I find shooting film to be exciting in many different ways. There is the nostalgia of first selecting which film you want to shoot as well as the anticipation of determining what camera to run it through. Then there is the attitude and method of thought around deciding what subject to photograph, how to expose for it properly, and the mystery and wonder of how that frame will turn out. Lastly there is the "working with your hands" satisfaction of mixing chemicals, reeling the film in the dark, processing of the film, and the wait to see if the whole undertaking was successful. A suppose there is another step after that which is the scanning of the film, which is really the big reveal and surprise.
At every step something can go wrong and ruin, or at least create unexpected results, with your shots. You could have chosen a film that is too long expired or stored improperly. Or perhaps you loaded your camera wrong and exposed the whole roll, or metered for the wrong ISO. Maybe you goofed on the chemicals and chose the wrong dilution or temperature, or reeled the film wrong. I have been a victim of everyone one of those scenarios more times than I care to say. I've also done everything correctly to pull a completely blank roll of film out of the wash. The only tried and true method for mitigating risk is to buy fresh film, have experience with your camera equipment and metering, and send out to be processed. And again I do this from time to time when I have important shots or am busy, but when I "shortcut" the process it feels like something is lacking or missing. Having the risk is what makes shooting film exciting for me.
Last week I mixed up a fresh batch of c41 chemicals from my go to Unicolor 1L powdered c41 kit. These kits are pretty inexpensive and can process 8 rolls quite easily, which also makes shooting color film fairly economical. After mixing everything up that morning I went ahead and processed 4 rolls of Kodak Ektar 100 (120 size) that day. Since my developing tank is small (fits 1x120 or 2x135) that involved four separate process runs. Those rolls were from the past few weeks when I was at Lake Tahoe and Rodeo Beach / San Francisco. Luckily nothing went wrong during the process and the film came out developed! The next day I did a quick batch of two rolls of misc 35mm I found in my room that were probably shot many years ago. The first was a roll of 400 generic Fuji film from when I was 14 years old. The second was a roll of Seattle Film Works 200 speed film, which it turns out is old repackaged cinefilm. So technically it was cross processing by putting that roll in c41.
I still have one last batch to do today as well. I have the last of my 120 Ektar rolls as well as a roll of Fuji Provia 400x I've been shooting over the past few months which I plan to cross process.
Of the 120 Ektar rolls, the shots came out nice and crisp with gorgeous colors. They could have done with a touch more agitation during processing but nothing that can't be corrected digitally. I also noticed that all the shots from my Pentax using my 135mm f/4 lens have a weird streak on the top of each frame, I think the lens has grown some fungus which is clouding part of the frame, something that I need to look into.
The shots from Tahoe are easily my favorite, specifically those from Sand Harbor. Scouting and waiting for the light paid off well and I captured two really nice sunset/dusk shots. I also captured a few late afternoon shots that work well as more mellow or even B/W shots. The rolls I shot at Rodeo Beach and of the Golden Gate Bridge turned out pretty good as well. The light isnt what I would have wanted on some of the Golden Gate shots and thus the frames are a bit flat, but I did end up capturing a really cool "moment", handheld of all things!
I haven't felt this invigorated with film photography for quite a while and I am itching to get some more film to shoot. My weekdays are completely full with work but my weekends feel very empty right now. Hopefully some fresh film and perhaps finding some people who share in my film endeavors can fill that void.