So 2021 is well under way by now and it's been a minute since I've made a post on here, but I figured it was time for an update.
December of 2020, I got some rolls of film I shot back in 2019 developed at Walgreens and was blown away. The images had an insane amount of dynamic range (basically how much light it can register) and beautiful colors. They were true-to-life and almost three-dimensional.
That was it. I was hooked.
I immediately did my research over my winter break between semesters and learned all I could about film stocks, reciprocity, and the differences between negatives and digital files. I ordered all of the equipment I needed to develop film at home because the second round of film I sent through Walgreens was absolutely ruined by the lab and I knew I could do a better job once I learned it wasn't the way I shot that was the problem.
I purchased some cheap color film and practiced for weeks before the Cs41 development chemicals from CineStill were back in stock. I then tried my hand at tanking the negatives and going through the development process. Once I saw those negatives and scanned them, I realized just how high quality film images can be when processed correctly.
I've got a lot of experience at this point with different film stocks and found that I prefer what Kodak has to offer. Portra 400 is very clean and creates beautiful colors when overexposed, Gold 200 is an excellent stock for bright days and very cheap, and Ultramax 400 has fantastic colors and is useful for just about any situation.
I dusted off my dad's old Canon Elan 7e because it natively uses my EF lenses, but eventually got an amazing deal on an Olympus XA that has now become my everyday carry. Street photography is what I currently use film for at the moment but will go into more detail in the future about using it at night and for portraits.
To summarize, film is not as intimidating as many people think and has genuinely helped me learn more about my style of both shooting and storytelling. I recommend everyone go out and buy a disposable film camera and try their hand at telling a story with a limited amount of shots. It's more fun than you think!