Buy books, learn, get inspiration

I picked up film photography two months ago. I read about things online, like sunny-16 rules and stuff like that. But I know there’s more to it. Film photography must be more than just snap and wait for development.

I went to Amazon and searched for any film related books. I saw this ‘Film Is Not Dead’ by Jonathan Canlas. Thankfully the library has it so I borrowed for free. So glad I didn’t buy because the book is totally useless after I read it.

I didn’t take back any good tips or lessons from the book. It is so basic I can find all the information online. The author John mainly uses the medium format so most of his photos were shot at f2.8 at 80mm. The colour is undeniably beautiful. Hence, I used f2.8 with mostly 1/125 for my 35mm Nikon SLR (Agfa Vista 400) to shoot during the day, it was my third rolls in life. The effect is okay, but I feel that the photos are slightly going towards the overexposed side.

I have ditched his way of exposing. I guess his setting is more suitable for portrait because f2.8 give a shallow depth of field and very pretty bokeh.

Then, I also saw reviewers recommended ‘Ansel Adams’, who was a famous photographer during the black and white era.

Once again, I borrowed the book ‘The Camera’, which is the first book of the series. I learned a lot, from why is the ancient photos always blurry, why is smaller f-number giving the bokeh effect, and why the zoom lens works differently from if you walk closer to the subject. In order to visualise the image and be able to produce what you want, you need to learn how to control the camera. That’s his principle.


Bugis, Singapore 2016

I think it is a good investment to have ‘The Camera’ in your bookshelf. Because the first book was good, I decided to buy the ‘The Negative’, second book of the series. However, I had a hard time trying to understand the heavy theory from this book.

Next, I also bought the most current film handbook ‘The Film Photography Handbook: Rediscovering Photography in 35mm, Medium, and Large Format 1st Edition‘. I thought that perhaps I would understand things better by reading books written by modern film photographers where they can give tips that is still applicable to use in this days. I am still at the beginning so I can’t critic the book yet. I hope my investment wouldn’t go to waste. 

In conclusion, I think reading is a forever trendy hobby and activity. There is no harm for reading too much. No matter what form the books will become in the future (eg. e-book), I believe we need to read to gain knowledge. So, just read, read whatever you can get hold of, even fiction books, you might be able to gain inspiration for whatever you are going through.

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