The title and tagline for this blog both allude to hunting, and with photography that is what I have always been doing.
Though it has evolved.
The early days of me shooting with any seriousness were around a decade ago, with humble Sony Cyber Shot camera phones.
I had no awareness of focal length, ISO, aperture, or shutter speed, and my only experience of film photography had been seeing my nan snap religiously at any family gathering with her folding Kodak Pocket Instamatics, then taking in the film for processing and getting the negatives and prints back an hour later with a free film to boot.
With my cameraphones, the only kind of creative control I knew of was manipulating the focus.
A squeeze of the shutter button would lock focus before a full push would capture the shot. Everything else was auto.
Ironically, for me those kind of phones (my first I recall was a K800i) were far more tactile and enjoyable to use as cameras with “proper” metal buttons, than the ubiquitous touchscreen phones today. But that’s a thought for another thread.
With my Cyber Shot, I was simply hunting for beautiful scenes in remote places, which often meant me wrapping up on a freezing winter morning at dawn to try to capture sunlight across frosted spider webs and the like.
Obviously because the phone was digital, I had immediate feedback, both on the screen before I captured the shot, and immediately after.
The phone was just a device, a tool for making images, or rather gathering up the most beautiful images I could find scattered in the nooks and crannies of the English countryside.
Some years later, and deeply immersed in 35mm film, I now have far more knowledge and more variables to experiment with. Which means the hunting is also about the kit, not just the compositions.
As I’ve evolved via different cameras (last count of cameras I’ve run at least one film through was 98…), I’ve come to learn what matters to me most.
And the measure of these variables – that scattering of ingredients when spun in a particular combination result in photographically magical experience for me, is very simple.
When I click the shutter button on the last shot of the roll, do I think “That’s a relief, I can move on to a different camera now”? Or instead do I instantly think “I love this combination, load me another film immediately!”
Put another way, as soon as I’ve sipped the last drop of the delicious liquid in the glass in my hand, do I urgently shout “Pour me another!”?
Current set ups that inspire this feeling are my Pentax MG with SMC Pentax 55mm f/1.8 lens, Minolta X-700 with Minolta MC Rokkor-PF 55mm f/1.4 lens, and my Minolta Dynax 7000i with Minolta AF 50mm f/1.7 lens.
All of these I enjoy hugely.
The film inside is a minor consideration, in terms of the enjoyment of using the cameras/lenses. But for the end result – still a factor for me, after all don’t we all want to make beautiful pictures – the current favourite is expired FujiFilm Superia 100.
How do you know when you’ve had a wonderful photographic experience you immediately want to repeat?