Pour Me Another

The title and tagline for this blog both allude to hunting, and with photography that is what I have always been doing.

Though it has evolved.

The early days of me shooting with any seriousness were around a decade ago, with humble Sony Cyber Shot camera phones. 

I had no awareness of focal length, ISO, aperture, or shutter speed, and my only experience of film photography had been seeing my nan snap religiously at any family gathering with her folding Kodak Pocket Instamatics, then taking in the film for processing and getting the negatives and prints back an hour later with a free film to boot.

With my cameraphones, the only kind of creative control I knew of was manipulating the focus.

A squeeze of the shutter button would lock focus before a full push would capture the shot. Everything else was auto.

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Sony Ericsson C902

Ironically, for me those kind of phones (my first I recall was a K800i) were far more tactile and enjoyable to use as cameras with “proper” metal buttons, than the ubiquitous touchscreen phones today. But that’s a thought for another thread.

With my Cyber Shot, I was simply hunting for beautiful scenes in remote places, which often meant me wrapping up on a freezing winter morning at dawn to try to capture sunlight across frosted spider webs and the like.

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Sony Ericsson J10i2

Obviously because the phone was digital, I had immediate feedback, both on the screen before I captured the shot, and immediately after.

The phone was just a device, a tool for making images, or rather gathering up the most beautiful images I could find scattered in the nooks and crannies of the English countryside.

Some years later, and deeply immersed in 35mm film, I now have far more knowledge and more variables to experiment with. Which means the hunting is also about the kit, not just the compositions.

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Minolta Dynax 7000i, Tokina SD 28-70mm, Truprint FG+200 expired film

As I’ve evolved via different cameras (last count of cameras I’ve run at least one film through was 98…), I’ve come to learn what matters to me most.

And the measure of these variables – that scattering of ingredients when spun in a particular combination result in photographically magical experience for me, is very simple.

When I click the shutter button on the last shot of the roll, do I think “That’s a relief, I can move on to a different camera now”? Or instead do I instantly think “I love this combination, load me another film immediately!”

Put another way, as soon as I’ve sipped the last drop of the delicious liquid in the glass in my hand, do I urgently shout “Pour me another!”?

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Minolta X-300, Minolta MD 50mm f/1.7, FujiFilm Superia 100 expired film

Current set ups that inspire this feeling are my Pentax MG with SMC Pentax 55mm f/1.8 lens, Minolta X-700 with Minolta MC Rokkor-PF 55mm f/1.4 lens, and my Minolta Dynax 7000i with Minolta AF 50mm f/1.7 lens.

All of these I enjoy hugely.

The film inside is a minor consideration, in terms of the enjoyment of using the cameras/lenses. But for the end result – still a factor for me, after all don’t we all want to make beautiful pictures – the current favourite is expired FujiFilm Superia 100.

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Minolta X-700, Minolta MC Rokkor-PF 58mm f/1.4, FujiFilm Superia 100 expired film

How do you know when you’ve had a wonderful photographic experience you immediately want to repeat? 

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6 thoughts on “Pour Me Another

  1. Yes! When I love a camera I immediately stick on another film after developing the first one. On the other hand I have been known to not finish a roll and rewind in mid-film when I really don’t get along with a camera (the film is usually finished in some better loved gear).

    But anyways, I really try to concentrate on just some few cameras now. The pictures are more important than the gear!

    1. I don’t think I’ve ever abandoned a camera and finished off the film in another. In the same way I have struggled on with a rubbish book or film, just to finish it – I don’t like leaving things unfinished once I start!

      Plus sometimes the best shots come right at the end. I shot a roll with an Olympus mju 1 recently and the best three shots of the roll by far were the last three. Like the camera (and maybe me) had just got warmed up and in the flow by then!

      For me there is this constant dilemma of shooting another roll in gear I absolutely love (these days one of my Contax SLRs, mostly the 139 Quartz, and an M42 prime) or trying a roll in something new/different.

      There’s also that thrill and challenge of taking a cheap and potentially rather rubbish camera/lens and being able to eke some decent pictures out of it.

      I’m sure these feelings are far from uncommon!

      1. Sure, you’re right. Real love needs time…. but when the darn thing annoys you at every shutter press, what can you do.

        Last time was me ‘new’ Lomo LC-A, the shutter button has to go way into the camera casing to trigger. I’m not bothering to get it CLA’d so out comes the film and off it goes to eBay. Mind you, I’ll give a full description and it essentially works very well….

  2. Yes, as Lomography sell their crap LC-A+ at 250€, all the eBay sellers have jumped on the bandwagon and ask crazy prices for the old LC-A’s.

    And it’s a hit and miss… well more often miss with that camera. Anything can go wrong. I once got one advertised as great condition that smelled of mold even when still in the packaging.

    Otherwise it’s a pleasing camera with quite a loud shutter sound (prefer my Oly XA2!). The lens is soft, distorts… in short it’s crap but manages to catch the eye sometimes. Liked it but in retrospect… well, I can live without.

    1. There are so many very good compacts, it takes something a bit different to impress me these days.

      I’ve recently honed down my SLRs to two mounts (M42 and C/Y), with four cameras in each mount.

      Now it’s time to get similarly focused with compacts, and get down to maybe three, from the dozen or so I have.

      I’m thinking currently Olympus XA, Konica C35 EF3 and Minolta AF-S.

      But some of the best pictures I’ve seen with LCAs have been very impressive and appealing indeed, so maybe there could be a place for an LCA too!

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