First film image in 5 years

What we leave behind, Trinidad, 2019. Mamiya Universal 6×9 camera, Ilford Pan F Plus film (expired).

Although Rocket, our image editor, sniffed contemptuously at the negative, here we have it: our first film picture in over 5 years of essentially no photography. Why now? A large part of it had to do with a few hundred rolls of film taking up freezer space; space better occupied by frozen pizza. Throwing out film is a capital sin so using some of it seemed like the only way out to make way for frozen pizza and to forestall starvation.

Our first lesson was that Pan F doesn’t do so well as an expired film. Low ASA speed and golf-ball sized grain were our rewards for defrosting this relic. This was compounded by the Mamiya Universal camera which, to put it mildly, was a bear to use. Maybe we have a bad copy where nothing works right, but we can’t figure out why people are fond of this camera. We sold our other cameras but no one wanted this one, so this is the camera we’re stuck with, maybe until the end of our days. We’re so fed up spending money on cameras. We’ll just use what we’ve got for once.

All told, the pictures didn’t turn out too badly. The lens shutter we discovered to be defective (we did wonder why that eBay deal was so good) and will require repair someday this side of eternity. We resorted to using the lens cap and keeping the shutter open permanently. We also forgot that in the vast outdoors it tends to rain. All those speckles in the grass are actually raindrops and not a bad case of Trinidad hard water dropping minerals on our film.

On another note, only one person shouted an obscenity at us. A good day in Trinidad?

While we’ve been death-embalmed photography-wise we just noted that photography didn’t die along with us in Trinidad. Giving the Trinidad & Tobago Photographic Society photography competition 2019 the cursory eyeball suggests to us that dead may be better. Or maybe we are just old and jaded. We look at the pictures and we are reminded of an analogy: marking medical student papers where everyone gets a score of zero, and then we have to somehow bell-curve that.

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