Back To Film.

Photography has always piqued my interest.  In college, I had a job for a few months at an Eckerd Express Photo, and went back to Eckerd’s again after moving to Metairie.  A few years after being laid off, I landed a job at Lakeside Camera, one of the major professional photo labs in the New Orleans area.  I was a lab tech there from 2002 to 2004.  I really enjoyed working at photo labs – I’ve always been interested in photography, and seriously played with it a lot while I worked at Lakeside.

As I mentioned in my last blog post, Doug’s dad gave him a Pentax Spotmatic – he gave it to him while I was working at Lakeside. I had someone take a peek at it to make sure everything was working, and it was. It’s been packed away in a camera bag since then, because I was too afraid to try going totally manual. Shortly after that, we got our first digital camera, and then it was all megapixels instead of ISO. I had some unused film in the bags, which mostly expired back in 2005 – ten years ago.

A couple of weeks ago, I finally replaced the battery in the Pentax for the light meter, loaded up a roll of Kodak Gold 200 film, and took it out to shoot. However, I discovered after taking the whole roll that the film did not wind around the spool, so I essentially took 24 pictures on one frame. I discovered this when I rewound the film and opened the camera, and realized that there was a slot to insert the film tab in.

Lesson number one – learned.

I loaded the camera up with another roll of Kodak Gold 200 and took it out to shoot.

These were the only images I got off of that roll:


Last weekend, I purchased a Lomography La Sardina. It came in on Wednesday, so I loaded it up with an old roll of Kodak Max 400 and snapped off some pictures while out and about this week. These are the only ones that came out:

Not as bad as the first ones, but still…eep.

I did some research and apparently when a film has been expired less than five years, it shouldn’t have any drastic changes unless it is exposed to water or extreme temperatures. However, after five years, the ISO drops, so you essentially need to overexpose the film a bit. So, what happened with this was that the ISO 200 film dropped to 50 (or something like that), and the ISO 400 film dropped to 100. Hence, the reason why the photos only taken in bright sunlight came out.

Lesson number two – learned.

I’m not letting this bring me down, though! The images from the first roll, even though they are dark and grainy, are NOT bad pictures. The picture of my coworker is actually pretty good – he’s in focus and the background behind him is pleasantly blurry, which teaches me a bit about depth of field and aperture. The images from the La Sardina are not bad, either – they have a nice lo-res quality to them that I like. I particularly like the street view in downtown Hammond.

I’ve bought some fresh color film from a store and loaded it in both cameras.  I’m going to take these around over the next week or two and shoot some things with them.  With the manual camera, I think I’m going to focus on bracketing images (taking multiple shots of the same thing with different camera settings) so I can see what does what.  With the La Sardina, I’m going to just shoot what interests me.  I’m waiting on a flash to come in so I can get some good low-light shots, too.


Here’s all my expired film: Two rolls of Kodak Tmax 100, one roll of Kodak EliteChrome 200, five rolls of Kodak 400UC, one roll of Kodak Gold 200, and three rolls of Fuji Superia 800.  I wish I would have known to put these in the freezer years ago…I probably wouldn’t have the problems I had with these two rolls!

After some major consideration, I am not throwing this film away.  Now that I know I need to overexpose them, I’ll shoot outside and with flash.  I mean, the only thing I need to pay for is the developing.  I did buy some fresh Fuji Superia 400 (which is what is currently loaded in the cameras) and some Lomography Lady Grey 400.

The only other struggle I’ve had was getting the film developed.  I’ve been planning for weeks to take these two rolls to Bennett’s Camera in Metairie, since they still do film developing.  According to their website, their film processing is a 3 hour service.  All I needed was for them to be developed and scanned to CD.  However, when I brought in the film this morning, they told me that it wouldn’t be ready until Thursday night!  I was confused, and asked them why it would take so long – maybe they thought it was another kind of film?  Nope.  I was told that they weren’t planning on turning on the machines today.


I’m with you, Benedict.

So I decided to go check out my old workplace, two blocks down – Lakeside Camera.  I walk in, and ask the nice lady at the counter if they processed film.  She said yes.  I asked how long.  She replies, “Three weeks.”


I’m with you too, Loki.

So I leave the Southshore, annoyed since it looks like I have to mail all my film off to be developed.  However, on the drive across the lake, my mind starts wandering, and I gave my local Walgreens a call.  Sure enough, they still develop C-41 film in the store.  I dropped it off, the lady said to give it about two hours, and I picked up my rolls this afternoon.  She was even nice enough not to charge me for the roll from the Pentax, since it only had two images on it.



So if I keep using color rolls, I at least have a place close to me to get my film developed.  Eventually, I might buy a film scanner for my negatives, but for now, CDs are fine.  I’ll have to mail out true B&W film, but I’m okay with that.

All in all, some good lessons learned, and it’s pushing me to be better at this hobby!

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  1. Hi Karen, thanks for liking my post. I just wanted to say that I recognised your experience here; my first forays with film were pretty much identical to yours. I’ve only been at this for a little over a year and I think, like me, you’ll be amazed how much you’ll learn! Totally manual is the way to go I think; it’s taught – and is still teaching – me an awful lot. It occurred to me, do you know about chromogenic black & white film? It’s basically C-41 black and white film. It used dyes rather than silver-halides so isn’t true b&w but I like it a lot and your local Walgreen’s will be able to process it. I think Kodak have discontinued their version but Ilford’s XP-2 is very smooth with nice tonality. Good work and keep at it.

    1. Hello there! You’re very welcome – I’ve been on the fence about trying out fisheye cameras but I love the depth that the B&W film you used gave the images. I do know about chromogenic black & white – I’ve used it a few times while I was shooting years ago. Considering the only available developing near me, I’m thinking of picking up a few rolls soon. I also have a few roles of the Lomography Lady Grey true B&W film, so I’m looking forward to using those. Thanks for the comment! I followed your blog, BTW. 🙂

  2. Great work – keep up the passion for something you are very good at, and you will find rewards yielded to you! Love you and you can do anything you set your mind to….I have always admired the quality of your photos!