----- Travelling with Film - March 17, 2012 -----
Recently I found out how sweet travelling with film actually is. Let me explain, every year, for the last five years, I've travelled abroad to Europe. Naturally, I've always packed a camera with me.
In 2010, I bought a Nikon DSLR and brought that with me. I was happy with the pictures, but the experience was really no different than the previous years, during which I shot random digital point & shoots.
In 2011, I decided on a whim to forgo my DSLR, and go with a Nikon Film SLR and an old Bronica Medium Format Camera. On the surface this seems like a strange choice... I mean, convenice is nice, but it's especially important when you're travelling. Several pounds of camera/film/lenses/accessories hardly seems ideal for a backpacker. And wait? What about the convenience of checking into a hotel or hostel and sending all those pictures back home right away? These concerns are very much valid, infact, the friends I was travelling with left me with the responsibility of bringing a camera or two for us, so these were their exact concerns. "Wait you didn't bring a digital camera?! :O" ...but believe it or not, by the end of the trip we were all happy we hadn't. Why?
Well, it was such a refreshing experience. In so many ways it made travel so much more relaxed. Keeping batteries charged? Don't have to worry about it. Worried about someone stealing my 1000$ DSLR, including the SD card full of every photo? Nope. Most people think film is dead... and I'd imagine thieves would be looking at the 'flashiest' cameras not an old FM2. Either way, I wasn't very concerned about having them stolen. But more than these two advantages, the lack of instant photos is by far the greatest benefit. I never realized until then how nice it is be traveling, stop, compose, shoot, and continue on. With a DSLR I'd be looking at the screen, over analyising, reshooting, stressing, breaking out a laptop, looking at 100% magnification ect. Film cameras seem so much more suited to enjoying the travel experience... and plus, film being a limited resource and lacking an instant preview, I found I was much more focused on taking strong/well composed pictures, and passing on those boring snapshots that are so easy to shoot with digital. With film, it's often a quality over quantity thing, and when traveling it's no exception. I was taking less photos, but they ended up being much better, and as soon as I shot them the best I could, I needed not worry about them and how they looked. I wouldn't see them till later.
Major cities still have places where you can drop off you're film to get development and scans... so you're still able to get digital files to send back home or throw online within a day or two.
Just my feelings on the matter...
I know though, this summer when I go travelling I'll be taking my film camera(s).