Friday, May 3, 2013

shooting film with my dad’s camera

I discovered my dad’s Canon AE-1 about ten years ago. I had taken a photography course at the beginning of my sophomore year of high school. We used pinhole cameras and SLRs and developed film in the darkroom—I don’t remember using any digital. When that semester wrapped up, I found my dad’s camera, packed away in a box. My dad passed away the summer that I turned four, so his Canon had not been used in a decade. He had used it to take people’s wedding photos, and also for family and scenery pictures. I figured I knew how to use it after taking the class, so I shot a whole roll. I thought I had rewound the film, but unfortunately when I opened it, I exposed it all to light. I wasn’t sure if I had rewound it incorrectly, or if it was broken, so I didn’t use it after that, to avoid wasting more film and money. This past winter, it sparked my interest again. I waited for the weather to get nice, and I bought a new roll of film.

I took all the photos within a couple days. I had a bit of trouble discerning if I was adjusting the shutter speed and aperture correctly. I had no guarantee that any of the photos were going to turn out. But they did! Steve rewound the film and it worked just fine. And I think the photos look pretty awesome.

I love the white stripe in this one, and the details of Nolan’s face.

Testing it out in the mirror.

Not entirely in focus, but so cute.

Oops—overexposed. He’s focused on lining up his Green Lantern and Superman cars.

There’s a little fleck of something on his eye… but those eyes. Such good clarity.

The Ivers.

I think this picture looks like I’ve treated it with a filter. . . lovely flowers.

Steve calls this “The Hero Shot”.

I especially like the blurred backgrounds. The lens I used is a Toshiba 52 mm SL-1A.

He did not want to leave the park.

I absolutely love this one.

Doesn’t this camera make him look like an 80’s baby? :)

What do you think of my 33-year-old camera? Is it worth spending a little extra cash to buy film every once in a while and have it developed?


  1. Sometimes I miss the days of using film cameras. I really like how all your pictures turned out... esp. the one with the toy train.

  2. Those are gorgeous Rachel! Yes, I think you should spend the money to take some awesome shots every once in a while. :)

  3. I would so splurge for photos like these from time to time! Nolan is so cute, and I love the 80's style to the pics! I actually change a lot of my iPhone pics to look that way with an app! Have a great weekend Rachel! :)

  4. I say yes, it is worth the extra cash once in awhile, great job Rachel! There is just something about film that makes me nostalgic in a way that digital photos can't and because there is only a certain number you can take with film, you have to really choose what photos you want to take. Now I want to stumble upon an old camera...

  5. Awe, I love all of these pictures. They have such a neat vintage feel to them! I'm so glad that it was working for you and got to get these great pics!


  6. The train one is so cute! And it's definitely worth the money - maybe once a season, or something, to give you new inspiration and document your family?

  7. Love the pictures, even the ones that you think didn't turn out as well as you would have hoped! It's a great unexpected present left behind from your dad! Your little boy is adorable!

  8. What an amazing experiment. These photos turned out so well, i have like 8 vintage cameras on display in my house, maybe ill buy some film! Your blog is great.

    x Eloise - Jazzlips&tulips

  9. great photos Rachel! what kind of film did you use and where did you get it developed? did you scan the photos in or get a disc?


Thank you so much for your comments! I enjoy reading each one!


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