Use Film Awareness

All the pictures on this website (with the exception of those taken with a Canon Digital Rebel for its review article) are taken with film cameras. The best photographs of Trinidad and Tobago are recorded on film, here on Trinidad Dreamscape. No digital camera can come close to the film formats we use in dynamic range, colour fidelity, resolution, and archival longevity. Prints from our large format cameras outclass the best 39 megapixel cameras available, and prints from our medium format cameras outclass 16 and 21 megapixel digital cameras. Our slides allow us the ability to prove to sceptical viewers that pictures seen on this website are real scenes, rather than scenes of imagination made in Photoshop. This is really important to us: that viewers understand that the Trinidad Dreamscape is real, it exists all around us. We think that photographers who use digital methods to substantially enhance their landscapes only serve to undermine the true beauty of the landscape. The viewing public becomes jaded by fantastic Photoshopped scenes, interest is lost, and the landscape suffers when public appreciation wanes. Naturally, we are miffed that digital photographers seek to undermine all the hard work we put in to recording lovely scenes by their ramping up of the saturation slider! Well, to each his own.

Film manufacturing is expensive, hence film manufacturers need your support to keep making film. Taking digital pictures is a fun, and easy activity, but will your grandchildren be able to see your digital pictures 50 years from now? We have negatives and slides of our grandparents, and parents, taken almost 70 years ago. The pictures still look great! Unless you are obssessed about making multiple digital backups, and migrating your digital picture formats to current formats as technology advances, you are likely to lose your pictures at some point. Even if you do backup your pictures, remember that hard drives crash, and DVDs/CDs may become corrupted, and unreadable, in as little as 2 years.

Film is a mature technology, with over one hundred years of development, whereas digital cameras are still in the period of infancy. We have many years of experience archiving film to draw from, but no one can definitively answer that question for digital technologies, because nobody knows. We can ask facetiously, whether you've tried to access data from one of your old 5.25" floppy diskettes lately? Photography is about freezing a moment in time, for all time. It is about transcending our own finite existence by recording what things were like when we lived, what we were like. If pictures are to be now given a life cycle shorter than your next computer upgrade, then we all lose. We are all too sorry about the young generation of 'happy digi-snappers'. We know that 90% of them don't backup their pictures, don't store pictures in lossless formats, leave pictures on their SD/CF cards. They will have nothing to show their children.

Film is cheap, and we don't ask for prints when we develop our negative film. One roll costs about $12TT to develop. We then scan the film on our cheap film scanner; it takes about 5 minutes. After scanning, we can upload the pictures to the web.

People say that digital pictures are 'free'. Oh? After we factor in the hard drives, computer, printer, up-front camera costs, ink, need to replace said computer and camera every couple years, well, costs add up. We are using cameras on Trinidad Dreamscape that are over 40 years old! And, as we said, film is cheap. Use film!

We would like to thank Peter Robinson for allowing us the use of his film awareness ribbon.

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