Contact sheet 2014 SE 006So shooting film incredibly romantic. You have to make choices, focus, be patient and there’s always a surprise element in how your film returns. It’s wonderful. Although sometimes the surprise part is rather nasty – and not in a good way.

When my Canon AT-1 died last year, I got a Canon New F-1. Being a tricked-out professional system camera launched in ’84, it’s got lots of accessories like exchangeable viewfinders, a couple of motor drives, exchangeable focusing screens used for focal plane metering, and lots of buttons. One of those buttons has an “R” engraved in it, and it’s sort of a clutch for the winding lever. Awesome for multiple exposures, and of course for rewinding film at the end of a roll.


This summer we went to visit our friends Emmy and Rense in Stockholm, Sweden. And with Rense being just as enthusiastic about photography as me, we set out on a late night long exposure adventure. I shot the roll of a lifetime. Awesome scenes, all calculations made correctly keeping in mind reciprocity law failure (google that one if your into long exposure film photography), bracketed shots, you name it. And the evening was wonderful. Really the most fun I had in a while photographing. Culminating in an awesome shot down Götgatsbacken (from right about here) with a wonderfully lit Ericsson Globe at the end of my 300mm + 1.4X lens. Everything right except for… my cute little “R” button.


So when I got back my film from the lab, it took me a while to figure out what had happened. One frame being clearly over exposed and a whole lot of darkness after that one… the “R” button. It must have switched in my bag (or I shouldn’t have had that one beer at Eriks Gondolen whilst shooting ..)


Right, so I’ll keep to Sean O’Connels wise words (Sean Penn in “The Secret Life of Walter Mitty“) when Walter Mitty (Ben Stiller) asks him when he’s going to take the shot:

Sometimes I don’t. If I like a moment, for me, personally, I don’t like to have the distraction of the camera. I just want to stay in it.

Good thing the photos Rense took turned out to be great! Check them (and other excellent photos) out here.