Tuesday, 19 January 2010

Develop Your Landscape Photography by Developing Your Own Film.

I recently read a good post about how to develop your own black & white film at home, and that set me thinking. I develop all my own film because if you really want to understand the photographic process you have to be involved in the whole process.

Tripping the shutter is half the battle and some of the most important decisions affecting the final look of an image take place in the processing stage and so, I think, are too important to be left to Boots or Snappy Snaps, or whatever your local lab is called.

I started to develop my own film after having taken a photography course at night school many years ago. The teacher recommended I buy a Mamiya C330 medium format TLR, if I was serious about landscape photography, so I did.

A month later I set off to Corsica to walk the Haute Route du Corse which is one of the toughest long distance hikes in Europe - two weeks of magnificent scenery but killer climbs and descents. So I packed my ruck sack with tent, food, stove etc., etc., heavy camera, even heavier tripod, quite abit of film, filters, spare lens and spent the next two weeks sweating blood lugging the camera around, but taking what I hoped would be great photos and my first adventure in medium format landscape photography.

On my return to London I hobbled off to Jessops to get my film developed and two weeks later I picked the films up. You can imagine how pleased I was when I tried to print from the negatives only to find that all of them were covered with scratches - some negs looked as if a cat with very sharp claws and ice skates had been dancing on them.

That was over ten years ago and it wasn't until I invested in Photoshop a couple of years ago that I was able to get anything useable from those films

At that point I realised that I would never again let anybody else touch my film again.

The excellent blog post I alluded to above got me thinking and I decided to write down why I feel so strongly that, if you want to be serious about your landscape photography, you should develop your own film. You can read the full article here.

Finally, here's a picture of Corsica
I walked up to the highest point in the photograph, down to the lake and up the other side, where I took this photo, and then down into the next valley - which took a long, back breaking day with a camera that weighed as much as a small car. Lovely view though!

No comments: