Last week I shot two rolls of film with my late grandfather’s Pentax Spotmatic, which was given to me by my mom more than a decade ago and has spent far too much of that decade languishing on one shelf or another. It’s a beautiful, historied piece of mechanics, with a loud metallic shutter release and scuffs in all the right places, and it came with three prime lenses in leather cases. It had been a few years since I’d picked it up, and I’m pretty sure I ripped the last roll of film I shot with it when I totally forgot how to use the rewinding mechanism. I have a few prints somewhere from the summer in college when I interned with a fine art black and white photographer, but mostly I’d been disappointed by what I’d produced with this camera. Last week, though, I felt like I’d finally earned it, somehow — like I understood it, and we could be friends. I really like a lot of these images. Like my mom says — there is something special about film, isn’t there? I also found that I was attracted to different subjects than I am when carrying around a dslr, and of course there’s the one-chance-to-get-it aspect of film that really encourages mindfulness and intentionality. I think I’ll learn a lot by using this camera more often.
If you’re curious: the film is Kodak Portra 400; the lenses I used were a 135mm f3.5 and a 35mm f3.5. I also have a 50mm f1.4 that I haven’t used yet — it’s wrapped in tinfoil on my windowsill to hopefully reduce the yellowing caused by radioactive(!) thorium. Apparently these M42 Takumar lenses are pretty popular with Canon dslr users! I bought an adapter and am looking forward to using them with my dslr too.