Adventures in Film Photography – A Story of Failure

a photograph of a Miranda Senorex EE camera

Earlier this year, for the first time in a decade, something happened along my photography journey that hasn’t happened since I first started. I completely and utterly failed at taking pictures with my camera. Not with my digital camera, but with film. It was a new journey into film photography for me. My dad in his 30s purchased a 1970s Miranda EE and had some lenses with it, and had given it to me alongside about 30 rolls of film. Most of them were old, but I thought I’d take it out and see what the old thing could do. I put in a roll of Kodak Gold 200, grabbed my A7R3 alongside so I’ll have my metering semi close, and set out to do some shooting. I put 2 rolls of Gold 200 through the Miranda, thought I had some good shots, pulled into Legacy in Fort Worth, and dropped them off and waited.

The email I got…not so good….

“We only charged you processing fees and did not charge for the scans as there were no scan-able images in the roll”.

I didn’t believe them, so I made them send me the scans, and they came back with this. Two, 24-exposure, Kodak Gold 200 rolls, every. single. one. came. out. like. this.

a black image

I thought it was the camera. This camera was made in 1977, with all manual Soligor lenses, because it couldn’t possibly be me right?

Let’s try this again…

So, about 3 months later, I popped over with my friend Gary to Crandall’s Pass Texas at one of the most iconic places in the state to capture some film, and out of the 24 shots, these are the only two to have come out.

a photograph of a church in Cranfills Gap TX show on film
50mm 1.4 Lens; Fujicolor 400h Film
a photograph of a church in Cranfills Gap TX show on film
50mm 1.4 Lens; Fujicolor 400h Film

What in the world? I’ve been a photographer for 15 years. I’ve done countless sessions and have a business with people from all over the world. Is this the best I could produce is two images out of three rolls….which is essentially nothing? Is this what film photography is going to look like for me? In that moment, I did what might be the worst thing you can do in a situation like this. I quit.

I unloaded all the cameras and set them in my office as displays. The film was gathered and put away, and I just forgot about it. Digital was the life for me. But something wasn’t right, and it was eating at me. It was that I refused to learn from my failure, and quitting was eating away at my joy. So, I opened my life back up to film photography, and went back to learn what did I do wrong, and how to fix it going forward.

Stay tuned for the next installment, where I start from scratch on my journey of film photography. I call it….The Restart

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