When I started shooting analog, I mostly shot on Polaroid film and basically still do so today. Compared to 35mm film, shooting Polaroids is very straightforward, as the cameras only offer less than basic adjustment options – there is a lighten/darken wheel and a manual focus and that’s it.
But lately, I felt the urge to dust off my 35mm cameras and take them with me when I was shooting Polaroids. Recently, I had a shoot planned in a beautiful heather field with a wonderful model and we had plenty of time, so I also took some shots with my Canon AE-1 and its 50mm f/1.8 lens in between. As it was fairly sunny, I wanted to try out the roll of Cinestill 50D film that I had lying around in my fridge for a while. I am a huge fan of the Cinestill films and the images of it that I have seen online gave me the impression that it would be a perfect fit for the scenery, and I wasn’t wrong.
I also love using filters and prisms in my photography, so I certainly had to try these out with this film during the shoot, too. The effect of the Prismlens FX Kaleidoscope Filter I mostly used rendered quite differently here, more softly than I am used to from my Polaroids and it was this factor especially that really amazed me.
Shooting with this sturdy, classic 35mm SLR felt different than shooting with my Polaroid SX-70, the weight of the camera felt reassuring in my hands, and looking through the bright viewfinder and carefully composing the image made a lot of fun – especially when you have 36 exposures instead of eight on a Polaroid film.
I also feel that I am truly learning the basics of photography through shooting with manual 35mm cameras and that it deepens my understanding of it. Although I have been shooting very intuitively until now I recognize that these experiences also help me with my Polaroid photography.
I had the film processed at my local photo lab and instantly fell in love with the dreamy and soft results, so I will definitely keep on shooting more 35mm film in the future, keep learning and exploring the different films available. I think it’s safe to say I somehow fell in love with 35mm film head over heels.
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This series is produced in conjunction with Hamish Gill's excellent 35mmc.com. Head on over to read the other half of these stories there.
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