6 months without getting the film camera out was finally over – between work, study and small children, my hobbies had taken a back seat. I hit the streets of Melbourne with my Nikon FM2n, Nikkor 50mm f/1.8 AF-D lens, Hoya Y(K2) filter and a roll of JCH StreetPan 400. It was a roll I had been saving up and it seemed like now or never. I had shot a roll previously and enjoyed the deep blacks and high contrast. Tramping the streets of Melbourne with a camera in hand is always fun.

It became apparent quickly that I was out of practice. In all sorts of ways – subject matter, framing, focusing, shutter speed, aperture, it all takes practice. And remembering what I like: geometry, light, contrast. I bought the Nikon FM2n in 2015 to learn how to take a photo while being responsible for all the settings.

The real lessons, of course, arrive with the scans. I use Hillvale in Melbourne to develop and scan. One day I hope to do my own black and white development but that is an adventure for another day. A number of shots didn’t work out – learning about backlight, focusing, and composing the hard way!

Street photography always pushes me to learn and, if I want a portrait, to interact with people. It’s really different from landscape photography where I have as much time as I want to compose a shot. In the street, moments come and go; and I can see in these shots that it was the ones where I took my time to get it right.

Enough shots worked out well enough and close enough to how I imagined them that I’ve got the bug again. Now I just need to find an afternoon where I can disappear with my camera into the streets of Melbourne…

~ Paul

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About the author

Avatar - Paul Sutton

Paul Sutton

Amateur photographer living in Melbourne, Australia.


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  1. The manual NIKON FM2 is a splendid camera, its back to the basics, where you are in control, and a steep learning curve lays ahead.remember no matter how many books or pictures you look at for inspiration, it is ultimately dependent on just how much time and patience you are willing to invest in your hobby, to hone the wide ranging skills to produce amazing images. Never begrudge “wasting” film, it is by this very method that you nurture the latent image that first struck a spark of imagination in your minds eye, which transfers onto the silver gelatin, enabling further nuanced and intense artistic goals.may all of your image making dreams be realised, by a direct correlation of effort/ to / visualised artistry. GO and DO it NOW, for the popular maxim echo’s in your head and in your heart “sieze the moment, whilst the opportunity arises, for it may NOT return if your predisposed with frivalarity” 🤔

  2. The Nikon FM2n is a gem of a camera and I bet you had fun using it. Your pictures remind me of the work of Brassai who published a book titled Paris by Night. He used a 9×12 cm Bergheil folder camera for his work. My favorite lenses with my FM2n are the Nikkor 28mm F2 ai and the Tamron 90mm F2.5 lenses. The first is great for astrophotography and the second great for portraits. I like the fact that you can have the equivalent of mirror lockup with the timer and that this camera has a double exposure capability. Your pictures make me want to take more black and white photographs. It is nice to be able to develop your film at home with this lockdown since the chemistry of black and white film much easier than color film.