I Am Going To Be A Grandfather

Yep, No crap. As most parents would be, I am excited and worried all at the same time but I won't go into that. I will go into a little bit on how this relates to our collective photographic life. Specifically what to do and how to prepare yourself and the parents to be. Maybe a new camera or lens? What if they aren't really that photographically inclined? Maybe but one thing I am sure of is that you cannot ever have enough images of your family. The second thing I am sure of is that it's not a bad idea to use film, even if it's not your exclusive image capture medium - definitely use it.

Here is an image I recently scanned. It came out of a box of print packs and film envelopes that have been mistreated in major ways. This was one of my reject piles. One of many. With film I never throw anything away - prints or negatives. Especially negatives. My reject boxes are not even remotely organized but at least they exist with contact sheets and occasionally a package of 4x6 prints. I remember why this was a reject. I shot it on Kodak Royal Gold 400. My films of choice were the Kodak Portra family of films but for some reason or another I was always acquiring some sort of promotional film packs from both Fuji and Kodak. I shot them but never really like the way they looked compared to Portra. I happened to shoot some Portra 160NC of this occasion that looked great so I these shots got relegated to the reject pile.

A dozen years later I certainly like the look of even this film (too too warm for my tastes) better than most digital. Especially most digicam images. I was one of the few photographers that I know that shot as much of his kids as I did. You would be surprised at how that gets neglected. I probably have 30,000 or more images of my three daughters on film - both color and black and white. Even after the digital revolution I continued to shoot film when I made images that were important to me and I am glad I did.

This negative looks soooo much better than dgital. It makes a fantastic 13x19 print that is perfect. I just made one. It has depth and color that are really hard to do even today. This is pretty much a strait scan. No fuss no muss. My expectant daughter happens to love photography, not the technical part, more importantly the image taking part and the aesthetic part. A while back I gave her an beautiful Nikon FM and  50 1.4. So what am I going to do to prepare for the arrival of my first grandchild? I am going to keep her well stocked with Kodak Portra 400 as well as take care of the processing printing and scanning for her. That and insist on her shooting at least 1 roll a week, even if she uses a digicam.

I know from my own experience that upon reflection a lot of the wiz bang wears off with digital. The whole "look ma, I can look at it at 100% and there is no grain" effect has no bearing on what the overall photograph looks like. Looking back my film looks far far better - especially in retrospect - than any of my digital of the same vintage. I also know that what images you may like now change a whole lot in 5 or 10 years. It's too too easy to delete digital images after glancing at them on your camera or computer. It takes far more effort to cut one negative off a strip to make it go away. Come to think of it, I may even take care of filing negatives for my daughter as well. For her it will be as convenient as digital without the instant turn around. Hey that's more fun anyway.

For those that gotta know - the attached image was shot on the way to my daughter's dance recital in hand held, using available light with a Nikon F2 and 85 1.4 wide open or at f 2. For you pixel mongers here is the 100% pixel view of a 4000dpi scan (approx. a 6 foot high print). Click to see all the pixels - note there is only a tiny plane that is actually in focus at this large of an Aperture….

Please wish my daughters new and growing family luck.

RB

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