on lugging around film cameras overseas
Christian Quarter, Old City, Jerusalem
See the entire set on Flickr
I'm always towing around film cameras overseas. Yes, digital is way more convenient in every possible way. But I adore shooting film. My first
was captured on a little Olympus camera and I bought the cheapest film possible from various pharmacies and supermarkets. Sure I'd get a little jealous when my mum and brother would get to review their digital camera pictures at the end of the day. However, I still remember
every single shot
I took on that Olympus. I'm not sure I could say this about the trips I've taken on digital. The things I shot on film on that trip weren't disposable. Each one, to me, was a perfect little moment meant to be savoured. When we were away, Rob would sometimes um and ah about taking a picture and I would blithely say, "Take it. Pictures are free." On Polaroid and any other film camera, they actually
Each shot has to,
be worth it.
Looking down on the Mount of Olives and the Old City, Jerusalem
I actually prefer shooting primarily film when I'm away. We honeymooned in
with our phone cameras and my Polaroid 636 and I treasure those photos just as much as the thousands of shots from
where I impersonated a donkey by hand-carrying...
wait for it
... a Canon 5D Mark I, a Yashica 35 GSN Electro, the Button Polaroid camera, 25 packs of Kodak Ektar 35mm film, and 10 packs of Polaroid 600 film.
The Monastery, Petra, Jordan
The length of this trip was an issue in terms of making a decision whether to take a film camera. Packing the Canon 5D Mark II was a no-brainer; digital will win the convenience and value fight every single time. In hindsight, I'd look into getting a smaller-sized camera without sacrificing the quality of the pictures because the Mark II is so heavy and you're never as inconspicuous as you want to be when taking street photography shots. We initially had a 35mm, manual focus lens but found we were taking so many landscape shots that a wider lens was better, not to mention auto-focus, so ended up with a 28mm lens bought in Istanbul.
Burano, Venice, Italy
Despite travelling light being a priority, I couldn't
let go of film. I place a lot of importance in the aesthetic value of film, particularly Polaroid. There's nothing else that can evoke so much nostalgia and lend so much romanticism to an otherwise, mundane travel photo, than a beautifully lit and composed film shot. Digital reflects. But to me, film emotes.
Joshua Tree National Park, California
Then I had to make a format decision: 35mm or Polaroid or Instax. Polaroid won solely because I Rob bought me boxes and boxes of Impossible Film for my birthday and also, it's obviously instant. I figured that it would have been cool to bring my Yashica or Pentax along but when I landed back home, the cost of getting all the film developed would be crippling.
Sea Shore Motel, Main Street, Santa Monica, Los Angeles
So, I packed my Polaroid 636 Closeup and a whole load of
in my check-in bag. A woman at LAX made a big deal about making sure her film camera and 35mm film wasn't put through the security scanner and I was a bit shocked. I've blithely ignored everyone's advice and put exposed and unexposed film through airport scanners and in my checked-in baggage. I've never been too precious with that stuff and the film's always survived.
The Getty Museum, Los Angeles
I personally prefer the look of the polaroids from The Button because it produces that classic SX70 "look" (the Button is like a cheap, box-type SX70 that I bought for NZ$10 on Trademe). I thought the 636 Closeup would be a lot more versatile for travel because you can shoot things up close (duh). In the end, I didn't even do many closeup shots. It was all landscape landscape landscape.
Flowers on Yaniklar Beach, Turkey
For some cities, I didn't bother taking the Polaroid out with me when out for the day. I find that the Impossible Project film isn't quite as resilient with the weather as the normal Polaroid 600s (RIP!). If it's too cold, you'll get such a faint exposure you might as well not have bothered.
The Venice Lagoon, Venice
But then, the other extreme troubled it too. At the Dead Sea, it was 36 degrees and I swear, the film was sweating and melting
The exposure came out looking crazy.
Kalia Beach, Dead Sea
In Burano,Venice, there was beautiful bright light but it was bone-jarringly cold. Not wanting to miss the experience of shooting those bright Burano colours on Polaroid, I walked around town with my bra stuffed full of film to keep it warm.
Long story short -
you can get away with the Impossible Project 600 film in bright light but cold temperatures so long as you can keep the film warm while it's cooking, but if it's dark
cold, I tend to leave the Polaroid at home.
The place where I enjoyed taking Polaroids the most was in Los Angeles; home of dry, balmy weather, bright and dappled light and perfect sunsets.
Abbot Kinney Boulevard, Venice Beach, Los Angeles