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The Film Project

Photo by Derrick Story

An idea struck me while reading The Essence of Photography. In the section, Improving Your Seeing with Film, Bruce Barnbaum wrote: “For digital shooters, it could be helpful to spend a couple hours every month or two shooting with film…”

His idea is that this activity could serve as a training regimen for careful planning and seeing. Film is a more valuable commodity than pixels, and as a result, we tend to slow down and concentrate better when we only have 36 frames available in the camera.

Fujicolor Film

So I decided to test Bruce’s theory. My personal challenge will be called The Film Project. I’ve settled on using the Contax T2 that’s been stored in a drawer at the studio. It sports a 38mm f/2.8 Carl Zeiss Sonnar prime lens. I can shoot in program mode or aperture priority using the click stops that range from f/2.8 to f/16. The T2 sports both autofocus and manual focusing. And most importantly, it measures a mere 5″ wide by 2.5″ tall. (After all, I am The Nimble Photographer).

In the refrigerator, I’ve got a stash of Fujicolor Pro 400H 35mm film, with an expiration date of June 2007. At ISO 400, it should give me decent latitude to work in a variety of conditions. I have 16 rolls remaining.

My plan is to shoot one roll a month, starting December 1, 2015 and ending on November 30, 2016. I will then have time to create the book displaying my favorite images and have it ready by the end of 2016.

Photo by Derrick Story

Photo by Derrick Story

Since I’m working with analog photography, I’m going to keep a journal on my iPhone to accompany each image. I settled on using the Day One app because it’s easy to use, backs up data to iCloud, and lets me include photos with the entries. I’ll take a companion shot with the iPhone for reference, so I can match up the entries with the film shots.

The first image of this project will be of me standing at the computer reviewing this blog post. These are the sort of things that happen when you read books.

Derrick Story is the photography evangelist for Rocky Nook Publishing.

13 Responses to The Film Project

  1. bruce barrett - Reply

    December 1, 2015 at 1:52 pm

    This is a wonderful project idea. Having grown up using film, I may do something similar to stir the juices.

    • Derrick Story - Reply

      December 1, 2015 at 3:50 pm

      It’s interesting Bruce… the more I’ve refined how I want to carry out this project, the more excited I am about it. Making the companion journal entries in Day One is cool, and a tool I never had access to back in my previous days of analog photography. I’ll write more about The Film Project as I progress.

  2. Peter Stewart - Reply

    December 1, 2015 at 4:38 pm

    I have been using Day One for just over two years now and I love it. I make sure I take a picture a day to go along with my post for the day. It’s interesting to see my months in pictures as well as the text posts. One thing that Day One has been promising but hasn’t delivered on is the ability to post multiple pictures to one post. If you want to post more than one picture you have to post multiple entries for the day. Not a huge deal but it would be nice. Good luck on your Project!

    • Derrick Story - Reply

      December 1, 2015 at 4:41 pm

      Agreed Peter. I can tell already that Day One is a good choice. I use a Mac and iOS devices. So my posts are synced via iCloud among my phone, iPad, and laptop. It’s pretty slick. And it will make it a lot easier when I assemble the book a year from now.

  3. Derrick Story - Reply

    December 2, 2015 at 10:15 am

    Here’s more about the journal app that I’m using for this project -“Day One – A Journal App for Photographers” – http://thedigitalstory.com/2015/12/day-one-journal-app.html

  4. Eric Seale - Reply

    December 2, 2015 at 7:37 pm

    Excellent idea for a project. It’ll be fun to read along — and I just might have to fire up my trusty old OM-1 to do something similar. I’ll keep my fingers crossed that your slightly-expired film is still up to the task!

  5. Larry Millican - Reply

    December 2, 2015 at 10:51 pm

    Great idea, Derrick. And, inspiring. :) I will be looking forward to your updates.

    Although I have not fine-tuned it as you have, my plan is to shoot more B&W this next year. I have shot very little black and white in the past, so this will be a departure for me, somewhat. Making it a ‘project’ would be a good idea and be a logical next step…

    Thank for the inspiration! :)

  6. Ian R - Reply

    December 3, 2015 at 2:59 am

    Inspired idea for an inspiring project that will be fascinating to follow. I would love to try a less ambitious version but doubt I would have the determination to carry it through. Best wishes for the book.

  7. Dominick Chiuchiolo - Reply

    December 3, 2015 at 4:27 am

    Hey Derrick, Thats a great idea and it should get your creative juices flowing. I am looking forward to updates along the way. :) Maybe I will try the same. Just need to get some film. :)

  8. Derrick Story - Reply

    December 3, 2015 at 9:40 am

    Thanks guys! I’m almost finished with the initial 36 exposures. I’m going to take it to a local camera shop here in Santa Rosa called Jeremiah’s Photo Corner. Figure I might as well go for the entire 1980s analog experience. Will follow up with a post once the first roll of 2007 Fujicolor is processed.

  9. Chris Nagle - Reply

    January 1, 2016 at 6:49 pm

    I’m planning two projects 52 & 12. The 52 is a one shot per week of 35mm HP5 with my Oly Trip 35 which I’ve owned from new in 1981 and a 12 one shot per month on one roll of FP4 120 at 6×6 on my Mamiya C330f………..back to the future! Cheers guys.

    • Jessica Tiernan - Reply

      January 4, 2016 at 6:17 am

      Hey Chris…Sounds awesome. Keep us posted and share your photos with us! Happy New Year!

  10. Chris Nagle - Reply

    January 15, 2016 at 1:28 am

    ahhh, just thinking about it, the snag is that the earliest post will be:
    36 135 photos in week 36, which is September, followed by 16 135 and 12 120s in December………

    I really should have thought this through a bit……….. :(

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