It was almost a year ago that I found myself happily unemployed and toyed with creating a document of the South Omaha I had come to love since moving to this part of town. After a somewhat feeble attempt at starting the project, I put it on the back burner and continued to put a bit of polish on ninety-three instead. Today, I spent the afternoon photographing South Omaha once again, restarting what I hope will hold my attention and bring inspiration to me.
I have decided to shoot color film for the first time in a few years. Pictured above is the Minolta XD-5 SLR that I purchased a few weeks ago along with 35mm and 50mm lenses. It was manufactured in 1979, the same year I was born. The hope is that the older camera will seem less conspicuous than an all black, modern DSLR and people will be a little more comfortable around it.
As I worked with the Minolta today, I remembered why I like these simple manual focus cameras so much. The viewfinder is tremendous, the subject snaps in and out of focus smoothly as I turn the lens' focusing ring. It's a bit like driving a car with a manual transmission. The operator feels more connected with the machine, more involved in the process of taking a photograph. The XD-5 doesn't have all the bells and whistles, but it feels solid and the lenses are wonderfully small and well-built.
After shooting with digital for so long, I found returning to film to be a bit of an adjustment. There's no confirmation as to whether you got everything right or if something went horribly wrong. Thirty-six exposures seems both small and large at the same time. The last frame can come up right in the middle of a burst of creativity. Or it waits off in the distance, taunting you to find enough potential subjects to finish the roll. I can't decide what is worse, wasting the last few frames or leaving a half-shot roll in the camera, anxious to see what magic you captured, unable to develop the film until it reaches its end.
Cross your fingers for me. I'll (hopefully) have some images later this week, thirty-year old camera permitting.
For the photo nerds in the audience who care about such things, I'm trying out Kodak's Ektar 100 film. It's supposed to be as close to transparency film as print film gets, with the least grain of any color film. This is actually the first time I've ever shot Kodak color film. All of my older projects were shot with the now defunct Fujifilm NPS 160 film.