#filmroadtrip: Road Test – Anguilla

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Canon 1v, Canon 135mm f/2, Fuji 400H

We took the film on the road and the results are back.  We took the film cameras to Anguilla, the Canon 1V and the Mamiya Pro TL.  We took a variety of film stocks, Fuji 400H, Kodak Portra 400, Porta 160, and Ektar 100.  We experimented and burned a lot of film.  Many lessons were learned.  Here are my impressions of our efforts and the results.

1.  Digital has ruined me for film – shooting the same scene again and again.  I am so accustomed to shooting RAW and shooting multiple images to try to nail the shot that I wasted a lot of film.  For example, I had the sense when shooting a sunset on Rendezvous Bay that I was not getting the exposure right.  In digital, I shoot and adjust, and reshoot, and repeat until I feel comfortable.   What I need to do is more thinking and less shooting.  I found that I went from one mistake to another and never really nailed the shot.  In the end, my favorite shots were the ones where I took one shot, and my least favorite were the ones where I somehow knew I wasn’t nailing it, but just couldn’t nail it, despite many, many efforts.

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Canon 1v, Canon 135mm f/2, Fuji 400H

2.  Digital has ruined me for film – part two – settling for OK because I can fix it in post.  I was so excited to get out and shoot film that I found myself forgetting the basics.  Errors in digital can be corrected.  If I shoot RAW, and I always do, I can correct most mistakes in exposure. It promotes laziness.  I can take the sunset shot without using my ND filter on digital and recover a lot in post.  Do it with film, and I lose a ton of color.   I need to strive more for perfection.  Fewer shots and better shots.

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Mamiya Pro TL, Mamiya 80mm f/1.9, Fuji 400H

3.  Manual focusing is tough, especially when you have impatient subjects who want to get to the beach.  I have been spoiled by my autofocus cameras.  I took both an autofocus (Canon 1V) and a manual focus film camera (Mamiya Pro TL with 80/1.9 and 45/2.8).  I used the Mamiya with the 80mm lens on our Christmas card photo shoot.  It’s really tough focusing manually with any accuracy when the subjects are accustomed to getting in an out of a shot quickly.

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Mamiya Pro TL, Mamiya 80mm f/1.9, Portra 400

4.  My favorite film stocks were Fuji 400H and Portra 400.  I went through my film scans to pick my favorites, not aware of what film stocks they were shot on.  I just got my negatives back from Richard Photo Lab, and of 23 favorites, 7 were shot on Portra 400 and 16 were shot on Fuji 400H.  Ektar 100 and Portra 160 did not make the cut.

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Canon 1v, Canon 135mm f/2, Fuji 400H

5.  I will travel with film again.  It was not difficult to travel with film, especially with the Canon 1V.  It uses all the same lenses (and filters) that I use on my Canon 5D Mark II, so it was hardly adding anything to my bag.  Traveling with film was easy.  I kept it in my carryon to avoid the high x-rays of the checked luggage.  I never asked for handchecking by TSA given that my film ISOs ranged from 100 to 400  and there was no compromise of the film, having gone through scanners three times.

As for my mistakes in exposures, I could spend more time on my shots and think more while shooting. I didn’t use my Sekonic meter, relying upon the meter in the camera for ease of use. I was not mindful of my need for my filters, circular polarizer and ND filters, and I will be more aware of that next time.  I will take more time for my shots, and will shoot less. 

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Canon 1v, Canon 24-70mm f/2.8, Fuji 400H

Despite all the failures, I will travel with film again.  A mistake is not tragic if you learn from it.  I plan to keep the film thing going.  It was worth the extra gear just for the portraits alone.  The skin of my teenagers looked so much better on film than digital.  I shot our Christmas card photo in both, and I preferred the film hands down. Even the shots of silly things, like signs along the way, I loved the look of my film shots far more than digital.  The digital versions looked sharper, almost to the point of being too sharp, if that’s possible.  I can see why people love film, how it brings across more of the feeling of the scene, rather that the technically perfect reality of the situation.  Sometimes I need a little less reality, and a little more feeling, particularly when the snow starts to fall here and I look back on my shots of my favorite island.

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Collage Photos, top to bottom:

Canon 1v, Canon 135mm f/2, Fuji 400H

Canon 1v, Canon 135mm f/2, Fuji 400H; Mamiya Pro TL, Mamiya 80mm f/1.9, Fuji 400H

Canon 1v, Canon 135mm f/2, Fuji 400H

Canon 1v, Canon 135mm f/2, Fuji 400H

Canon 1v, Canon 135mm f/2, Fuji 400H

Canon 1v, Canon 135mm f/2, Fuji 400H

Mamiya Pro TL, Mamiya 80mm f/1.9, Fuji 400H

Mamiya Pro TL, Mamiya 80mm f/1.9, Fuji 400H

Mamiya Pro TL, Mamiya 80mm f/1.9, Fuji 400H

Mamiya Pro TL, Mamiya 80mm f/1.9, Portra 400

Mamiya Pro TL, Mamiya 80mm f/1.9, Portra 400

Mamiya Pro TL, Mamiya 80mm f/1.9, Portra 400

Mamiya Pro TL, Mamiya 80mm f/1.9, Fuji 400H

Canon 1v, Canon 135mm f/2, Fuji 400H

Mamiya Pro TL, Mamiya 80mm f/1.9, Fuji 400H

Want more film photography?  Follow us on the road with #filmroadtrip and read about our film photography in Antigua & Barbuda!

Want to know what’s in my camera bag?  Take a peek inside here.

Love Anguilla?  Stay tuned for more posts (after the holiday rush has passed) about our trip there this year, including posts about Blanchard’s Beach Shack, Garvey’s, Shoal Bay Scuba, Geraud’s, and many more! While you’re waiting, check out our other Anguilla posts:

  • Blanchard's Beach Shack
  • Dune Preserve Anguilla
  • Omari Banks
  • Limin' Boutique Anguilla
  • Smokey's at the Cove Anguilla
  • B&D's BBQ
  • Shoal Bay Scuba Anguilla
  • Hungry's Good Food, Anguilla
  • CuisinArt Resort Anguilla
  • Garvey's Sunshine Shack Anguilla
  • Cuisinart Beach Rendezvous Bay Anguilla
  • SandBar Anguilla
  • Anguilla on Film
  • DaVida Anguila
  • Picante, Caribbean Taqueria, Anguilla
  • Cha Cha San Anguilla
  • Anguilla Travel Journal Entries
  • Irie Life Anguilla
  • Barrel Stay Anguilla
  • Geraud's Patisserie, Anguilla
  • Travel for Less with the Anguilla Card
  • Bankie Banx
  • Anacaona Boutique Hotel
  • Meads Bay Beach Villas
  • Anguilla Photo Album
  • Gwen's Reggae Grill
  • SandBar
  • Picante
  • Dune Preserve
  • CuisinArt Resort
  • The Bay of Piglets: When the British Invaded Anguila
  • Just One Day: Anguilla
  • Book Page

All words and images ©2006-2017 Wendy G. Gunderson. Any use without written permission is prohibited. For licensing information, please send inquiries via the Contact page.
 

#FilmRoadTrip: Packing for Anguilla
B&D's BBQ, Anguilla

2 thoughts on “#filmroadtrip: Road Test – Anguilla

  1. Really nice post. Great photos. And it’s nice to read a post by someone with a decent attitude. A rare internet find. Your honesty kept me reading through the end. Thank you.

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