Film Friday ~ Starting January 2011

The very first manual camera I ever bought was a Ricoh KR5 Super II. I bought it when I was 15, because I fancied myself a photographer. I probably took about a dozen rolls of film with it and then it found its way down to the bottom of my closet. Somehow it’s stayed with me…through the rest of my teen years, multiple moves (including the one abroad in which I got rid of everything I owned except for 2 suitcases worth of my most treasured belongings), marriage and 2 kids.

Fast forward to Mothers Day 2008…I recieved a digital SLR camera as a gift (thanks Dave!) and it truly changed my life. I have learned everything I know about photography on that camera (and as embarrassing proof, you can look back to my first post on this blog…which includes my very first picture, ack!). Needless to say, I have learned ALOT.  Thanks to the immediate feedback you get with a digital camera, it’s easy to take the same shot a hundred different ways and figure out how the different variables are influencing the final shot.

Now that I’ve got my brain wrapped around the basics of exposure, shutter speed, aperture, ISO, focal length…etc., I think I’m ready to have another go at film. I’ve wanted to start another personal project for a while and have been tossing a few ideas around in my head and finally settled on “Film Friday”. The concept is to take one roll of film per week and upload the whole roll onto the Film Friday blog…yes, the whole roll…even the ugly ones. The goal is to delve deeper into the mental process of photography, to think about each shot – really think about it, to choose my composition more carefully, and of course to have fun and relive the excitement of picking up a package of photos and wondering which ones came out and being surprised by the little gem of a photo tucked away between overexposed and blurry prints.

If your thinking to yourself, “she doesn’t think about her shots now?!” lol, yes, of course I do. But I also do a whole lot of just taking the shot because who knows if it will be a good one and if it’s not I can erase it (or fix it in post processing) and if it is good then, well, great! I really want to be a more thoughtful photographer…and learn to handle more of my photography issues on the front end instead of after the fact. What does that mean? More waiting – for good light, the interaction I’m wanting to capture, the mood of the composition. More watching – for interesting subjects, contrast, light (again with the light!).

Phew, that was long. So this weekend I busted the old Ricoh out and bought some film and did a test roll to make sure it still worked. Here are a couple of shots… (pst…I used Walgreens film and also developed at Walgreens, they do film conversion to CD for $5!! In an hour!! And of course if I want to print out something I can always take in the negatives that I like to my trusty pro-lab) Woot! Amazingly they all came out pretty good…even though we were mostly stuck inside today because of rain rain rain. Not terribly interesting (except for the one of Mr. Handsome), but they *are* test shots after all.

The Ricoh is fully manual (read, no auto focus!!) and the shutter speed dial is at the top of the camera (only options are Bulb, 1sec, 2, 4, 8, 15, 30, 60, 125, 250, 500, 1000, 2000) so there will definitely be a learning curve without all of the options of a digital. The bonus though…the lady who sold me the camera sold me a 50mm 2.8, which is NEVER bad. Needless to say it was a much more tactile experience! 🙂



Basic b&w conversion done in post-processing


If you would like to join me for this project, I would love to have some company! Check out the about page at the other blog, for more info (but please note the blog is still semi-under construction). I decided to devote a seperate blog to this project because I really want it to be more about fine art photography and less about cute photos of my kids…although I’m sure sometimes they will bleed into one another.

So head over there and have a look around and be sure to book mark it in your reader! The first post will be up on January 1st! I can’t wait to get this project started!


  1. #1 by Amber on October 11, 2010 - 6:50 am

    You are just amazing woman! If I can find my old camera, I’m totally on board. I think the only film I have these days is Polaroid, which isn’t easy to find. How you find the time to be so creative blows my mind Mama! I hope to see at least a few prints of the little ones..

    • #2 by Kirsten Geyer on October 11, 2010 - 6:56 pm

      Amber – Find that camera! You know you would rock that film OUT!

  2. #3 by hoffy73 on October 12, 2010 - 2:16 am

    KR5 super! How many of us had them as a first SLR. I wish I never sold mine. I hope you enjoy your return to the film side!

  3. #4 by Jamie on October 12, 2010 - 12:04 pm

    When I was a freshmen in high school my dad gave me my first hand-me-down film camera so I signed up for a photography class. Would you believe I nearly failed that class!? I think it mostly had to do with kissing boys in the darkroom rather than studying the finer points of composition and chemicals 😉 I still have all my old negatives from those days. Nostalgia, I tell ya! I wish I knew where that camera ended up. Can’t wait to see how this evolves!

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