I had a great time attending my first World Wide Photo Walk (WWPW) a couple days ago (in it’s 7th year). I met a few photographers for the first time and a couple I’ve known for a while. We met just as the first few, scattered, drops of rain were falling and had time for a brief overview of the recommended route and a group picture. As we headed out the rain started to become more consistent. About an hour and a half into the walk, as I was crossing the Blue Bridge, the sky opened up almost as if someone had turned on a firehose. Fortunately, I had rain gear for my camera and camera bag. My clothing, on the other hand, was good for a light rain at best. After quickly ducking into a nearby hotel for some shelter, it was decided to enjoy a hot coffee and hope the downfall decreased. I was in luck, and by the time I finished a tall cup of Starbucks Pike Place coffee, the clouds had parted and the rain let up. I returned across the Blue Bridge, back to the downtown area, and managed to slowly dry up a bit while taking some photos that I am quite happy with.
While the majority of my photos were taken with my Canon DSLR, I did break out my old Canon AE-1 Program, and a roll of 200 ASA film for the Photo Walk as well. I couldn’t help myself on several occasions and after snapping a shot with the AE-1, I reflexively gazed at the back of the camera, looking for the preview image that wasn’t there. For the first couple of shots with the AE-1, I also depressed the shutter and nothing happened… until I remembered to wind it! More on shooting with film shortly.
I spent the next couple of hours winding my way (mostly) along the designated route, along the waterfront, past The Empress hotel and the BC Legislature before returning towards Chinatown, not far from where we started. To end the Photo Walk, over half of our little group met for lunch at a local restaurant, where we talked about cameras, photography and the Photo Walk.
As for shooting with film… It had been sometime late last century (that sounds much better than over 15 years ago) since I last used my SLR. After having drifted away from photography, except for quick snapshots with compact digital cameras, I eventually bought my dSLR and have been hooked on photography, again. Bringing my AE-1 out of storage turned out to be a great experience. Photography with a SLR slows you down and makes you think about what you’re doing. You FEEL the actions of the camera. The positive feedback of winding the film and the snap of the mirror & shutter (much more obvious than a dSLR) seem to wake the senses. In fact, I enjoyed using the AE-1 so much that on my way home from the WWPW, I stopped and bought a 36 exposure roll of Ilford XP2 super 400, Black and White film and loaded it into my AE-1. The film camera won’t replace a dSLR for me, but I will be breaking it out more often, just for the joy of it.