36 @ 17

Now, my reader is used to my film photography exploits but I do also own and use digital cameras too. I don’t use them anywhere near as much as I do the various film cameras but I do dabble occasionally. Indeed, my diminutive Fuji X100T is rarely far away from me; especially useful for my ongoing 365 Challenge.

My film usage in January came to the equivalent of a roll of film (35mm or 120) every day plus a sheet of 5×4 every two days, add in chemicals and it was an expensive month. So, I’m going Frugal February, aiming to have a more affordable month. One way of doing this is to dust off the Canon 5Dii, a full frame DSLR, and wallow in some digital nostalgia. This camera has seen action from Cornwall to the Scottish Highlands and all points in between. Landscapes on Skye, night photography in London, urban/street photography in Manchester and Liverpool. For a time this was my daily camera, a real workhorse that never faltered whatever the weather. From sun to snow and from balmy days to blizzards this camera took it all in its stride.

When I mentioned my decision to a couple of my #believeinfilm friends I was met with good-natured derision and micky-taking. Once they’d had their fun however they embraced the concept and John challenged me to take the widest lens I had and use only the widest focal length. The 36 @ 17 challenge was born. My widest lens for the Canon is a 17-40mm zoom, so 17mm. I’ve turned the LCD screen off on my 5Dii as I rarely chimp these days; let’s face it you can’t with the cameras I typically use. I would also restrict myself to 36 shots, the equivalent of a roll of 35mm film. As I wouldn’t be using the screen I’d rely on instinct to tell me when to stop and discard any additions later. In the event I ended up with 40 suggesting my film photography mentality is well ingrained.

All images Canon 5D MkII and 17-40 f4L lens at 17mm

These are the results. Or some of them. I would say that the challenge was a great success looking at the images I made that morning in less-than-ideal light. The camera operated flawlessly and I was amazed that despite it having sat on a shelf for a long while now I still had the muscle memory intact that made using it intuitive. The only slight downer was when I got home. I’m used to processing my Fuji files on the iPad but my aged tablet, whilst happy to download the RAW files struggled mightily to open them in Snapseed. I was reduced to turning the laptop on!

“Here be Rats” – revisited 2023

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