As you might expect, I shot a lot of film when I was working on my art/photography degree. At the time (and it’s probably the same now), black and white photography classes were done with film. Anything with color was digital. Once I’d taken enough black and white classes and was able to switch to color, I went completely digital in all of my classes and never looked back. Why would I, I thought at the time. Digital is so much cheaper. Plus I get instant gratification. Take a photo, look back at it and if it’s bad, just re-take it. Over and over and over. I got in the habit of taking hundreds of photos whenever I took my camera out. Hundreds of photos that I’d dump on my hard drive(s) and sometimes never look at. As the photos started to pile up, sitting down and post-processing them all sounded less and less appealing. I started to take less photos with my cameras, instead relying on my iPhone if I saw something interesting.
But then a couple of months ago I found myself looking at a series of photos I’d taken for a class, a series of black and white photos from a Giants game I went to back in 2007. The game itself wasn’t that interesting. Barry Zito started. I’m pretty sure he started every game in 2007 or at least it felt that way. But what I remember most, aside from Barry Bonds hitting a home run (#739!), was how much fun I had shooting film that I day. Up until that day I’d always only brought a digital camera to baseball games. With digital cameras, you can put it on burst mode and fire away to get the exact shot you want. With film, you have to be more selective. It made me stop and think twice before firing away, especially since I wouldn’t know until much later (depending on how long it took me to process the film) if I’d actually gotten any photos that were worth keeping or not. It was a fun challenge. And in the end I did get some great photos.
Even though I had enjoyed shooting film that day, for whatever reason, I hadn’t brought film to a baseball game again. But now I really wanted to. And so I found myself placing orders at all of my old favorite sites for film. In doing so I found that a lot of the black and white film that I used to shoot doesn’t exist anymore, which was somewhat disappointing. This set me off on a mission to try to track down as many types of expired film as I could, so I could try them before they completely disappear. I’ve kind of gotten obsessive and currently feel a bit like a hoarder, but when you find a good deal on eBay for cold stored Kodak Portra VC 160 or Fuji Pro 160S, you have to pounce on it, right? And how in the world did I shoot a bunch of Agfa and Efke and Fomapan back in the day but completely neglect Kodak Plus-X?
My original intent was to buy a few rolls of film and shoot them at a baseball game last month, figuring that would take care of my urge to shoot film again. But then I enjoyed it so much that I’ve brought film to every game that I’ve been to since then. It’s been a mix of black and white film (which I can develop myself, so I see the results much faster) and color (which I finally sent off for processing today). I’ve shot super grainy 3200 film at night games and finally got around to shooting a roll of Plus-X on Wednesday. I upgraded my scanner and I hope to share my adventures with film (and lots of nifty new baseball photos!) over the next few weeks (months, more like it, probably). Yeah, the Giants are pretty terrible this year, but baseball is still pretty great, and it’s still one of my absolute favorite subjects to shoot.
And what do you know, I really love me some Kodak Plus-X. Hunter Pence already kind of looks like a classic old timey baseball player to me, what with the high socks and everything, but that combined with the classic look of Plus-X film just works for me. Perfectly.