Am I being nostalgic, or is there just something about black and white film that quietly says “timeless”?
I shot this photo on my much loved Nikon FM3 at an OKC Thunder basketball game. The upper reaches of the arena – aka “cheap seats” – is a dimly lit area far from the action, but something that is affordable for a family. I wanted to bring a camera but I wanted something I could hang from my wrist and keep out of the way until I needed it. I really like full manual controls and just love the feel and build quality of my Nikon FM3. I keep a 50 mm lens on it nearly all the time so it is tiny to carry.
I wanted to shoot some black and white film just for the heck of it. I knew color film would have a very hard time in the poor lighting, not to mention the problem with color balance. I could take a digital camera but sometimes I just don’t want to do that. I shoot with several mega-awesome Nikon cameras for a living and sometimes I just want to go old school and simple.
So my camera was just an afterthought, something hanging around my wrist, not getting in the way of enjoying my family time, but something with full manual controls a pro like me loves. I shot about half a roll of 24 exposure black and white film at 400 ISO. It was grainy and the light was really low but I came out with this.
The picture is grainy and far from perfect. But to me that is one of the charms of shooting with film. I can take a camera and lens combo I got off eBay for $250, buy a $5 roll of film, and get timeless images like this that just cannot be replicated with digital no matter how hard someone might try. Yea, digital would be much clearer, with less grain, it could be exported in color or black and white, and it would offer much smoother tonal gradations.
But it wouldn’t be THIS picture.