36

We live in a world where everything has to happen instantaneously. We need information immediately. We want things done while we wait, and we don't like to be kept waiting for long.

One of the features that I like the most about my camera is that I can capture an image with such ease, view it immediately, adjust it, send it wirelessly to my smartphone, and share it with my three Fs—family, friends, and followers.

But as my photos come so fast and freely, I wonder if I'm losing my creativity because I can take scads of shots, and cross my fingers that one of those shots is usable. I can throw the rest away, without any more cost than a few extra seconds.

The more I shoot with my Nikon D7200, the more I wonder whether a good shot has more to do with the technology than with any actual photographic skill.

And so, I'm starting a mini photo project.

Recently, I have borrowed my father's SLR, the first real camera that I used. It's a fully manual Minolta SRT 101: I have to set the aperture and the shutter speed. I have to manually focus—the sharpness of the photos depends entirely upon my eyes (and now, I wish I had my young eyes). The light meter is basic, yet simple to use as long as I pay attention.

And the images are not recorded on a digital card: they're permanently burned onto plastic film. This is where the real challenge lies. I must think before I shoot. I can't go back, deleting what I don't want, shooting endless amounts of RAW data.

I will have just 36 shots, 36 attempts to capture worthwhile images. And I must be patient in waiting to see the final results.

Last night, I bought a fresh battery for the light meter (this camera is so old that it works without batteries, assuming you know which settings are required for your various lighting conditions) and a single roll of Kodak 100 ASA Ektar C-41 film. I cleaned the glass and brushed the dust out of its innards.

I plan to shoot only when I absolutely feel I'm taking a worthwhile shot. I will shoot around Ottawa, but since I have no deadline for finishing the roll, I may also bring the camera with me to New York City, when I go in May.

I've taken some decent photos with digital SLRs over the past couple of years. Now is the time to see if I remember how to truly take a photograph.

To see if I remember how to slow down, take my time, and be patient.


I absolutely love this lens: a 58mm f1.2 Rokkor. It weighs almost as much as my Nikkor 24-70mm f2.8 zoom.
Stay tuned.

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