This month I got to hang out with pearwood
, a photographer unique in his ways within the APN community. Why, you ask? Keep reading, and you'll learn!
Hello pearwood! Thanks so much for joining me today! Could you introduce yourself?
Hi, Monique! I'm Steve. I signed up with dA back in January 2005 so I could follow my artist friends who were leaving Elfwood in droves. I uploaded some of my canoeing photos to show folks what I was doing and found to my surprise that I could hold my own. Since then, dA has been my photography class. It's all about commenting and community.
When I was browsing your gallery, I noticed that the majority- it not all- of your work are film shots. Can you share a little about why you still use film?
I have been a computer and network geek forever -- and both my parents were into computers before I was. I wrote my first computer program over 50 years ago in high school. My dad taught me enough cookbook Fortran to work out a geometry puzzle I playing with. "That's what computers are for; they're fast idiots."
I bought a perfectly fine Canon Rebel XTi DSLR in 2007. Then my folks broke up housekeeping and my dad gave me a bag of his onld cameras, including his beautiful Welta Weltur. I wanted to put it back in service, so I took some classes at the Community Darkroom in Rochester and started shooting and developing my own black and white. I was hooked. Then my sister-in-law gave my her old Yashica-D TLR. That did it. I finally gave away my DLSR because it was too nice a camera to have gathering dust on the shelf.
It wasn't film so much that hooked my as classic film cameras, the ones with no batteries or electronics. It's like shooting everything in manual mode with your DSLR, except that the light meter lives in my pocked. These old cameras are for me rebellion, sanity, and lots of fun.
Film photography seems like something special to you! How does it work with Animals, Plants and Nature photography?
Film really makes no difference. Folks were doing world-class nature photography since long before digital cameras showed up. The difference is shooting in manual mode without an automatic focus. It forces me to slow down and think about what I am doing. I can't shoot in burst mode and hope that one of the shots catches the animal or bird in just the right moment. It's just me, the subject, and the camera.
Do you ever run into any difficulties?
Do you develop your film yourself or is it done for you?
Black and white I develop myself, color I let the lab do. I occasionally do wet prints, but mostly I scan the negatives with my Epson V500.
Do you have a favourite type of film and/or camera?
The Yashica-D is my main working camera. I like the square format and big negatives. It just feels right in my hands. But I do like my Argus C3 bricks and the pinhole cameras.
Kodak makes marvelous black and white film, especially the Tri-X series, but it's pricey. Ilford also does a very fine job. It's my staple, especially the HP5 Plus ASA 400 black and white.
Which of your animals, plants and nature shots is your favourite? Could you share some background on it?
This one of the lower falls footbridge is right up there. I took it with the Argus C3 with a red filter to enhance contrast and Ilford Delta 400 film. Everything came together, including the things I had absolutely no control over like the people on the bridge positioning themselves so perfectly.
Is there something you wish you had known sooner?
Hard to say. No matter where you start in your photography it's a journey. And you never stop learning.
Do you have any tips for fellow photographers- especially on film photography?
Keep at it. Don't rush. Think before you shoot. Have fun.
If you enjoyed this interview, make sure to check out pearwood's gallery!