearly I’m completely inept at this whole film concept) so I had to redo the entire roll (again). So the second time I was ticked off at myself and not on my game. When we moved to the indirect light I completely forgot to change my aperture.
As much as I have enjoyed learning how to develop my own film and make my own enlargements, the biggest lesson I’ve learned from Photo 1 is digital photography was the best invention known to man. (Ok, maybe not the best…there is the telephone and air conditioning and sliced bread, but digital photography is right up there.)
With digital photography I can take a photo, download it to my computer, edit it with Photoshop and print it in about 30 minutes. And it costs me nothing (well, other than the initial cost for the camera and Photoshop and the paper).
With film photography I have to buy film. I have to remember to put the film in correctly. I have to remember to take the film out properly. If I forget to set the aperture at the correct setting I don’t have a view screen on my camera to point that out to me. Instead I have to wait until I’ve wasted half a role of film and developed it. I have to pull the film out in the dark. Then I have to get just the right recipe for developer (depending on the kind of film I’m using) and at just the right temperature. I have to remember to agitate for 30 seconds and then for 5 seconds every 30 seconds. I have to remember to tap the tank so I don’t get air bubbles. I have to remember my stop bath and my fixer and my hypo cleaning agent plus my wash. Then I have to wait for my negatives to dry.
And then I still don’t have a photograph, because I have yet to print. It’s a whole other long drawn out process to print one flippin’ picture. It’s wearing me out just writing about it.
Here is a photo I took with my digital camera on Friday night.
Five minutes ago I decided I was going to add this photo to my blog. So I transferred it to my computer. Opened it in Photoshop. Made some color corrections. Sharpened it. Cropped it. And here we are five minutes later admiring my slammin’ photography skillz.
See digital photography good. Film photography bad.