If You Give a Photographer a {Film} Camera ~ A Learning Experience

So I had the fortune to come across an old Canon A-1 film camera.  I was super excited and immediately bought some Ilford Delta 400 and a few rolls of Kodak Portra 400.


I have to tell you going back to my roots seemed like such a fine idea.  I mean I did take photo journalism classes in college and developed my own film in the lab this should all come back to me pretty easy, right?  RIGHT???

Film images; mQn Photography as photography student Fort Point and Rodeo in San Francisco circa 1998

For the record I know these aren’t fantastic by any stretch of the imagination. Circa 1998

The short answer is NO.  This camera is different than the one I used in college but I’m not sure that matters because I’m pretty sure I just plain forgot how to use one.   I’m going to have to do some serious studying up.  I can’t just leave it on f2.8 and hope for the best!  Most of my images were blurry and a few had some shutter issues as if I was using flash which I wasn’t so it’s either an issue with the camera itself (I  hope not) or user error (most likely).  And I’m going to be honest I can’t figure out how to change all my settings like my f stop and shutter.  I only know how to do one or the other.  Anyway all of this was with my black and white roll; the color roll I sent in was completely blank.  I guess something must have happened when putting the roll on because I thought I was taking pictures and then when I went to rewind the film (which has to be done manually with this thing) it wasn’t doing anything.  Come to find out the film was already rewound back into the canister.  So needless to say I don’t know what happened.  I was pretty sad that what I thought to be a lot of our vacation pictures on film come back empty.  To be fair I wasn’t too hopeful that the film would come back awesome anyway but it was a little disheartening when I thought I was downloading my scans with some pretty positive feedback only to find out it was someone else’s images.  Their images were pretty good so it sort of sucked to see my crappy images come back.  🙂  Oh well its all a learning experience right?  I just need to learn my camera and how to actually adjust the settings.  I have another roll of Portra 400 in and I’ll slowly make my way through it again.  At least its getting warm so I might want to actually go outside soon and take my camera with me.  I won’t leave you hanging.  I’ll show you a couple from the roll.

Lifestyle Session on Film mQn Photography shot with a Canon A-1

Michele is a lifestyle photographer for children and families who regularly shoots with a Canon 5D Mark II and III.  She is now picking up film for the first time in 20 years.  Wish her luck!


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