Such is the odd, pleasant surprise of the unexpected. Finding myself camera-less, purchasing a 10–pack of film days before making a visit to my homeland Costa Rica, all the way from Europe. I already had the spectacular news of my mother finding a film SLR in her house in near-perfect state. The finding was, as you might’ve guessed, a Canon A-1 and Canon FD 50 mm f/2.0 that belonged to my father, which had seen complete utter inactivity and darkness for years.

That was before I sent a friend of mine to check the gear, corroborating that the bag where the camera rested probably had some time-stopping powers. Fantasy aside, the only thing needing a fix was a dry shutter mechanism producing the famous squeak these models not–so–proudly carry the burden of…but I already had informed myself on how to solve it.

I chose the ISO 200 film because at the time, still completely new to film shooting, thought a relatively medium speed emulsion would be a good compromise. Given the results, I was probably not too far off with the idea.

Then the moment of testing the camera/film combo came. Two days after strolling packs off of the Juan Santamaría airport, we decided to go to the market to get some groceries. With immense excitement, I went out with my sister, like a once-young kid, to marvel at the otherwise completely ordinary surroundings lit by the tropical morning sun.

Safe to say that a sunny, dry morning in the middle of the Costa Rican valley hardly proved to be any challenge for this film/camera combo. After thoroughly exploring the gear, I had great fun photographing with this camera and the ISO used seemed well suited to the occasion. I was particularly interested in how this film would hold against direct light, and the various scenes where nailing the exposure would make contrast become the star of this work.

~ Clarence

Submit your 5 Frames... today

Get your own 5 Frames featured by submitting your article using this form or by sending an email via the contact link at the top of the page.

Share your knowledge, story or project

The transfer of knowledge across the film photography community is the heart of EMULSIVE. You can add your support by contributing your thoughts, work, experiences and ideas to inspire the hundreds of thousands of people who read these pages each month. Check out the submission guide here.

If you like what you're reading you can also help this passion project by heading over to the EMULSIVE Patreon page and contributing as little as a dollar a month. There's also print and apparel over at Society 6, currently showcasing over two dozen t-shirt designs and over a dozen unique photographs available for purchase.

About the author

Avatar - Clarence Laboranti

Clarence Laboranti

Architecture prospect currently living in South Pacific Nicaragua, or how I jokingly call it, "The Great Nicaraguan Plains". Lately feeling more of a world citizen, I am currently discovering the wonderful Deaf culture of the premises, and learning quite a...


Join the Conversation



This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

  1. Hola Clarence. Thanks for sharing, what beautiful experience you had finding the camera in your dad old belongings. I read the articles to read more about the Canon A-1 and learn for other film photographers experiences. What a surprise you’re living in my home country. Un abrazo y que viva la fotografía análoga 🙂

    1. hello Sora! glad to know I´ve got fellow neighbour that´s also pasionate about film! Been having trouble getting in touch with others who shoot film around here, So any news is good news. The camera itself is great. If you can ensure you can get one in good state, I totally recommend it!