While cleaning a few weeks ago, I discovered a fantastic toy I had totally forgotten about–a Canon FtB (circa 1970-something, if my Googling is correct). I originally bought the camera for a photography class six years ago–a photography class I only went to twice. Since then, I’ve only used it one other time and I didn’t even get a full roll shot on it. Looking at it now, I actually know what those little numbers on the dial mean and how the 50mm, f1.8 lens works. It seemed a little sad to have only used a perfectly fine camera for shooting photos of eggs (the first assignment for the class) and a couple shots of Baltimore’s Inner Harbor, so I put it on a shelf where it would catch my eye from time to time and remind me that I wanted to give it a whirl.
Today was that day. I went out to some abandoned buildings in Laurel that I’ve modeled at but never had a chance to photograph. I thought it’d be a good place to experiment with film, especially because there’s some pretty good natural lighting. I was walking back from the buildings and had a few shots left but didn’t want to just throw them away, so when I saw a pile of old tires I thought it would be the perfect place to finish up.
Click Click Click–Done!
I was pleased as punch. I figured I would take that roll out right away so I could drop it off to get developed on the way home. And that’s where things went wrong.
I’ve only finished a roll of film once in the past ten years, and even that was six years ago. I remembered that at the end of a roll there were a few things I had to do to make it rewind, something about a button on the bottom and a thing being moved…So I held down the button and tried to flip the lever that advances the film after a shot. That felt funny but I tried it another few times and when I hit a point where it wouldn’t go any further, I thought it must be done. Anyone who’s shot on film before is probably leaping at the screen shouting, “NO, DON’T DO IT!” like in a bad horror movie.
Unfortunately, I did remember how to open the camera. As I saw my poor film lying there, still unfurled and nicely exposed to the afternoon sunlight, I realized my mistake. I quickly closed the camera and correctly wound back my film, but I’m pretty sure I killed anything on it.
Live and learn, right? Or perhaps live, learn, and keep shooting digital. We’ll see how film attempt #2 goes…