Analog Journey

Strictly speaking, this article is only concerned with an extremely thin slice of time during my analog journey. Some years ago, after shooting digital for a decade, I began to feel that I was missing something. I wanted to return to shooting film. That is a very personal thing and everyone has to determine for herself or himself whether to focus on digital imaging, analog photography, or to use both technologies.

In my case, I missed shooting film for a number of reasons, so I began to look for a camera to replace my older Canon SLR which had been stolen. Since I had a Nikon lens kit that included F Mount primes and zoom lenses for use with the Nikon D200, it made a certain amount of sense to look at Nikon bodies and after months-long research, I ordered a N90s from KEH. I’ve always been very happy with the N90s, and in fact, I acquired a second body from KEH early this year.

P1120640 WP

I used the Nikon SLR to shoot both black and white and color negatives. I developed the black and white at home and had Costco develop the color negatives. I scanned the negatives at home to get digital files that were often used on this blog.

If one doesn’t spend hundred of hours at a computer “photoshopping” digital images, the analog process, even the film/scanner hybrid, is longer than the digital one, but I find it considerably more satisfying. Though 99.5% of my output is targeted toward this Web site, I still wanted to be able to produce prints that I could frame. 

If I remember correctly (my memory of time is not always accurate), in late February, Derek Wong, the author/photographer of Straight, No Chaser, put me in touch with Dan Kagle, the owner of The Darkroom @ Division 9. I took advantage of a couple of The Darkroom’s Workshop and Open Darkroom Nights to re-familiarize myself with the darkroom processes. Other than producing thousands of 1:1 negatives in the printing industry, I hadn’t been in the darkroom since my college photo class in 1971. With Dan’s generous help, I quickly began to acquire the necessary equipment to build my own darkroom.

I’ve had my garage darkroom up and running for a month and have enjoyed several printing sessions in that time. Last night I made the “final” print shown above from a 35mm negative. The subject is one of my granddaughters who was sleeping quite peacefully through the baby shower for another granddaughter who would be born a little over two months later. Because she was so light relative to the background around her, I ended up making a rather long exposure with the enlarger and did extensive burning and dodging to get the look I wanted with this print. 

I made the photograph with a Nikon N90s on Kentmere 400. Though I’m quite happy with Kentmere’s ASA/ISO 100 film, I don’t like the 400 much, and I’ve since been using Ilford Delta and Kodak Tri-X, depending on which film is available when I need more speed for indoor conditions. Other photographs made on the same roll of film can be viewed at  Granddaughter Prelude.