Turning over a new stone...

This one week dealing with film and the darkroom (well just developing rolls) has taught me so much about photography and about myself.  One, film has helped me realized that I need to make every exposure count.  If I waste it in one situation, that's one good frame that's lost.  Film has also helped me learn that your camera gear doesn't matter one bit.. It's not creating the art.  You, the flesh and bones behind the camera are, it just happens to be your brush and canvas.  

Indeed, I did buy a Leica M2 to shoot film with.  Does it make my compositions better?  Not one bit, you can bet that.  But the Leica helps me become one with the scene and the frame I'm capturing.  With digital, I'm merely observer.  I see something interesting, I press the shutter, and record the situation.  Shooting film, especially with Sunny 16 (no meter), I am enveloped in the enviroment -- I'm part of it.  How?  The completely mechanical Leica m2 forces me to interpret the light, understand the shadows, and calculate what sort of depth of field I'm going to have.  Thick, bold shadows and the sun is shining bright down on my subject?  My jupiter stops down to f/16.  I move the splitimage inside the viewfinder to match the subject, but I know that because I'm some distance away and f/16 provides a ridiculous amount of depth of field, so I don't fret if I don't focus 100% correctly -- depth of field has me covered.  The quiet, but audible click of the cloth shutter gracefully exposes my film to keep an image to be later developed by me in the darkroom. I take the photo.  I'm the one who makes the film magically turn transparent.  I'm the one who decides what to do with those negatives.  My computer, my harddrive, or the internet are not the ones who keep track and store those images.  It's me, physically!  I cut and seperate the negative frames.  I'm the one who chooses where in my room I store them.   And it's my fault if I lose or destroy them, not up-to some higher electronic God to determine if my photographic ones and zeroes become corrupted.

Yes, yes I can replicate all of this in digital.  I could shoot in manual.  I could just use lightroom to tweak my photos.  I could specifically organize my images electronically.  And you know what, I d0!  What's wrong with doing both :)?

Seriously, if you shoot mainly digital, you owe it to yourself to try film out at least once.  The look on your face when you finally open up the developing tank after fixing to see that the film afterall made it out okay, is priceless.