Chapter 5: Gaining Confidence

Okay, so those first few rolls were nothing short of tragic, and in all honesty rather embarrassing. Saying that, something clicked on my fifth roll, I focused on the SRT-202, got comfortable and I did not try and push the ASA.

My focus seemed spot on, my reading of the exposure may have been a little hot, but close enough and I just felt comfortable working in my surroundings. For the first time I was working with the camera rather than against it.

All these photos have had no digital touch ups, they are as they were straight out of the camera. I found receiving this roll back the real confidence boost I needed.

“…I found receiving this roll back the real confidence boost I needed…”

However, nobody should expect to have mastered the art of 35mm photography or their camera after five rolls of film. I analysed the images and scrutinised every image. I thought to myself, “yes I now know there are no issues with the camera and I can conquer this medium”, my issue was that being ‘okay’ at something does not sit in my vocabulary, I wanted to keep pushing.

“…nobody should expect to have mastered the art of 35mm photography or their camera after five rolls of film…”

If I am being critical of myself, the issues I had with these images was the tonal range. Although I shot everything use a Rokkor 50mm prime lens at f1.7, which gave me the shallow depth of field I aimed for, there was a lack of tonal range. The grey tones appeared washed. I wanted skin tones to be lifted and the background to be lost, the images, as well shot as they are lacked that desired finished quality – No, I am not being negative (excuse the pun), I just know this camera can give me so much more.

My Daughter Dolly

My refusal to rely on any digital support to touch up my photos meant it was time to explore colour filters and how this can push my photography on to the next level. I won’t bring using filters in during this post, but rather tease it for an upcoming chapter (make sure to follow the blog).

My  advice to anyone who feels the frustration with those first few rolls, is to stop and take stock of what it is you are seeing. Also do not try and get too clever early on, explore what the camera is giving you, and when that first successful roll comes in, analyse it, grow in confidence and work out what needs to be done to improve. When the good roll comes in you now know it is within your gift to capture the moment. My top tip is to work with daylight, shoot in your garden with your subjects facing the light source. Work with your surroundings, but as I said, do not get to clever early on.

As always drop me a comment below, tweet me or insta me. Thank you for the support.

Ta for now – Alex

P.s I hope you are enjoying the new site.

All photos shot on  Minolta SRT-202 with Ilford XP2 Super 400 35mm film stock

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