Because there are fewer and fewer places selling honest to goodness film these days, trying to snag a roll was random and difficult. If I didn’t want Kodak instant cameras or Fuji Superia, I was stuck using Amazon or B&H – especially for my favorites, Agfa Vista and Ilford HP5.
But CameraMall had those and more. Medium format film! Kodak Ektar! Weird Ilford film I had never heard of! My beloved Agfa! It was like a candy store. As a bonus, they also develop 35mm film.
It felt really, really good to plunk down the $10 for two rolls of film, knowing that I had a local place to shop from. They benefit (yay, camera stores!), I benefit, and somewhere down the line the photography industry benefits.
And really, the film costs the same in store as it does online, I get to geek out with the guy behind the counter, and it’s an excuse to get out of the office and go for a walk.
Find your local place, if you have one, and shop from their film selection (or memory cards, or tripods, or whatever). Order some prints. Check out their used gear section. I know ordering online is super handy, but the benefits of shopping local are numerous.
I’ll bet that after you do, like me, you’ll feel better about doing it.
Every year, during the hottest week of the summer, Ann Arbor puts on a giant art fair, shutting down streets downtown and welcoming thousands of people over four days.
I’ve been to Art Fair several times, but this is my first time working on campus during the event. As the artists set up their booths, I walked around town grabbing some of the behind-the-scenes shots.
It’s fun, seeing the event before the event starts. A lot of the art was already on display, but many artists didn’t have their tent up yet, and their wares were sprawled out on the University of Michigan lawn, waiting for hanging.
There were these weird juxtapositions, like fake cactus and palm trees baking in the Midwestern sun, or giant metal sculptures just hanging out on University Ave. And hot. Everything was hot.
Should be a fun couple of days, trying to get into work.
For a few minutes yesterday, though, the setup gave me a great chance to wander around and see what I could see.
A suggestion: If you find an artist you like at one of these art fairs, a good way to support them is to buy a small print or notecard, especially if you can’t afford one of their bigger prints. I found one from photographer Amber Tyrrell that I really liked, so I bought a notecard from her. Three bucks and some change is an easy vote of confidence.
Any little bit of support helps the artists, helps the arts economy, and makes the whole humid thing seem worth it.
After starting my new job in March, I did what I always do: got out and explored.
I’ve been to Ann Arbor, Michigan, many times, and done a lot of shooting here. Now that it’s my jobby-job town, there are a lot more opportunities to get out and see the city. Lunch hours, in between meetings, after work – all good excuses to get out and make photos.
This is, at its most basic, the best reason to make photography a hobby. You get to really learn about and know a place through the viewfinder.
A new place also provides that little spark of freshness you might need to practice your craft.
Do your everyday surroundings get stale? Go somewhere new, and – bam – instant inspiration.
A year or two ago, I thought about doing a book called “So You Bought a Fancy Camera.” It would be for friends who had just bought a DSLR or mirrorless camera and needed to get started with the basics.
Instead, I spent my time making another book (and another after that), covering something other than how-to material, and I feel like that was time better spent.
Who needs another asshole talking about focal length?
For many people, it really is exciting. They have $3,500 burning a whole in their pocket, or they need it for professional work.
But for us low-end shooters, we don’t need latest and greatest. In fact, a new Canon 5D means that the previous models, Marks I-III, will be on sale here soon. You can buy an affordable used or refurbished model.
I’m not shy about it: I use a 10 year old 5D for most photo stuff. There are others (six megapixels? C’mon!) who are even more ambitious in their anachronism.
So you can use this New Camera Day as an opportunity to jump on something new, jump on something old – or maybe wait a bit, until it goes on sale.