Thursday, November 17, 2011

Me & Bess:: The First Roll

My first roll with the Bessamatic.  I could never have imagined I would have had as much fun with this as I did.  This was an amazing exercise in mindfulness. 
First - wow, no zoom.  I'm a zoom-a-holic so this was a really good exercise for me.
Second - Only 36 exposures.  I had to think about, frame and really look at each shot - every corner of the frame and pay attention to the composition.  There were several I would have taken with the digital but they did not make the cut for one of 36. 

 I never would have imagined that this camera would have been such a conversation piece.  I had several people stop and talk to me about my camera and shooting with film.

I chose B&W film for no good reason except that it was the film of choice for my Dad.  Being this is his camera, it seemed fitting to at least start in B&W - ISO400.  Not to get too technical because I'm not but I shot at 1/60 and an aperture of 2.8 or a shallow DoF.
The Bessamatic actually chooses aperture and shutter speed together.  I'm not sure I can choose separately.  

I took my time.  I had some people stopping and waiting for me and I would tell them it was OK to pass.  It would take me a while to get everything all good to go.  As I look through the viewer, inside is a light meter that needs to be adjusted for the proper exposure.  Got to twist a little dial, focus the lens - steady stance and yes, hold my breath as I pushed the button.  

All this made me realize how fast I am with a digital camera.  Too fast I realize.  Point, zoom, shoot and go.  Not near as much thought in each shot.  On a day like this with my Nikon I would click off maybe at least 150 shots.
 My husband and I concluded the shot above and the next one both have a face in them.  The above is on the table in the middle and the below is in that flag like looking thing at the top.  Gnome like I think - not sure really...

   I had some trouble with the film progressing and I had some, well many exposures in one frame. There was a point that the film just didn't move I guess.  I just kept taking photos thinking that maybe the counter was not working.  In all I think I took about 50 shots in my roll of 36. 

 These really aren't in any order other than maybe interestingness. 

 I found it took about three or so shots to get used to all the steps that I needed to complete before taking the photo.

 The next two are my favorites.  They each have about 10 shots or so on the one frame.  This is where old Bess got a little cranky and was showing her age. 

 When I got the photos back, I got 13 prints out of 36.  The rest of the film was blank.  So, my conclusion is to keep shooting until I feel the resistance that indicates the end of the roll.
I love the light leak too.  The guys at the camera store put a new foam pad at the hinge area to stop the leak.  But they said I could always take it out if I want.

I loved, loved, loved this experience.  The mindfulness and thoughtfulness that it brought.  It taught me so much about my photography that I can't wait to start on another roll. 
I've decided that this is going to be my project for next year.  I'm going to call it 26 - The Film Project.  More on this later.  Think about playing along with me starting in January.  The only rules so far is that you have to shoot with film.
So check back - More details to come.


  1. These photos are great. Sounds like a fun experience.

  2. love these shots! i find i need to slow down when shooting with my polaroid cameras. it's so different with film. looking forward to hearing more about your project in the new year.

  3. these shots are fantastic and I love the way that using a film camera made you slow down. I am going to my mums tomorrow to collect her old nikormat! I really want to go back to film, black and white and just get back to basics again. I love the story of your dad and your camera and thank you so much for commenting on my polaroid shot, I am struggling to find my creativity at the moment so am hoping an old camera will get it back.

  4. What a great morning of photography. I am intrigued by your new idea. Look forward to hearing more. I x

  5. Yeay for more film! I've loved looked at your first photos, the contrast is beautiful with the black and white, I've just started using black and white film more and I love it.


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