Monday, December 28, 2015

Behind The Frame: For the Love of Grain

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As a film shooter it is no secret that I am a lover of grain.  I still remember the first photograph I ever developed myself in the darkroom, a photo of my dog of course, and watching in awe as the grains started to appear like magic on my photo paper in the chemicals.  I was so excited I actually yanked the photo out of the developer and rushed it out of the darkroom to get a better look at it, and it quickly turned purple than black since I hadn't fixed it yet in the chemical bath- whoops!  I was 11, you live you learn!  Now I have a wonderful lab in California who develops and scans my negatives for me, but I still have that same excitement when I'm downloading scans waiting to see my photos.  For my particular aesthetic, color film really shines in natural light.  Film loves natural light and my color photos are all very fine grained images shot at 400 ISO.  The larger the number on the ISO the more grainy the film will be.  During the evening portion I like to shoot some dancing and cake cutting on ilford 3200, which creates this beautiful grain.  There's something wonderfully timeless about shooting ilford 3200 because it easily looks like it could have been shot yesterday or 50+ years ago.  The ISO determines how sensitive a film is to light, the lower the ISO the finer the grain and the less sensitive it is, the higher the ISO the more sensitive it is and the rougher the grain.  I shot this with a video light at box speed, meaning I metered for the correct ISO, which was 3200 at F2 at 1/60th of a second.  If I had been shooting 400 speed film I would have needed to shoot around 1/8 of a second, which would have been too slow and the photo would be blurry.  One of the advantages to digital is being able to shoot at higher ISO's without getting all the grain and that's why I do shoot more digital at receptions, but I always take at least a few rolls of Ilford 3200 to create these timeless grainy photos.

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