Violet hour and fog surround the Golden Gate

The Challenge

I recently posted about the decline of analog in the same week that I made a handful of 4x5 exposures and ran a roll of slide film through an oldie-but-goodie 35mm camera. Why use film when digital is so much more versatile, so much more of a pure medium? Precisely because it is a major challenge. My success rate with large-format is below 20%, but I did manage to grab this beautiful image of the Golden Gate Bridge, pre dawn.

Violet hour and fog surround the golden gate

Schneider Super Angulon 90mm f/8 at f/32, 360 second exposure, RVP 50, ~10mm rise

I also brought my digital camera along (as the most expensive light meter of all time) and made an image or two with it as well. The digital image is clearly a better image technically, but the joy of photography for me is at least half about the process and the experience. I have such fond memories of film - there's a peaceful feeling about not being able to look at the back of the camera to see the image. That forced focus on composition and exposure yields to a nervous anticipation of opening up the box when the processed film comes back in the mail. Film photography is artifactual in that you finish with a physical object as a representation of your effort and vision, and with reversal (slide) film, the artifact is all the more beautiful. When using a large format camera, there is the added bonus of getting back a transparency that is ENORMOUS by comparison to 35mm: big enough to hold up to the light and get the full effect.