Last Saturday I was lucky enough to get to hop in my minivan and head up to Berkeley, solo, to attend Andrea’s Instant Magic Workshop. I brought my Poppa’s late 1960s Polaroid 230 Land Camera, a whole lotta Fuji peel-apart film, a notebook, and a pen.
It took me a long time to make the switch over to digital photography. I was stubborn, with all these highfalutin romantic ideas about film, and then I won a little Cannon point and shoot in a writing contest and was kinda like, OH HEY – THIS IS CHEAP AND FUN! I think it’s been four or five years since I used film at all, and the idea of paying twenty bux to get a roll of film developed makes me uncomfortable. I’ve come to embrace digital editing, especially the ability to crop and get tight images even without a macro lens, and I am a fan of messing with the exposure settings (usually go darker), contrast (more, please), color saturation, and green tint. And the best thing is that if you don’t like the results you can just start over. If ‘revert to original’ was a key on my keyboard, it would be worn out by now.
I have been following Andrea’s blog and photography for a long time, but first met her just last year when I took another of her photo workshops in San Francisco. Just like that last workshop, this one left me feeling really really good and hopeful and happy, even though this time? My photos they didn’t come out so hot.
The colors are pretty, right? Yellow makes you happy, doesn’t it? But this has room for improvement.
Here I was hoping to capture the pretty pretty blue of the sky against the white wall and lamp with the magical crystalline Fuji film, but guess what? I have forgotten what the hell I need to do manually to help that process along. Because who worries about settings so much when you can just make adjustments to everything later? (not me)
There were a couple of familiar faces from last year’s workshop, and one of them was Kim. Last year she gave me her card and it’s been hanging up on the wall of my cube at work ever since. She’s a kickass photographer. So, around the end of the day I was looking at some of the photos she’d taken with some integral film made by the geniuses from The Impossible Project (different than the peel-apart, and probably what you think of when you think ‘polaroid’) and I said out loud, Okay – I need to replace my longlost Polaroid so I can try out some of this film. And she was all, Oh. You need a camera? HERE YOU GO. And gifted me a Polaroid One Step.
And then, Andrea said, Hey! Need some film for that? HERE YOU GO. And she gifted me a pack of film.
So I got home and loaded up the camera and couldn’t wait to take some photos.
I’ve taken a few and they are cruddy. It’s NOT the camera or the film. It’s me.
See this one:
I took it out behind Scuba’s house the other night, because the sun was going down and the leaves and flowers were all lit up and golden and firey and lovely. But the overall light was too low and I should have known better.
Okay, so then later I thought I’d try getting a shot of these bright paper flowers I have. If they filled up the frame, the shot would have been pretty good, but not being able to get in close and not being able to crop means you need to frame shots differently. In my stubbornness, I ignored that and came out with this:
Now I am panicking, because I didn’t even tell you about the dud self-portrait I took (not gonna scan that one, uh unh) and there are only eight photos per roll. So when you add in this one, taken in way too-bright light to not have compensated somehow:
I’m halfway through the roll with nothing to show for it. YIKES!
But, Scuba and I are going to Monterey for the weekend soon, so maybe I can pull a rabbit out of my hat with the last couple of shots and not feel like such a putz. Monterey likes to pose for photos.
I’m not giving up on myself. I think I can figure it out and quit wasting so many shots. If nothing else, it’s a reminder to slow down and think, a reminder that sometimes you have to make all the adjustments before you act, instead of getting to tweak things after.