I thought about that challenge many times but never did it before. After seeing Omar Gonzales' video on YouTube, I decided it was time for it. The goal? Shoot like in the old days, when I was young and trying to learn photography. First, we need a set of rules.
- Fixed ISO. You choose a roll of film before going out and can't change it afterward (That was called ASA in the old days).
- Fixed White Balance. Same thing, as the ISO. It's the type of film you chose, deal with it.
- 24 frames. Well, I used to get 25 or 26 frames out of a standard roll of film so I'm not strict on that.
- No chimping. Turn off the screen at the back of the camera. You can't look at any picture you take. In the "old days", we had to wait one week for the photos to turn back after you sent the roll to the photo store.
- Manual aperture and shutter speed. You can use the camera's built-in light meter, but no automatic settings.
- Turn off Shoot Preview in the menu so you can't see what the exposure looks like in the viewfinder before clicking the shutter. It might have a different name depending on the camera you are using. What that means is whatever adjustment you make to the shutter speed or aperture, you won't see a difference in the viewfinder. If you have a camera with a hybrid viewfinder, only use the optical one.
- Only one camera style / picture profile. It's your film. Can't change it.
I went out with these rules to take my "roll of film". I chose ISO 400 because it was cloudy and I wanted to shoot some pictures inside too. My film simulation was Acros + Red filter and I had -2 highlights, +2 shadows, +2 sharpness, -2 noise reduction, daylight white balance. I was using the Fuji X-T20 with the Fujifilm 23 f/2 lens and the Rokinon 12mm f/2.
At the beginning, I tried to go with the f/16 rule but was pretty sure I was underexposing my images. After that, I went with the camera's light meter.
My roll of film
What would I do different
I would use a gray card with the camera's light meter to read the actual light for where I want to take the picture. Toward the end, I spot metered my hand and got better exposure from that.
I should have used manual focusing with Digital Split Image. That's what I was using when I started shooting.
I would take more time. Doing the challenge made me slow my process, but I should have gone even slower, and think more about my composition and my subject. It was cold, and rain was coming, but next time, I'll be more thoughtful.
Worth the time?
Totally! I will do it again. In fact, I should commit to do that once a month. It makes you slow down and think about what you do. We live in a society where everything is moving too fast. We should think more about what we do instead of what is to come. Think about the picture you are taking right now, not the next three you will take. I have a lot to learn from that simple challenge. Things to learn about photography, but things to learn about life too.
Anyone wants to pick up the challenge with me?