So my wife and I have made it to Amsterdam and after a month we’re now half-way through our trip before we leave for Iceland, Paris and then head back to Cape Town.
Here’s a list of what I’ve learnt along the way with regards to photography while travelling:
In the Bag
Analogue camera bodies weigh a lot less than their digital counterparts. The batteries, CF cards, SD cards, chargers and all the other pieces that make up the digital workflow just add up to something you think twice about when going out for the day. There is a certain peace of mind you have when all you need to do is grab your body, spools and some lenses.
It can be very costly to scan negatives. It’s about 9 up to 11 Euro to scan one spool. If you’re a professional photographer, you can have upto 5 spools that need to go through the process, so it can affect your budget quickly. Negative scanners are bulky and you won’t have space in your bag of one. The other option is to buy a small scanner like the Braun NovoScan 1, but it won’t give you the quality you need, and it’s rather a sampler to choose images before scanning.
The feeling I get from photographs I’ve taken on 35mm, vs what I get with the digital body differ. I am not sure if it’s the film vs. sensor, the quality of 35mm negative film vs digital RAW files, or the time I take to compose the shot with analogue vs the multiple shots I take of a given moment when shooting digital.
It takes time to change the spool every 36 shots. Moments aren’t missed, but the energy you have while shooting is interrupted by it. (You also have to let the model know about being a lot slower than what a digital session would entail.)
After the fact
There is also no check to see if you’ve got the shots you want until you have it processed and scanned to disc. This can take up to two days until you have any idea.
But, the time I take to post-process the files vs that of a digital RAW differ immensely. I almost need no retouching, and the grading is already done with 35mm. I might push contrast or dodge and burn certain areas, but it’s mostly done on the fly. With a digital flow I have to emulate the film aesthetic, and edit it to show the images in my style.
Overall, I usually shoot digital for work and analogue for my personal projects. What is possible to do, is to use the digital as a light-meter in studio, so your shots will be correctly exposed.
When snapping images as part of my life story, I take it with film. There is just a nostalgic feeling I get when going through them, similar to when looking at my parent’s photo albums, and I enjoy going through my images captured on film a lot more than the digital pics. I ‘feel’ them a lot more, and they mean a lot more today just because of the fact that it’s the medium I chose to use for my passion and personal work.