Rediscovering my love for 35mm

With the start of the new year, I’ve been putting extra focus on challenging myself to shoot cameras, formats, and film stocks I haven’t been reaching for. Over last two years, I focused almost exclusively on shooting medium and large formats, which sadly means my 35mm cameras and stocks have largely gone untouched, unused. In all of 2022, I shot only 6 rolls of 35mm, most of which for the most part, I felt disappointed with. I have over 25 different 35mm cameras in my collection and it truly feels a shame to let them go so long with out being picked up and twirled about. So with this in mind, back in February I headed out the door with my Olympus OM-2 paired with a new-to-me 35mm f/2.8 Zuiko lens and a roll of Portra 160.

At first I wasn’t sure how I felt about the 35mm focal length. It was my first time shooting it, having previously stuck with nifty fifties on my 35mm cameras. I just kept telling myself to give it a chance, since I do like to crop my 35mm photos a bit. I thought the 35mm focal length would give me just a little more breathing room and space to play around with crops. I got the developed roll back just 2 weeks later and I was anxious to get home and to scanning. After getting the whole roll processed through Lightroom, I can handily say this is the first roll of 35mm in well over a year I’ve felt truly satisfied with. The 35mm focal length ended up working beautifully for me, giving me just that extra bit of wiggle room to play around with crops. And you can never go wrong with a Portra. The 160 formula, especially in 35mm, just gives the perfect amount of smooth grain. Nice and subtle, with nice sharpness. After seeing how this roll turned out, I feel like I’m falling back in love with the format that got me going in film photography in the first place. A refreshing way to start the year, and I’m looking forward to delving into this challenge some more.

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