Shooting TLR – first impressions

Tomasz asked me recently if shooting film camera improved my photography at all. It is almost a year since the experiment lasted. And while I enjoy shooting Nikon N65, it does not offer much of the challenge. It has all bells and whistles of my Nikon D800, automatic focus, exposure meter, it takes pictures by itself if I allow it to. The only thing- I cannot chimp, and I can live without just fine.

It was not until I started shooting Lubitel 166B did I get real feeling for manual photography. It does not have autofocus, and there is no exposure metering. I need to set up exposure, and that in narrow range of apertures (f/4.5 to f/22) and even narrower range of shutter speeds (1/250 to 1/15). All of this with 12 frames of film with defined ISO, and possibly changing conditions during same shooting or day to day. And that is not even the biggest difficulty. The real problem, at least for me, comes from two other things. I have difficulty composing looking down at the word in the mirror, and pointing the camera where I want and keeping it straight is still a secret. The other is to remember to rewind the film. My recent record? Three pictures on one frame! While it leads to sometimes interesting results, I need to work on it some more.

Johnson County Courthouse, Iowa City, Iowa

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