Updated: Feb 20
Before my grandfather passed away, I was gifted his Canon AE-1, a few lenses, and two rolls of expired film. Everything I needed to get started again. While the camera appeared to be in great condition, I was told there might be some light leaks as a result of age. Given the film options of a 800 speed Kodak color film and C-41 process black and white, I chose the latter and popped it into the camera. After a few cranks of the film advance, I heavily taped the back door of the camera with painters tape, hoping that in some way, it would abate any light-leak related issues.
As I headed out to shoot, it felt like a gambler. Not a gambler of money, but rather, time and effort. Would the images turn out? If not, would it be the fault of the camera? The expired film? My inexperience?
Undeterred by these questions, I framed, snapped, and advanced my way through the 24 exposure roll. What satisfaction! But this satisfaction was fleeting and soon replaced by concern: How in the world do I rewind the film?! After several minutes of searching, I decided the logical course of action would be to press the rewind button underneath the camera and start the process. Upon further research, I'd made the right decision, but for some reason, there was a lot of tension. Maybe this was OK? After the film returned from processing, the shredded sprockets would indicate otherwise.
I sent the film out to Delaware Photo in Buffalo, NY and received back processed negatives as well as a flash drive of scanned images. To my surprise, the images turned out great. There was a bit of discoloration and heavy grain due to the age of the film but the images were sharp and any indication of light leaks was absent. I was happy. The journey back to film had just begun but the excitement I'd once felt with photography was back full-force.
Camera: Canon AE-1
Film: Expired Kodak BW 400 When: November 2018
Where: Annapolis, Maryland