The first camera I ever purchased was a Contax 645 it was in 2004 and I used it for the first 6 years of my business. At the time, this happen to be a very standard camera for wedding photographers. However with the age of digital SLR’s approaching rapidly, and the profitability of digital imagery, I along with many many other photographers at that time, slowly and surely transitioned into the digital age. It wasn’t until a couple of years ago I started noticing a resurfacing of film photographers who had had enough of the digital age and were looking to slow down a bit, go old school, and revisit the past. The results I started to see floored me. I saw wedding after wedding emerge with this texture and light that was hardly matched by a digital camera. At least, not mine anyway. Now, with all of the advancements that digital editing has to offer paired with amazing equipment that is now available, digital photography can easily match the aesthetic of a film camera result and most of you may not even see a difference. So what’s the point? For me, it was about the risk and the technique I had to grasp in order to successfully pull off shooting film. Don’t get me wrong. It is a tremendous luxury to see an image appear on the back of your camera and feel a great sense of accomplishment and inspiration in that moment. But there’s something very different about loading a roll of film into a camera, checking the light, setting the camera settings, firing the shutter, and not seeing the result until the scans come back from the lab. It’s terrifying. And it’s great.
Shelby and I took a week after the 2014 wedding season came to an end and spent some much needed R&R in San Diego, Ca. I knew I needed the break but I also knew I wanted to work on some personal projects that just had to sit on the back burner until the wedding season was over. In addition to the Contax 645 that I own, I’ve also purchased a Pentax 645 and a Pentax 645N on eBay. Both cameras were used and relatively inexpensive compared to the cost of a Contax these days. I LOVE medium format film and the 6×4.5 ratio just melts my little photographer heart. So, I took all three cameras with me on our vacation and planned a humble little shoot in the recently snowy Palomar Mountain. I reached out to Dawn Parker of Dawn Alexandra Photography to see if she and her boo would be interested in modeling for me so I could test out all 3 cameras at once. Yes. I could have gone out into the forrest and shot landscape photos or photos of birds or whatever, but I’m a people photographer. Specifically a wedding and portrait photographer. And since film’s not cheap, I thought, why not ask some of the most beautiful people I know to come and snuggle in front of my camera for a few hours. And I’m SO happy they were game.
Dawn and Tommy are newly engaged and have SUCH an amazing dynamic. I enjoyed every minute of our drive up the mountain nerding out with Dawn about camera gear and editing techniques. It’s not everyday you get a photographer out from behind a camera to stand in front of one so I was super impressed with how comfortable Dawn and Tommy were with being photographed. It was good practice for their big day I’m sure!
What you see below is a mixture of all 3 cameras all shooting Fuji 400H rated at 200 and pushed 1 stop (For my photog peeps out there). I chose not to reveal which image came from where in this post because I wanted to really be able to tell a story with all of the cameras. And leave the technical stuff for my records. I will be doing some comparisons and posting them on FB however if you have any questions about any of the images, I will happily answer them and tell you my thoughts about the experience of shooting with each of these bodies. I hope you enjoy this little story of Dawn and Tommy on Palomar Mountain. #filmisnotdead